Opening A Salon or Spa!

salonOpening a salon or spa can be a very rewarding experience.

You will be rewarded financially and achieve personal satisfaction from a successful launch. And you will be rewarded from your consistent business building efforts.

Constant attention, and effective leadership are two very important factors in maintaining a quality salon.

There are some pitfalls to avoid when opening a salon, or starting a salon or spa. For example, if you dive in head first without doing any market research, or you don't spend time finding an ideal location, you can be devastated by the results.

I've seen this happen first hand. For example, I received an email from a subscriber who opened a salon because she wanted to have a place where all her friends could hang out and enjoy each other. Now she is wondering how to make money and pay her rent.

Here's another example that is all too common: We recently were hired to consult on opening her new tanning salon. She wanted us to help her with a layout and get a basic understanding of the business (how to handle transactions, check in customers, and marketing).

Everything sounded like she was on the right track as she was opening a salon...

Our first meeting took place in a coffee shop because she couldn't get her lease finalized. So we went over basic business structure, budgeting, and marketing until she could show us her location which she thought was fantastic. We told her that it was important to see the location before she signed anything.

She signed her lease anyway because she wanted this location ready to go before the annual parade started in the town it was in. Appartenlty the parade goes right by her location.

In the meantime, she bought a MyMist booth, and two tanning beds. When we met the second time she said she wanted to sell clothes as well. I had a bad feeling about this...

So by this time she had put a down payment on her lease and purchased her equipment which was in storage. Now the uphill battle opening a salon was beginning. But we wanted to see the location because maybe we could do something there.

The location was terrible. It was small, hidden, and the interior needed thousands of dollars of build out. She said she was just going to put some walls up, and replace a wooden bench that was underneath the front window and she was done. And after that her marketing was going to be a sandwhich board sign out on the sidewalk...

Ugh...

Unfortunately she did not understand what was really needed when opening a salon and ended up paying thousands more to get the interior set up. By the time she had her equipment, and had the build out half way done, she ran out of money. She told us it was her inheritance, and the last time we spoke she said that she might have to file bankruptcy.

This was really sad because she wasn't taking our advice and she was acting on impulse and making decisions based upon emotion.

So a few lessons to take from this 'opening a salon' debacle are:

  • Never make impulsive and emotional decisions especially when opening a salon. Be rational and do your due diligence. In some cases you can get away with a few emotional based decisions when you buy some product (lotions, etc.) as long as you have a budget that allows for a few mistakes.
  • Budget. You'll have fewer surprises you when you have a solid budget to work with.
  • Find a good location, not an average or below average one.
  • Be congruent. Don't sell a wide, diverse range of products. You want people to know what your business is, and what it can do for them. Sure, a few impulse items can be at point of sale, but they have to be congruent as well. For example, if you are a hair salon, you don't want to sell cigarette lighters. But lip balm, or hair care travel kits might be better.

When we started opening a salon, our first salon, we almost bought a salon because we were spending lots of time researching and looking at salons with nothing to show for months. My wife fell in love with one salon because it was cheap, the equipment was good, and the location was average at best.

It took a lot of coercing to get her to back down. After a few more weeks, we bought our first salon, and our patience and due diligence paid off.

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