So, you’re passionate about styling and nurturing textured hair and this drives you to want to establish your own hair salon. Maybe, you’re skilled in business and want to direct your expertise towards the growing textured hair industry. We’ve created a simple guide to help you get started and turn your idea into a thriving hair salon.
Create a Business Blueprint
The first step to any successful business is to draw up a plan which will help you identify and define the opportunity as well as identify your strengths and weaknesses. If you’ve been thinking about opening a hair salon for some time, then you might already have a feasible business plan in motion.
Your plan should include an estimate of how much starting capital you will need. It could also have a couple of ideas of where you will source the funding. This will help you build a strategy for how you will repay loans while growing your business.
Creating an accounting system to help keep records of your income, expenditure and taxes is vital and you may need to consult an accountant for more insight into this, especially if you’re a new entrepreneur.
Just like any business, a hair salon must comply with certain licensing requirements to operate. Each state has slight variations of these requirements.
Define your Brand
The textured hair industry is estimated to be worth over $2.5 billion and as it continues to grow, it’s become even more important for newcomers into this market to set themselves apart by establishing a unique brand identity. For this, you need to choose a business name that inspires you, is reflective of your brand identity and one that will not limit your business potential.
You also need to identify your ideal clientele and build a meaningful relationship with them. Start by first identifying how you are equipped to best serve their needs. This can be done through thorough research of your market, your preferred product lines and building on your own expertise.
Choosing a location is one of the most important aspects of launching a successful salon business and defining your brand. You must ensure that your salon is accessible to your ideal clients. It should be in a highly visible area with a good amount of foot traffic and convenient parking for your clients.
Marketing and Social Media
Once your business is established, you will need to keep attracting new clients by ensuring that it is easily accessible online and part of the ongoing social media conversation on niche-related issues. One of the simplest ways to do this is to create an attractive and user-friendly website and have an active and engaging social media presence. Consider setting aside a small budget to help boost marketing on social media platforms. You could also list your salon on the CurleeMe directory for direct access to naturalistas looking for a hair salon like yours.
Customer Service is King
Regardless of how well you’ve established your business, if your salon fails to deliver quality customer service, your business will suffer. With millions staying home due to the pandemic, many naturalistas are literally taking haircare into their own hands. Your salon needs to not only stand out amongst your competitors but it must rival the service your clients can give themselves at home.
Being known for excellent customer service will not only bring in new clients through word-of-mouth marketing. It will lead to user-generated content on social media platforms which is basically free advertising that will attract clients organically.
Outsource Tedious Tasks
Once your business takes off, you will find that you no longer have time to dedicate to tasks like bookkeeping, social media management or taking on a full schedule. Where possible, you should consider hiring a specialized assistant to take on repetitive tasks. This could also be the time to look into hiring a few more stylists so you can focus on actually running the business.
Get a Business Buddy
Starting a salon business may be straight forward, but it’s not without its challenges. It would be advisable to find a business mentor who can help you navigate through some of the challenges of starting and scaling your business. Being an entrepreneur is often said to be a lonely journey but you can overcome this by reaching out to other salon owners to learn from them and even collaborate with them where necessary.
Opening your own salon can certainly be a worthwhile journey, especially within the textured-hair community. Once you have all the business basics down, remember that this business is ultimately about giving the best possible service to your clients. Offer them an authentic and memorable experience and watch your business flourish.
Dumisile Masuku is a natural hair blogger with a passion for supporting black-owned hair and beauty businesses by helping them discover innovative and sustainable business solutions. She’s also a travel enthusiast, rediscovering domestic tourism in South Africa. Follow her journey @dumsi_lee.