Opening a Salon Tips

For many beauty industry professionals, owning a salon is a dream come true. If you’ve got the styling skills and the capital needed to start your business, you’re already halfway there. However, just like with any other industry, opening your own business can be challenging, and it comes with a lot of tasks and responsibilities to complete.

Thinking about putting your beauty skills to the test and opening your own salon? Make sure you follow these 10 expert tips first.

Create a business plan

“A business plan is key to starting a salon. The plan offers a road map for salon owners to follow and helps entrepreneurs consider all areas of the business. A business plan makes sure you set up a metric for success and consider the financials before you invest huge amounts of time and money in a new salon.”

Find a way to stand out

“With salons on every corner, even in small towns, entering into the market with a specialty or service niche can dramatically increase buzz and press about your opening. Most salons try to please everyone, offering a huge menu of services. But this does nothing to differentiate you in the market. Even if you do offer many services, promoting a niche or specialty service will help you attract not only a very loyal client base, but will [also] instantly lend credibility to your salon as the experts in your niche space.” – Pamela Jeschonek, owner, Everyday Esthetics Eyebrow Studio

Research local laws and regulations

“Do your research. Ensure that you are complying with the state laws and regulations. If you have to make some adjustments to your plan because of regulations and laws, do so early so that you can avoid potentially having to stop your operation later or [having to pay] a fine. This will save you time and money.” – Shanell Jett, owner and stylist, JettSet Mobile Studio

Talk to distributors

“Get in touch with major product distributors like Redken, Paul Mitchell, etc. Some of them offer support services such as training [and] consultants to salon owners and staff. ” – Tom Justin, author and business consultant

Create a solid client base

“My number-one tip for aspiring entrepreneurs before they open up a salon is to have a number of professional clients of your own that will cover your overhead. Salon employees have an independent mind-set and will try to make power plays. With a solid client base of your own, you’ll be in a better position to call the shots.” – Sandra LaMorgese, speaker and entrepreneur

Choose the right location

“Secure a solid location with plenty of parking. If you make it convenient for clients to visit your salon, you’ll have more customers, which in turn means more revenue to pay off your initial loan and to put toward growth expenses.” – Jim Salmon, president of business services, Navy Federal Credit Union

Focus on your staff

“I would advise any new salons to invest time in the training and motivation of the staff. Now, any technician is going to know their trade. However, they might need help with the selling and customer-retention side. Your salon will be built around your stylists and technicians, [so] ensuring they are comfortable with up-selling products and other treatments across the brand is the difference between success and failure. Spending time before launch training your key staff to learn these key skills and learn how to teach them to new employees will pay dividends once the salon is running, and will go a long way to help with the smooth operation of a successful business.” – Jennifer Quinn, client relations and Web content executive, Phorest

Think about your clients

“Create a vision for how you want clients to feel, what you want them to experience and what adjectives clients will use when describing their experience. This will help in developing a look, feel and atmosphere.” – Samira Far, founder, Bellacures

Hire a designer

“Work with a designer or space planner to ensure you are maximizing your revenue potential for the space. Keep in mind any plumbing needs, and take advantage of space in the center of the salon with double-sided stations or other uses. Know the dimensions you have for each area, so you can shop for salon equipment to fit the space or have it custom-ordered. If construction work is needed, try to negotiate those costs in your lease agreement.” – Miriam Deckert, marketing director,

Great Design Tips For Your Business

No matter what industry you’re in, design the look and feel of your website, logo, social media profiles, marketing materials, etc. is an important tool to help you hook customers with a great first impression.

As a small business, this can mean the difference between gaining an edge over your competitors and turning customers off completely. That’s why it’s so crucial to invest the necessary time and resources in a visually pleasing, well designed brand presence.

Business leaders and branding experts weighed in on the importance of design for small businesses, and what to consider when creating visuals for your company.

“People have [feelings] about your company based on the experiences that they have had with a brand,” Marin told Business News Daily. “[For example,] a well-designed logo and website inspires confidence because it looks professional. If a company is willing to focus on creating a clean and functional design that is easy to use, then that could be an indicator of what using their product might be like.”

“Great design not only conceptually reflects the mission of your company, but also, functionally, it’s the embodiment of that concept,” added Ty Walrod, CEO of Bright Funds, an all-in-one corporate program for donating, matching and volunteering. “A company’s design shapes the way an audience relates to your business, and any company, no matter the size, can benefit from employing design as a primary vehicle of brand expression.”

Marin cited Apple as an example of a brand that used design to distinguish itself from its competitors. In the 1980s and ’90s, design was often an afterthought for many major technology companies, she said. Apple worked with several partner companies to create the distinct, consistent design aesthetic that consumers recognize today.

“Through design, Apple was able to craft a positive brand presence that is slick and modern yet simple,” Marin said.

Visual appeal

You might have a great story to tell, but no one’s going to want to read your “About” page or explore your social media posts if you don’t present people with strong visuals right off the bat. Why do visual elements work so well? Cole Sletten, creative director at digital branding agency Ready Set Rocket, said it’s because they work fast.

“In a culture of information overload, diminishing attention spans and TL;DR (too long; didn’t read), an image can communicate even complex messages quickly, concisely and memorably,” Sletten said. “It’s this same drive for fast consumption that has evolved the Internet from its text-centric roots into an image- and increasingly video-centric medium as well.”

Ian Wishingrad, founder of the branding company BigEyedWish.com, agreed, and said that there are more visuals than ever in today’s world, and the bar for what captures consumers’ attention has risen considerably.

For this reason, Marin noted that eye-catching visuals will set your brand apart. The imagery you use should be relevant to your brand and engage your target audience.

“When in doubt, keep design and messaging direct and simple,” Marin said.

Design tips for your business

When you’re thinking about what your online brand presence should look like, Sletten said it’s important to be consistent, but not repetitive.

“The best brands, large and small, feel more like real, multifaceted personalities than collections of graphical elements,” Sletten said. Think about the qualities that are unique to your business and that could authentically and attractively represent your brand. Then let those qualities drive everything, from your logo and website to your Instagram feed and even your storefront, packaging and customer service.”

To this end, Walrod advised using the design process as a way to answer some of the deeper questions around your company, before you create any visuals. Determining your company’s personality and what you stand for will help you enrich your brand, he said. After laying this groundwork, create the visuals that naturally align with those traits and values.

“Bright Funds, for example, aims to make the experience of giving delightful and rewarding,” Walrod said. “As such, our brand created a sense of positivity and empowerment through our use of bright colors, illustrations and photography.”

Finally, Wishingrad reminded business owners to view art and design as the “wardrobe” of their business, and always think of the impression it will make on your customers.

“Good design is like a great suit — everyone takes notice,” Wishingrad said. “With a little time, consideration and style, your business can have that elegant and professional polish that resonates with consumers.”