Salon business strategy

Whether you’re opening a beauty salon, expanding your spa to a second location, relocating your business location to a new area, or simply rethinking how you run an existing hair salon, the first step is developing a business strategy. It might sound intimidating, but a business strategy is simply a plan of action for developing, launching and marketing a business (or reviving a stagnant one).

You know the old saying – fail to plan, plan to fail. It doesn’t matter if you’re just getting started or you’ve been in hair and beauty industry for years, you need a documented business plan for your spa or salon. A good business plan acts as a guiding document to help you run a successful business. Banks and investors will also require one if you apply for funding. It covers everything from your brand look and feel, to your salon’s target audience

So put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, because we’ve rounded up some of the best salon and business coaches from across the globe to help you refine your business strategy. 

Here you’ll find all the tools you need to need to nail your salon or spa business strategy –  including salon business plan examples, goal setting guidance, KPI templates, service menu examples for your salon or spa and everything in between. 

Business strategy is essential in establishing or reinventing a successful salon business. Not only will it help with growing your business, but having it all down on paper will boost your own confidence as well. When it comes down to it, your goal as a salon owner is to make sure that your clients are leaving happy and that your day-to-day operations are running smoothly enough that you’re able to turn a profit, and then some. And we’re here to help you on that journey.

So, what’s a business strategy and why should I put one together?

A business strategy helps a salon, spa or barber shop owner develop an action plan for developing, starting or reviving a business. A business strategy for a hair salon, for example, would cover areas such as brand look and feel, salon location, services and pricing as well as addressing competitor positioning and future growth.

Typically, a business strategy is translated into a documented business plan. A business plan is like a roadmap – it helps you navigate through your business, and find achievable ways to reach your goals. Set dates on your calendar to review and revise it quarterly. This helps you stay on track toward meeting your salon’s business goals, and also means that if you need a polished business plan to get a bank loan in the future, you’re already up to date.

Here’s what’s usually covered in a business plan:

  1. Brand look and feel
  2. Salon mission statement and vision
  3. What sets your business apart from your competitors (the Unique Selling Proposition – USP)
  4. Financial goals
  5. Estimated running costs
  6. Services, pricing strategy and revenue streams 
  7. Target market and what attracts them
  8. Positioning and marketing strategy 

This might look like a sizeable list – but not to worry, you’re in the right place! We have all the resources you need to get your business strategy in tip top shape, no matter what your goals are. 

Timely business strategy success blueprint 

Many business owners get bogged down in the day-to-day duties and don’t have the time to look at the bigger picture. Let’s face it – you’ll always be busy. So, steal a moment of your day to step back and decide what you want for your business. By taking some time to think about, research, and implement some concrete business goals for your salon, you’ll be able to catapult your business to the next level!

Whether you’re just starting out, looking to shake things up in your salon, or simply looking for a bit of help and advice, here’s what you need to cover when developing a new business strategy for your salon:

1) Define your brand

In the hair and beauty industry, it’s all about the image, and your brand should be no exception. Branding can help you to attract your ideal client. A strategic brand includes things like your name, logo, store design and street appeal, location, customer communication, website and of course, the look and feel of your social channels. Make sure your brand is consistent across the board. Your salon’s interior design should be echoed on your website, your tone of voice on social should be the same as how your staff answer the phones, and so on. 

In the hair and beauty industry, it’s all about the image, and your brand should be no exception.

2) Get clear on your vision

Can you sum up your grand plans for your salon, spa or barber shop in a sentence? A mission statement is essentially your ‘reason for being’, which explains your philosophy on customer service, the kinds of services you provide and digs into the ‘why’ behind your business. Make sure your staff live and breathe your mission statement, too. 

3) Understand what makes you better than your competitors

A key part of business strategy is competitor analysis. Compile a list of competitors from local directories and review sites such as Yelp or Foursquare.  Take notes on their branding, services, pricing, customer relations, social media and the overall look of their salons. Then, conduct a SWOT analysis on your business. This involves writing down all the strengths and weaknesses you possess in relation to your competitors. Strengths could be specialising in a unique service while weaknesses may be minimal funding. Note down opportunities like the potential to secure a prime location, as well as threats, such as a nearby competitor offering competitive pricing. Using this method is a great way to find out exactly what can make your salon unique. Match your main services to your strengths, and try to offer things that clients can’t get elsewhere. 

4) Write a financial plan

This should include an estimate of annual costs (both fixed and variable), how you’ll price your services based on factors like going local rate, time needed and costs of supplies and your sales forecast (i.e. your yearly profit target). Conduct an honest assessment of where your business stands and decide what specific financial targets will help you reach the next level. These goals could be increase revenue by x amount, increase spending per client by x, or decrease costs by a targeted amount per month. Enlist an accountant to help you if you wish. We’ve compiled an entire hub dedicated to all things dollars and salon profitability to give you a head start in your salon financial planning.

5) Define your target market

The term ‘target market’ exists for a reason. It harks back to the notion that you can’t please everyone. Don’t be afraid to specialise, and don’t be afraid to tell your clients just how good you are. Your client niche can be defined in a myriad of different ways: by your services, by age, by gender, by geography, by income, and so on. Are you an anti-aging expert? Do you want to appeal primarily to men, or women? Does your target client value luxury or affordability? 

6) Craft a marketing strategy

A salon’s marketing strategy is going to vary widely depending on many factors like location, the target demographic, etc. For example, a salon in upscale London may want to invest in targeted social media ads while a salon in a suburban neighborhood should prioritise direct mail. We’ve got a whole resource hub brimming with marketing guides and promotion ideas. Part of your promotional strategy should also include how you’ll connect with and keep track of customers. Good software will help you manage your customers with appointment booking and scheduling tools, SMS messaging reminders, client records, and reporting.

Commonly asked salon business strategy questions:

How can I build a strong brand for my salon?

Salons are all about image. Your clients are are also all about image when they’re seeking out your services. Don’t define your salon’s image according to what you think it should be; define your target customer and build an image that will appeal to that customer. You want clients you really click with, who appreciate your services, are happy to spend money and who will spread the good word to friends. 

“What you convey now has a direct impact on how people perceive you, and how people perceive you IS your brand. Think about all the cues and what they mean, invest wisely and be savvy. Think about your fit out, your design, your visual cues, right down to how the phone is answered. All the little things to create the feeling that your brand is already there, not that you are working towards it when you get ‘bigger’”.

Author Avatar
Nicky Shore
OFF Wax & ON Brow House

How should I come up with my salon mission statement? 

Your salon mission statement should define what sort of experience your target clientele should expect from your business, how you will treat your staff and your unique point of difference within the market. Work through these points with your team in a creative brainstorm session. 

Distill the above into a snappy tagline, and ensure your entire team lives and breathes it. Then, make sure your mission statement is front and centre across all your client communications – from your website to your in-salon experience, and everything in  between. 

“We want everyone who comes into contact with us to feel amazing; staff, clients and suppliers. We want to make a difference, to make the world a better place. If you don’t stand for something you stand for nothing, so you have to be about something. Our tagline ‘feel amazing’ is very important to us.” 

Author Avatar
Shaun and Nicky
The Hair Boutique

What are some creative ways to make my salon stand out amongst the competition?

You can compete in two ways:
Do it better.
Do it different.

Let’s find out how the best in the biz stand out from the crowd:

“Doing things differently is the key to long term success in this market. Without this the offering becomes homogeneous and hard for a customer to decide why to stay with your or switch from their previous brand to try you. You have to give them a reason. Be brave to carve out your point of difference for customers to attach themselves to and stay for. Focus on it, nurture it and sell this – otherwise you will always be at risk in the sea of same-same. Just because the ‘beauty’ industry has certain cues that you see everywhere doesn’t mean you have to do all of them to be a legitimate beauty business – define your own. People want different, we just have to take the risk to give it to them. Be brave.”

Author Avatar
Nicky Shore
OFF Wax & ON Brow House

Online booking is a surefire way to stand out from the competition. We’ve had online booking for years, but salons around us don’t tend to have it. I’m still waiting for them to catch up. Timely definitely makes us different –  it’s crucial to make it as easy as possible for your client to book with you.”

Author Avatar
Haylee Benton
Cecily Day Spa, Alchemy & I and Koha Skin Clinic.

How can I keep clients coming back to my salon?

Providing an exceptional client experience is at the heart of why you run your own business. Your clients love the service you deliver, but they’re busy people and often forget to rebook. So, how do you lure em’ back? It all comes down to the rebooking experience. 

“I think the main thing is getting the client excited about the appointment. We use automated text messages and Mailchimp after all appointments with tips on hair care, and maintaining a style or colour. Timely’s automated messaging capability is great. We send a client reminder text 24 hours before an appointment and if they haven’t already rebooked, a 6-week rebooking reminder.”

Author Avatar
The Hair Boutique

Once you’ve pulled together a business strategy for your salon, spa or barber shop, the real fun begins. Implementing these ideas into your salon might seem overwhelming at first, but having a solid business strategy removes that fear. A business strategy begets confidence, a valuable asset for any leader.

And remember – don’t just set it a drawer and forget about it. Instead, treat it as a living document that helps guide your business.

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