Starting a Unisex Salon Business
This post is a detail description on hoe you can start and run a unisex salon business, but can also read how to start normal salon business. A popular saying goes thus, “looking good is good business,” the saying has been true whether for those who look good or those making others look good. Everyone loves looking good and making one’s hair is one of the major pillars of looking good, there is hardly anyone who does not visit a salon or require their services at one point in time or the other.
Taking a look at this industry especially paying special attention to how much patronage salons enjoy and how much profit is grossed yearly, tells us that the sector is indeed very lucrative with boundless opportunities for making good profit. It could be said that women are more prone to visiting salons, but in terms of frequency, men are known to visit salons more often than women. For this reason it is important to make sure that your salon caters for both sexes rather than either male or female.
Most average working class men visit a hair salon at least once every two weeks while a woman may wait for about a month (except for some special cases). Note however that there are several other reasons why a person will visit a salon asides seeking hair solutions, we will be discussing some of them later in this article. This article aims at providing you will important nuggets which will help to build your unisex salon from the scratch and growing it to becoming a business of repute fetching you huge gross profits.
Things to be considered when planning to indulge in the unisex salon business in Nigeria
There are few questions that you really need to consider and provide answers to in order to properly plan for your new business. These questions include:
- Are you planning to run the business personally or are you planning to seek professional help by employing skilled staff?
- If you are planning to run the business by yourself, are you well equipped with the necessary skills?
- If you will be recruiting skilled workers, do you have adequate knowledge to decipher if they are providing customers with top class services and satisfying their needs adequately?
- What is your target customer base?
Answering these questions will equip you with necessary information to help you efficiently to develop a working business plan which will be a profound guide for running your business.
Necessary steps to take in starting up your unisex salon business in Nigeria
Below are steps you are advised to take when trying to establish your new unisex salon business. Note that this is just a guide just to help you, you will still be required to do more research to achieve optimal results.
Acquire adequate training if you have none presently.
This is one business that requires the business owner wielding the skills required in the business. If you do not already have the skills required it is imperative that you take time out to learn as your personal involvement in the business will determine to a large extent the amount of profit you will make. A major plus about the skills of a salon owner is the fact that your artistry is usually in the face of the public practically all day long, the artistry of your skills speak for you in volumes you might not be able to match with your voice or presence. What sets any hairdresser apart from his/her peers are the skills which he/she possesses, whether in a good or bad way. People are ready to pay large amounts as long as they know you have skills to meet up with the charges you are asking for.
Write a detailed business plan.
Prior to starting out any physical structures or arrangements for your business, it is imperative that you have a mental picture of what your business should look like. This mental picture should in turn be recorded and expanded on paper, making projections, taking surveys, setting up a management plan, coming up with vision and mission statements, determining how far you want to go with the business and so on. The business plan will act in two major ways, firstly helping the business owner as a guide to running the business all through the business’ lifecycle. Secondly, the business plan helps the business owner to raise investors or raise loans from banks should there be a need for extra capital beyond the capacity of the business owner. If you do not have the skills to write a the business plan yourself, you can buy our sample hair salon business plan in Nigeria.
Raise your startup capital.
The amount of capital to be raised is directly proportional to the projections written in the business plan. If you were planning to start on a small scale then you will be requiring a lower capital than someone who was planning to start on a mega phase. Asides these, the area you have planned to start in, the kind of equipment you plan to use, how many staff you plan to employ, etc. will all contribute to how much capital you need to raise. You can raise capital in a couple of ways, some of them include:
- From savings over a period of time.
- Getting loans from banks.
- Seeking out investors or financiers.
- Gifts from family members and friends.
You have to register your business name with corporate affair for proper recognition. Read how to register with CAC for guidelines.
Preparing your shop for business.
- Getting a suitable location. For this kind of business, you should be looking for an area with a lot of human traffic so that you have many prospective customers seeing your shop and what exactly you do. If you are planning to go mega you might decide to get a land and start a building for your business. On the hand you might decide to start your business by renting a shop, whatever you do ensure that the business is situated in a location that is accessible to as many customers as possible.
- Beautify the shop. Making your business place comely and inviting to your customers goes beyond just putting in chairs and tables, it is making the place beautiful enough to leave an indelible mark in the minds of your customers. To achieve this you should probably request the assistance of a professional decorator or interior designer.
- Purchase your equipment and other instruments of your trade. Your initial survey should help you have an idea of the best set of equipment on the market, as well as the prices of these equipment. It is imperative that you spend wisely at this stage by purchasing top quality equipment so that you do not keep spending money on purchases and repairs.
- Recruitment of staff. When seeking staff to work in your shop, you should ensure that the prospective staff have quite a bit of experience. It can be disastrous for your business if you have the wrong set of hands and a reputation for poor services by your inexperienced staff. Take your time in employing staff and provide as much on the job training for then so they can provide the best services possible.
- Organize your daily management system. Set up a proper management system which assists you in the day to day running of your business. Set up rules and regulations for your staff so that there can be decorum at your place of business. If the business is quite large you might need to employ a business manager and an accountant for specialization purposes.
- Publicize your business adequately. Publicity is seen as the backbone of any business, any business that refuses to carry out publicity stunts is most like to die as soon as it starts. It is important to put your business in the face of the public, let them know what you do in as many ways as you can. You can employ the use of fliers, billboards, posters and social media in the publicity of your business. You can also create a system that involves your customers in helping you publicize your business while they get benefits from each successful referral they make. You can run special promotions and competitions as well to attract customers on a large scale especially during festive seasons.
Providing security for your business. It is very important to invest in security for your business as there are several loopholes in this business as you have several people visiting your shop daily that you do not even know or have any details about. You have a lot of things that could get lost, cash, customers’ properties, work equipment, etc. Customers also want to have a feeling of safety when they come to your business place, the more reason why you should invest in security.
The advantages of starting up a unisex salon business in Nigeria
- In the present Nigerian economy you get to be your own boss running this kind of business. This means that you get to enjoy your profits alone.
- You enjoy daily returns on investments.
- This business can open doors to other businesses as you get to make contact with a lot of people, some of whom are likely to be influential.
Equipment and tools needed to start a unisex salon business in Nigeria
- Generating set
- Television sets
- Cable tv
- Air conditioners
- Manicure kits
- Pedicure kits
- Towel warmers
- Sterilizing machines
- POS machine, etc.
11 Salon Marketing Strategies
Let’s start with some of the bigger salon marketing strategies before we dive into the quick tips and marketing ideas. Because it all starts with the right foundations.
1. Get Your Salon Visible on the Search Result Page
What do you get when you type “salon near me” on Google? This is one of the most important questions you can ask yourself to today. If you don’t show up when people look for your type of salon in your area, you simply don’t exist to potential new clients. So before you put any other salon marketing idea into practice, make sure you have the basics in place that allow you to be visible when people look for you. Google is the most used search engine but there are other as well.
2. Create or Refresh Your Salon Website
Your salon website is often the first impression you have with new clients. And as you’re in the beauty industry, I’m sure you know how important a first impression is. People simply don’t trust salons who’s website looks unprofessional or dated.
As salon owner, you need to make sure your website looks up to date. But a good website is so much more than just a first impression. It is the online window into your salon.
Just like a salon receptionist, you don’t just want a pretty face but you want someone who finds new clients, manage your bookings, upsell your services and ultimately grow your business. You can use a marketing agency to help you create a website. But the website builders available to salon owners today are very easy-to-use. And you can get a professional-looking website created with very little effort.
3. Enable Online Salon Appointment Booking
Did you know that over 35% of people prefer to book their appointments online? In fact, if you ask people under 35, 25% say they only book their appointments online. At the same time, many salons spend costly hours every week to manually administrate appointments You need to get a good salon software that can manage your bookings online and in fact take care of many parts of your business. Having online booking available is one of the keys to moving your salon business growth into autopilot. If you already have one, make sure you put your online booking feature in place on your website and social channels. If you don’t have one (or think you need something better), there are free, powerful, tools available you can start using already now.
4. Define Your Salon’s Email Marketing Strategy and Run a Salon Newsletter If you run a salon, you run a relationship business.
But how on earth can you effectively maintain good relationships with all your clients? The answer is a salon email newsletter. You might think that email is an old marketing method that has become irrelevant given the development of social media. But that’s not true.
Far from. Email is the most effective way to build trust, relationship, and sales. Period. But you need to do it right or it’s just a waste of time.
5. Get Your Salon Setup for Success on Social Media
I guess you’re not surprised to see social media as one of the salon marketing strategies in this list.
However, you can easily spend a lot of time on social media without it really generating you any new clients. You need to define your salon’s social media strategy and execute consistently against it to be successful. Inside my salon marketing program, you get the opportunity to discuss your social media strategy with myself as well as other salon owners in a similar position as you.
6. Ensure Consistent Salon Branding
Everything communicates. Like it or not. Branding is not just about the decor of your salon or your salon logo. Everything communicates who you are. Your brand.
This is why you need to figure out your salon’s unique story. Your voice.
This changes everything. Your brand that allow you to charge higher prices. When you get it, people understand how you are different and the value you provide. Your brand boost your word-of-mouth marketing. It gives people stories and a reason to talk about you. Executed consistently, this can be one of the most important marketing strategies for your business. This is the reason I put a major emphasis on this inside my education program for salon owners. The course I recommend if you want to build your brand is called “The Art of Building a Premium Salon Brand” and it is designed to identify and extract your unique story that becomes the foundation of your brand. 7. Run Facebook Ads That Get New Clients Through Your Doors
7 Does your salon have a facebook page?
If you do, you probably have already tried some type advertising on Facebook. What I hear many salon owners do is that they boost their Facebook posts to get more visibility. But this is really not the same as doing Facebook Advertising.
Boosting Facebook posts will really only give you likes, comments, and if you’re lucky a new client booking.
What I’m talking about is something different. And when done right, Facebook advertising is one of the most effective and fast ways to attract new clients to your business.
You can make Facebook Ads complex. But it doesn’t have to be.
8. Run Google Ads to Catch People Looking for Salons in Your Area
We learnt in the first salon marketing idea in this list that you need to make sure your salon show up when someone is searching for salons in your area. This is how people look for new salons. But if your salon is surrounded by many other salons, it’s likely that your salon still doesn’t show up at the top. In fact, the first rows in the Google search result is dedicated to showing paid ads. So even if you have a good salon website that is optimized for search engines, it’s quite likely you’ll not show at the top. This is why you should run paid search campaigns.
When you setup your search campaign, you should be as specific as you can. As you only pay when people click on the link, you should try to only show the ad to people that are likely to book with you.
For example, you can limit your ad to only be visible to people based on walking distance to your salon. You can also define specific words that they need to use when searching.
This could include specific services that you offer in your salon. By being more specific, you’ll increase the chances that when people click (and you pay) the visitor will decide to book with you.
Google offer a great advertising program for this purpose.
To learn more about how to advertise with Google you can read their Google Ads guide to get started with ads for your salon.
9. Hire a Salon Influencer
I’m sure you’ve noticed the boom of influencer marketing over the last years. Big brands and small businesses are increasingly turning to influencers to help them generate awareness of their offering. It’s increasingly replacing traditional methods of advertising. Because it works.
It’s one of the most effective marketing ideas for hair stylists and beauticians who deliver noticeable result through their service. It’s enough that the right influencer posts a picture of a transformational hair color result from your salon to have your phone ringing for days.
But the thing is.
Beauty influencers know their worth. And it can be expensive to get a big name to your salon. This is why the best influencer marketing strategy for salons is to work with local micro influencers. These are people who live in the area and have 3’000-30’000 engaged followers.
I’m sure that if you review your salon client list you’ll notice that you already know some of them.
Try to work with them and give them some incentive to promote your salon. As they are already your client, they’ll be authentic and their followers are most likely highly relevant for your salon. Ideally they would @mention your salon in their post.
If you’re doing this on Instagram, make sure you have your salon’s Instagram bio setup with a link back to your salon’s website where people can book.
10 Drive Sales by Leveraging Seasonal Events
Seasonal events are effective to increases the relevance of salon promotions. They are also easy to plan for and helps you highlight your different service offers in a relevant context throughout the year.
For example, you may promote your styling or make up services in time for the Christmas festivities or your product line for men in time for father’s day.
Seasonal events you do not want to miss out on:
- Black Friday & Cyber Monday: This is a good opportunity to sell out stock on discount without undermining your regular prices. Try also to find an arrangement with you product supplier so that you can get some additional discount when you acquire the products to help fund your promotion.
- Christmas: November and December are good months to run gift set promotions and also express services ahead of the festivities.
- Mother’s Day: This is a good time to promote your gift cards with a pampering mum treatment.
- Father’s Day: Similar to Mother’s day, gift cards work well here (if you offer services for men). You can also put your male retail products to work here.
- Valentine’s Day: You can never go wrong with gift cards or a nice set of retail products.
- Easter Weekend
To make your offer even more relevant, you can also tap into local events, festivals or other happenings taking place in the town or city where your salon is based. An example could be a spa salon offering feet massage to the marathon runners over the local marathon weekend.
As you run your salon promotions, I would always be careful with giving discount on your core services. There are other, smarter ways, to promote your products and service.
11. Increase Sales by Offering Add-On “Express” Services
So your salon is fully booked but you’re still not making enough profit?
When you’ve built a good salon clientele, you need to turn your focus to increasing the amount each client spends during their salon visit. A great way to do this is to add express services to your menu.
These add-on services require little or no additional time from you to perform. You may even be able to add the services during an already booked appointment. Ideally, the cost of the products you need to use is low so that by simply adding the service to the appointment, you immediately increase your profit.
Let’s say you run a Unisex Salon, an add-on service could then be a care treatment that you can add while you anyway have your client in the backwash.