It can easily become a dream deluded by the misconception that the beauty industry is mostly glamorous and covered in glitter dust. Don’t get me wrong, the industry can be extremely rewarding. But you will be creating the magic- and will not always be feeling it yourself. You will be scooping up the last glitter particles that did not adhere to your clients nails to balance out your costings- or at least you should be.
Here are the things I wish I knew when venturing into my first beauty business.
- Decide on your niche… and target market
What will make you special? Advanced aesthetic treatments? Will you be the queen of creating masterpiece brows? Or will your tranquil spa setting allow for incredible massages? I will advise to cater for a variety of treatments, but be known for something. Now, tap into the market that wants, no needs, that something.
Do your market research and find out what the average person earns and spends on beauty treatments in your location of business. Now match that spending potential to what you have to offer. This will help you keep things realistic and achievable. This may mean literally stopping people in that area and asking them to complete a questionnaire regarding the above. Perhaps offer them an exclusive invite to your opening for their trouble.
- Start small and build up from there
Obviously we would all like to start a fully stocked salon/spa offering everything imaginable. We would all like many things but life does not always allow it. This does not mean your dream is not achievable. My recommendation is the following: Avoid debt as far as possible. If you cannot start your venture without debt then keep it (your financing) manageable and only take what you really need. You do not need the 2 meter long, platinum-framed mirror- you want it. Keep your own personal fixed expenses at a bare minimum, remembering that in a small business-you often are the business, thus if the business makes a loss, you take the hit for it.
In addition, decide on a small salary that you will pay yourself in a month to cover your fixed expenses. Now if possible, start out with that amount included in your initial business plan. By doing this you enable yourself to work towards a positive month end from the beginning instead of living out of the till from day one.
Your high profit treatments in a salon or spa are generally waxes, pedicures and massages. If you cannot afford to start a fully stocked salon, offering all treatments- then I suggest you start with those three first. As your business grows you can then expand what you are able to offer. Align yourself with a good supply company (NOV-U of course) with whom you can build a relationship. As your relationship and trust grows with a good supplier, so will your options on 30 day accounts and possible consignment stock for retail. Feel free to contact me regarding this.
- Manage your expectations, and cashflow
I was given advice in my first year of business by an old business man. I ignored it, convinced that it would take me only three months to produce a booming business. I later found his advice to be painfully close to the truth. “It takes approximately 1000 days to establish a new business”, he said to me. “Anything less is a bonus, but envision your bigger picture over 1000 days.”
Draw up a detailed plan of action including daily, weekly and monthly revenue and profit targets, a break even analysis and a proper budget. Now stick to it and do not live out if the till.
You are not selling beauty treatments and products but an experience. You are selling primarily on emotions in this luxury industry and that takes building trust. Trust does not come over night. In this type of business word of mouth will become your biggest friend and foe. Remember, a satisfied customer is the best strategy of all.
- Pick a mentor and resources
I’ve said it before, surround yourself with like minded people. Identify mentors in your life who not only positively influence you but who will be there to advise you. Those people who will not be afraid to tell you if you are messing up, or if your idea is not as great as it seemed in your head. Pick someone who has business experience and who knows you. You may have more than one mentor. Great. Now tap into what ever resources are available to you, take what you can use, make it yours and move on from the rest.
- Now grind…
Nothing will substitute good hard work. Be realistic and prepare yourself for long hours over weekends and holidays when others are resting. A tip: there will be times that you get negative and start to doubt your decision to start a salon/spa.
From the beginning, write your short and long term goals down on a dream chart. Enforce them with quotes and anything that inspires and motivates you. When times get tough you will have this to look to and remind you what you are working towards.
“It is a beautiful thing when a career and passion meet.” I can certainly testify to this. So, here is to sipping a glass of champers with you, wishing you all the greatest success and heartfelt joy and pride in your business venture.