How to start and run a successful salon business

Businesswoman Lindelwa Nkambule shares the most important components of starting a salon business

The salon and beauty business has grown tremendously over the past decade. Globally, the total haircare market size is worth about R10 trillion and in South Africa, and this market is divided into two: the dry hair business, which consists of weaves and extensions and wet hair, which consists of relaxers, shampoos and moisturisers. Respectively, these markets are worth R2,5 billion and R1,2 billion.

What are some of the important things you need to learn before starting a salon?

  • Before starting a salon business, learn about the products that you will use to offer services. When clients visit your salon, they trust that you are an expert. Often, they look to you for advice on what type of products would be suitable for their hair and style. Your stylists also look up to you for educational support, so being educated in the field helps set yourself and your stylists apart.
  • You also need to understand how you will be making money. Set targets for the stylists, do income projections and determine when you can expect to break even as a business. This helps keep your eyes on the goal, especially when the going gets tough. You will wake up with a purpose because you know the target you need to reach for each day.
  • People walk into a salon for many different reasons – the obvious one being them wanting to to look good, but also just to escape everyday life. As a salon owner, you need to define your customer service blueprint. How do you welcome them, treat them and respond to their complaints?

READ MORE: The holiday rush: How to survive salons in December

How important is location when starting a salon?

When starting a salon business, location is king – it’s one of the key success factors. A good location will enable you to build a successful business that is exposed to many new customers every day.

A strip mall is better than starting off at home. It will expose you to a lot of foot traffic. However, when choosing your location, consider the area demographics – will the salon’s services be in demand in that area?

Once you have established the salon, follow these three steps to continued success:

  • Create a comfortable, clean and safe atmosphere 

Customers should be presented with an environment that is clean, safe, comfortable and relaxing. Keep the floors clean at all times by asking your stylists to clean up after every customer.

Make sure towels, combs and other equipment are washed and sanitised for new customers. Offer your customers some refreshments as they wait. Going to a salon must not be a chore, but an extension of their lifestyle.

  • Consider your operating times

Most of your customers have a 9-5 job and therefore, will not be able to come to the salon during these times. Let your stylists work shifts, so that they are able to service a client before or after work.

Offer a one-stop shop so that customers do not have to drive to different places for nails, beauty treatments and hair. This convenience generates extra income for your business.