Let me guess: you’ve played with the idea of becoming your own boss at least once or twice, so you could work on your own terms.

No more crazy shifts and even crazier bosses! What if I told you that you neither have to break the bank nor spend months preparing for your launch? And that it doesn’t take months to build up your clientele? In fact, it’s possible to launch your salon as soon as in 30 days if you’re really serious about it. If you’re intrigued (as you should be), let me show you my 5-phase salon planning system that I used to start my own award-winning spa.

Now this post jam-packed with information, so if you don’t want to miss anything important, download my handy Kickstart Your Salon or Spa checklist!

Phase 1: Planning and development – 5 days

This is the phase where you’ve got to do lots of research and planning.

Does it mean that I want you to create a business plan? Well, not in a traditional sense. I had to make one at business school and it was a heavy, 60-page long document, which got slightly outdated by the time I finished it.

So no, don’t do that but figure out a few things:

• What are the industry trends?
• Who’s your competition?
• Who’s your target market? Go into as many details as possible!
• Outline the size of your business and potential services, equipment needed and suppliers. Keep it flexible as these might change.
• Outline your business model (mobile therapy, home salon, “one woman show” salon, multiple service salon, day spa, specialized salon)
• Basic marketing plan (We’ll go into detail in phase 3)
• Basic finances: funds needed for setting up the salon, forecasted income and expenses
• Legal aspects: will you be a sole proprietor or will you incorporate the company? Also, research what kind of licenses and permits you’ll need to get in order to operate your salon.

Phase 2: operations development – 8 days

This is the phase where you find your salon space, develop a service menu and set up your systems (such as software, telephone system etc.).

Finding your space:

Location is very important for your salon or spa. To figure out the best location, consider your target market: are they stay at home moms who are more likely to live in the suburb, therefore, you should set up shop there?

Are they busy professionals who work in the city center and would visit your salon right before or after work? Do they appreciate easy parking or would they rather have easy access to public transport? And the list goes on and on.

Apart from location, you have to decide whether you prefer to lease, buy or build your space. For most new salon owners, lease is the best option.

Service menu development:

The first step is to find a vendor and select a skin care brand from its offering. Again, before you make this decision, consider your ideal client:

What is the age group and gender of the customers that you will serve?

What is their income level?

What are their expectations regarding your services?

Do they appreciate organic ingredients or more results-oriented products?

Do they prefer a brand that they know and trust or would they be open to try something that’s only available in town at your salon?

Also, refer back to the size of your salon or spa to decide on the product ranges that you will carry. For smaller salons, one brand is usually enough.

Offering a large selection of treatments and stocking several brands and product ranges is not profitable for smaller establishments: remember, you will need to get training for each treatment (or provide your staff with training), learn about each product and it could potentially mean having to buy more pieces of equipment.

There are exceptions, but usually a smaller salon is better off with a smaller selection of treatments.

By knowing your target market, the size of your business and the products that are available, you can develop your treatment menu and prepare your equipment and furniture purchase order.

Now you need to know how much each treatment costs. This is more for management purposes, rather than pricing as you’ll see in a second, but the bottom line is that you need to know your costs.

For the basic needs, you need to count with the cost of products that you use for the treatment, HR costs, laundry and any additional items (disposable underwear, cotton pads etc.).

Pricing your treatments is more like an art than a science!

There are several ways you can do this, so let me just mention the one that I agree with the most: this is called value based pricing.

Rather than using your costs as a starting point, you should consider the value that your clients assign to your services.

Phase 3: Branding, sales, marketing, PR – 7 days

I don’t mean to keep repeating myself, but the starting point of a powerful brand, a solid marketing strategy and a killer sales plan is guess what? Knowing your target market! By knowing your target market, you’ll be able to determine which are the best channels to reach them.

For example, if they are mature ladies, they are more likely to respond to a brand that looks classic, sophisticated and trustworthy.

They are less likely to hang out on Facebook, so Facebook ads may not be your best choice.

However, if your target market is younger women between 25-35, they are more likely to spend a lot of time on social media and respond well to seeing that even influencers visit your salon.

Phase 3 is quite a heavy one, so if you don’t want to miss anything important, make sure that you download the FREE Kickstart Your Salon or Spa checklist where I give you the checklist to a killer marketing plan that fully books your salon effortlessly.

Phase 4: Recruitment, HR, training – 7 days

If you want to hire staff, first you need to decide on the ideal candidate’s key skills and competencies and develop a job description based on these. There are several sites that you can post your job ad, including some specialized sites. Consider posting your ad in relevant Facebook groups, too!

You will want to meet shortlisted candidates in person for an interview. Even better, ask them to perform a treatment on you so you can evaluate their skills much better than by reading their CVs (of course, only if they are therapists)!

Before you hire them, make sure that they are the right representation of ¬¬¬¬-your brand!

It’s very important that you create a standard operating procedures manual and training manuals for your staff so you know and they know what they should know and evaluate their performance based on this. In the long-term, these systems will help you keep your sanity so you don’t have to be the slave of your business! So yes, it’s better to add them from the early stages!

Phase 5: set up, pre-opening, grand opening – 3 days

This is the stage of the final touches.

Get your permits and licenses and make sure that you comply with local, state and federal legislations, health and safety regulations, labor laws and tax laws.

Make sure that the customer journey is smooth: from the moment they arrive until they check out and pay.

I highly recommend a pre-opening phase, unless you’re the only service provider in your company.

You can invite friends and family to try the services and give you their feedback. If there are any glitches, you can still make changes.

And finally, prepare your champagne glasses for the grand opening!
Phew, now let’s get down to work!

Stay organized with my FREE step-by-step Kickstart Your Salon or Spa checklist! Download it now!