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The 7 Ultimate Ways to Grow Your Salon Business

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How often do you take a step back to think about where your salon business is going?

I admit.

I often fall into the trap of just focusing on the next issue in front of me. The next meeting, the problematic client, or the team vacancy I need to fill.

I know you’re busy and that it’s difficult to find the time to really think through where we’re going.

If we really are doing the right things to move our business in the right direction.

But it is so important.

You need to have a clear sense of where you are going before you can come up with the activities that’ll help you get there.

You cannot reverse this order.

Grow your salon business with these salon business strategies

As a business owner, you’ll be busy with a lot of things. But if you’re not clear on where you’re going, it’s quite likely that you’re being busy without achieving what you really want to achieve.

In fact, you may even be busy going in a direction you shouldn’t even be going..

“If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.” Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

As you’ve landed on this article, and already read through the first paragraphs, I know you’re a salon manager that thinks about strategies to grow your salon business. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have clicked on this article.

So congratulations, this means you’re already ahead of the majority of other salon managers. And honestly, by having the mindset you have, you’ve already tackled the biggest challenge salon owners face.

Now I want you to take this mindset with you.

In this article, I’ll go through the fundamental principles for how you can grow your salon business. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a hair salon, nail salon, barbershop, SPA, tanning salon or another beauty salon. The principles here are the same.

So are you ready?

Let’s start with the 7 principles for how you can grow your salon business.

How to Make Your Salon Business Grow?

There are 7 fundamental ways you can make your salon business grow:

  • Grow your salon clientele
  • Get your existing clients to visit your salon more frequently
  • Sell more services/products per salon visit
  • Sell more expensive services/ products during each salon visit
  • Reduce your salon operation cost
  • Add additional, non-traditional, income streams to your salon business
  • Scale up your salon business

The above may sound obvious to you. And it is. But it’s the “if” and “how” you execute against this that makes all the difference. And it’s on this that I’ll spend most time with you today. 

Again, too often we just focus on the immediate problem ahead. And that’s not a surprise. Our brains are wired to work this way.

Through the thousands of years of human evolution, we have only had to deal with the immediate joy and fear in front of us.

Like when meeting a wild animal in the woods or when face with a drastic weather change. There’s not much room to plan ahead. We simple just need to act. 

But in the world we live in today, we need to plan ahead to succeed.

In particular if you’re a business owner.

To grow your salon business, you need strike the right balance of planning and executing. You need to find the time to take a step back. See the bigger picture. Align the direction. And then execute against it. 

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It Starts With You

Remember I told you that you had already tackled the biggest salon growth challenge by clicking on this article. It’s true.

You’re a salon manager that proactively seeks to grow your business in reaches out to learn how.

To grow any business, we need to start by realizing that it’s our own actions that will drive the change. No one else. 

We need to focus our attention on the things that we can influence and avoid spending our energy on things that we anyway cannot influence. 

Successful business owners do not blame others for their failures. They look at what happened, try to learn what they could have done differently, and moves on. They don’t hang around complaining about the landlord, their staff, or the government. 

If needed, they change landlord, they coach or fire the staff that don’t deliver, and they navigate landscape defined by their government. 

The point I want you to carry with you is that YOU have the power to change. It’s what you do that will determine if your salon be successful or not. Don’t wast time and energy on circumstances you cannot influence and focus your attention on what you can and you will see success. 

Where do You Want to Take Your Salon Business?

What is success to you?

In the article, we’re talking about growing your salon business and being successful with your salon. But these words doesn’t have any meaning unless you define what success is to you.

Success is personal.

It’s important that you spend some time thinking about how you define success for your salon business. The success measure can be a $ number in a year or two from now. There’s nothing wrong with that and it is good to have a clear business target like that.

But a number is not very inspiring. It’s likely not something that’ll make you wake up feeling motivate in the morning and energized to take on the daily challenge in the salon. 

You need your goal, or success measure, to be a vivid picture of what it’ll be like when you achieve it. 

What do you feel? What does it look like in your salon? Or maybe your new salon? Who are you working with? What do they say about your salon?

Try to paint a picture in your head and feel what’s like to be there. 

This is a picture you should try to come back to regularly. Try to find a few minutes ones in a while to reflect on this picture. 

If you’re clear on your vision, you have a vivid picture of what it’ll be like when you get there, you will get there. 

It will be a driving force for you. And it works subconsciously. 

You take many many small (and big decisions) every day. Being clear on your goal will influence you, even if you do not notice at the time, to make a decision that moves you a small step closer to your goal. 

“Water takes the shape of whatever container holds it, whether it be in a glass, a vase or a river bank. Likewise, your subconscious will create and manifest according to the images you habitually project upon it through your daily thinking. This is how your destiny is created. Your life is in your hands, to make of it what you choose”.

John Kehoe, Mind Power Into the 21st Century. 

This is a very powerful force. If you want to learn more about it, I’d recommend Mind Power by John Kehoe.

Try also to combine your vivid vision with some numbers as well (sales most likely) that you should achieve by a certain time. When you combine your vision with business targets you’ll have a strong plan and goal that’ll help you drive your salon business. 

The vision I have for my blog here is to help as many salon owners as possible be successful with their business.

So if you find this post helpful and you think you know someone who also could benefit from it, you would make my day if you hit one of the social sharing icons on this page and share it with your friends 🙂

Now, let’s move on. 

Setting Your Priorities

Before we go into the different principles and activities to grow your salon business, I want to touch in priority setting.

You’re on an exciting journey. And if you haven’t already, you’ll soon realize that there are a lot of things you can do and activities you can implement to grow your salon business. 

But you will not be able to do all. At least not at once. 

So you need to prioritize. And choose what you should act on first and what you simply should ignore or postpone for later.

“The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do”

Michael Porter

To help guide you on your priority, you need to get back to you goal that you set in the previous section. What you prioritize should be what moves you closer to your goal. 

Moving to Action

You know that the power to drive positive change in your salon business is with you. You have a clear and vivid goal of what success looks like for you. We’re clear that to reach that goal, we’ll have to make priorities and choose what we do, and what we let go of.

Enough with the mind set talk, let’s move to action and go through the 7 ultimate ways to grow your salon business. This is more than just some salon business ideas. It’s the fundamental principles for how you grow your salon business. 

1. Grow Your Salon Clientele

Let’s face it.

Your salon would not be much of a business without your clients.

Having a good clientele is the most important part of any salon business. It is something all salon managers need to grow and nurture. 

Every new client you add to your clientele directly impacts the growth of your salon business. So the number of clients you treat every month should be one of your key performance indicators (KPIs) you need track.

There are several ways in which you can grow your salon clientele. You can add new clients and you can make sure you keep existing clients loyal.

KPI #1:
Number of Clients = New Clients + Loyal Clients – Lost Clients 

Number of clients is a measure you can also measure your staff on. Give them all a target on how many clients they should have. You’ll need to define that number yourself as it varies a lot depending on the type of salon (e.g. nail salon vs. hair salon) as well as the pace you want to have in your salon. In fact, the average number of clients a hair stylist have ranges somewhere from 6-20 per day. 

It’s always easier (and cheaper) to keep existing clients than it is to attract new clients.

So whatever your strategy is to build your clientele, don’t just focus on getting new clients but remember to nurture the ones you have.  

If you’re just starting out, you need to attract a critical mass fast. I have collected 9 no-nonsense ways to build salon clientele fast.

One of your most powerful tools for attracting new clients today is your website. Read my article on the best website builders you can use to create a salon website that will turn into a client generating machine here

2. Get Your Existing Clients to Visit Your Salon More Frequently

Say you have built up a decent clientele, the next thing to improve is how frequently your clients are visiting you.

Let’s say you can get your clients to visit you 10 times per year instead of 8, that’s a 20% growth to your salon business.

There are several things you can do to influence your client frequency and you should keep a close eye on how it’s improving for you.

KPI #2:
Client Frequency  = Number of Salon Visits / Number of Salon Clients

Some of the ways you can improve your client frequency are:

Always re-book clients for the next visit: This is something you can easily train your staff on. Make it a habit to always ask “When is a good time for you to visit again? I have an opening XX..” 

Leverage your salon software: Modern salon software comes with functionality that allow you to send e-mails, SMS, and other communication to your salon clients. Make sure you look at what features your current salon software has and what you can use to run campaigns to your clients to get them back in sooner. I have listed the best salon software with powerful marketing features here

Start an e-mail newsletter: This is a great way to keep in touch with your clients in between their visits. Although you don’t want your newsletter to be “salesy”, you can still include promotional messages that’ll encourage your clients to book an appointment with you. I’ll show you how to create a salon newsletter here.   

3. Sell More Services & Products Per Salon Visit

So you have a good clientele with a good visit frequency?

The next step to grow your salon business is to sell more services and products during each appointment.

Small simple changes in your routines can make a big difference to your business. If you manage to add one more product or service to each appointment can mean a 30-100% increase in sales. So let’s watch this carefully.

KPI #3
Number of Product & Services Sold Per Visit = Total Sold Items / Number of Salon Visits 

There are many things you can do to increase the number of products and services sold during each salon visit.

Offer add on services: Make sure you have a number of services on your menu that are fast to do and easy to add on during an appointment.

For example, if you have a hair salon, you can offer a deep care treatment to your client or maybe even a color glossing service. If you have a barber shop, can you offer a nose wax service?

I am sure you can think of other add on services for your salon. These are powerful ways to increase the number of services sold during each appointment.  

Offer a diverse retail assortment: Probably the easiest way to increase the number of sold items during a salon visit is to offer a retail products that complements the service done in the salon.

You’ll want to make sure you have an assortment of brand that complement each other vs. compete with each other. For example, offering 5 different care brands with similar benefits, at similar pricing, is not a very good way of increasing sell out. Instead, try to mix your portfolio of brands so that you have something that fits a variety of clients.

For a hair salon, this could mean a premium care line, a budget care line, a styling brand, a specialized brand (e.g. anti-dandruff or hair loss), and a styling tools brand.

Mixing up your assortment like this not only makes it more likely that you’ll have something that fits each client but it also increase the chances each client will leave with more than one retail product as the brands complement each other. 

Proactively sell salon retail (in a non salesy way): I often hear that salon staff aren’t comfortable with selling retail products.

“We are stylists and not sales people.”

As salon owner it’s important to turn this conversation around. In fact, clients visiting your salon see it as a good service to get recommendations for products that are right for them. They expect it.

Now, this does not mean you should be pushing products on your clients. Instead, use your expertise to create value for your clients by giving a professional and personalized take home recommendation. 

A simple habit to install with your staff is simply to alway tell your client what product you are using on them and why. Clients want to know this. It also opens a very natural conversation around your retail products which significantly increases the likelyhood they will purchase salon retail at the end of their visit.   

4. Sell More Expensive Services & Products During Each Visit

Do you have a tiered servicing pricing menu?

A good way to grow your salon business is to promote your higher priced services and products over your basic products. By doing this, you’ll increase your average product and services prices which means you’ll evan more every time you sell a product or service.

KPI #4
Average Product and Service Price ($) = Salon Income / Number of Products & Services Sold

In order for you and your staff to be able to trade customers up to a higher priced item, you need to make sure your product and service menu enables this. 

Not everyone are ready to pay for your most expensive service but many of your clients will. Even if your client do not go for your higher price service, having it will still add value to your business. Our brains work that way.

When we see a higher priced service next to the one we go for, we feel the price of it is lower. A higher priced service sets a reference point for what services costs and suddenly it looks as if your base service has a really attractive price. 

By using a combination of offering add-on services as well as trading up customers to a premium, higher priced, service, you can significantly increase the value of each customer visit. This can have a tremendous impact in your business. 

What salon owners often overlook is also price increases. All business increases their prices regularly, typically ones per year. That’s simply just how the economy works. People continuously earn more, and businesses charges more for the there products and service. 

Too often I see salon managers being hesitant to increase their service prices. A worry can be that their loyal customers will be up set as you are now charging more. 

But people understand this, it’s how the world works. And if you’re not increasing your prices, your profit margins will over time decrease. As your suppliers will increase their prices and your staff will demand higher salaries. 

Don’t go crazy with too drastic price increases but make sure you have a regular price adjustment part of your annual business plan.  

5. Reduce Your Salon Operation Cost

The first four ways to grow your salon business have been focused on driving your top line. That is, the sales you generate in your salon.

Growing your top line is the most healthy and sustainable way of growing your business. In the end it means that more people are visiting your salon and are paying more for for your products and service. 

It means you are creating real value.  

But we cannot only focus on top line. We need to also consider the bottom line. Your profit. 

In the end, it is the profit that matters to you as business owner. 

KPI #5
Salon Profit Margin (%) = (Total Income – Total Costs) / Total Income

The average salon profit margin is about 8.2% and in the U.S., the average salon makes about $19,200 in profit a year. The profit margin however typically ranges between 2% up to 17% depending on how well managed the salon is.   

All salon will be different. But this is at least a reference point you can take when looking at the profitability of your salon.

You can improve your profit margin by increasing your sales or by cutting cost. 

Even if your business is in good state and growing sales year on year, you should always review your costs regularly to make sure you’re really getting the most out of your money invested. 

If you are just in the process of starting a new salon, you can read my article on how much it costs to start a salon. In this article, I break down the common salon start up cost and salon operations expenses.

6. Add Additional, Non-Traditional, Income Streams to Your Salon Business

Imagine if your salon business were making you money even when closed?

If you could wake up in the morning to see that your salon business had already generate significant sales. 

Impossible? 

It can be done. You just need to think a bit outside the box (or salon should I say..) and be ready to put some work into it.

To grow your salon business you should look at adding additional revenue streams to your business. In other words, money making activities you currently don’t have in your business. This can be activities that can run even while you’re not there or activities that requires your presence. The point is just that they should bring a new income stream you don’t have in your business today.

The more income streams you add to your business, the more ways you have to grow and the less risk you run incase one of your income streams slows down. 

I’m not saying this is easy, that it comes without effort.

It will take effort.

As you enter into new spaces where you can generate income, you need to be prepared to learn and try out new things. This will take some time and trial and error. Let’s go through some new salon business ideas.

Are you ready for it?

How Can I Find New Income Streams?

To identify new income streams, you need to start by looking at the capabilities and strengths your have today. You then brainstorm how you could put them to use in a different way.

Let’s start by listing down the capabilities you have today. They are typically related to your reputation, your physical location, your skills, and your network. But it could be other things. 

If you run a hair salon, your capabilities could be:

  • You’ve good knowledge about how to cut, style, and color hair
  • You own a physical salon location
  • You’ve  a known name in the industry
  • You’re in a good product supplier partnership
  • You run a social media account with a high amount of followers
  • You’ve a talented team of hair stylists working for you

You can continue to build the list like this. I am sure you can think of more things. 

Now, let’s think of ways you can use those capabilities in a different way.

Leverage Your Reputation  

If you have a good name and reputation in the industry, you can work to become an ambassador for a brand in your industry or in adjacent industry. Maybe you run a barber shop and become the next ambassador for a new electric shaver launch. Brands always look for partnerships with ambassadors that have a good fit with their brand. This could be a nice additional income stream that doesn’t require too much of your time.

Similarly, if you have a good following on your social channels, you can earn an income by promoting the products your work with in your channel. Obviously, to earn bigger money here, you need to work up a larger follower base.

Leverage Your Skills

If you run a hair salon, you probably have good cut, style or color knowledge. You could turn this knowledge into an online business.

You can for example record how-to videos for YouTube and earn income on ads when people watch them. This way you can generate income even while you sleep. 

You (or your team) could also educate other hairdressers. This would be a freelancer setup you could run in partnership with some other education organization unless you are up for creating your own academy. 

Leverage Your Network

Let’s say you have a good product supplier partnership that gives you good terms on retail products. You could then open up an eCommerce store and sell these products online. It’s easy to get setup to sell online today with platforms like Weebly if you want your own store. You can check out my article on the best website builders for salons here to get started. Another option is also to sell your products on Amazon.

If you already stock retail in your salon, you can start a small scale online business where you just ship out manually from your salon. As your online business grows, you start looking at automating the logistics via a 3rd party or similar. But let’s deal with that when you get there. 

Leverage Your Physical Location

Another good way to gain an additional income is to put your physical salon space to use. Many businesses and private parties would be interested in using you location for various type of events. You could also rent it out for education purpose after hours where educational sessions with other professionals can be hosted. 

I am sure you think of different ways that you can put your physical space to work. 

Let’s be Creative!

Pour a glass of red and get the drawing board out. Jot dow all the ideas that comes to mind for new types of income streams that you can add to your salon business.

I’ve only given you a few hints and ideas here – I am sure you can think of more.

Be prepared that it’ll take work. You’ll have to learn new things. Try to follow your passion here and focus on the capabilities where you’re already strong and that joy enjoy. Your passion for your work will fuel your success. 

7. Scale Up Your Salon Business

We’ve reached the 7th and final way you can grow your salon business. Congratulation for getting this far.

As you start work on all the different salon business growth levers I have gone through here, you’ll eventually reach a point where you are starting to max out the potential you can get out of your salon.

For sure, there’s always another income stream you can add but your moving to a palace where your salon is not big enough for your business anymore.

And this is of course fine – you can keep running it here.

You’re probably making a pretty decent income at this stage so maybe it’s time to focus on other areas in your life. If that’s what’s feel right. Do that. 

Unless you start to get bored, and you want more…

Then it’s time to scale your salon business. 

There are many ways you can scale your business. Typically it’ll mean adding more salon locations to your brand. It can also mean moving a successful online business in the 3rd party supply network. What ever scaling is to you it will come with new challenges.

You’ll no longer be able to control all the details of your operations as you’ve done when you only had a single salon business. You’ll need to focus even more on recruitment, your leadership, and business management. 

Part of your business will now be in the hands of other managers and you need to be able to navigate in this new dynamic. This could be a good time for you to look at further education and training for yourself.   

Salon Business Measures (KPI)

You get what you measure.

That’s an old saying but it’s very true. You’re much more likely to get the result you want if you are clear on the measures that your holding yourself and your team accountable for. 

Define your measures and communicate them to your staff. Everyone working for you should be clear about how you’re looking at your business. 

Reward your team when you meet the measures and be tough on them when you don’t. Make them an integral part of how you communicate salon performance and you’ll also see the numbers improving. 

I have mentioned a few measures that I’d recommend you to use. Let’s recap.

The salon business measures (KPIs) are:

  1. Number of Clients
  2. Client Frequency 
  3. Number of Products & Services Sold Per Visit 
  4. Average Product & Service Price
  5. Salon Profit Margin

I recommend you track them on a monthly basis and communicate them with your team. When everyone are clear on what the business is measured on, you’ll get a natural traction from your team to deliver these numbers which ultimately will grow your salon business. 

Conclusion

I’m happy you to see you’ve stayed on all the way to the end of this article. Congratulations for investing the time to read through this, rather long, article. I hope you see why what I share in this article is more than just salon business ideas.

It’s up to you now. You have the power to make the change and start accelerating your salon business growth. 

Define the vision for business. Make it vidid. Feel it. What does it look like when you’ve taken the business to where you want to be? 

Set your priorities for the months and years a head. Move to action.

Work through the 7 ways to grow your salon business:

  • Grow your salon clientele
  • Get your existing clients to visit your salon more frequently
  • Sell more services/products per salon visit
  • Sell more expensive services/ products during each salon visit
  • Reduce your salon operation cost
  • Add additional, non-traditional, income streams to your salon business
  • Scale up your salon business

Be clear on your measures. Make sure your team is clear on your measures. 

Move to action.

It is what happens after this that makes all the difference. Don’t shut down now and leave it at this. Put a first action into place already tomorrow.

Over to you now.

What’s the first thing you’ll change tomorrow?

Let me know in the comments box below.

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