Owning your own business in today's tough economy has both ups and downs. And with new salons popping up everywhere it's becoming increasingly important for salon owners to think of new ways to generate income and draw in new clients every single day. Many of us are programmed to just do what we know how to do and keep chugging along. But I'd like to offer up this suggestion to each of you: Think outside the box. Learn a new skill.
Most of us have compartmentalized our lives. We have our work skills, our church or philanthropic skills, our family skills, skills of your staff, etc. But have you thought about the possibility of combining some of these skills to expand your business? You might just find that your business takes a turn you never expected. You might just find a whole new market niche for your business. Be willing to take a risk and be willing to make changes to your original business plan (you do have a business plan, right?).
Here's an example. My business plan included a sophisticated, adult service-oriented nail salon with the future addition of a facial room, massage room, and a hairstylist. After looking at the needs of the community I served and the skills I have in all areas of my life, I began to provide services to the younger crowds (all the way down to 4 years old). Then the little girl party business just sort of took its own direction in the salon...and the opportunity of a lifetime fell into my lap.
What does my business plan look like now? Well, the facial room, massage room, and hairstylist room is now looking more like a party pad room. And that's OK. Where did the skills from other parts of my life play into this? I have been teaching children's church for more than three years now and leading Backyard Bible Clubs in my area. I've raised four boys. I have other beauty industry skills that were put on a back burner (makeup artistry for one). When I took a look at the real needs of my clients I realized they also needed someone to help them provide not only services but entertainment for their kids' birthdays. So offering the princess parties provides an opportunity to fill this need in the community for a party venue, to talk to these girls and teach these girls how to apply makeup, how to be a "princess" in real life, how to take care of their nails, etc. By thinking outside the box I've managed to double my business before I even made it to my one year mark. This change did take a lot of effort, time, research, and it took a financial investment. However, this does not mean that my business will remain this way forever. I will be reevaluating the goals and direction of my business on a regular basis because people change, times change, economy changes, and the needs of any community changes continually.
Will this plan work for everyone? No! Working with kids is not for everyone. You have to really have a love for children and want to spend time with them (believe me, they are perceptive and know when someone is pretending to like them). Each salon owner needs to assess his/her own space and talents/skills and the needs of their market area to determine what will work for them. Perhaps you have a background in the medical field and can hone in on your sanitation practices, provide some community education, reach out to the medical staff in your area for manis and pedis. Maybe you just need to take a look at your marketing and advertising techniques and adjust them. Or maybe it's something as simple as a redecorate/remodel to give your salon a fresh new look to attract fresh new clients. Whatever "out of the box" means to you, don't be afraid to investigate your options and take a turn in your business you didn't expect to take. You just might find your business taking off on a whole new level.
— Melodie, Tickled Pink Salon & Nail Spa, Clayton, N.C.