For most nail techs, writing a business plan sounds like a horrible way to spend your time. Of course, you would much rather spend your day doing nails or learning about doing nails. I know this, but it is a crucial aspect of your nail business. A business plan tells you what to do and when to do it. That way, you can keep your main focus on doing nails while still growing your business at the same time.
At my salon I encourage my new techs to take the time to write their business plan. It doesn’t have to sound like you graduated from Harvard. It just has to make sense to you. The goal is to create practical strategies for building your nail business and clientele. The extent to which you can implement these strategies determines how much your business will expand. But the key is to have a plan before you start.
So let’s get started…
Do the Math
First you need to have a goal, then you need to do the math to see if this goal is achievable. Let’s say you want your nail business to achieve an annual revenue of 50K a year. Here is the math to make that happen:
$50,000 ÷ 12 months = $4,166 a month that you need to earn.
$4,166 ÷ 22 working days a month = $189 a day that you need to earn.
$189 ÷ $35 (the minimum you should be charging for a fill) = 5.4 clients a day.
That means you need to see approximately six clients a day who spend at least $35 with you. That’s three clients before lunch and three after. That’s 66 clients who come every two weeks because you’ve been educating them on the importance of regular manicures. Right?
Totally doable! And if you want to take this even further to increase your annual revenue, you can do a few things:
• Work longer days so you can see more clients.
• Work on your speed so you can see more clients without having to work longer days.
• Raise your prices — just make sure you are worth these prices.
Every business plan must include how you are going to grow your business and you can’t grow your business without clients.
Speaker and sales trainer Grant Cardone says, “money follows attention.” So in order to get more clients you need to get a lot of attention. Attention can come from many places, but ultimately we want all attention to lead to a call and then to a booking. So how do we get this attention? Every business plan must include plans for social media, events, and influencers.
On the web. Social media marketing guru Gary Vaynerchuk says you must be on at least 10 websites or you don’t exist on the internet. I know that sounds super time-consuming, but it isn’t really. Yes, you need to be everywhere, but you only need to focus on one or two platforms. That way, if someone is on a platform, even if you’re not very engaged on that platform, at least they can still find you and reach out. But the majority of your social media attention will come from the one or two platforms you decide to engage on the most. The most popular one for nail techs, of course, is Instagram.
Select 10 social media sites and create a presence there, but focus on and master only one or two of these.
Events. Online and offline play off each other. You must utilize both to get the maximum return from your marketing efforts. Events are great places to meet people who need your services. Never go to any event or social gathering without looking at it as a chance to get clients. Always carry business cards and make sure your nails are on point with an attention-grabbing design. Make it a goal to attend at least one event a month. Or even better, one a week. Here are some examples:
• Tradeshows — Get a booth or walk around and talk with attendees and exhibitors.
• Private parties and clubs — Give out cards to anyone who compliments your nails.
• Networking events — Attend networking events of all kinds.
• Meet up groups — Try meetup.com.
• Seminars — Business seminars are great places to meet professionals who may need your services and at the same time learn business skills.
•Pop-up shops — Work with local businesses to arrange a pop-up shop inside their business.
• Charity events — Participate in charity events by donating services or time as a way to meet potential clients.
• Your own salon events — Participate in or create salon events.
Influencers. The average time it takes to build a solid clientele is about two years, but if you want to condense that time work with influencers. Make sure when reaching out to influencers that your brands align. I’ve reached out to influencers with 200,000 followers and got way more new followers out of it because our brands were of like mind but not in direct competition, than I did when reaching out to influencers with millions of followers whose brand wasn’t a good fit.
There are a couple of ways to work with influencers. One is the traditional way, if they are local. (Or if you’re really ambitious, you could go to their location). Offer them a free service if they will post about it on their social media. Or you can do a set of nails inspired by them and/or their brand. When you post it make sure to tag them. Not only will this likely get their attention and hopefully turn into a repost, but you will also get the attention of anyone searching for any posts with their tag.
Influencers include bloggers, celebrities, traditional media, and anyone with a significant following. Reach out to all of them.
Step Up Your Marketing Efforts
To continue to expand your reach and bring in new clients, you need to identify your brand — the image you want to project — and bring your message to the community.
1. Find your unique marketing voice. This is the tone of your brand and how you will choose the look of your marketing materials, which influencers you will reach out to, and how you will speak to your target market. Keep it genuine and true to your personality.
As an example, the voice for my salon, The Nail Coven, is a pastel goth, magical tone with lots of cutie elements. If you prefer to market to those looking for the health and relaxation benefits of your services, go with a spa tone of voice.
2. Get your business cards and service menus printed. Keep your unique marketing voice in mind when designing these. Vistaprint.com is the least expensive way to go. You can upload a custom design or choose one of thousands of pre-made ones. You can Google a promo code for Vista Print before purchasing.
3. Start to create content for your social media. This can be a lot of different things — from pictures of your work to nail health education videos to branding imagery. Make sure you’re using your unique marketing voice.
4. Create a social media posting schedule. Choose a time to post the content you’ve created daily and stick with it. It may take a few weeks to start seeing results, but commit to at least once a day. Here is my personal posting schedule:
•Instagram: every 3 to 4 hours
•YouTube: 3 times a week
•Facebook: 2 to 3 times a week
•All other platforms: 2 to 3 times a week
5. Start reaching out to influencers.
6. Reach out to your “Power Base.” These are people you already know or do business with. Your friends, family, dry cleaner, accountant, etc. Let them know you’ve started your nail business and would love for them to come in and see it.
7. Create a referral program. As you start to get clients, including your Power Base, give them incentives to tell people about your business. They are already walking advertisements for you, so take it one step further. Ask them to carry a couple of your cards on them. Write their name on the back and have them give one to anyone who compliments their nails. When you get three bookings from their referrals, give them their next service free.
8. Sign up for some networking events.
9. Go to any social events you can. Keep your cards handy and be ready to slide your business into the conversation.
10. Participate in salon events.
Now that your business is set up and you have your marketing plans in place, you need to translate this into a daily routine. Make sure you are doing these things every day. What we achieve tomorrow is dependent on the small, menial tasks we do today.
Business Basics: The Setup
As soon as you have signed your rental agreement, do the following in this order to set up your booth rent business:
1. Get your domain name — Go to GoDaddy.com or another domain registrar and buy your domain name. Or if you plan to use Wix to host your site, you can buy it from them directly.
2. Apply for your business license — In most cities you can get it online by going to the city’s website or going into City Hall. Be sure to choose the Sole Proprietorship option when filling out the application. Pay the fee, usually around $50. I prefer to use my home address as my mailing address just so I don’t miss any important correspondence. The business address is the salon address.
3. Get your merchant account — Many booth renters use a Square reader. Go to Square.com and set up an account to accept credit cards. It’s free to set up and you can start taking cards the same day. Square takes 2.75% per transaction. You will need to link it to a checking account. Deposits are made the next business day for transactions before 5 p.m.
4. Get your website — You can go to wix.com to set up a free website. Include your service menu and price list, contact info, links to social media, and any press. Point your domain to your Wix site. You can do this in your GoDaddy profile or you can purchase your domain through Wix directly. You can also make your own website with GoDaddy; it runs about 11.99 a month for a basic site.
5. Get Insured — I know a lot of people don’t or hold off on doing this, but for your own protection do it before you start working. It’s not that expensive and will give you peace of mind. Call your insurance agent to get started.
I hope now you understand how a business plan can be used as a practical tool to help you in growing your nail business. By following these suggestions, it really shouldn’t take you more than a day to write your plan.
Leia Gadow is the owner of The Nail Coven in San Diego. You can find her on Instagram (@thenailcovensd) on YouTube (The Nail Coven) or email her at thenailcoven[at]gmail.com.