Your guide to a salon business plan
Being a successful salon owner requires a variety of skills – from customer service, to marketing, financial planning, operations. And don’t forget the salon services themselves, which involve staying up-to-date on the latest trends, plus getting to know your clients and their preferences.
Get a little help getting started with this three-step guide for developing your salon business plan. With a cohesive business plan at the start, you’ll have a strategic framework for the challenges that come with being a business owner. And your salon will be on its way to becoming a neighborhood favorite in no time.
Step 1: Brainstorm your salon goals and vision
Your salon business plan will cover everything from your goals, salon operations, and your strategy. Setting goals will help you get started and plan for the future. Start researching and gathering ideas for the following:
- What the inside of the salon will look and feel like
- Your goals for the customer service and experience
- Your goals for the employee experience
- What your business culture will be
- What space you’d like to fill in the local community
- What niches you can fill in the beauty industry
- The local market
- Your target demographic
Your business plan will help you turn your ideas into actionable strategy and goals.
Step 2: Build your salon business plan
At this stage, think of your business plan as a living document with sections you may want to revisit or update as you think through your ideas and goals more.
With your vision in mind, include these essential elements in your salon business plan:
The executive summary details your overall business idea, and can include the value you’ll offer, mission statement, services, and target clients. This section can also include background information such as who the founders are, the salon’s location, and why you decided to open a salon.
Even with those details, your executive summary should be a quick read, effectively sharing the most important information to prospective partners and collaborators. San Diego-based nail salon Kalì Zoì combines their passion for nail art with their love of plants as the nail salon doubles as a plant shop. That’s something you’d want to include in your executive summary.
This section is like an extended version of your executive summary. It provides detailed information about the key parts of your business, such as:
- The history of your salon and its goals
- What specific beauty services and products you plan to offer
- Your salon’s financial history and growth
- An extended description of your salon’s goals and objectives
Share any niches your salon plans to fill in your local area. For example, if you plan to be a hair salon business that caters to LGBTQIA+ neighbors like Austin’s Birds Barbershop, expand on that in this part of your business plan.
A market analysis demonstrates that you’ve done your research about what your competitors are offering and shares your unique advantage in your local area.
Any gaps you notice in competitors’ services are opportunities for you to fill at your salon. Make note of existing salons’ strengths and weaknesses, plus any other information you can source regarding your local target market, such as:
- Statistics on the local industry outlook
- Client demographics
- An analysis of your competitors’ products and services
- What your salon can offer that others don’t
Structure and organization
In this section, you’ll include your salon’s legal structure, whether you’ll be running your business as a sole proprietor or forming a limited liability company (LLC).
This will depend on other factors of your salon plan, like financial projections, whether you’ll be paying other employees or collaborating with other businesses. No matter what, you’ll want to research which legal situation makes the most sense for your salon, or work with a lawyer or accountant to guide you. Bonus points if they’ve worked with other local businesses in your area.
Are you planning to run the salon yourself, or will you work with partners? What will the management structure look like? How many employees will you have? These questions are key as you begin hiring, but are also a major part of planning how your business will operate.
As you plan your salon’s management structure, think about who you’ll hire, what kind of employment experience you’ll be creating, and how they can contribute to the salon’s overall success, long-term and in day-to-day operations.
Products and services
Whether your salon will maximize profit with a full retail operation, or your unique service offerings will set you apart, this is the section to share it all.
Include the products and services you’ll offer, listing your service menu and pricing, plus what percentage of your revenue these different income streams will generate.
Here, you’ll lay out how you plan to promote your services and bring in clients. This section of your salon business plan will be flexible, with your strategy evolving as your business grows and service offerings change.
To get you started, research marketing options and fill in this section with the essentials, including:
- How you’ll attract new clients
- How you’ll retain clients and build loyalty
- How you’ll become a local favorite in your community
- Where and how your beauty salon will advertise
- Any associated marketing expense and funding sources
As a salon, it’s especially important to have a plan to reach your local community. Invest time and marketing efforts on a platform that makes it easy for local clients to find you, like setting up a free Nextdoor Business Page. Once you sign up, you unlock an instant following of everyone who lives within two miles of your business’s neighborhood.
This section is where you list your salon’s financial history, projections, budget, and outlook. This data will be crucial to any potential lenders or investors.
Include financial plans for the next three to five years, and the salon’s financial history going back three to five years, if you have it. If the salon is already earning income, include statements. List any potential sources of funding and plans for how you’ll sustain your business as you get started.
Supporting documentation, resumes for existing staff, recommendation letters, and any other relevant documents that show your preparedness can be included in your appendix. These details could set you apart from other salon owners and make your salon business plan more attractive to future partners, investors, and collaborators.
Step 3: Add salon-specific business plans
The salon industry comes with its own rewards, but also with unique situations that require special strategies. Below are two salon business plan example sections you may want to consider.
According to stylist Hunter Donia of Sola Salon Studios, establishing clear guidelines and policies for customers can help your business run smoothly.
Speaking to Modern Salon about salon policies, Donia said:
"When you’re first starting out you have all these creative and exciting ideas—you’re thinking about what the wall color is going to be, what the decorations are going to be—but you forget about some of the really important fundamentals you need as a business to protect you and guarantee your success.”
As you start out, plan for surprises with salon-specific business policies, including:
- Returns (for any products)
- General salon etiquette
Including these policies in your business plan will help you prepare for turning stressful situations into exceptional customer service.
Many businesses experience ups and downs as the seasons change. How you deal with these fluctuations and slow periods can make a big difference in your salon’s long-term success. Going into each season with a plan can help you avoid unexpected financial losses.
Ronit Enos, owner of Boston-based salon Maxime and founder of Salon Cadence, notes that your business plan can be a perfect place to set out these seasonal strategies.
“If you instill just a couple things into your business plan to account for seasonal slumps and vacations, you can level out your earnings throughout the year and be more financially sound.”
Enos’ strategies include ideas to keep customers coming in during the slow seasons, such as:
- Seasonal gift cards
- Vacation plans
- Promotional offers
- Smart scheduling
Find your salon’s people and purpose with Nextdoor
One last thing to include in your salon’s business plan is a strategy to help you reach your local community where they, and your salon, are.
As a salon owner, connecting with your local community will be an integral part of getting your business off the ground. Make a free Nextdoor Business Page part of your salon business plan to source your first and forever clients, your salon’s neighbors.
Build awareness for your salon’s opening, and keep clients coming back for more with Nextdoor’s easy-to-use hyperlocal advertising tools. Engage your community and grow word-of-mouth business on your way to becoming a local go-to. With Nextdoor, your neighborhood is more than just part of your salon’s business plan. It’s part of your purpose.
U.S. Small Business Administration. Write your business plan. https://www.sba.gov/business-guide/plan-your-business/write-your-business-plan
Modern Salon. Salon Policies for Independents to Decide on Before Opening. https://www.modernsalon.com/1079250/salon-policies-for-independents-to-decide-on-before-opening
Modern Salon. How to Create Financial Security and Consistency in a Salon. https://www.modernsalon.com/616849/how-to-create-financial-security-and-consistency-in-a-salon