Despite the doom and gloom surrounding the state of the UK high street, the country’s beauty industry keeps going from strength to strength. The latest statistics show that British consumers spent over £25bn on beauty products in 2017. Now, the industry is forecasted to be worth £26.7bn by 2022, with annual spending per head rising from £73 to a whopping £487. Its immense popularity also makes it a common avenue for entrepreneurs to explore, with barbershops, beauty salons, and nail bars all in the top ten most popular startup ventures.
However, the UK’s 5000+ beauty businesses make it a highly competitive sector, alongside other hurdles like high investment costs and heavy regulation. If you’re looking to start a business yourself, follow these tips to navigate the challenges and give yourself the best chance of success.
1. Find your niche
In an extremely saturated marketplace, it’s imperative that you find your niche as a beauty salon. You are unlikely to succeed by marketing your company to absolutely everyone, so should specialise in a key treatment. This will help you stand out from the crowd and become a leading figure in what you do.
First off, you’ll need to decide exactly what you’re going to offer. Do you want to specialise in hairdressing, waxing, or manicuring, for instance? Of course, this depends on various factors, including your own specialities and what is most likely to be most popular with your clients.
It is extremely important to think about existing customer challenges and what you can do to solve them, as this will encourage people to use your business. Take Drybar, for example, a pioneering salon chain which simply offers affordable blow drying and styling services. By focusing on one thing, and one thing only, the company caters to a particular market of consumers who just want these treatments when they go to a salon.
Once you’ve decided what you want to provide, you should look at factors like customer demographics, product quality, and pricing. Are you going to market your beauty salon towards men, women, or both? A younger or older audience? And are you looking towards upmarket or low-end consumers? These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself to hone your brand and business model.
2. Be savvy with your online marketing
Your business will also need a clever marketing strategy to tackle the competition and become a leader in your speciality. Savvy marketing will help you showcase your talents and expand your reach, and the best way to go about this is to create a strong online presence. Setting up a website enables you to list services and prices while allowing you to manage bookings and enquiries. You can even include a beauty blog to help attract visitors to your site and emphasise your expertise.
The next stage is getting your social media strategy in order. Sites like Facebook help you gain traction through targeted advertising and users sharing your content. Meanwhile, image-oriented platforms like Instagram and Pinterest means you can post pictures of your work, showcasing the quality to your current and new audiences. By using relevant hashtags and encouraging others to share your posts, you can reel in new customers and expand your business’s presence.
You should also email marketing information, such as newsletters and offers, to your mailing list to try and increase retention rates. However, it’s important that your beauty salon complies with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation). You can only use customer data for purposes they have consented to, so you can’t send them marketing emails without express permission to use their data in this way. Make sure they consent first and if they don’t, remove them from your list. It is also a good idea to give the option to opt out of marketing campaigns, in case any subscribers change their mind.
3. Recruit the right team
The best beauty salons offer excellent customer service, so friendly and outgoing staff members are essential. By providing a personal touch, customers may feel more comfortable and be more inclined to return. Therefore, keep your ideal type of employee in mind when interviewing candidates, and use this to guide your impressions of them. However, remember that just because you may warm to somebody, it doesn’t automatically make them suited to the job.
The standard of your services is the most important way to retain customers, however. As such, you should only hire individuals with qualifications from a recognised body. Bear in mind that newly-qualified candidates will probably require further training, which takes time and effort. It’s also well worth investing in at least one experienced employee who can pass their insight on to their colleagues.