Running your own successful salon is both an incredibly rewarding and challenging experience.
Sure, you have the highs—you’re creating and building your own brand, working in an industry you love, and making a difference every day. But there are also the lows, too—wearing a ton of different hats, running yourself ragged, investing all of your time, money, energy, and effort int your dream, etc.
Because it’s such a double-edged sword, it’s only natural that salon owners will end up making mistakes. We repeat—it’s only natural, remember, you’re human. These mistakes are super common, but they don’t have to be the end-all, be-all of your business—if you recognize them, learn about them, and understand them, you can probably nip them in the bud before they even happen.
That being said, if you read through this list and find that you’ve made a mistake (or two, or three) on here, don’t be discouraged! There’s always room for learning, growth, and improvement—that’s why were’ here sharing it all with you!
Check out these top 10 mistakes all salon owners make (and figure out the best ways to combat them!)
Failing to Establish a Brand
When we say this, we don’t mean that you have to be that salon that only does one thing incredibly well— although, having a niche never hurts!What we mean by failing to establish a brand is not taking the time to figure out what your salon does, who you’re serving, what your message is, and what you stand for. Brand is a complicated beast because it includes both tangible and intangible factors.
Your brand is your design, aesthetic, font choice, marketing image, and more, but it’s also your values, ethics, goals, and mission statement. Basically, your brand is who you are as a company. It’s what sets you apart and makes you unique.
Failing to establish that kind of recognizable factor for yourself might cause you to disappear among the sea of competitors out there. A strong brand, makes for a strong business!
Under-Estimating and Over Paying
We’re going to come right out and make sure that we’re being very clear on this point—we are not saying that salon owners shouldn’t pay their staff well. You absolutely should—they’re the much-required talent, the creative souls, the workers who are making your salon dream happen. That being said, you shouldn’t sacrifice your business plan specifically to overpay your salon workers.
You need to work within your own budget to ensure that you’re making everything work. If you’re already running your own salon, you know how complicated it can be financially—there are a lot of working parts, tons of overhead costs, and unexpected payments you’re going to have to make all the time.
The best thing you can do is budget before you hire and be upfront and realistic about what you can pay as you search for your talent. Underestimating and over-paying doesn’t do anyone favors—sure, your stylists might get an amazing paycheck for a while, but they’re going to be out of work if you can’t provide a solid reassurance that their salaries aren’t going to put you out of business.
Never Adjusting Prices
This is a pretty common mistake that a lot of salon owners make. Pricing is fluid, especially as you grow, expand, learn, and add on new team members. The pricing that you set at the very beginning of your salon should by no means be the same pricing that you have a year, two years, or three years later.
You need to change your pricing as it demands it. And you know what?
Most clients, especially if they’re returning customers who are happy with your services, won’t mind an annual change. Make sure that you’re including new services as you raise your prices, too, so that your clients can see where these changes are being impacted.
Not Encouraging Their Employees to Have Their Own Professional Liability Insurance
You probably are able to offer your employees some degree of liability insurance, but if you’re not guiding them toward acquiring their own professional liability insurance, you’re doing them a huge disservice.
The reality of your salon’s insurance is this—it’s there to protect the salon.
While there are likely built-in safeguards to protect the salon employees, the overall goal is to keep your business up and running, right? Acquiring cosmetology insurance on their own ensures that your employees are doing everything they can to protect themselves, their careers, and their reputations.
As a good salon owner, you should always encourage them to do that. Elite Beauty Society offers individual professional liability policies for beauty professionals here.
Not Valuing on Client Retention
Listen, we get it.
There’s something so alluring about drawing in new clients—the possibility, the potential, the opportunity, it’s all so sweet. And while you absolutely should be expanding efforts toward bringing in new people, it’s vital that you’re not doing that at the expense of your already established clients.
Because your regulars are your bread-and-butter. They’re your comeback kids who love to shout about how awesome you are. They’re the ones never missing appointments, being dedicated customers, and of course, providing you with those sweet, sweet referrals. If you stop focusing on keeping them so you can focus on drawing in the newbies, you can bet you’re going to alienate some of the best customers out there.
Make sure they’re always a priority for your salon.
Pretending Like Marketing Doesn’t Exist
Word of mouth is great. Referrals are great. Regular customers are great.
But pretending like all of that is enough to make your salon as successful as you want it isn’t going to cut it—you can’t pretend like marketing doesn’t exist. It might be scary to dive into, but investing your time, energy, and maybe even some money into your marketing can progress your business incrementally.
Avoiding coming up with a marketing plan is foolish in a lot of ways—you can’t let something stop you just because you’re scared!
Letting Stress Get the Best of You
You’re embarking a super stressful gig—it’s totally OK to acknowledge that.
But remember, you’re leading a team here, they need you to be the leader. They need to look to you for that cool, calm, and collected thing. Don’t sugar coat stuff and pretend that you’ve never been stressed a day in your life—be real, but don’t let the overwhelming factors tear you apart and get you down, especially not in front of your staff.
Never Writing Out Strict Rules, Policies, and Procedures
This is a common mistake a lot of salon owners make. Taking charge and putting written policies in place can help keep your salon, your employee-employer relationships, and your customer reactions running smoothly. If you have an established, written policy for refunds, referrals, and more, you’re safeguarding yourself from dealing with complications.
Micro-Managing and Failing to Delegate
Sure, you’re the salon owner, so you’re in charge, but that doesn’t mean you need to wear every single hat available—that’s why you hire competent, talented people to help your business grow.
Don’t try to do everything, don’t stand over your employees’ shoulders micromanaging, and stop being afraid to delegate! The more time you have to focus on your business as a whole, the better! The pieces of the puzzle will come together if you’re delegating correctly.
Not Focusing on Growing & Learning
Above all, you need to remember that you’re running a business—not just a salon.
Sure, you can focus on working in the salon, making sure it’s successful, and operating normally, but if you stay stagnant in these roles, you’ll never grow. If you want to grow your business and take your salon to the next level, you need to commit to learning, continuing your education, and seeking out educational opportunities so you can consistently and steadily grow your business.