A salon manager stands over her salon, monitoring the day-to-day activities to make the place run smoothly.

Tips for First-Time Salon Managers
What Every  Manager Should Know From the Start 

So, you want to manage a salon, huh?

Whether this has been your dream forever or you’re just now discovering how beneficial and exciting running a salon can be, we want to be the first to welcome you to a whole new world of the beauty industry.  

Listen, you don’t’ need to have a business background to run a salon–in fact, a lot of salon owners are stylists first, and there are a lot of advantages to that.

With that in mind, though, there might be some *stuff* you’ll need to learn about salon management and ownership that cosmetology school didn’t teach you.

We’re not here to tell you this is the comprehensive list of all the things you need to know to run your business.

We definitely don’t have all the answers, and it’s going to be a long–and exciting–road for you. But we can offer some starter advice to get this thing going for you.

So, listen up and get to readin’–because we’ve got some solid starter advice for you.

What is Salon Management, Exactly?

Whether you’re the salon owner lookin’ to manage everything or you’re specifically seeking out a salon management gig for a salon that isn’t yours, you’re going to have your work cut out for you.

 Should this deter you? No way–odds are, you’ll be a fabulous salon manager.

If you’re nervous about the gig, let’s start with the basics and give you the 411 on what this job is all about in the first place.

As the salon manager, you’re going to be in charge of keeping the place running. That means all day-to-day operations are your responsibility, generating customers is on you, and keeping the salon’s profit ticking upward falls on your shoulders. If it sounds like a lot, well, it is–but that doesn’t mean it can’t be incredibly rewarding and a whole lot of fun.

Ideally, your focus should be zeroed in on tasks like:

  • perfecting your salon’s specific business model
  • optimizing marketing strategy
  • strategizing inventory and vendor management
  • keying into streamlined delivery of services
  • keeping staff motivated

You’re not just running a salon and keeping profits up; you’re motivating the team that does the work, keeping customers happy, and ensuring that from the moment someone steps into your salon, their experience is 100% the best they’ve ever experienced.  

A salon sits perfectly organized and managed, thanks to a top-notch salon manager.

The Top Tips for Managing a Salon: What Every First-Time Salon Manager Should Know

Here’s the thing–no salon is the same as another. That means the challenges you face won’t be the same challenges other salons, spas, or shops face.

Does that mean general advice won’t help you? No way.

While every spot is unique, there’s plenty of overlap you can count on happening as a salon manager. This article is going to dive into a few of the best tips we can offer you as a first-time salon manager.

*Spoiler Alert* 

These won’t be the all-encompassing tips you wish existed (they don’t, surprise), but these will be good guidelines to get you started. We believe in you!

Start with a Clear Vision

From the moment you take on your first role as a salon manager, you should start thinking about your vision. And, no, we don’t mean you need to try to predict the future and follow a strict plan you can’t deviate from. We mean you should take the time to identify your (and the salon’s) short and long-term goals.  

Ask yourself questions like this:

  • What’s our ideal goal for our client base?
  • Who is our ideal target market? How will we reach them?
  • Will the salon expand this year? Cutting costs? Maintaining success?
  • Will you focus on hiring new talent or fostering current talent? Both?
  • How will you get your team on board with your vision?

That’s not to say that things can’t change–things will change, and you’ll need to learn to be flexible.

But your vision shouldn’t falter, no matter what obstacles are thrown your way. Being resourceful with what you’re given is a big part of being a killer salon manager.

Focus On Communication

We’re not going to pretend that communication is going to somehow eliminate all the issues you’ll deal with as a salon manager–but it definitely helps diminish a lot of them.

Communication is huge, especially when it comes from the top.

Your team needs to know what’s going on at all times, what the goals and values of the salon are, and what they’re expected to do to meet those goals.

Where does all of that come from? You.

How can you do that? Focus on how you communicate.

Run staff meetings, check-in regularly with every staff member and have an open-door policy so staff can come in and out at their discretion when they need to communicate something.

Most importantly, engage the team on everything. Make sure they’re aware of changes ahead of time, they know what to expect always, and they feel included as part of the decision-making committee.

Foster Relationship but Know Where the Lines Are

We’re not advocating for you to keep your staff at arm’s length–quite the opposite!

It’s an excellent move to get close to your team, so you know the best ways to encourage them, work with them, and motivate them.

But remember, you’re the boss–that means you need to know where to draw the lines and be the boss (even if that means taking your friend's cap off for a moment).

Ultimately, your relationships need to empower the organization, not hinder it. Make sure you’re close to your staff without being so close you can’t make big boss decisions.

Be a Shining Example

Good salon managers don’t just tell people how to be their best; they show people how to be their best.

Being a good leader means providing a solid example of what a model employee, visionary, and goal-oriented person look like.

Be that for your staff–don’t just tell them how to be that.

Make Team Building a Key Part of Your Strategy

Let us let you in on a secret–you can’t just expect your team to be a force of nature.

You have to foster that! As a salon manager, it’s on you to make sure your team is bonded and running smoothly. That means you’ll need to focus on helping them get there.

Be a resource for your team, work on bonding with them, and organize ways for them to become a united force. Drive your team and challenge them to work as a unit–that’s where the real success lies.

Love our advice? We thought you might.

And remember–that’s just the start! There’s a lot to learn when it comes to being a first-time salon manager, but we’ve got a whole lot of faith in you.

Have some insight of your own? Drop it in the comments–we’re all about sharing all the good advice with the entire community.

Don’t forget; we’re here with solid guidance like this every week (sometimes multiple times a week). Make sure you never miss a beat, and subscribe to Elite Beauty Society right here, right now! And while you’re there, take a peek at what kind of sweet deals we’re offering for professional liability insurance, too.