The top 20 mistakes made when opening a new salon

Avoid these 20 common mistakes when opening a new salon! Learn how to increase your chances of success and avoid the pitfalls that many salon entrepreneurs fall into.

Have you ever envisioned yourself at the helm of a thriving salon, surrounded by talented professionals, creating magic with their hands while the chatters and giggles of satisfied clients resonate through the room? It's a dream that many share in the glamorous world of beauty and wellness—a realm where creative flair is seamlessly woven with the spirit of entrepreneurship.

Yet, just as in any entrepreneurial endeavor, the journey of opening a salon is strewn with challenges, some of which are unique to this industry. From choosing the perfect location to ensuring the highest service quality, every decision counts. The complexities can sometimes be overwhelming, and without proper guidance, the vision can quickly blur.

But fear not! Whether you're a seasoned stylist taking the leap into ownership or a budding entrepreneur fascinated by the world of beauty, we're here to assist. By highlighting the most common pitfalls and how to sidestep them, this article serves as your compass, guiding you away from potential missteps and towards the realization of your dream salon. Dive in, and embark on your journey with confidence and clarity!

1. Skipping the Business Plan

Now, you might be asking yourself, "A salon is all about style, technique, and atmosphere, right? So why the fuss about a business plan? I'm not trying to establish the next multinational beauty empire." Well, dear reader, even if you're not aiming for global domination, a business plan is your salon's secret weapon.

Why is it important? Think of your business plan as the GPS of your entrepreneurial journey. Just as you wouldn’t set out on a cross-country trip without a map (or at least a navigation app), you shouldn’t launch your salon blindfolded. This document doesn't just itemize mundane details; it crystallizes your vision, providing direction and clarity. It will help you define your business's purpose, identify your ideal clientele, scope out the competition, set fair yet profitable prices, devise a killer marketing strategy, and predict your finances.

The pitfalls of neglect: Skipping out on the business plan is a bit like trying to assemble a complex piece of furniture without the instructions. Sure, you may have all the pieces, but without guidelines, it's all too easy to end up with a wobbly mess (and a few leftover screws). Without a plan, your salon may lack direction, operate inefficiently, or even run into unforeseen financial challenges. And let's be honest, you'd rather be known for your salon's sleek hairstyles, not its shaky foundations.

Sidestepping the blunder: Allocate quality time to craft a thorough business plan before even thinking of cutting that inaugural ribbon. And this isn't a "set it and forget it" deal. As your salon blooms and evolves, regularly dust off that plan and tweak it. A salon's success isn't just about the latest hair trends; it's about evolving with purpose and direction.

And remember, while your salon might not be a "corporate conglomerate," there's nothing wrong with a dash of corporate savvy to make those tresses profitable! Learn more with our article on creating a salon business plan.

2. Neglecting the Financials

Let's be honest, when you envisioned opening a salon, you likely pictured the sleek interiors, delighted clients, and the swish of stylish hair, not the endless columns of numbers and spreadsheets. But here's the twist - that latter vision? It's the unsung hero behind the success of the former.

Why is it important? Just as good hair needs strong roots, a successful salon requires a sturdy financial foundation. Understanding your financials is like having the right tools in a stylist’s toolkit. With them, you can sculpt masterpieces; without them, even the simplest tasks become monumental challenges. Knowing your financials not only ensures your salon remains viable but also enables you to make informed decisions, from expanding services to hiring more staff.

The pitfalls of neglect: Imagine trying to dye hair without knowing the right mixture ratios – chaotic, right? Overlooking the financial aspects of your salon is similar. You could find yourself in scenarios where you're bleeding money without knowing where it's going, or worse, unable to pay suppliers or staff. In the unforgiving realm of business, "hope" is not a financial strategy, and "surprises" aren't usually welcome.

Sidestepping the blunder: Roll up those sleeves and dive into the numbers. Start with a clear-cut budget. How much does it cost to set up? What are your monthly expenses? When can you expect a profit? And because life (and business) loves to throw curveballs, set up a contingency fund. Trust us, future-you will thank present-you for that foresight. Periodically review and adjust your financial plan, especially in the salon's early days. And if numbers really aren’t your strength, don't hesitate to get a financial advisor on board.

And remember, while you might prefer the scent of hair products over the aroma of fresh spreadsheets, a healthy balance sheet can make your salon the "mane" attraction in town!

3. Underestimating the Importance of Location

3d smartphone device with map and gps technology

If a salon opens in the woods and no one's around to get a haircut, does it make a profit? While that might be a modern twist on an age-old question, it underscores the undeniable importance of choosing the right salon location.

Why is it important? A salon's location doesn't just determine its physical presence but also its branding, clientele, and profitability. Being in the right spot can significantly boost your salon's exposure and accessibility to potential clients. An optimal location can transform a passerby into a patron, a one-time visitor into a loyal customer.

The pitfalls of neglect: Choosing a less than ideal location might save you a few bucks on rent initially, but it could cost you much more in the long run. Low visibility can mean reduced foot traffic, which translates to fewer clients walking through your door. Additionally, if your salon is challenging to get to, even some of your most loyal patrons might think twice before making the trip. You might have the best services in town, but if clients can't find you (literally), business will inevitably suffer.

Sidestepping the blunder: Before setting your heart on a location, conduct thorough research. Visit during different times of the day to gauge foot traffic, assess the convenience of parking, and take note of other businesses around. Are they complementary to a salon? Think cafes, boutiques, or fitness centers that cater to similar clientele. While a prime location might be pricier, a smaller space in a bustling area could bring in more business than a sprawling space in a quiet zone. And if you’re relying on an existing clientele, conduct a simple survey to gauge their willingness to commute to your new spot.

And just a word of advice: while remote tropical islands sound like the dream getaway, they might not be the best spot for a bustling salon – unless, of course, it's frequented by mermaids seeking hair rejuvenation after all that salty water!

4. Ignoring the Competition

Believe it or not, your competitors can be a valuable resource. By researching other salons in your area, you can learn about popular services, pricing strategies, and even potential gaps in the market. But remember, don't fall into the trap of comparing your beginning to someone else's middle. Use your competitors for insights and inspiration, not as a benchmark for success.

Why is it important? Understanding the competition goes beyond mere snooping—it's strategic reconnaissance. It offers you a snapshot of the current market scenario: what's working, what's not, and where there might be an untapped niche. Think of it as standing on the shoulders of giants, or in this case, the salon down the block. By observing their strategies, you can glean insights on market demands, new trends, and customer preferences.

The pitfalls of neglect: If you're too engrossed in your own world, you risk missing out on industry shifts. Overlooking competitors might lead you to set unrealistic prices, offer outdated services, or completely miss a new trend that everyone's raving about. Can you imagine still offering mullets when everyone else has moved onto the next big thing? Not quite the impression you want to make.

Sidestepping the blunder: Set aside regular intervals—be it monthly or quarterly—to check on your competitors. This doesn't mean undercover espionage in a trench coat and sunglasses, but rather, visiting as a customer or simply observing from a distance. Engage in online research, read reviews, and even attend industry events or workshops. By being proactive in understanding your competitors, you can anticipate market movements, adjust your strategies, and ensure your salon remains at the cutting edge—pun absolutely intended.

5. Overlooking Marketing and Branding

Opening a salon isn't like starring in a field of dreams; you can't just hope that if you build it, they will come. In the age of digital everything, relying solely on word of mouth or the allure of a new "Open" sign might leave your salon chairs as empty as a ghost town on a Monday morning.

Why is it important? Branding isn't just about a snazzy logo or a catchy slogan—though those help. It's about creating an identity, a promise of what clients can expect when they walk through your doors. Your brand tells a story of who you are, what you value, and how you differ from the salon three blocks down. Marketing, on the other hand, is about getting that story in front of potential clients and convincing them to book an appointment.

The pitfalls of neglect: Fail to define and market your brand effectively, and you run the risk of blending into the background noise. Without clear branding, clients might confuse your salon with another, or worse, have no impression of you at all. As for inadequate marketing? Let's just say your salon might become the best-kept secret in town—a title you definitely don't want.

Sidestepping the blunder: First, carve out your unique selling proposition (USP). Whether it's a specialty service, eco-friendly products, or an unmatched customer experience, highlight it. Next, create a consistent brand image, from your website to your business cards. Then, venture into the world of marketing. Utilize social media platforms, collaborate with local influencers, or host community events. And remember, while the digital world is vast, don't underestimate the power of traditional marketing methods. A well-placed flyer or a magnetic business card can do wonders. Just be sure you're not stuck in the era of dial-up internet and floppy disks with your strategies.

6. Neglecting the Client Experience

Walking into a salon should be more magical than stepping into a fairytale, and far less hairy than a visit to a werewolf's den. It's all about the vibe, ambiance, and the 'feel-good' factor. Your clients aren’t just coming in for a trim or a polish; they're seeking an escape, a brief respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

Why is it important? The client experience begins the moment someone spots your salon's advertisement, hears of it from a friend, or simply walks by. It encompasses the ease of booking an appointment, the greeting they receive upon entering, the comfort of the seating area, the quality of the service, and even the goodbye. Excellence in service might get a client through the door, but it's the overall experience that makes them choose your salon chair over the dozens of others available.

The pitfalls of neglect: If clients find themselves feeling more like a number on a conveyor belt than a valued individual, they'll start looking elsewhere. A tepid welcome, lackluster ambiance, or a rushed service can sour the entire experience. It's like serving a gourmet meal on a dirty plate; the main attraction might be spot on, but the surrounding issues are too glaring to ignore.

Sidestepping the blunder: Elevate every touchpoint. Train your staff to provide personalized services. Invest in ambiance: ambient lighting, soothing music, plush furniture, and maybe even a delightful scent wafting through the air can transform the entire atmosphere. Consider implementing a feedback system; let your clients tell you where you shine and where you might be a tad...balding. And always remember, it's often the little details—a complimentary beverage, a friendly chat, a follow-up thank-you note—that keep clients coming back, making them feel like the royalty they are, without the pesky dragons.

7. Forgetting About Retail

While your salon's primary service may be crafting gorgeous hairstyles or delivering the perfect pedicure, your shelves could be the silent stars stealing the show. You see, in between the snips and polishes, there's an opportunity for customers to linger their gaze upon a well-stocked retail section. It's like offering a candy store for beauty enthusiasts. Who wouldn't want to take home a piece of the magic?

Why is it important? Retail acts as a bridge between salon visits. When a client uses a product you've recommended and stocked, they're reminded of the quality of your services every time they use it. This not only generates extra revenue for the salon but strengthens the bond of trust. If they love the product, guess where they're coming for more?

The pitfalls of neglect: Think of ignoring retail as leaving money on the table, or better yet, not offering a dessert menu at a restaurant. The primary service might fill them up, but there's always room for a sweet treat! Not providing a retail option can mean missing out on the 'cherry on top' of your business's potential revenue. Furthermore, without these products, clients might turn elsewhere to maintain their look between visits, which could jeopardize their loyalty.

Sidestepping the blunder: Your retail corner should be a visual treat. Neatly organized, well-lit, and stocked with high-quality products that align with your salon's ethos. Invest in training sessions for your team. Let them understand the benefits of each product, so they can recommend them with genuine enthusiasm. Also, consider loyalty programs or special deals that encourage clients to try out the retail products. And remember, it's not about pushing a sale; it's about offering an extension of care. After all, who doesn't love a goodie bag after a party?

Also - Noona’s “previously purchased” feature in our POS is a great way to make upselling even easier. Learn more by CLICKING HERE.

8. Hiring in Haste

If the salon was a body, the team would be its beating heart. And you wouldn’t want an inconsistent heartbeat, would you? In the rush and excitement of opening a salon, it can be tempting to speed through the hiring process just to have a team in place by opening day. However, a hurried hire might just lead to hurried regrets. An incompatible team member can disrupt the vibe, lower service standards, and may even lead to a merry-go-round of hiring and firing. Ultimately, the reputation of your salon is only as good as the people who represent it. You wouldn't rush into choosing a life partner, so why would you rush into choosing your salon family?

The Importance: A cohesive, skilled, and dedicated team is essential to your salon's operations, ambiance, and reputation. Each staff member not only brings their technical skills but also their personality, professionalism, and passion. The right team enhances client experience, encourages repeat business, and boosts referrals.

Potential Pitfalls: Hire in haste, repent at leisure. An ill-fitted team can lead to client complaints, conflicts within the staff, increased turnover, and even financial loss. Think of that one time you tried a hairstyle you saw online; looked fabulous on the model, but didn’t quite suit you? That's exactly how a hasty hiring decision can turn out.

Charting a Smooth Course: Begin with a clear outline of the roles you're hiring for and the qualities you seek. Cast a wide net but be selective. Host multiple interview rounds, including technical assessments and culture fit evaluations. Perhaps even organize a ‘day in the life’ at the salon for potential candidates, where they can shadow a senior stylist or technician. It gives you a chance to see them in action, and more importantly, gives them a chance to shine... or show their true colors.

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a great team. So, take your time and hire wisely. After all, you’re not just looking for employees; you're curating the ensemble cast of your salon's success story. Check out our salon hiring guide for more information!

9. Inadequate Training

Picture this: You've just bought a high-end blender that promises to whip up the smoothest smoothies. You plug it in, throw in your ingredients, and hit the power button only to be met with a chunky, inconsistent mess. Disappointing, right? Similarly, even if you hire the crème de la crème of stylists, without proper training in your salon's practices and values, you might just end up with a "chunky smoothie" of a situation.

The Importance: Training isn’t just about teaching a new hire how to use the scissors or apply a facial mask. It’s about assimilating them into the very fabric of your salon’s culture. A stylist may have impressive credentials, but each salon has its unique procedures, standards, and expectations. Training ensures that all team members, regardless of their prior experience, are on the same page and are delivering the consistent, high-quality experience that your salon promises.

Potential Pitfalls: Inadequate training can lead to inconsistent service quality, mistakes, and even potential damages. This inconsistency can be jarring for customers who expect a certain level of service every time they visit. It’s a bit like going to your favorite restaurant and finding out the recipe for your favorite dish has suddenly changed without warning – unsettling and disappointing. Moreover, without proper guidance, even the best of employees can feel lost, leading to decreased morale and increased turnover.

Charting a Smooth Course: Onboarding should be more than just a brief orientation. Consider creating a salon handbook or guide that covers everything from the vision and mission to the nitty-gritty of daily tasks. Organize regular workshops, product knowledge sessions, and customer service seminars. Remember, learning is an ongoing process. Just as fashion and beauty trends evolve, so should your training modules. Encourage a culture of feedback, where your team can share their insights and areas they feel need more training.

In the end, the old saying holds true: Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime. Or in salon terms, give a stylist a brush, and they'll style for a day; teach them your salon’s ethos, and they'll excel every single day.

10. Not Seeking Professional Help

It's been said that Superman is the only one who can do it all, and even he has a weakness for Kryptonite. Similarly, as a salon owner, while you might have a flair for creating the perfect bob or the most exquisite French manicure, you can't be expected to master every facet of running a business. Taking on too many hats – stylist, accountant, marketer, legal advisor, HR manager, and the list goes on – is not only exhausting but might lead to the metaphorical hat dropping. And we all know, in the salon business, a dropped hat can sometimes mean a bad hair day for the business.

The Crux of It: Expertise is invaluable. By focusing on what you excel at and allowing professionals to handle other aspects, you’re not just ensuring that tasks are executed efficiently, but you're also maintaining the quality and reputation of your salon. After all, each role requires a unique skill set, and if there's one thing we've learned, it's that split ends belong on hair, not in business operations.

When Ignored: The costs of DIY can sometimes be higher than hiring a professional. Picture this: You decide to handle your salon's taxes to save on an accountant’s fee. A minor oversight, an unfamiliarity with certain deductions, and suddenly you're facing penalties that far exceed what you might have paid a professional. Similarly, DIY marketing might not achieve the desired traction, leading to lost revenue opportunities. Plus, the additional stress and time you spend on these tasks? Let's just say, no amount of spa treatment can truly compensate for that.

Avoiding the Trap: Start by evaluating your strengths and weaknesses. Recognize that seeking help isn't a sign of incapability but rather a smart business decision. Allocate a budget for professional services that cater to areas you're not well-versed in. Consider periodic consultations, even in areas you’re comfortable with, to stay updated. Attend networking events, and don’t shy away from asking fellow salon owners for referrals.

In conclusion, think of professional help as that special conditioner that gives the hair an extra shine. You might not use it daily, but when you do, oh boy, the results are dazzling!

11. Over-expanding Too Soon

Imagine savoring a scrumptious slice of cake. You reach for a second, then a third, and before you know it, the entire cake's gone, and you're left with a sugar crash. Over-expanding your salon too quickly is a bit like overindulging in that cake: it's tempting, seems sweet in the moment, but can lead to undesirable outcomes.

Why it's a blunder: At the heart of every entrepreneur lies a burning ambition to grow and conquer. It's what drives you to be better every day. However, when this ambition turns into impatience, over-expansion becomes a looming threat. Diving headfirst into a bigger space or opening another branch without ample preparation can strain your resources, both financial and human. This not only puts immense pressure on your finances but can also stretch your team thin, diluting the quality of service and, by extension, your brand reputation.

When Ignored: Renting a larger space or launching a new outlet might seem like the ultimate growth symbol. Still, the excitement can quickly fizzle out when overhead costs spiral, the workforce is stretched too thin, and service standards dip. Over-expanding without a clear strategy might leave you with vacant chairs, higher bills, and a dilution of the core values that made your salon a hit in the first place. And let's be honest, no amount of hairspray can hold together a business model that's fraying at the edges.

Dodging the bullet:

  1. Data is Your Compass: Before even thinking of expansion, dive deep into your numbers. Look at your client retention rates, revenue streams, and overhead costs. Understand demand and ascertain whether expansion is a genuine need or just an exciting want.

  2. Test the Waters: If you're eyeing a second branch, perhaps start with a pop-up salon in the desired location. This can give you insights into the potential clientele and the area's demand without a long-term commitment.

  3. Human Touch: As you grow, ensure you're hiring not just to fill seats but to uphold your salon's reputation and values. Remember, a bigger team means more personalities to manage, and consistent training becomes paramount.

  4. Financial Prudence: Always, always have a safety net. Expansion comes with unforeseen costs. Ensure you have sufficient reserves and are not just running on optimism and that fresh "new salon" scent.

  5. Consult & Reflect: Talk to mentors, fellow salon owners, and perhaps even conduct client surveys. Understand what works, learn from others' mistakes, and introspect on whether you're expanding for the right reasons.

In essence, expansion, when done right, can be the gateway to untapped opportunities. However, when mismanaged, it can be a one-way ticket to entrepreneurial heartburn. And trust us, no facial can soothe that kind of stress!

12. Poor Pricing Strategy

You wouldn't sell a diamond for the price of a rhinestone nor market gold as if it's glitter. Setting the right price isn’t just about numbers, but about understanding value. And in the salon industry, the value is tied up in skills, service quality, ambiance, and the experience you provide.

Why it's a blunder: Think of your salon's pricing strategy as the setting on a hair dryer. Too low (or underpricing) and it won’t get the job done, leaving you with damp spirits and reduced profits. Crank it up too high (or overpricing), and you risk burning your relationship with potential clients, making them feel the heat and opt for a cooler, more reasonably priced alternative.

Pricing is more than just placing a tag; it’s a direct reflection of your brand, your services, and the value you provide. Getting it wrong can make your salon seem either overambitious or undervalued, neither of which are desirable tags to carry.

Consequences of Turning a Blind Eye: Maintaining an unsustainable pricing structure can lead to an unsavory cocktail of problems. Overpricing might grant you higher margins, but it could ward off potential clients, especially if the perceived value doesn't match the cost. On the other hand, while underpricing might win you more customers, it can quickly eat into profits, making it challenging to maintain service quality, pay staff adequately, or even keep the lights on. Moreover, frequently altering prices can erode trust, leaving clients skeptical and unsure about what they're truly paying for.

Dodging the bullet:

  1. Market Research: Begin with a keen analysis of your competitors. Understand the price range in your locale, and identify where your salon fits in the spectrum.

  2. Value Proposition: Ask yourself - what makes your salon unique? Is it the imported products you use, the advanced techniques, or the exquisite ambiance? Ensure your prices reflect this value.

  3. Cover Your Costs: Before setting a price, consider all overheads — rent, utilities, staff wages, products, and more. Prices should not only cover these costs but also fetch a reasonable profit margin.

  4. Feedback Loops: Engage with your clientele. Understand their willingness to pay and gather feedback on your pricing. This will give you a clearer idea of whether adjustments are needed.

  5. Periodic Reviews: The market isn’t static. Costs rise, new competitors emerge, and client preferences evolve. Regularly reviewing and adjusting your pricing strategy ensures you stay relevant and profitable.

  6. Transparent Communication: If prices need to be increased, communicate the reasons transparently to your clients. Maybe you've shifted to a premium product line or invested in advanced training for your staff. Clients are more understanding when they see the value behind the price.

In the beauty industry, setting the right price is part art, part science, and a sprinkle of intuition. It’s like choosing the perfect hair color – it requires thought, expert knowledge, and sometimes a touch of boldness. Make sure your pricing shines as brightly as a well-done balayage!

13. Ignoring Feedback

Just as a hair stylist needs a mirror to view their work from all angles, a salon owner needs feedback to truly see their business's performance. Feedback, be it flattering praise or stinging critique, serves as a reality check, ensuring the salon remains attuned to its customers’ desires and concerns.

Why it's so crucial: Feedback is the voice of your clients; it's them telling you what they loved and where they think you could improve. While not all feedback will be actionable or even fair, it offers a treasure trove of insights into the clients’ psyche. By understanding and acting upon this feedback, salons can refine their services, fix unnoticed issues, and enhance the overall client experience. In other words, feedback is like those final touches of hair spray – it sets everything in place for a flawless finish.

The Cost of Turning a Deaf Ear: Imagine having a strand of hair out of place during a crucial event and no one telling you. Embarrassing, right? Ignoring feedback in the salon business can have similar repercussions. You might continue making the same mistakes, leading to dissatisfied clients and dwindling business. A salon that doesn’t evolve based on customer feedback runs the risk of becoming stagnant, outdated, or worse, irrelevant. Remember, in this industry, if you’re not moving forward, you’re likely moving backward.

Dodging the bullet:

  1. Open Channels: Proactively seek feedback. Whether it’s through comment cards, online reviews, or simply asking clients post-service, create ample avenues for clients to share their thoughts.

  2. Acknowledge and Respond: Whether it’s a compliment or a complaint, acknowledge the feedback. Thank clients for positive reviews, and address negative feedback with grace, understanding, and a promise to rectify.

  3. Incorporate Changes: Words without actions are like a cut without styling – incomplete. Regularly review feedback and discern patterns. If multiple clients point out the same issue, it's likely an area requiring attention.

  4. Educate Your Team: Share valuable feedback with your team, especially if it pertains to a specific service or employee. This will foster a culture of continuous learning and improvement.

  5. Stay Updated: The beauty industry is constantly evolving, with new trends, techniques, and products emerging. By staying in tune with client feedback, you can adapt to these changes swiftly.

  6. Review and Reflect: Periodically analyze the feedback received over a certain duration. Assess what has been implemented, what worked, and what needs further refinement.

Listening to feedback is like getting highlights – it can be a touch painful and time-consuming, but the end result makes it all worthwhile! Embrace feedback, and let it be the compass that directs your salon towards success and customer satisfaction.

14. Lacking Online Presence

In today's digital age, not having an online presence for your salon is akin to having a salon without mirrors; you're operational, but something fundamental is missing. The online space isn't just a vanity platform; it's the modern marketplace where conversations, decisions, and most importantly for your salon, bookings happen.

The Significance: The first thing many clients do when hearing about a salon or when in need of salon services is whip out their smartphones and dive into the internet. An online presence gives your salon credibility. It says, "We're here, we're professional, and we know what's up (especially when it comes to the latest hair trends)." Moreover, a well-maintained online profile can offer a sneak-peek into your salon's ambiance, services, and customer reviews, helping potential clients make informed choices.

Downside of Digital Absence: Imagine throwing a grand party but forgetting to send out invitations. That's what lacking online presence feels like. You miss out on a vast pool of potential clients who predominantly rely on online searches for all their needs. Additionally, in the absence of your official online profiles, your salon's narrative might be driven by one-off reviews or comments, which might not always reflect the complete picture.

Dodging the bullet:

  1. Website Wonders: Launch a user-friendly, mobile-responsive website. Include essential details such as services offered, pricing, team bios, contact details, and a gallery showcasing your work. Bonus points for integrating a booking system!

  2. Social Savvy: Engage on platforms like Instagram and Facebook where visuals play a key role. Showcase transformations, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and share hair and beauty tips. Remember, every post is like a strand of hair – it's part of a larger, beautiful picture.

  3. Directory Dive: Ensure your salon is listed on popular directories and review sites. Encourage satisfied clients to leave positive reviews. Address any negative feedback constructively and promptly.

  4. Content is King: Regularly update your platforms. Whether it's a blog on the latest hair trends or a tutorial video on a popular hairstyle, fresh content keeps your audience engaged and boosts your online visibility.

  5. Engage, Engage, Engage: Respond to comments, engage in relevant online discussions, and always keep the conversation flowing. Remember, online platforms are not just for broadcasting but also for building and nurturing relationships.

  6. SEO & Ads: Consider investing in search engine optimization (SEO) and online advertising to further enhance your salon's visibility. It’s the digital equivalent of placing your salon on the town's main street.

Online presence is a bit like hair gel; it holds everything in place and gives you that polished, ready-for-the-world look. So, don’t be the salon that’s hiding in the digital shadows. Shine online and watch as doors of opportunity swing open.

15. Overlooking Staff Well-being

Think of your salon as a well-coiffed head of hair. Each strand, no matter how thin or thick, plays a pivotal role in creating that voluminous, glossy look. Similarly, each member of your staff contributes to the overall health and success of your salon. But just like hair exposed to the elements without proper care gets frizzy and dull, neglecting staff well-being can result in a frazzled team and lackluster service.

The Significance: Your staff members are the frontline representatives of your salon brand. Their interactions with clients, the quality of service they provide, and their overall enthusiasm (or lack thereof) reflect directly on your business. Ensuring their well-being is paramount, not just from a moral standpoint, but also for the tangible impact it has on customer satisfaction and your bottom line. A happy team means happy clients, and happy clients mean repeat business and referrals.

Ripple Effects of Neglect: Just as split ends can mar the beauty of an entire mane, a single disheartened employee can have an outsized negative impact on team morale and customer perceptions. Overworked, stressed, and undervalued staff are more prone to making mistakes, may lack enthusiasm, and might not invest in building client relationships. In the worst cases, you risk high staff turnover, which brings additional costs of recruitment and training, not to mention the potential loss of regular clients who've developed a rapport with departing employees.

Dodging the bullet:

  1. Open Ears, Open Doors: Foster a culture of open communication. Allow staff to voice their concerns, offer suggestions, and provide feedback without fear of reprisal. Sometimes, the simple act of listening can make a world of difference.

  2. Break It to Make It: Ensure your staff gets regular breaks during their shifts. A short respite can recharge their batteries, making them more efficient and present during their work hours.

  3. Incentivize Excellence: Recognize and reward outstanding performance. Whether it's through a bonus, an extra day off, or even public acknowledgment during a team meeting, recognizing hard work goes a long way in boosting morale.

  4. Training and Development: Regular training sessions not only upgrade skills but also instill a sense of value in your employees. It shows that you're willing to invest in their growth.

  5. Health and Wellness: Consider initiatives like a monthly wellness day, ergonomic workstations, or even health insurance benefits. A staff member in good health, both mentally and physically, is bound to be more productive.

  6. Team Bonding: Organize occasional team outings or events. It's an opportunity for team members to interact outside the confines of work and build stronger interpersonal relationships.

To wrap it up in a neat bun (or ponytail, if you prefer), your salon's success is directly tied to your staff's well-being. By making their happiness and health a priority, you're not just doing right by them; you're setting your business up for sustained success. And remember, a well-oiled machine – or well-conditioned hair, for that matter – functions at its best!

16. Not Preparing for Off-Peak Seasons

Imagine a salon chair twirling, waiting for a client, much like a tumbleweed rolls across a deserted town in an old western film. Dramatic, right? That's what it could look like during off-peak seasons if you're not adequately prepared. Just as fashion has its seasons, salons too experience highs and lows. But while you can't change the ebb and flow of customer traffic dictated by the calendar, you can certainly strategize to minimize its impact.

The Significance: Stability is key in the business world. Predictable revenue allows for better financial planning, ensures staff retention by guaranteeing consistent pay, and provides peace of mind for business owners. Off-peak seasons, if not addressed, can disrupt this stability. By pre-empting these quieter times with a strategy, you can maintain a steady stream of revenue, ensuring your salon remains bustling and vibrant throughout the year.

Consequences of Overlooking the Calendar: Let's face it, cash flow can become more like a trickle during off-peak times. Without a cushion or a strategy to counteract these slow periods, the financial strain can lead to cutbacks, a dip in service quality, or even result in temporary closures. Further, if clients sense a lull or see reduced operating hours, they might perceive the salon as less popular or out of vogue. And in an industry where image is everything, perception matters.

Dodging the bullet:

  1. Seasonal Specials: Consider offering discounts or package deals specifically during off-peak seasons. A "Winter Wonders" package during the colder months or a "Summer Sizzle" deal can attract clientele looking for value.

  2. Diversify Offerings: Introduce services that are particularly relevant to the season. For instance, a hydrating hair treatment might be a hit during winter when hair tends to dry out.

  3. Events and Workshops: Organize hair and beauty workshops, teaching clients how to maintain their look during specific seasons. This not only brings in revenue but also positions your salon as an expert in the field.

  4. Loyalty Programs: Encourage repeat business by offering loyalty cards or points systems. If clients know they're close to a free service or discount, they might just pop in during the off-peak season.

  5. Flexible Staffing: Consider a more flexible staffing model during quieter times. Maybe part-time positions or rotational shifts could work, ensuring you're not overstaffed when it's quiet.

  6. Pop-Up Collaborations: Partner with complementary businesses, like a spa or nail studio, for pop-up events. Their clientele becomes privy to your services and vice versa.

In essence, think of the off-peak season as a challenge to your creativity and adaptability. Much like how a hair stylist can transform a bad hair day with a few snips and products, you too can turn a potential business blip into an opportunity for growth. And remember, sometimes, the quiet before the storm is precisely what you need to gear up for the next big rush. So, keep those scissors sharp and those strategies sharper!

17. Failing to Adapt

In a world where neon mullets can become the rage today and passé tomorrow, staying static in the beauty industry is like having permanent 80s hair – a nostalgic charm for some, but not quite everyone's cup of tea. The beauty world thrives on innovation, evolving styles, and ever-emerging trends. As with nature, adaptability in this industry is crucial for survival.

The Significance:

Embracing change isn't just about staying relevant, it's about flourishing. Your salon shouldn't merely react to trends but anticipate and embody them. The beauty industry is much like a living organism; it grows, changes, and reshapes based on cultural, technological, and creative inputs. Failing to adapt in this dynamic setting not only stunts growth but can also mean losing out to competitors who are better attuned to the market's pulse.

The Repercussions of Resistance:

Clients are savvy. They read, they observe, and most importantly, they talk. When Jane comes in asking for the latest balayage technique she saw on a celebrity, and your stylist gives her a puzzled look, word gets around. And not the kind of word you want. Stagnation can lead to a declining client base, dwindling profits, and a tarnished reputation. Before you know it, your salon might just become the land that time (and style) forgot.

Dodging the bullet:

  1. Continual Learning: Encourage and invest in regular training for your staff. Whether it's a new hair coloring technique or a novel skincare treatment, being in the know is non-negotiable.

  2. Tech-Savvy: Embrace technology. From booking apps to the latest in hair and skin tech, staying updated can offer clients a modern and efficient salon experience.

  3. Feedback Loops: Engage with your customers. Ask them what they'd love to see in your salon, what trends they're interested in, or any products they've heard about.

  4. Industry Events: Attend industry conferences, seminars, and trade shows. They're a goldmine for the latest products, techniques, and best practices.

  5. Product Prowess: Regularly update the products you stock and use. Collaborate with beauty brands to offer the latest and best to your clients.

  6. Collaborations: Partner with local influencers or beauty bloggers for special events. They can offer insights into what's trending and give your salon a fresh perspective.

  7. Social Media Watch: Stay active and observant on platforms like Instagram and TikTok, which are hotbeds for beauty trends and innovations.

In conclusion, think of adaptability as your salon's anti-aging cream. Just as the cream keeps the wrinkles at bay, adapting keeps obsolescence from creeping in. And remember, while the 80s were fabulous, so are the 2020s, and who knows what the 2030s will bring? Keep those salon doors open to change, and you might just find yourself setting the trends rather than chasing them.

18. Poor Inventory Management

Ever walked into your storage and wondered if you’re running a salon or secretly auditioning for the next episode of a hoarder’s reality show? Or perhaps, found yourself in the embarrassing situation of having to tell a loyal client, "Oops! We’re out of that."? That's poor inventory management at play, and trust us, it's more hair-raising than a botched hair color job.

The Significance:

Inventory, in many ways, is the lifeblood of your salon. It's not just about bottles, tubes, or kits; it's about being ready to serve your clients with the right products at the right time. Efficient inventory management ensures smooth operations, positive client experiences, and most crucially, a healthy bottom line. Think of it as ensuring your salon always has its best hair forward.

The Spiral of Stock Mishaps:

  1. Financial Drain: Overstocking means your money is sitting on the shelf, literally. That's capital that could be used elsewhere - perhaps for marketing, staff training, or even a much-needed salon makeover.

  2. Service Interruptions: Running out of essential products can lead to service delays, cancellations, or, worse, turning customers away. It’s the business equivalent of getting a perm and realizing halfway you’re out of curling lotion. Yikes!

  3. Wasted Resources: Excess inventory might result in expired products, which means money down the drain. It's not just about the cost of the products but also the space they consume and the time spent managing them.

  4. Reputation Risks: Consistently failing to meet client demands due to stockouts can damage your salon's reputation. Word spreads, and not always in the way you'd like, especially if Jane tells her ten friends about that hair treatment she couldn’t get because you ran out of the necessary products.

Dodging the bullet:

  1. Adopt a System: Implementing an inventory management system can help track product usage, set reorder points, and prevent overstocking. Modern systems also offer analytics to predict trends.

  2. Regular Audits: Carry out regular inventory checks. This ensures your tracking system's accuracy and helps identify any discrepancies early on.

  3. Supplier Relationships: Foster good relationships with suppliers. This ensures timely deliveries, potential discounts, and maybe even favorable credit terms.

  4. Train Your Team: Your staff should understand the importance of managing stock. Training them to use the system, and to notice and report trends or anomalies, is crucial.

  5. Client Feedback: Pay attention to what your clients are saying. Are they asking for new products or services? Their insights can inform your inventory decisions.

  6. Rotate Stock: Practice the First-In-First-Out (FIFO) principle. This ensures that the oldest stock is used first, reducing the risk of products expiring on the shelf.

In conclusion, while it might seem tempting to stock up on that glittery nail polish that’s on sale, remember, inventory management is more about strategy than shopping sprees. And always remember, the only thing you want overflowing in your salon is appointments, not expired products.

19. Not Building Loyalty Programs

Remember those customers who made an appearance once, raved about their experience, and then went on a ghosting spree, never to be seen again? We've all been there. And while your salon isn’t a dating game, building lasting relationships is equally crucial. Cue in: Loyalty Programs. They’re kind of like the salon version of chocolates on Valentine’s – not always expected but always appreciated.

The Significance:

A loyal customer is akin to that perfectly blended hair color – the outcome you always strive for. Studies have consistently shown that it costs significantly more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing one. Additionally, loyal customers are more likely to recommend your services to friends and family. Word-of-mouth marketing, spurred on by a loyalty program, can be the gentle breeze that transforms into a powerful marketing storm.

The Downward Spiral of Neglecting Loyalty:

  1. Higher Marketing Costs: Without a pool of returning customers, you might find yourself spending more on marketing and advertising campaigns just to maintain steady footfall.

  2. Missed Revenue Opportunities: Loyal customers tend to spend more. Without them, you might be missing out on upselling or cross-selling opportunities. Think of the client who might’ve gone for that additional nail art or hair treatment if only there was a loyalty discount.

  3. Vulnerability to Competition: Without a solid loyalty program, your customers have fewer reasons to choose you over the new, shimmering salon that just opened two blocks away.

  4. Inconsistent Feedback: Loyal customers provide regular feedback, helping you tweak services or introduce new ones. Sporadic clients? Not so much. And without consistent feedback, you might be shooting in the dark.

Dodging the bullet:

  1. Tailored Programs: Design loyalty programs that cater to your clients' needs. A points system, tiered rewards, or even a simple punch card can work wonders.

  2. Exclusive Benefits: Offer exclusive perks for loyalty members. Early access to sales, member-only hours, or a surprise birthday treat can make clients feel valued.

  3. Regular Engagement: Send personalized emails or messages updating clients about their loyalty points status, reminding them of the benefits they can avail.

  4. Solicit Feedback: Ask your loyal customers for feedback on the loyalty program. They might offer insights into perks or changes they’d love to see, making the program even more effective.

  5. Promote the Program: Ensure that all customers are aware of the loyalty program. Train your staff to introduce it to first-time visitors. The key is to make joining irresistible.

  6. Evaluate and Iterate: Regularly analyze the effectiveness of your loyalty program. Are more clients joining? Are they spending more? Use this data to refine the program.

In a nutshell, while good hair might not last forever, good client relationships can. Investing in a loyalty program is like giving your clients an extra dollop of hair conditioner – it smoothens out the experience and leaves a lasting shine.

20. Overlooking Salon Aesthetics

Imagine stepping into a salon where the decor screams the 80s, but not in the cool, retro kind of way. More like a "Did I just time travel?" scenario. While mullets and neon eyeshadows might be making a comeback, outdated salon aesthetics? Not so much. A salon's ambiance is like the frame to a beautiful painting – it enhances and complements the masterpiece (in this case, your services).

The Significance:

Stepping into a salon is more than just getting a service. It's about an experience, an escape from the daily hustle. Just as clients prioritize the outcome of their beauty treatments, the environment in which they receive these treatments plays a massive role. It's like comparing a back-alley haircut with one done atop a penthouse with city views – both might give great cuts, but the latter offers an unforgettable experience.

When Aesthetics Take a Backseat:

  1. First Impressions: They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression. An outdated or shabby salon might make clients wonder about the quality of the services even before they sit down.

  2. Decreased Client Retention: If the ambiance isn't right, even top-notch services might not be enough to get clients to return. Remember, there are plenty of salons with skilled professionals – what sets you apart?

  3. Missed Marketing Opportunities: A beautifully designed salon can be its own marketing tool. Think of the Instagram photos, check-ins, and stories clients could share, broadcasting your salon to a wider audience.

  4. Lowered Staff Morale: Let's face it; a pleasant work environment isn't just for the clients. Staff will feel more motivated and take pride in their workspace if the aesthetics are up to the mark.

Dodging the bullet:

  1. Professional Touch: Consider hiring an interior designer who understands salon spaces. Their expertise can transform the place to match your brand and vision.

  2. Cleanliness is Key: No matter how stunning the decor, if the salon isn't sparkling clean, it's a turn-off. Regular deep cleans and daily tidying up should be a top priority.

  3. Feedback Loop: Encourage feedback from both clients and staff about the ambiance. They might have valuable insights or spot areas of improvement that you missed.

  4. Stay Updated: Periodically refresh the decor. This doesn't mean a complete overhaul every year, but little touches like changing the artwork, updating the waiting area, or introducing a new color palette can keep things fresh.

  5. Lighting Matters: Ensure the salon has good lighting. It affects both the work of the professionals and the mood of the space. Play around with different light sources to create the desired ambiance.

  6. Green Touch: Consider adding plants. They not only enhance aesthetics but also purify the air, creating a fresher environment.

In summary, while clients might come in for the snip-snip and the glam-up, they stay for the vibe and the experience. Overlooking salon design is like serving a gourmet meal on a paper plate. Sure, it might taste divine, but oh, what a missed opportunity for presentation!


Opening a salon involves much more than good hairstyling or beautician skills. It's a complex process requiring planning, financial savvy, marketing know-how, and a keen eye for client satisfaction. By understanding and avoiding these common pitfalls, you're well on your way to building a thriving salon!

And remember, every successful salon owner was once in your shoes - a dream, a passion, and perhaps a little bit nervous. So, take a deep breath, avoid these common mistakes, and get ready to make your mark in the beauty industry. After all, as Coco Chanel said, "Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself." Now, go forth and be beautiful!

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Talk to a human

Schedule a guided walkthrough of Noona HQ

Watch the Demo

Learn the how & why of Noona in 30 mins

Get more bookings with less scheduling

  • Point of sale

    Online appointments

    Appointment calendar

    SMS campaigns

    Unlimited client history

    Appointment reminders

    Custom fields

    Flexible giftcards