The thirst for flexibility and control in the workforce is translating to an increase in self employment in the U.S., with estheticians and independent spa professionals leading the charge. With many feeling the ambition to start their own business, here are some important takeaways to consider before launching an independent practice.
Start Small with Minimal Expenses
Don’t let your fantasy spa business tempt you to purchase costly equipment before opening your doors to the public. Even if customers are ready and waiting, it is impossible to know if the business is viable to afford these expenses. To avoid this predicament, establish a budget to ensure the pressure of high overhead doesn’t put a strain on your business. This will allow any spa to grow as slowly, steadily and comfortably as possible.
Be Picky About your Business Space
Choosing a location for your spa is one of the most important decisions to make in the early stages of establishing your practice. No matter the size of your budget, you still need to be selective. When choosing a space, consider the following:
- Make sure the location is easily accessible, attractive, well-lit, and safe. It should also be near other businesses to generate new clients as well as underserved with less competition.
- Determine if you want to rent or purchase the space.
- Free-standing buildings are the choice of many spa owners because of their high visibility in the community. If you want to forgo the responsibilities that come with a free-standing building, consider leasing space in a shopping center, strip mall, or individual suite.
- When viewing potential properties, consider your services and the amount of space or private rooms needed for treatments. Also take into consideration the layout of the room with furniture, décor, display shelves for products, and more.
- Consider the aesthetics of the rental space, whether it will require heavy renovations and if the budget can manage the redevelopment costs.
Understand the regional marketplace
To ensure success for your practice, it is important to understand your target audience, which can be drastically different depending on your geographic area. This also includes any competition, so make sure to conduct research thoroughly. For instance, visit other spas in your surrounding area discreetly to observe the activities, décor choices, operations, and overall customer service practices. In addition, get access to their service menu to know which extra services you can offer to beat the competition and stand out among the crowd.
Invest in technology
Technology is extremely prevalent in our daily lives, which makes it a vital necessity when managing a successful spa practice. Fortunately, there is comprehensive, lifecycle technology available today that can handle all aspects of a business, including point-of-sale, inventory, marketing, online scheduling and booking, credit card processing, and so much more. Conduct research and demos with potential vendors to determine which software options are best suited for your practice.
Offer introductory pricing
Determining a pricing strategy before opening your doors to the public is important. As a new business, it is recommended to launch introductory and attractive pricing options, which can help quickly achieve deep market penetration and secure new clients. Once you have developed relationships and garnered a more robust clientele thanks to reaching a wider fraction of the marketplace, you can slower increase the prices.
Market your services
Finally, before opening your doors, use budget-friendly marketing initiatives to communicate services and pricing to the local community. This can be done by advertising in your local newspaper, regional lifestyle magazine or via social media. Or try partnering with local companies who are not direct competitors – like local fitness centers, women’s clothing stores, hair and nail salons – for cross-promotion opportunities. Either way, you’ll be able to attract new customers with the opportunity to transform them into lifelong clients.
About the Author: Deb Hudson is the head of business development for Stylie, which developed and launched Stylie One–the business productivity and management app built especially for independent beauty professionals. Before Stylie, she spent many years working with salon software leader Helios which developed the number one tanning salon software in the country. Although Deb manages all business development needs for Stylie, she also oversees customer relations, marketing, and sales. Deb’s work in the beauty industry aligns with her passion to empower independent professionals to become successful and achieve their goals. Learn more at www.gostylie.com.