Keeping on top of trends and being active on social media can help you stand out in a crowded market. From lash lifts to brushed up brows, it’s crucial to keep on top of trends in the beauty business. But cultivating your brand identity should also include being passionate about your product and providing star service. We share our insights and advice on how to start a beauty business below.
How can I stand out in a crowded market?
We stress listening to your customers! Ask for customer feedback and keep an eye on competitor activity, but not to the point that you are so busy looking over your shoulder that you don’t focus on your brand.
Part of your customer research should be an awareness of what’s missing for local consumers. Have your own stamp on the industry, stand out from the other salons in your area and make a difference.
Customer research can be done through social media too. We advise interacting with people who offer a similar service to you. This helps build contacts and keeps you in tune with the voice your competitors are projecting on social media.
Always ensure there is a part of your day you dedicate to growing your business. Between 10 minutes to an hour a day dedicated to thinking ahead works wonders!
We also emphasise that running a small business is not a 9-5 job. You need to be continually reassessing your business model and direction. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and ask if you are offering what your market wants.
Media mentions can increase public awareness of your brand. We recommend reading every article you can about beauty in the press and if it relates to your business, track down the journalist and send them an email.
While it’s important to be aware of the trends covered by the media, you should also stay true to your venture. Ensure your business comes from a sincere place. There is nothing worse than a brand simply born out of market opportunity.
What are the trends of the moment?
We are emphasising the popularity of brows, lashes and tan. Other trends are inch loss and skin care – combining inch loss wraps with nourishing ingredients to treat skin.
We feel men’s grooming is a growing market that’s already quite established. Male HD Brows and male tanning is growing in popularity. There is demand as long as men are enjoying fashioning themselves.
Standing out from your competitors and offering a product or service you’re committed to is more important for your business’s survival than jumping on trends. A successful beauty venture needs to be ahead of the trend or set the trend.
How can I hire the best employees?
Beauty businesses succeed through great customer service, so friendly and reliable staff are vital! Our valuable advice about taking on new recruits as your business grows is that we favour traditional recruitment methods. For example, we don’t recommend recruiting your biggest Facebook fans, as we believe it’s the quiet, hard-working ones who are not on social networks who have turned out to be the most loyal and long lasting employees.
Planning, persistence and addressing any worries you may have at interview stage can help prevent future problems. We recommend doing a trade test with the most promising applicants.
There were mixed thoughts on taking staff straight from training. Attitude and work ethic cannot be taught and in our experience is critical. Colleges are a great source of fresh talent, but “newbies” require further training. We advise that you should realise you have to dedicate two years to them. This includes in-house training, mentoring and teaching them how to work in a salon.
What’s the best strategy for business growth?
Underestimate sales! We recommend a straightforward approach. Cost control is your main concern. Why not use a spreadsheet rather than spending on expensive accountancy software?
Hire a trusted accountant as early on as possible. As you grow, profits and therefore tax liabilities grow – make sure you get the best, most relevant, tax planning advice. So many clients rely on ‘the man in the pub’. We advise underestimate sales; overestimate expenses, as that gives you a buffer of protection.
Social media is a good starting point, aside from joining in beauty business conversations on Twitter, adding people in the industry on LinkedIn helps for keeping in touch.
We suggest attending trade shows to build relationships and joining a membership group like the British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology (BABTAC) and Associated Beauty Therapists as a means of keeping up to date with industry developments and accessing advice.
Building connections with other businesses in your local area can also be beneficial. Become friendly with local business that are helpful to network with, and work with nearby businesses to offer local discounted deals.
When launching a new business, invest in people! Never presume you know it all, you will always need people on your team who can do one thing better than you, so you are always learning.
Have you got any advice you’d like to share? Get in touch and your tips could be added to our blog.