If you work in the beauty industry or plan on starting your own beauty business, 2017 is the year to take the leap and become a self-employed beauty therapist.
The beauty industry in the UK is worth around £17 billion, employing more than one million people. Its projected growth rate in 2016 was 16% with many analysts believing that this has been surpassed. The signs are pointing to 2017 to be another bumper year.
The good news doesn’t stop there because this growth is despite the recession too. Sales of beauty therapy services and products grew by 15% in 2008, the year the recession hit hard.
What these statistics mean is that the beauty industry is strong and looks set to get better in the coming years.
And it is not just products and beauty services for women that are growing – men are also taking care of themselves, with the modern man investing in all kinds of services and products.
What do you need to consider when starting your own beauty therapy business?
Beauty therapy courses online are a great way to get qualified in general beauty practices, as well as offering specialist beauty treatments. But, if you are seriously contemplating opening your own beauty treatment business this coming year, you need to know the trends that are tipped to get bigger…
#1 Peripatetic clinics
This is a hybrid of mobile beauty services given to clients in their own home and offering treatments in a fixed location. As yet, there is no name for it as such but clients seem to prefer opting for treatment in clinics or spas, but as a beauty therapist, you offer your services in a fixed location.
It is like hairdressers renting-a-chair. It means you can offer a day of appointments at one location, and the next day another set of appointment at another.
The choice of location is important. Many dental practices, for example, are expanding their range of services on offer to clients by leasing out clinics to chiropodists and beauty therapists. Hiring or leasing a room in a spa, clinic, hairdressing salon and other related places could be the way to offer your services in 2017.
For a fledgling business, it is a gift. With low overheads and effective marketing, you could have a ready customer base in no time.
#2 Online commission sales
Customers have traditionally bought their beauty products online, which for a beauty salon is bad news. It may be that you cannot match the online prices of certain treatments and products, resulting in you missing out on sales.
However, there is a new way of still selling great products to customers at great prices, and you get a commission too. Look out for websites that you join as a business and, when a customer buys a product you recommend, you get a small commission. Products are of high value and quality but at a great price, presenting a perfect win-win situation – your customers still get a great price and you benefit from commission.
#3 App booking
You may have already thought of a website for your business and it is possible to have an online, real-time calendar that allow customers to book online.
However, take the next step by designing your own app that allows people to quickly book an appointment with a great app. With most people surfing the web on their mobiles or tablets, an app that they can download means that they can keep coming back for more.
Setting up your own beauty business
If you are more convinced and determined than ever to set up your own beauty business, you need to make sure you cover the very basics to put in place the foundation stone for a successful business…
#1 Get qualified
First and foremost, it is simply essential that you are qualified. With an array of beauty courses from NCC, you can be qualified to offer all kinds of beauty treatments and services.
Qualifications in beauty treatments are essential for all kinds of reasons;
- You will need to be insured to offer services to clients, with the vast majority of insurers requiring a certain level of qualification in the treatments you are going to offer
- Your clients need to trust and have peace of mind that you know what you are doing
#2 Business plan
As you work through various beauty therapy courses online, you can start to develop your business plan.
This is not as scary as it sounds! It is a document in which you set out your vision, your ideas, your aims and your objective for your new beauty business. To fully understand your business is a success in the first few months, you need to set targets and milestone.
These targets need to be measurable. You are projecting where you want your business to be at certain times. In the first year, it pays to have reviews every three months. This way you can see what needs changing to attract more customers etc.
Most people have a detailed business plan for the first year, but you might want to plan further ahead than this. But take care as the first year of business is usually the hardest, thus concentrating all your energy in the first 12 months makes sense.
You will need to calculate, with some accuracy, the costs of setting up your business. Operating freelance means you will avoid many costs associated with opening a salon.
You will need to factor in costs such as specialist equipment, treatments and products, cost of insurance, uniform and other accessories etc. By having a firm idea of your financial outlay, as well as running costs, you will have a firm financial basis on which to calculate the costs of treatments.
Many businesses fail in the first year and for similar reasons – lack of marketing and not monitoring cashflow. Even in the beauty industry worth billions, it is possible for a new business to fail. It is dangerous to assume that because the trend is for people to spend money, time and effort looking after themselves, that they will come flocking to you.
It’s worth making this as a separate point as insurance for anyone in the beauty industry, offering treatments and products, is essential. Public and product liability insurance will be needed, along with professional indemnity. These insurance products protect you, as well as your equipment.
#5 Know your competition
There is just one more step before you get down to the nitty-gritty of starting your business – knowing the competition.
Even though the beauty industry in the UK is a growing and thriving one, in some areas, the high street is saturated with spas and clinics offering the same or similar products and treatment.
By knowing your competition, you know what is currently on offer. You may also be able to identify gaps in the market.
Exploiting a gap gives you the competitive edge, which is exactly what you need to establish your new business.
#6 Develop your name and brand
A business is more than just a name – it is a brand.
A brand encapsulates everything about your business; how customers will feel when they buy from you. A brand is consistent across everything that you do.
You may have a logo designed and a palette of colours created. You may also have a style of font you use. All these components need to be consistent across marketing materials, price menus, uniforms and so on.
It can take time to develop a brand fully, but you need to be aware of this before you start creating materials.
Now you have everything in place the time had come to start reeling in customers. And the only way of doing this is to market your business.
But to get the right blend of marketing, you need to know the answers to some fundamental questions;
- Who are your customers?
- Where are your customers? Are they on social media, reading adverts in local newspapers and other publications etc.?
- What’s your budget?
You may also want to offer deals and opening offers, but before you do that, make sure your new business can afford to offer them. This steps back to point three on the list that talks about budget.
There is such a thing as a loss leader. This is where you offer a service, knowing you will make a loss but are almost certain it will lead to more lucrative business. Unless you are super-confident, offering a loss leader at this stage could damage your business financially.
Remember that as well as attracting new customers, you want their repeat custom so offering ‘10% off any treatment in the next 3 months’ is a great way of bringing customers back.
Take a deep breath – and do it!
Although it is a daunting prospect, running your own business is both thrilling and rewarding too. With the right qualifications and business support, your business will grow and thrive.
Make 2017 the year you start your own beauty business!