We met back at the International SmartTan Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. I am a brand new salon owner in a growing town and I hope to grow with it. My question is, what 3 pieces of advice would you give new owners like myself to help grow the business in the first year?
First I want to say ‘Welcome!’ The tanning industry is such a fun, welcoming, rewarding place to be a part of! I have spent over half my life in this industry and I have made some incredible friends and met some amazing and inspiring people!
Three pieces of advice… here goes!
- Network, network, network! Social media, chamber of commerce, free tan cards etc. Let everyone know about your business! When you first start out have a place like vista print make a ton of “free tan” or “free week” business cards with all of your info on them. Pass them out everywhere! When I say everywhere I mean everywhere! Leave them in the check after you pay your bill at a restaurant. Set them out at your nail salon, hair salon, local gyms etc. Give them to your friends and staff to pass out. The more people that know about your business the better! Also pick some key influential people in your town and give them a free membership. Is there a top hair stylist? Is there a girl with a ton of Instagram followers? A popular bar or bartender? Give them a free membership for a couple months and they will help spread the word with their contacts. Last little bit of network advice “support your plaza!” are you in a shopping center with a grocery store, nail salon, cell phone company etc.? If so offer anyone that works in your plaza a huge tanning discount! You wouldn’t want a potential client walking into one of those establishments and asking “hey have you tried that new tanning salon?” and their response be “No, I tan down the road at XYZ.”
- Don’t sweat the small stuff – In your first year of business it’s more crucial than ever to keep your customers happy! Statistics show that if someone has a good experience at a new business they might tell one person, but if they have a bad experience, on average they will tell 10 people. So be kind, be flexible, go above and beyond for your clients and make sure you create an atmosphere and culture for your salon that they will want to tell their friends about.
- Build your army! You are only one person, you can’t be at your business all day and night. Create, cultivate and duplicate yourself in the employees your hire. Have a vision for what you expect, clear goals and seek those with like-minded personalities. What I have learned over the years, if I had to pick between an employee that could sell literally anything and someone who is super eager to learn, I would pick the one who is eager all day! I can teach someone to sell – but I can’t teach a better attitude!
Hopefully this helps you! Good luck with your first year in business, I wish you nothing but success- we are all rooting for you!
PS- Congrats on winning $250 in Devoted Creations brand products!
If you have a question you would like answered please email me at InTheGlow@smarttan.com