We opened our first Q61 salon in Leeds city centre in November 2015 with the aim of bringing together all the best bits from the world’s top salons and to provide our clientele with a unique beauty experience that they won’t find anywhere else.
From the very beginning, we have always wanted to roll out our business model in other affluent areas of the North of England. Opening our second salon in Harrogate was part of our ambitious expansion plan and came about after lots of careful consideration and planning.
I would say finding the right location is the most important factor when it comes to expansion. We chose a prime location on Harrogate’s bustling Albert Street as we knew that it would benefit us as well as our clients. It is vital that you do your research and look at client demographics as well as the terms and conditions of any leasehold contracts with a fine tooth comb, so you understand what you are committing to.
You need committed staff that will grow the reputation of the new salon and build a loyal clientele from the minute you open the doors. It is so important to surround yourselves with the right people, who share your passion and beliefs and who have an enthusiasm for the industry. Ensure you don’t take your eye off the older salon either, or the staff and clientele will feel like they have been left in the past. It is also essential to have a fantastic salon manager in place.
You must have a strong brand identity combined with a sound financial reason before thinking about expanding. Beauty remains the DNA of our brand, but it’s our commitment to creating an entire experience – one that puts the customer at the forefront of everything we do – that really sets us apart, and is what I believe has made us so successful.
Research and planning are also critical to growth. You must be commercially aware, self-motivated, disciplined, innovative and business-minded.
You’ll also need to utilise a variety of skills to allow you to excel and be successful:
Competitiveness and a drive to succeed will carry you through the tougher times and ensure you continually evolve your brand to meet the ever-changing needs of your clients and staff.
Repetition makes reputation, which is your most tangible and marketable asset. You can’t buy client opinion – you have to work at it, and continually.
Successful entrepreneurs know they don’t know everything; the industry is continually evolving, and, as a result, you must stay up-to-date with new systems, technology, techniques and trends.
Learning how to become laser-focused on key drivers and priorities helps eliminate wasted effort and minimise distraction. Remain focused on your end goal and remember that the devil is in the detail.
Honesty and integrity are key to longevity; be principled in your approach to business and as you expand, do so without diluting everything you believe in.
Having a clear and consistent overview of finances, profit margins, cash flow and funding allows you to really understand what works and what areas need to be improved. It’s your duty to rein in costs and optimise efficiency throughout the business, which often involves tough decision-making.
While it’s easy to rest on your laurels as you progress, it’s imperative to seize opportunities and see them though. Combining initiative and a proactive approach means you can spot gaps in the market and innovate.
We have always looked at the bigger picture and had the ability to see significance beyond the obvious. Our business has been about a shared vision that has been transparently communicated every step of the way, which has enabled us to continually evolve as we go.
So to all the industry’s forward thinkers, entrepreneurs and strategists, it’s important to believe in yourself and your vision. Be the game changer, break the rules and reap the rewards while you go. As a wise person once said: “I never dreamed of success, I worked for it”.
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