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By signing your lease for your brand new studio at Sola, you have just made an exciting and positive change for your life and career. Since becoming your own boss and opening up your own salon comes with new challenges and responsibilities, it’s not unexpected to take a break from being on cloud nine and ask, “Where do I start?”

Here’s a quick-list of tasks and items you should focus on in the first few weeks of your new #SolaBoss life.

Lean Into Sola Tools

  • Download the Sola Pro app to get access to exclusive product deals, education, perks and more.
  • Sign up for SolaGenius – our cutting-edge, all-in-one salon management app designed to help you run your Sola like a BOSS!
  • Create your Sola webpage. The Sola website (www.solasalons.com) gets over one million visitors per month! Many of these people are looking for a new beauty professional to book an appointment with. Using the Sola Pro app, you can easily update your own Sola webpage with beautiful pictures, a robust bio, hours and a booking link. And the best part? It's free to all Sola professionals! At Sola, we've made it easy to increase your online presence and keep your books full. 
  • Visit the Sola Blog to find marketing ideas, tips and success stories from other Sola owners. 
  • Subscribe to the Sola Stories Podcast. Whether you're looking for a marketing quick tip, advice from a fellow Sola professional or inspiration from some of our industry's thought-leaders, subscribe to the Sola Stories Podcast for your on-the-go inspo! 
  • Take the initiative to walk around and meet the other Sola pros in your location This is not only a great way to cross-promote your business to attract new customers, but to also get to know your amazing Sola community! 

"Compared to other suites, Sola isn’t just my landlord. Our Sola owner is a friend and a business partner. He is there to help us and make sure we succeed. Compared to a booth rental salon, at Sola, you are the true owner. You get to choose the vibe of your salon, down to the wall color." - Lindsey Couch, 2020 Faces of Sola 

Protect Yourself + Your Business 

Now, you may be tempted to run to IKEA, HomeGoods, or Target and start picking out some décor (who wouldn’t?!). But first and foremost, let’s get all the important business stuff taken care of.  

  • File/register your business entity and business name
  • Obtain a salon license
  • Get a sales license
  • Secure professional liabilty insurance 

We know all the business stuff can seem scary, but Sola’s start-up manual has all the forms and info you need to make this easy-peasy!

Create Your Culture  

Now that you own your salon, you get to do things YOUR way! You’re in complete control of creating your salon's culture and identity. An important step is to create the vision for your salon and really think about what your salon is going to offer and the experience you are going to provide that will set you apart. It’s all about building a unique brand and client experience. Think about your target clientele and why they would want to visit your salon over another. What problems are you going to solve that will bring your guests back again and again? What feelings do you want your guests to have when they arrive and leave your studio?

Read more about Creating Your Salon Culture.

Build Your Brand

When creating your brand, you’ll want to consider everything from your logo to colors to your brand voice. The branding process will take time, and does not need to be completely done before you take your first appointment! Brands are constantly evolving.

One thing to consider: hire a professional! If you want a logo but aren’t sure how to create one, hire a designer. They can also help you determine the right colors, fonts and images to use in your marketing.

Tips on building a brand:

  • Be authentic
  • Have a unique voice
  • Be consistent
  • Create value for your customers
  • Consider the experience in your salon as part of your brand

"I've never changed myself, style or personality and it’s what has made me successful. I never change my roots. Consistency and authenticity are why my clients come back." - Brittany Athey, 2020 Faces of Sola 

Choose Your Paint, Artwork, Music & Décor

Now’s the fun part: create the space of your dreams that you will love being in every day and that your clients will love to visit! Your salon should match the experience you want to evoke for your clients. When it comes to designing your studio, you’ll want to think about setting a mood. Think about the full experience. Do you want bright colors and loud music or soft hues and sweet melodies? These decisions will come back to the brand you are aiming to create.

One thing to keep in mind—a wall to shoot client photos for social media. Shelbie Donoho and Tara Chilton, 2020 Faces of Sola and co-owners of Meraki Salon & Co. wanted an aesthetically pleasing space to shoot before and afters, so they bought a beautiful shimmery fabric to place on their salon doors for all their stunning hair photo-ops. They've even had clients connect over getting their hair done at the same place because they recognized the backdrop! Talk about that next level brand recognition 💯

  • Create a color scheme or palette for your brand BEFORE you start picking out colors. This will help streamline the process. Are there certain colors you want to incorporate into your overall studio design that reflect your brand? For instance, 2020 Faces of Sola Bianca Margolis, owner of B. Rose Studio in Chicago, IL features pink and rose gold within her logo, salon decor and Instagram feed.

  • Set a budget (and stick to it!)
  • Keep your studio set-up simple and practical so it will be easy to keep clean

Choose Your Products

You can’t service clients without products, and you definitely can’t strive to pay your rent in retail if you don’t have any products to retail. Choosing which path to take when it comes to picking products. can be exciting for some and intimidating for others. 

Before you commit to any product line, there are a few things to think about: 

  • Decide what you value and whether or not your current line compliments those values
  • Consider performance of the product
  • Consider the price and whether it's within your guests' budgets
  • Consider the values of the brand you chose as well
  • Consider continuing education
  • Is there a brand you'd love to educate for one day? Educating your guests is a good place to start 😉

Above all, pick a product line that excites you! The more you love the products you use, the easier it will be to professionally recommend them to your guest.

(@kimi_kisses)

Keep Your Friends Close (and Your Sales Rep Closer)…

“Getting this relationship off to a great start will pay great dividends in the future. Retail products are the lifeblood of your business, so your supplier is the person that can really get you out of a jam. But don’t just rely on the rep stopping by. Make time with him or her, have coffee even. More importantly, be professional—dress the part and show them you are serious. Sales reps want to work more with people who show that they can represent the brand and take their success seriously.” - David Aschheim, Sola Franchisee, Richmond, VA

Now, Let’s Get Those Clients

Marketing is the key to your success and you have options: digital marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and even print and direct mail.

"The biggest piece of advice I can offer to help someone make a smooth transition is to take the time to create a business strategy.  Focus on your numbers and know how many clients you need to do to break even and how many you need to sustain yourself. This may seem overwhelming, but it prepares you to work hard and achieve your goals without fear." - Kelsey Morris, 2019 Faces of Sola

Since you have a lot happening all at once, we recommend exploring our all-in-one salon management platform, SolaGenius. This app is like having a virtual assistant who is a whiz when it comes to digital and text marketing.

"I can honestly say that SolaGenius has been the best addition to my business! With everything going on in my life, it’s been so nice to know my little digital receptionist is working - running my calendar, scheduling appointments, sending out client reminders, running my numbers and keeping track of my inventory. It gives me marketing tools for blast text and emails, education and tips to be more successful behind the chair!"​ - Danielle Avila, owner of Studio 13

Also consider…

  • Sending out a text or email blast (or even a good old fashioned snail mail announcement) to let your clients know about your new salon. Consider offering a special incentive for those who visit your new salon within the first month of opening.
  • Giving first-time clients a special gift
  • Handing out business cards with contact info to the other Sola pros in your building. It’s possible that you offer services that they don’t.  
  • Creating social media accounts for your salon that are separate from your personal accounts and start posting (don't forget your brand voice and always aim to CREATE VALUE!)

One newbie in our location who is a lash artist handed out postcards with her contact info to the other Sola pros so they could let their clients know a new lash extension artist was moving in. Just this simple, low-cost idea had her booked out the first three weeks she was at Sola. Oh, and she was fresh out of school with no clientele! Super cool and exciting way to start off her business." – Amanda Schlumpberger, Sola Franchisee, Eugene, Oregon

WatchUnderstanding Your Sola BusinessWebinar

Last, but certainly not least, add this to your list of priorities! This webinar (available for free on the Sola Pro app) will cover a lot of questions you may have about understanding your numbers and tips to grow your business. After watching the “Understanding Your Sola Business” webinar, make sure to surf through all the other valuable educational resources that are available to you in Sola Pro!

Congrats 🎉 You are now a Solapreneur, taking your success by the reigns! It’s time to bask in the glory of owning your own salon.

Go get 'em, #SolaBoss 👊

 
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