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Tips for opening a second location

As big as you can dream you can do it at Sola. So after her first location was thriving, spray tanner Tiffany Martincic, owner of The Tan Banana, kept dreaming. “I knew I had built a really successful business and it had proven capable of running and being profitable without me physically being there while being away on long vacations.”

With multiple successful locations under her belt, this Sola-preneur knows a thing or two about what it takes to expand your brand across multiple markets.  We sat down with Tiffany and asked her to give us some realistic advice for expanding your brand, business, and clientele.

Before You Open

Before you make the leap to a second location, make sure you have enough of a cushion in your first location to sustain both for a period of time. When Tiffany set out to open her second location in Scottsdale she made sure she had time to time to build without extreme pressure to turn a profit right away. “Thank goodness because it does take time when you enter a new market. Much of our business comes from personal referrals and Yelp - but a new location means starting back at the bottom of a Yelp search with no reviews.”

Some tips to get you started are:

  • Get a marketing or PR plan in place before launching to build a hype even before your doors open
  • Use your existing community by leveraging the success of your first location to prove that you are an established brand and business. Get testimonials from satisfied customers to help with your marketing push.

Know Your Community

As a spray tanner, Tiffany was able to grow her business quicker by promoting internally to the spray tan community. If you have a specialty or service, find ways to leverage that in your marketing strategy. There may be a Facebook group or a Meet-Up surrounding your specialty. Or try searching local hashtags in your new area to do Instagram outreach to people looking for your specialty service. People may be more willing to travel to you because of your niche.

Read Building A Niche Salon to learn more

Social Media = Sales

You’ve heard us say it before (and we’ll definitely say it again), but in today’s world, the power of social media is immeasurable when it comes to growing your brand. With one successful location and one successful Instagram account already in place, The Tan Banana made the strategic decision to stick with her already existing Instagram account when adding her second location.  “I have chosen to keep all locations under one account with a list of locations in our bio and highlights. I think it helps with the credibility of the new locations so that clients know we are established and have a great reputation with years of happy clients.”

While this seems like an easy way to establish credibility, you want to make sure you are able to speak to clients in all locations. “When posting client photos, I try to credit the tanning artist and location responsible. I also try to only run specials or sales that can work for both locations so as not to confuse clients.”

Staffing Sensibility

Because you can’t be in two places at once (as much as we can wish and dream), it’s crucial to have people you can trust and rely upon to be in your locations when you aren’t there. “Because I'm 5 hours away, I can't just pop over if someone calls in sick. I've been very fortunate so far to have employees that understand this and help out where they can and give me adequate notice when they might need to be out so that I can find coverage.”

When hiring a new employee it’s important to establish open lines of communication, whether that’s daily phone calls or email check-ins.

And while someone may have great qualities on paper, you also need to make sure they will jive with your clients. “I have to say tanning is a very personal service and it requires someone that clients can feel safe and comfortable undressing around,” she added. “For me, the right personality is way more important than someone with tanning experience; that can be taught, being personable can't.”

Here are a few things to consider when interviewing:

  • Prior to the interview, is this person responding professionally and timely? Do you get a sense of their professionalism?
  • Is this someone you would want to hang out with all day?
  • Would your clients feel comfortable with this person if you weren’t around?
  • Is this person able to self-manage or would they need someone looking over their shoulder all the time to make sure they are on task?
  • Do I trust this person to show up on time and clean up before leaving?  

Dividing Your Time

Even though she’s based in Scottsdale, Tiffany manages to stay in touch, whether through phone, text or email, with her team in San Diego almost every day. “I try to jump over to San Diego at least one weekend every month or two. Some trips are a little more urgent and revolve around fixing equipment or studio upgrades, hiring needs, etc. My favorite is the trips when I can just check in and take the girls out to brunch and catch up. It's nice to talk shop and hear their ideas for where we can improve and get updates on some of my favorite clients that I don't get to tan personally anymore.”

For more information about growing your brand, read How A 21-Year-Old Stylist Built A Booming Business In Less Than A Year.

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