It can often seem like a natural progression to go from salon or clinic employee, to running the show in your own business.

And while your talent, skills and abilities that you honed while you were on someone else’s payroll are sure to go with you into your own salon, there is a minefield of potential pitfalls to be aware of before you go it alone.

Bloomberg estimates that 80% of all new small businesses fail in the first 18 months. That’s a pretty sobering statistic. And yet, a salon owner’s own industry-relevant abilities are rarely the reasons for their closure. Outside market conditions, such as new competition, or an unstable economy can lead to the downfall of a fledgling salon.

Joining an industry organisation that can partner you up with legal, accounting and commercial matters, will give you the network you may need to ensure you’re not navigating your new business with as blindfold on.

According to Hair and Beauty Australia: “HABA membership offers you excellent professional services and commercial benefits, which you can take advantage of to more effectively run your business.” This includes advice on Fair Work Laws, OHS, workers compensation and apprenticeships matters.

The salon and spa industry is more competitive than ever before. According to Ibis World, demand for industry services has increased due to a rising focus on health and physical appearance. Wellness spas have become popular with a wider client base, including men, corporate users, couples and families, with industry revenue through 2019-2020 to exceed $580 million. While those statistics could be seen as reason enough to take out a lease and open for business, there are some vital considerations to take into account.



HABA advises that would-be salon owners should know their competitors, and ensure there is enough demand to warrant two or more salons in close proximity. In addition, with so many available styles and types of treatments, trying to be all things to all people can be a quick road to disaster. Rather, find something that can be your salon’s point of difference, and run with that.

That’s something that Sharni Macell, owner of The Derm Lab, considered prior to launching in 2017. “We recognised the need to create specialised therapies that would reflect the growing male demographic,” she said. “Beauty salons and day spas are often tailored specifically to women, even though men are now visiting them more than ever before. A lot of salons treat male spa therapies as an afterthought rather than it being inclusive from the start. This is why all of our treatments were designed with both men and women in mind. It’s also why we have achieved a perfect 50/50 male to female client ratio; something we are very proud of.”

Ensuring you have adequate cash reserves (at least a six-month cushion to carry you through until you start making money), partnering up with a person or business that compensates for your weaknesses (such as in legal matters or lease agreements), and getting clear advice on how to properly price your products and services are some of the things that will ideally place your business in the 20% that make it out of that gruelling first 18 months not only existing, but thriving.


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