The salon owner’s dilemma: what’s next?

There are reasons we open our own business. For many beauty workers, owning a salon is a dream come true. For others, it’s an opportunity to continue the family business. But if there is on thing all salon owners have in common, its that 2020 has made us re-assess the importance we once placed on owning our own business.

With every salon in the country having experienced a lockdown to some degree this year, and with Victoria salons still navigating their way through their second, it’s little wonder a number of salon owners are weighing up the possibility of selling up and moving on.

“Prior to this year, the main reasons for selling a beauty business were a lack of work and life balance, conflict with business partners , or retirement or ill health,” says business analyst Jamie Franston. “But at this point, in 2020, the leasing reason is a complete lack of cash flow. How long can owners continue to put money into a business that hasn’t been able to open its doors?”

While the numerous government subsidies have allowed salon owners to keep their business running throughout the pandemic, many are facing up to the realties of where they’ll stand once those subsidies dry up early next year.

“It’s a daunting situation. Any business owner that looks at their books and realises that the only way they’re staying afloat is due to government funding that is about to be turned off, will no doubt be weighing up whether it’s time to close up for good,” says Jamie.

But making the decision isn’t any easy feat. For starters, there’s the possibility of business picking up again once the pandemic is over, and there’s the option of restructuring so that there are fewer overheads for the interim.

“Those are things that a financial advisor can help you with,” says Jamie. “And his or her advice will be invaluable. But there are questions that only you as the business owner can answer, questions such as: Do I still have it in me to carry on? Do I still love doing this? Are the reasons I opened my salon still relevant to me and my life as it stands? If the answer to any of those questions are ‘no’, then it may be time to sit down and re-asses.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean shutting up shop immediately. As we’ve seen this year, there are a number of ways a beauty business can trade. “Perhaps you want to focus on selling products, or e-commerce. Or perhaps you want to transition into a different role within the business and bring another partner on.”

Jamie recommends speaking with your family or mentors before coming to your final decision. “These are the people who know you and who know your motivations and your strengths. Having them in your corner will help you to make what is essentially a life-altering decision.”

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