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If you were offered an opportunity to franchise your salon tomorrow would you be ready for it?

Over the years ESP has worked with more and more salons that either have multiple salons and want to consolidate information and processes or that plan to open more than one salon and require integration of data and processes.

It has been very interesting to observe those for whom it has been easy and those for whom it has not. One thing we have learned is that structure and standards are a non-negotiable when opening more than one salon.

Many salon or Spa owners are not confronted with the extent of how problematic a lack of standards and structure is until they consider integrating their data and processes across multiple businesses.

What we have learned through observing various projects over time is that there is great value in setting standards and structures in place, whether you have one salon or a chain or franchise group.

Having the right structures in place actually puts you in a very strong position to open new locations. Because of the fact that you have done all your thinking and structuring already, when an opportunity arises for a second location it’s a mere formality.

If you get yourself into a position where you could franchise your salon at the drop of a hat then it means that you are running a very tight ship indeed whether you do actually expand or not.

Your Brand
One of the first things you need to think through is your brand. In order for your brand to work across multiple locations it needs to be thought about very carefully. You’ll need to get your story very clear. Who are you? Why do you do what you do? What is different about you? Who are your clients? Etc.

In a group getting all of this right will mean a clear and consistent message will go out from your salons and will grow brand awareness exponentially.

If you only own one salon then getting this right will force you to think about all these branding questions and become more deliberate about establishing your brand and maintaining your brand standards over time.

Standardising your price lists across all your Sites in your group is easier said than done. You face challenges like different locations with different rentals, different clients, and different stylists.

However, in a group having a set price list across all Sites means that clients can expect to pay the same no matter which branch they visit and staff members can expect to generate the same turnover no matter which branch in the group they work at.

Also, your operations team will have a much easier time when they have to manage things like a group price list update.

If you only own one Site Operation having a clearly set out price list will help avoid the problem of making up prices on the spot resulting in different pricing for different clients, random pricing per stylist, discounts that are difficult to monitor and reports that make less sense.

Keep your price list as simple as possible. Try and not whimsically add new items and packages every month. Get a core of products and services that work and stick to them.

In many ways having standardized stock across the group means the same as having standardized price lists, ie you can set the same prices resulting in consistency for clients, staff turnovers, profit margins and group price increases.

It also means that clients can replenish their stock at any branch.

Also with the same stock holding throughout your group you will get more support from your suppliers as they stand to gain more from you.

This also means that you will end up getting rid of brands you may be stocking that shouldn’t really be there and consolidating with the brands that make a meaningful difference to your brand, which is a good exercise whether you are a group or just a single salon.

Staff members will be better equipped to sell stock if they have the same items to focus on throughout the group.

Remember, keep it simple, this will make it easy for your staff and your clients.

Salary Structures
Standardising on salary structures means that your staff will get the same rewards no matter which branch they work at. It will therefore mean that staff do not necessarily favour one branch over another because of salary structures.

It will also make it easier to actually calculate salaries each month.

Try and be as transparent as possible with your stylists so that you do not have to keep worrying about explaining their deductions to them each month.

Keep it as simple as possible. This applies to groups and single salons.

For any group of salons it is critical that you have a standard system in place in order that you can integrate your data and have access to it from a central location. Having some salons running a computer system and others on a manual system is not feasible. Also having different systems in place is just as problematic.

In order for a group owner or franchisor to have any meaningful influence over the direction and growth of the brand they will need access to data so that they can use this for control, information and marketing purposes.

For example, something as simple as a price list update becomes quite a challenge when faced with more than one branch.

With a centralized system you have the ability to view performance figures, manage price lists, send marketing campaigns, manage group loyalty, group gift vouchers, give access to franchisees or managers to view their own branches information and so on.

It is our experience that the process of implementing a system to manage the group forces you to address all the other structural and key operational processes and doing so helps the salons involved to create the right people structures in their own organization that are required to run a group.

In a single salon environment business processes need to be identified and assigned to a respective person or people, just on a smaller scale.

If you only have one salon then treat it as a pilot salon, test ideas, figure out what works and get rid of what doesn’t. Keep things simple.

If you are a group without any of the above then you may find that after a certain point it becomes difficult to continue expanding because there is too much work admin work in managing the salons.

If you are a franchisor or planning to franchise then having a strong standards, systems and processes is non-negotiable.