How much do you know about the barbershop business?
How To Open A Barbershop
business the right way. Believe it or not, there’s a lot to learn before launching a barbershop business. Performing extensive research across your local market could mean the difference between success and failure.
In this section, we’ll discuss the approach to market research that will leverage you with the information you’ll need to move on to the next phase of the process.
Let’s start by asking, How much do I know about the barbershop business? Answering this question is highly important. Sometimes, investors and entrepreneurs have more confidence in their ability than they should. An actively licensed barber may feel comfortable within the barbershop but does not currently possess the skills to effectively operate a new business.
Be A Market Mastermind
Go to every barbershop business in your area and observe. If a business seems impressive from the exterior, this includes physically and digitally and the chairs are filled with patrons, schedule an appointment or walk-in for a service. Pay close attention to the way you’re greeted. Are you made to feel welcome? A well-run business will have a series of steps they follow to create a routine. I call these the “Signature Steps of Service”. This is a fundamental piece of brand development. It’s important because you’ll be using this business and every barbershop in your market as a gauge. Improve upon the competition’s weaknesses and enhance their strengths within your new barbershop brand.
- What is the market missing?
You won’t have the answer until you’ve done the research!
- Who is your target market?
A successful barbershop business will cater to a broad demographic of clientele. However, there is a delicate balance as it relates to pricing point and volume when formulating your sales model.
- Who possesses a share of the market?
Create a top ten list of shops in your area. Break down what each of these shops does well. Make note of where they can improve and use this information to improve upon your business model.
- Which business is the current market leader?
You should quickly recognize this business and begin the discovery process of what they do well and where you see you can improve with your new business.
- Where is the market in need of a new placement?
This is where you should look closely at positioning your new barbershop. There may already be a barbershop nearby and that’s okay. Many times positioning your business close to an existing like business is preferred. Researching the population and demographics is important here. Median age and income matters. Are people relocating here in large numbers? One of the first businesses new residents of a community look for is a barbershop, salon or men’s grooming establishment.
- What will be your differentiator?
This is what makes your brand unique. There will most likely be a multitude of aspects that make your brand one of a kind. Figuring out what those are falls under the research category.
- How will you exceed current market expectations?
Reading reviews and understanding the consumer will help you understand what clients are saying and what their wants are. You can tailor your business model around client expectations and market needs.
- What steps will you follow to create an effective marketing strategy?
Everything is digital, and visual with an emphasis on being mobile-friendly. If you’re not discoverable via cell phone, you’re not relevant. Especially in the men’s grooming segment and barbershop industry. Consumers gravitate to a barbershop via referral or from online discovery. Instagram, Facebook, and online review platforms drive a significant portion of the traffic. Beautifully captured imagery with consistent branding will boost your credibility. A poorly captured photo can be more harmful than helpful. Focus on professional quality photography for every image used online. A user-friendly website with an effective digital marketing strategy will separate you from the digital noise. Make sure to properly name each image and include meta-data for SEO. A healthy balance of paid and organic search engine optimization will propel your business to the top of search engine results.
Finding The Perfect Location
By now, you’re better informed and should have a pretty good idea where you want to open your barbershop. There are a few options to consider before committing to a long term lease or the acquisition and purchase of the real estate.
Leasing a commercial space –
Look closely at the building and its tenants. Sometimes there is space that’s considered stigmatized. Meaning, this particular space has had multiple businesses attempt and fail consecutively. Buyer beware!
- Who is the anchor tenant and which businesses drive the majority of the traffic? (Sporting goods store, sports bar, a popular restaurant)
- How can your barbershop business leverage the neighboring businesses to help you generate foot traffic and drive-by traffic?
Each commercial retail development will have different lease terms and requirements for lessees. Evaluate each development’s terms and conditions carefully. Leases will vary and some will be more favorable than others. Not every lessor is supportive of small businesses and it can be challenging to find the right fit for your new barbershop. Examine the tenant improvement monies available for buildout. Structure your lease with (TI Money) built-in. This will be helpful due to the amount of time it takes for the build-out and how long you’ll be without revenue. A well-built barbershop can be expensive, upwards of $350,000 for a total build-out.
Buying a building with commercial zoning is also an option to consider. There are areas in most cities that have older neighborhoods in high growth, commonly near the center of the city and urban areas. They’re formerly zoned residential and often resemble single-family homes but they qualify for retail.
Business Model, Sales Model, Marketing, and Branding
You should have been brainstorming and taking a lot of notes about your research up to this point. By now, you’re excited, nervous, and anxious if you weren’t already. If you’ve done a good job of researching, you should have a good idea of where to begin your brand direction.
How will you arrive at your pricing structure?
This can be tricky. The price point is in direct correlation with your brand image, your location, and the quality of service and experience you create. Knowing your competition and the final product your brand produces will clearly define the value of the products and services you’re selling. Take your time and thoroughly understand the market before attaching pricing to a menu.
It is paramount to define a clear vision for your brand.
- Outline your brand’s authenticity and originality.
- Include how your target market will identify and feel connected to your brand identity.
- CREATE and describe your “guest experience” as well as the brand approach to creating a service experience. Your brand following should expect your product to be consistently great.
- Research graphic artists and find brand designers with a solid portfolio of brand design. DO NOT short cut on the visual component of your brand’s identity. You will regret not working with an elite artist to help create your brand logo and icon. Consider this to be an additional element of revenue for merchandise and accessories. If you solely rely on haircutting and men’s grooming services to carry the business, you will undercut your brand potential.
- Think deeply about your brand’s identity before launch. You will regret rushing through this process. This includes color palettes, materials, seating surfaces (barber chairs), wall paint, countertops, textures, wordmarks, etc.
- Brand association and the products you carry. Who you align your business with is an extension of your brand.
Recruiting – Hiring – Training – Retention
The holy grail of your brand’s success will be the talent of the team you build. You’re embarking upon a people-centric business. Great people, with great personalities that possess great skills, will be the lifeline of your business. Average haircutters are a dime a dozen. To attract the best, there must be several incentives in place. Your business model should allocate substantial earning potential for your barbers. A great barber is a stylist who is a tremendous artist. It’s the business proprietor’s responsibility to never permit their barber’s fall under the starving artist category.
A well-executed business plan will attract top talent. A solid ongoing education platform will help retain the talent and help grow your clientele. Implement additional training from industry experts. Share cutting techniques and service tips to help bolster your team’s competence and scope of knowledge. Develop ways to create growth opportunities for team members. Ownership stake, shares of ownership, and expansion possibilities are terrific ways to build a sense of ownership for key contributors to the success of the brand.
Marketing Your New Barbershop Business
Let’s reflect for a moment.
- You’ve done the research.
- You developed a solid plan.
- You have a great location.
- You hired a top-notch brand designer and love your visual branding.
- You added top tier barbers, stylists, and artists to the team.
- You’ve clearly defined the company vision and you’re ready to execute the strategy.
It’s time to build a web presence.
Your brand designer may also build websites or have a recommendation for someone who builds them. There are a lot of drag and drop builders available but I WOULD NOT recommend building a website on your own unless you have a lot of prior experience.
I would recommend utilizing WordPress for your website. It’s great for blogging and creating content. There are also tons of plugins to help drive traffic and build a functional, easy to navigate, mobile-friendly website.
While your website is being built, you can create a business profile across multiple platforms. Start with Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Twitter, and local business directories (Yelp, Yellow Pages, Manta, etc.) This is the start of building your digital footprint. Always be sure to properly name your images. Your logo, for example, should be named “Best-Barbershop-Austin-TX” hyphen company name. When people are looking for barbershops in your community, your company logo should appear in search results.
Let’s Talk Reviews and Customer Feedback
Reviews, reviews, reviews. It’s a primary factor influencing consumers’ decision making. However, before you start receiving raving reviews, you need to be discoverable and begin building your clientele.
If you’ve followed the steps listed above, you should be on your way to receiving a bunch of 5-star reviews. Your clientele should grow into micro-influencers and brand ambassadors without realizing it. The ultimate goal is to create a near cult-like following. Ideally, you want an army of brand supporters sharing their experience stories throughout the community and online.
Always be engaging with your current and future clients. Whether you receive a positive or negative review, respond to everyone regardless of the rating. It’s important to communicate with your audience. It shows you care and allows you to further build on the relationship. If there’s an unhappy client, it’s a perfect opportunity to address an issue and solve a problem. If you’ve thoroughly done your research, you’ve seen other businesses online only respond to positive reviews. Major mistake! Those are the businesses losing customers and clients. If you follow up correctly, you’ll maintain a happy following and continue building your brand. Also, the same consumers that are not receiving responses from the other business, are currently looking for a new barbershop. They’re probably reading thru reviews and noticing whether or not you respond to your clients.
Content Creation – Marketing Continued . . .
It’s very time consuming creating content. It will make a huge difference in your business development if you post high quality content routinely.
Keep creating fresh, new content! Branded photos, hashtags, helpful styling tips, these are all methods that impact your discoverability. Utilize video and show your target audience you’re innovative and creative. You’ll earn the opportunity to service a new client by creating awesome visual marketing content.
Get Actively Involved In The Community
Hit the streets. Hand out complimentary service cards. Excite the team and get them involved in the business development process. I little something free goes a long way. Most guys have their barber already. You won’t pursuade everyone to try your shop right away. Be persistent and prepare for a marathon. Don’t forget, marketing is a long term project of consistency.
Don’t get boxed in to traditional ways of thinking. Women are some of the greatest influencers the planet has ever seen. You’ll probably land a new client through the referral of a wife, sister, or female friend before the average bro on the street sends you someone.
Next Level Marketing
If you want to take your marketing to the next level, get certified. Google Analytics and Google Ads provides free certification courses online. The courses will help you understand where clients are located and what they’re looking for. You’ll learn how to properly run a targeted ad campaign and acquire new clients.
Get More In Depth Information Straight From The Barbershop Business Consultant Himself.
Adrian Jackson is a nationally renowned business consultant. He’s helped numerous barbershop business owners’ get their struggling businesses turned around and moving in an upwardly direction. He’s helped many entrepreneurs and investors build new barbershop businesses from the ground up.
If you want to learn how to open a barbershop business, contact Adrian Jackson today for a complimentary consultation.
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