Almost everyone who has been through cosmetology training and has spent months or years perfecting the art of hair styling or spa treatments has thought of the possibility of working for themselves. Opening your own salon is a dream for many and it’s entirely within your reach to make this dream a reality.

Just like with any other business, there are certain steps to take to ensure that you’re crossing all of your T’s and checking all of your boxes, but with a solid business plan, financial backing and creativity, you can easily create a salon of your own.

Since many stylists have worked in salons owned by other people, they already have most of the working knowledge that’s needed when you don’t have a client in the chair. Equipment, accounting services, licensing, and more are all things you’ll need to know before you begin, and these tips can help.

Your Business Plan

A business plan and a mission statement are great places to start. You want to define your salon brand so that it stands out from the rest. If you’re unsure how to do this, hire a branding expert. They can very easily help you define your market and create a plan to get attention.

Your business plan is one that you should discuss with your accountant and/or business partners. This outlines initial expenses and expected returns on investment, as well as marketing strategies and more. Not only is this a great way to keep yourself on track, it can also help you identify changes that need to be made if something isn’t working. You will also need to check with your city and state to ensure you have the proper licensing to open your business.

Your Salon Space

Unless you plan to work from your home, you’ll need a space that’s suitable for a salon and has great curb appeal and visibility. Walk-ins are key to developing a solid client base, so you want your space to be visible and inviting.

You should already know roughly how much square footage you’ll need to accommodate your salon chairs, hair-washing stations and spa area, if you plan to include a spa. Be sure to work with a reputable realtor and consider your needs carefully. Adequate plumbing is one of your main concerns, so an existing salon space that has moved or closed is ideal.

Necessary Equipment

No one can effectively do their job without the right equipment, and a salon is no exception. You may get lucky and find someone who is selling their entire business, equipment included. However, the more likely scenario is that you’ll need to acquire the equipment on your own.

For chairs, equipment stations, sinks, and related equipment, you can try auctions and warehouse sales in your area to find suitable used equipment, or you may prefer to purchase new furnishings and fittings.

Of course, this all depends on your budget, but one thing you’ll also need is computer equipment to keep track of sales, a salon POS system to process transactions and accounting software to bring it all together. You’ll find this will make things much easier when you need to discuss your finances with your business partners or your accountant.

Advertising Strategies

Once you have everything in place and are getting ready to open for business, it’s time to put your salon marketing plan into place. Depending on your location and your demographic, this could take several different forms. Many salon owners have had great success simply by word-of-mouth advertising, but other strategies may work better for you.

Be sure to have a functioning Website and a presence across all social media channels. Consider running ads on Facebook that target users in your location. Offer discounts for your social media followers and for those clients who send referrals. If you’re in a position to do so, offer some services for free to local hospitals and assisted-living centers. Not only can these services have the potential to be tax deductible, you’re also highlighting your presence in the community and giving back, which are both desirable qualities for many who are looking for a new salon.

The process of opening a salon may not be easy, but the rewards of being your own boss are invaluable. Consider some of these tips and make your salon everything you want it to be.

Jackie Roberson is a content coordinator and contributor who creates quality articles for topics like technology, home life, and education. She studied business management and is continually building positive relationships with other publishers and the Internet community.