chain store owners are a busy, determined breed. these enterprising entrepreneurs first proved themselves as successful single conventional salon owners and then decided to spread their wings and fly.
if you currently own one salon and are thinking of expanding to two, you are thinking chain. and, like an expectant mother of twins or triplets, you need to be prepared.
a business plan is a good place to start and will provide you with an excellent compass to guide any business venture to success.
according to bryan noland, co-owner (his partners are allen dear and terry clifford) and general manager of metropolitan dallas-based chain desert tan, inc., the key to his company's success lies in its business plan.
根据总部位于达拉斯都市区的连锁“沙漠皮肤美黑公司”(desert tan inc.)合伙人兼总经理布莱伦·诺兰德(bryan noland)——他的生意伙伴包括阿伦·迪尔(allen dear)——和特瑞·克利福德(terry clifford)的说法，他的公司成功的关键在于商业计划。
"it's hard to go through uncharted water without a map," he says. "forty-five percent of business owners don't have a business plan and, truthfully, they can't build a solid foundation without one. every serious business owner needs one--especially one that is well thought out."
briefly, a business plan consists of a company "mission" statement (100 words or less explaining what your company is all about), as well as actual, anticipated and predicted financial information.
"go to your local library," says noland. "it will have books on how to write a business plan. in addition, community colleges in your area may be offering night courses on how to prepare a business plan."
if you don't have the time to attend night classes, computer software now is available to take you step-by-step through the business plan process.
noland offers another suggestion.
"be sure to revise your business plan on a month-to-month or quarterly basis," he says. "this is wise to do because change is the one thing you can count on when it comes to running your own business."
however, what you don't need to revise or improve upon, especially if you already operate a successful single salon, is the way you do business.
according to gary haw and richard guyette, co-owners of thousand oaks and agoura hills, calif.,-based chain tan l.a., if you are thinking of expanding from one to two stores, it is important to remember that one of the reasons your first salon was so successful was because you were there to run it in the first place.
根据总部设在加利福尼亚千棵橡树(thousand oaks)和奥格拉山(agoura hills)地区的连锁公司“皮肤美黑洛杉矶”(tan l.a.)共同所有人盖瑞·豪(gary haw)和理查德·盖耶特(richard guyette)的说法，如果你考虑从一家店扩张到两家店，一定要记住，第一家美容店成功的主要原因是有你在店里亲自经营。
"everything at our first salon is still the same," says haw. "we didn't change anything. i think that's important because too many people place too much emphasis on the second salon and they tend to forget about their first one. keep in mind that your clients are used to having you there. so, when you open your second salon, find the right people to run it and let your new clients develop a rapport with them."
however, haw admits that is a lot easier said than done.
"one of the challenges of owning a chain is that you want to be at all of the locations, all of the time," he says. "but you have to let go and let the new manager run the salon. of course, you'll oversee it, but it's important to give him or her an opportunity to do it their way."
the challenges of chain store ownership
according to scott and bobbie jo lundgren, co-owners of the advantage tan chain in rapid city, s.d., one salon is fun, but two can be too much sometimes.
位于南达科他州拉皮德市连锁店“快速皮肤美黑”(rapid tan)的共同所有人斯科特(scott)和波比·乔·伦德格润(bobbie jo lundgren)认为，一家美容店是乐趣，两家有时候就不是这么回事了。
"there are longer hours to put in when you own a chain, says scott. "and, trying to get employees to show up on time can be challenging,"
energy tanning's lipman and eddlemon agree: "every day there is something different to contend with," says eddlemon. "employee turnover is definitely an issue. we run energy tanning as a corporation and when you have lower income positions, those positions don't always stay filled. fortunately, though, we've been very lucky with our employees."
“能量皮肤美黑”(energy tanning)的李普曼和爱德曼也同意，“每天都有一些事情让你疲于奔命”，爱德曼说，“员工离职是个问题。我们的“能量皮肤美黑”(energy tanning)是公司化运作，如果你的职务较低，工资也较低，这些职位总是确认。幸运的是，我们的员工还不错。”
desert tan's noland believes finding the right key personnel is an essential ingredient for any successful chain store owner.
"finding the right people to put in place as you expand and grow is definitely a challenge," he says. "the bottom line is you are only as good as your people and you need to have managers that you can count on."
according to tan l.a.'s haw, with two or more salons you have twice as many problems and twice as many things to worry about.
"that alone is the no. 1 reason for hiring good people," he adds.
however, sunchain's chaney believes there is an even greater challenge in owning a chain of salons.
"you have to take a successful single salon program including your customer service program, sales program, equipment program, etc. and duplicate it," he says. "it's one thing to be successful in one place, but it's a lot harder to duplicate the program."
on the other hand, there seems to be one good reason to be fruitful and multiply.
the advantages of owning a chain store
despite the apparent challenges, one of the best reasons to expand is money. obviously, when you own two or more salons you will be earning more money. however, another fiscal advantage involves borrowing money.
of course, almost every person who has ever walked into a bank to get their first salon financed will testify that attaining funds isn't always an easy task. the good news is getting funding for your second or third salon doesn't seem to be as difficult.
"first of all, when you go to the bank, you will have a successful track record to take with you," chaney says. "so, you will definitely have the ability to go out and get funding because you have experience."
of course, this doesn't mean that after owning a single salon for six months you can just saunter into a bank and expect to get a loan.
"when it comes to lending purposes a bank will want you to be in business at least two years," chaney adds.
noland agrees: "banks have a tendency to notice you and funding is more readily available as a chain," he says. "the bank definitely will have more confidence in you."
a chain also shares some of the same advantages as a franchise including shared advertising and marketing costs, equipment and accessory discounts, and, yes, those two important words--name recognition.
"overall, being a chain shows security and stability," says noland. "the thing about owning a chain is it calms peoples fears. clients and potential clients will recognize you as a professional and your business as a growing entity. when you own a chain it demonstrates business stability and the customer relaxes."
final thoughts & advice
big things and little details cannot be overlooked or ignored when it comes to running a chain of stores--this includes purchasing the right equipment for the salons.
"be sure to buy and invest in the right equipment," says tan l.a.'s haw. "equipment definitely can make or break a tanning salon."
in addition, these chain-store pioneers suggest you watch your expenditures and location choices.
"without a doubt, you will have higher overhead," says noland. "so, don't only watch the big costs, be sure to look after the small items as well. the little touches, the extra amenities you offer your clients can really add up."
more importantly, when you are looking at locations, be sure to do your homework.
"be cautious about locations," noland advises. "research and study the market and know what the trends are and where they might be heading. i realize it's extremely hard to predict growth, especially in a growing market, but try. for example, when opening another salon, you might want to ask yourself whether it would be better to build a 30-bed salon and put in 20 beds now and leave yourself some room for growth in the future. of course, it could mean you will be paying rent on 1,200 square feet of space that is not generating any revenue for awhile. on the other hand, it could be an extremely wise choice. so, it's important to study the market, as well as ask and answer these types of questions honestly."
conventional, mega salon, chain or franchise, ultimately the success of any business venture depends upon one word and one word only--professionalism.
"whether you are developing a conventional, mega salon, chain or franchise your top priority should be professionalism," chaney says. "that professionalism should be passed down to each and every one of your locations. this priority is of utmost importance because i believe a weeding process has begun in our industry. the bottom line is salon owners should not open their stores on shoestring budgets or hire barely living people to work behind the counter. in addition, whether you are a conventional, mega salon, chain or franchise owner, you need to make sure you emphasize education. as a professional that still is a major part of your responsibility."