6 Min Read |
The beauty industry is constantly seeing new brands emerge within the industry. The market for beauty is huge, and female beauty in particular is a fertile ground for fledgling companies.
Starting a new business today is simpler than ever, especially if you already have a solid product or concept to sell. Social media gives you an instant ‘in’; a way to connect with your potential client base before you even start selling. And then crowdfunding platforms such as Kickstarter and GoFundMe allow new brands to gain financial support to help them launch. Ecommerce platforms and free or low-budget online marketing minimize the risk of starting up – because you can do so without a big investor.
Here are six steps to get you started on the right track.
1. Fill a Void and Find Your Niche
Are you a hairdresser who’s developed your own game-changing shampoo? A licensed dermatologist with a scientific take on skincare? Or maybe you’re a passionate beauty fan with a clear view of how to enrich the lives of other beauty consumers like you?
Get clear on who you are and what you can offer. It can help to start local – what’s missing for beauty consumers in your area? What do they need – or what are they asking for? Fill that void.
And hone in on your niche. What sets you apart from everyone else? It might be your qualifications or life experiences; your ability to connect; or simply your stand-out product.
A key aspect of finding your niche is identifying your audience. Who are you targeting, and why? What do they want or need? How much money do they have to spend? What is not currently available to them?
For example, maybe you’ve noticed a cohort of beauty consumers who want to share their experience of beauty products instead of going it alone. So instead of launching a product and selling it, you launch a community around your product, coming up with innovative opportunities for interaction and learning.
2. Choose a Location
The location of your business is primarily dictated by the type of business you want to launch. Do you need a physical store, or space within a larger store? Is your business providing a mobile service? Or are you determinedly digital – with your business located in the online world?
If you need a brick-and-mortar location, be aware that you can think small to begin with. A front room salon in your own home could work if your marketing strategy will bring clients to you. But identify your ideal location by considering where your niche audience wants to go. A shopping mall? A creative, edgy downtown area? A residential setting?
If you’re offering mobile services or opting for an ecommerce platform, you don’t need that physical space. But you will need storage space for your equipment and/or products.
3. Get Your House in Order
Brush up on your knowledge of rules and regulations within the beauty industry, and your specific sector. It’s vital that your new business abides by the law, and that you’re covered by appropriate insurance. Remember that interacting directly with customers requires insurance, and any product that comes into contact with a clients’ skin must be appropriately tested.
On the business side, look into the demands you’ll need to fulfill in terms of business registration and tax. It’s possible to do this on your own using the wealth of knowledge on the Internet – but if you’re unsure, schedule a meeting with a lawyer to check you’ve got everything in line.
4. Think Finances
How much money do you need to launch? Where are those funds coming from? How will you keep spending on track?
Draw up a detailed business plan to ensure you don’t lose your way. Your business plan should include projected income and expenditures (that includes your salary!) as well as the structure of your startup and growth.
Armed with a solid business plan, you can begin to approach investors. Some opt for the traditional route of banks and loan providers, while others look to crowdfunding to drum up support as well as funds.
Remember that financial planning doesn’t end once you’ve pinned down your business plan. It is vital for any business to keep impeccable records in order to file taxes and stay above board. If numbers and tax systems aren’t your thing, consider hiring an accountant or a part-time bookkeeper to streamline your business.
5. Source Your Goods
If you’re selling products, wholesale purchasing is key to making a reasonable profit. If you run a small boutique business selling handmade products at high prices, you may manage for a while on your own. But if you want to grow your business and make a living from it you will need to think bigger.
For online businesses, a fulfillment services partner will help to pack and dispatch your products to your customers. Even small ecommerce businesses must be able to match the delivery times and shipping costs of big competitors – as slow delivery or high shipping costs are inevitably off-putting for potential customers.
If your business provides a service, who is doing that work? Are you a makeup artist providing all services yourself? Do you need to get freelancers on board, or hire staff?
6. Launch Your Marketing Campaign
At this point, your products or services are sorted. Distribution is in place and you’re ready to serve your first customer.
But…how will you find that customer and persuade them to buy?
It’s time to design a marketing campaign to drive sales and make all your work worthwhile. You might opt for a professional brand identity design, drawing on the skills of a graphic designer and copywriter to polish your image. Or if you’re starting smaller, it’s perfectly possible to launch a simple brand identity on your own using online web and graphic building tools.
Consistency is important. Create a logo that your customers will recognize, and use it across all your marketing materials – from your storefront to your website, your marketing emails to your receipts.
Opt for a multi-channel marketing campaign that utilizes the power of social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, as well as TV or YouTube videos; print; and email. If you know your audience really well and you know exactly where they spend their media consumption time, you might do just as well choosing a single or dual channel approach.
Stay On Top
Starting a new business is time-consuming, energy-devouring, and sometimes overwhelming. Remember to stay on top of your health and wellbeing as well as your business planning. With measured steps, patience and creativity, you can take a slice of the beauty industry for yourself.
Keep your customers at the forefront of your mind. But don’t forget to take care of yourself, too.