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How To 2015-12-07

How can women entrepreneurs start a salon business in nine steps

By Sr. Sub-editor
How can women entrepreneurs start a salon business in nine steps

With roots in Chennai, beauty and wellness brand, Naturals Salon has spread its footprints all over India. Veena Kumaravel, Co-Founder, Naturals Salon shares how can potential investors partner with the brand and what rewarding opportunities it has in store for women entrepreneurs.

How simple are the procedures to open a franchise?

Opening a franchise involves investing your hard earned money, so, no matter how tedious and time consuming to find the procedures, give them your full attention and time required.  We have always cautioned investors to do their homework thoroughly before venturing into any investment. Brands do try to simplify the opening procedures as much as possible. For example, at Naturals once you have signed on a franchisee, our team takes  over all the details of setting up the salon, from interiors, to recruitment, to ordering of products, to training, to software, etc.

How do you device sales and marketing strategies for your franchisees? Does it differ from region to region?

As a brand, we are a major player in the south and our sales and marketing strategies are fine tuned for this region. However, India is a large country and the cultural and socio-economic differences are unique for each area. So, even though we have Kareena Kapoor as our brand ambassador for overall brand recognition, our marketing campaigns and advertisements are tweaked to suit individual regions. For example, we have had campaigns based on Karva Chauth or the Durga Puja for the North and East regions respectively. Our bridal campaigns have to reflect the cultures of the region where they are running. At the same time we have generic advertisements like our annual 1947 offer which is a big draw for new walk-ins all over India. Our products and services are also introduced with an eye on customer expectations. After 15+ years in the industry, we have our finger firmly on the pulse of the market and we know exactly what the clients expect from a major beauty chain like Naturals.

With manpower being a challenge in the service industry, how did you overcome it?

Manpower, specially trained manpower, is a biggest challenge    the beauty and wellness industry faces today. Many franchisors supply the initial manpower and training. We at Naturals go the extra mile and ensure we provide you with a trained team at the start and also replacement of staff throughout your franchise period with us.

What has been your best promotional move till date?

Our best promotional move till date has definitely been gift vouchers. They work amazingly well in retention of customers, maintaining the loyalty of the client and increasing our new walk-ins to the salon. We also have other interesting options like the Happiness Card which enabled the entire family to visit the salon for their grooming needs and free trial make up for bridal services, but we feel nothing has worked as well as our gift vouchers. They are instrumental in influencing customers to visit a new salon, to enjoy the look and feel of the salon’s plush ambience and also persuading them into trying new services they normally might not have considered.

Do have any tie up with banks to support your women franchisees and entrepreneurs? Please elaborate how you support franchisees via such tie ups?

With any business, we know that aspirations are one thing and actual implementation, planning and execution turn out to be quite another. Monetary constraints or fund raising can bog down any entrepreneur who wishes to move to the next level. Understanding this is critical and to support women who wish to be entrepreneurs, we have tie ups in place with Indian Overseas Bank and Bharat Mahila Bank. This ensures they get the necessary funding at the right time to make their dreams reality. As a result of our tie ups, clients with extremely good credit rating can get up to 80% funding from the banks mentioned, with submission of necessary documents. Once this process is complete, the in-house business development team from Naturals will coordinate with the franchise partner for a smooth acquisition of funds.

What kind of homework must womenpreneurs do before putting together her business plan? Are there any tips that you would like to give to aspiring women franchisees and entrepreneurs?

Any one aspiring to be an entrepreneur needs to follow a few basic steps outlined here:

1.      Get a clear understanding of the business in which they want a franchise.

2.      A passion for the concerned industry is essential.

3.      It is a good idea to visit various brands in the industry to gain an idea of the business.

4.      You need to have a thorough understanding of financial planning, revenues and how targets work before you start.

5.      Make sure you are able to set aside enough time to dedicate yourself to the development of the business - efficient time management is a must for any entrepreneur, not just women.

6.      Get your business projections, analytics and a clear five year plan ready before you start.

7.      Understand cash flows.

8.      Analyse client satisfaction and client delight.

9.      Launch your business and all the best!!

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