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How to write razor-sharp barbershop business plans

How to write razor-sharp barbershop business plans

Key takeaways

  • Creating a barbershop business plan can set you up for success in a rising market with limited competition
  • Stand out by offering a clear value proposition and highlighting your management team’s expertise
  • Avoid financial pitfalls by creating comprehensive budgets for your marketing, operational, and startup costs

Barbershops are more than just a place to get a trim or shave: They’re also neighborhood social hubs and places for self-care. While these businesses were once considered men’s hair salons, many barbers today are expanding the barbershop’s potential with business plans that prioritize inclusivity and customer service. 

“My vision was to have a space where all sorts of people come in—no matter how the outside world might perceive them—and they’d be able to walk in and feel welcome,” said master barber Khane Kutzwell, owner of Camera Ready Kutz. Motivated to create a safe space for LGBTQ clients, Khane got her barber license and started cutting hair in her New York City apartment. After ten years, she was able to draft a business plan, raise investment capital from several loyal customers, and move her operation to a brick-and-mortar shop.

As Khane and many others have found, creating a roadmap is crucial for growing your business idea into a flourishing operation. Effective barbershop business plans help entrepreneurs identify their competitive advantage, hone their business strategy, and secure funding to make their dream a reality.

Learn why the time is right to open a barbershop and how to write a business plan that supports your vision.

Why open a barbershop?

Barbershops are finally finding their momentum. Despite a dip in demand in the late 2000s, barbershop revenue has been rising since 2013. Once primarily frequented by men seeking nothing more than a classic cut or clean shave, these salons are increasing in popularity as a social spot where anyone can indulge in a variety of self-care treatments. Men’s shifting perception toward grooming is also driving increased spending on trims, shaves, and products like beard oils and hair gels.

But while demand is growing, barbershops still only make up about 3.5% of all hair care services in the United States. Becoming a barbershop owner today allows you to distinguish yourself from standard hair salons and serve a market that’s loaded with potential.

7 elements to include in barbershop business plans

Your barbershop business plan serves as a roadmap for you and your team, clarifying what your business does and how you plan to grow it. This will help you reach your goals without sacrificing what makes you stand out. For lenders and investors, the business plan also showcases your strategies and growth potential, so you can get the funding you need.

To make your document as effective as possible, include these seven key sections in your barbershop business plan template.

1. Executive summary

Happy barber and his customer

Barbershop business plans traditionally begin with an executive summary, which is a one-page overview of your company and what makes it remarkable. It also includes key highlights from each section of your plan, allowing readers to get a hint of what they’ll learn.

A great executive summary makes it clear that your small business has what it takes to succeed—and like a good cover letter, it should engage your audience. Many lenders and investors will toss your business plan aside if the opening page fails to grab their attention. Highlight the most interesting, impressive, and engaging details about your barbershop. For example, you could bolster your executive summary with a statistic on the rapid growth of your customer base.

Pro tip: Write your executive summary after you complete the rest of your plan. That way, you can gather highlights and make sure there aren’t any inconsistencies.

2. Business description

With the introduction out of the way, you can help your readers get to know your company. Writing a business description allows you to explain what you do and what gives your barbershop a competitive advantage. What’s the top reason your target market chooses your barbershop? Perhaps it’s your quality service, precise fades, straight razor shaves, or something else. Outline that value proposition here, as well as other key details:

  • Legal business name
  • Business structure (such as sole proprietorship or LLC)
  • Founding year or launch date
  • Location (or service area, for mobile barbers)
  • Mission statement
  • Business goals
  • Primary services
  • Target market demographics

This section is also a good place to explain your business model. Since barbershops can earn money from services, products, booth rentals, or a mix of all three, your readers will want to know how you earn money (and alternatively, how team members are paid).

3. Management team

The people leading your business have a significant impact on its success. Introduce each owner of your barbershop (even if it’s just you), along with details about their experience to build trust with investors, lenders, and team members. 

For example, you can mention any barber licenses or certifications you carry, as well as your years of experience in the industry and past awards. Include any business management experience or education too.

If you’ve hired managers to oversee any processes, introduce them along with their roles and experience.

4. Products and services

Barbershop business plans: Close-up of a beard shave

Barbering can include a wide range of services. While you might have touched on your specialties in your business description, this section of your barbershop business plan gives your readers the full scope of what your barbershop does by introducing each of your products and services. For example, while you may specialize in haircutting, styling, beard trims, and neck shaves, you might also offer hair coloring and facials.

Product descriptions can be simple: Describe each item you sell and how much it costs. But service descriptions should feature clarifying details, including pricing, time estimates, and complimentary inclusions, like a pre-shave oil and moisturizing treatment for hot towel shaves.

If you’re the only barbershop in your area to offer a service or product, such as hair braiding, facials, or organic pomade, mention it.

5. Market analysis

As a business owner, you need a complete understanding of your market to make effective decisions. For this section, you’ll need to perform thorough research to explain market and industry trends, including changes in demand for hair care or inclusive barbering services. This way, you can identify your opportunities and show readers how you’ll overcome any potential pitfalls.

Identifying your competitors is also important. You should know how other barbershops in your area compare to yours. For example, you can explain the similarities and differences in your products, services, expertise, and client bases. Then, explain how you’ll stay ahead or get ahead of the competition.

6. Marketing plan

​The majority of barbershops don’t have a marketing plan in place. Including an overview of your marketing strategies in your business plan can set you apart from your competitors, while impressing potential lenders. Use this section to describe the channels you’ll use to reach your target market and the general direction you’ll take for each.

For example, many barbershops rely on word of mouth as a primary marketing channel. Here, you could explain how you’ll also launch a referral program, host social media contests, and claim your Yelp Business Page so you can respond to reviews and boost the number of people who actively recommend you. For each strategy, explain your key performance indicators (KPIs), or the metrics you’ll track to ensure you’re meeting your marketing goals.

Once you define your strategies, create a thorough budget that breaks down how much you expect to spend on marketing collateral, ad campaigns, contractor labor, and more.

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7. Financial plan

Barbershop business plans typically end with a financial plan. This section helps your readers visualize how much you expect to spend, as well as how much you expect to earn long-term. Especially if you’re submitting your business plan to lenders and investors, a thorough, realistic, and positive financial plan is key to landing outside funding.

Every barbershop owner should break down all their monthly operational expenses, including recurring costs such as rent, contractor payments, marketing, and supplies like shave lotion. Brand-new businesses should also include a section that breaks down startup expenses, such as business licenses, business registration, furniture, inventory, and equipment like clippers and shears. For both operational and startup expenses, include a section for miscellaneous costs in case unexpected purchases are needed.

After breaking down your costs, you should offer financial projections that depict realistic—and positive—growth, despite your expenses. Mock up balance sheets, income statements, cash flow statements, and projections for the next five years. You can handle your own small business accounting, download accounting software for small businesses, or consider hiring an accountant or financial analyst to help.

Start business planning for your barbershop

Whether you’re pursuing a lifelong dream or riding the wave of a growing industry, writing a barbershop business plan will help you hone in on a strategy for further growth. The first of many crucial steps, this roadmap helps you and your readers identify what sets you apart from the competition so you can make better decisions for your business and obtain the funding you need. 

Once you’re headed on the right path and have the capital to get you there, consider these nine types of pricing strategies to help you meet your business goals.

The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.