Get All Access for $5/mo

Here's How You Can Make Your UAE-Based Salon Business Break Even In 16 Weeks The UAE cosmetics market alone is forecast to cross US$3 billion by 2025 on account of the increasing demand from the youth population, growing adoption of global cultures and lifestyles, and an increasing number of beauty salons across the country.

By Valerie Reynaert

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


Business is hard– making a profit, even harder. Plus, in such tumultuous times, how can startups begin to consider cash flow planning and profit and loss? It's essential, absolutely, but it can still feel like pulling numbers out of thin air, while maintaining an educated, rational, and yet, positive, approach to your startup's strategy.

I work in the beauty, salon, and spa sector, and there is no doubt that this is one of the "boom" industries regionally, showing no real sign of slowing down, alongside a positive "bounce back" from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The UAE cosmetics market alone is forecast to cross US$3 billion by 2025 on account of the increasing demand from the youth population, growing adoption of global cultures and lifestyles, and an increasing number of beauty salons across the country. An increase in salons means an increase in competition, leaving your opening strategies and projections even more important in financial planning.

In what can be perceived as a saturated market, the impetus can be on speed: to be open to trade as quickly as possible, to hire as fast as you can, and to grow quickly against profitability. But this is where salon startups can hit a bottleneck. Growth strategies and metrics aside, as an industry consultant, I am often asked the question: "How long does it take for a salon to become profitable?" And I always give the same answer: four to five months.

Many are surprised by this, but I can attest that it is entirely possible to break even by month 4, with many personal examples in my previous roles of managing and expanding salon chains alongside successfully assisting my clients in achieving their own "month 4" goals. So, if you're running a business in this space and are wanting to break even from month 4, and make a profit from month 5, here are the four key factors you need to focus on:

1. Your business foundations Implementing solid foundations for your business (and keeping them consistent) is key. These include, but are not limited to, knowing what your business stands for, your target market, the best location to cater to your target market, the pricing of your products and services, and, lastly, the work environment that you create for your employees- not forgetting your dedication and eagerness to make it a success.

2. Your money Your financial plan will show you exactly how many sales you need to generate, how to control your expenses, and how to become profitable as soon as possible. Since starting my company, VR Beauty Consulting, it has been proven that a feasibility study, which includes a three-year financial plan, is one of the key factors to success. The key is not just to open a salon and see what the business will bring, or wait until there is a financial problem within the business; it is vital to be prepared, and look so far ahead that you eliminate any risk altogether, where possible. For starters, you must understand every detail of your salon, including the number of employees you need to hire. It is reckless to simply hire without a plan in place. It is far more beneficial to start with a smaller team, and build the team as and when the business requires it.

To prepare your financial plan, you need to have the aforementioned foundations firmly in place. Identifying your unique market offering and your ideal paying customer means you can decide best as to where your salon is best situated. Following this, a competitor analysis should be established where you should decide on your pricing according to your fellow competitors in the area. Once you have decided on your pricing, then you can create your financial plan.

Related: Four Factors That Allowed The UAE To Emerge As The New Frontier For Global Entrepreneurship

3. Your business' visibility If "content is king," then remember your marketing strategies extend beyond your favorite social media platform. It is crucial to have your social media presence set up well in advance of opening your salon, particularly Instagram and TikTok for the Middle East region. Creating buzz, awareness, and excitement for your impending opening is key to driving footfall to your salon. Think hard about your digital footprint overall, particularly by claiming your business as early as you can with Google My Business, and having clear SEO considerations in all your output. Think about opening offers and aspirational posts, showcase your knowledge and educate your followers to solidify yourselves as experts in your field. Think about working with relevant influencers to create beautiful content that can be reshared and bring potential new clients to your salon.

4. Your business' experience Last, but most important, an inspiring work environment and impeccable customer service are fundamental in order to run a successful and profitable business– essentially, this is what keeps your clients coming back. A well-respected team that feels valued, with their management taking an active interest in their personal and professional development, equals a happy team. A happy team in turn makes for happy clients. I strongly recommend putting a customized client journey in place so that the team is clear on what to deliver. It also ensures that clients feel pampered and taken care of throughout their whole salon experience.

Starting with the right foundations in place is the key to breaking even by your fourth month of opening. Putting the work in here is fundamental to your sanity too– having to "firefight" for business while open simply puts extra pressure on you at a time you will have operational considerations on your shoulders. Don't make starting up any harder on yourself than you need to!

It is also worth noting that a salon should not be breaking even any later than eight months into operation. This is a big red flag, and your business should be analyzed in depth to ascertain what is going wrong. A new strategy can urgently be put in place to help lead your salon to profitability.

Starting any business comes with its trials and tribulations, but the good news is that if you're well prepared, motivated, and dedicated, it's more than possible to have a successful salon business breaking even within 16 weeks.

Related: Go Big Or Go Home: More Middle Eastern Boldness Is Needed To Break "The Scale-Up Ceiling"

Valerie Reynaert

Founder and CEO, VR Beauty Consulting

Valerie Reynaert is the founder and CEO and of beauty consulting platform VR Beauty Consulting, where she helps aspiring and current beauty salon owners in the region to create breakthrough success in the industry by leveraging the best practices from the salon floor all the way up to director level. 

Growing a Business

This Nurse-Turned-Entrepreneur Saw the Needs of Underserved Communities Firsthand. Now, His Company Uses AI to Help Them.

Kwamane Liddell, the innovative founder behind ThriveLink, shares his entrepreneurial journey.


6 Ways to Make Money from Home

Working from home has plenty of benefits, but how can you get started? Explore popular ways entrepreneurs are making money from the comfort of their homes.

Growing a Business

He Immigrated to the U.S. and Got a Job at McDonald's — Then His Aversion to Being 'Too Comfortable' Led to a Fast-Growing Company That's Hard to Miss

Voyo Popovic launched his moving and storage company in 2018 — and he's been innovating in the industry ever since.

Growth Strategies

With A Goal To Fully Decarbonize The Last-Mile Industry, UAE-Based One Moto Secures US$40 Million In Lease Financing

With a goal to fully decarbonize the last-mile industry, the startup aims to introduce 50,000 electric delivery vehicles in the UAE by 2025.


Why You Have to Let People Fail Now So They Can Succeed Later

Letting people fail helps them think critically and make their own decisions.


Paradigm, Episode 1: Triliv Founder Jigar Sagar On Shaping The Business Landscape Of The UAE

Paradigm is a new podcast by Entrepreneur TV Middle East that explores success paradigms in the dynamic world of business and entrepreneurship.