You've made the decision to open a salon or spa. The next steps you take will go a long way in determining its success. It's easier to set up your business properly at the beginning than to open the doors and try to make corrections on the fly. Building a checklist can help ensure that nothing gets overlooked. Here are some key issues that should be part of any good business plan.

Determine Your Location

Visibility equals free advertising. Make sure you're in a high-traffic area that can provide lots of potential clients. It's helpful to be located near other businesses such as restaurants, banks and dry cleaners so your service can fit conveniently into a busy schedule.

Plan Your Interior Design

Once you get a client through the door, it's important you give him or her a reason to keep coming back. Your decor should reflect the image you want to project: modern and trendy, classic, family-oriented. Also consider issues such as having enough space to accommodate salon furniture or spa equipment.

Obtain Appropriate Licensing and Insurance

Lack of proper licensing can be both embarrassing and costly. Check with your state licensing bureau to determine their requirements. You'll also need both property and liability insurance. If you're planning to rent barber chairs or salon stations, be sure to check that your renters have individual coverage.

Furnish and Equip Your Space

Purchase salon furniture with your chosen decor in mind. Plan for enough beauty equipment and spa equipment to provide the services you'll be offering. Don't forget about the front desk. A good phone system and a computer with management and scheduling software are essential for today's salons and spas.

Purchase Salon Supplies

Create a separate checklist for this step so nothing gets omitted. From hair scissors and flat irons to towels and trolley carts, you'll want to make sure you're fully stocked.

The opening of a salon or spa will set the tone for future success. Use this checklist to be ready to put your best foot forward from day one.