Great question and one every business needs to spend time working through and strategizing over. I’d split the ask into 3 areas; building your brand, finding your unique customer value proposition and marketing your services.
Depending on the time you have to dedicate to this will determine how far you take my recommended approach below.
I’d start with the lean canvas which can help you to determine your own angle. How you’ll stand out vs the competition. Who your competitors are. What your unique value proposition is. What your unfair advantage is. How you’ll price your services to be competitive and sticky. https://leanstack.com/leancanvas
Once you’ve had a crack at the top line canvas I’d then suggest developing a more detailed plan using an old marketing framework: SOSTAC, which stands for Situation, Objectives, Strategy, Tactics, Action, Control.
* Situation assesses where a business is presently (Where are you now? Who are the competition? What’s the market size? who are your target customers and where are they? Are there any gaps your business could fill? Etc)
* Objectives sets the mission or goals for the business (Where do you want to be? What are the 3-5 objectives you have for the business? E.g. For the first year: To grow the salon business revenues from $x to $x with a profit of x%. To achieve a product sales target of $x. To grow our customer base to x. To drive brand awareness in our local community by x%.)
* Strategy is an overview of how to achieve the objectives (How do you get there? What are the high level strategies you’ll deploy to reach your objectives? E.g. Target customers and drive acquisition through onboarding offers. Raise brand awareness in the community using targeted comms, etc etc).
* Tactics are the details of strategy (e.g. the marketing mix. These are the specific initiatives you’ll employ to deliver on your strategies. E.g. Targeted FB ads, join local business networks, conduct door flyer drops, write articles for local press, offer a recurring revenue bundle such as a subscription to your salon service that comes with associated products (this will assist with managing cash flow and provide some predictability on revenues), raise your own profile in the community through social good etc etc).
* Actions how do you ensure excellent execution of the plan. (E.g. Using simple planning tools you can plot your tactical initiatives across a calendar).
* Control establishes how you know whether you are getting there (What do you need to monitor? E.g. Put in place simple measurement tools to allow you to understand what tactics are achieve if the best outcome for your business. Use A/B split testing with your ads on FB, monitor if there was a spike in website traffic or sales after an article was published in the local press, after promoting your subscription based offer via, say a member get member offer, did you see a significant uptake? Etc etc).
By systematically working through each of the areas above you’ll land on a clear direction and the tactical efforts you need to take the business forward.
Further information can be found here;
SOSTAC® marketing planning model guide
When it comes to bringing it all to life it’s really down to yourself and your sister to get creative and think differently to your competitors. What are they doing on the socials, who’s demanding the best position in the market and why, how are they turning up differently. Considering these questions will hopefully lead you to a set of smart strategies and tactics (as part of your sostac plan) to smash the competition!