Arkansas Entrepreneur Ashtone Dixon has been a hairstylist since 2011. She founded The Hot Spot AR | Salon & Spa in Conway in 2017 and relocated to Fayetteville in 2021.

At Hot Spot Salon, Dixon services members of the community as a hairstylist, makeup artist, and aesthetician. Dixon has earned multiple cosmetology certifications upon completing 600-plus hours at the Paul Mitchell Beauty School and has taught there as an instructor.

In 2017, Dixon created a business plan but found it to be inadequate for her business’s growth and new service launches over the years. She realized she needed a better system for managing expenses and reinvesting funds back into the business.

As part of her growth strategy, Dixon participated in the Northwest Arkansas Black Owned Business Expo and connected with the Entrepreneurship Team at Communities Unlimited (CU). CU Area Director Brian Wells referred her to Management Consultant Sierra Polk.

While Dixon was making a profit, she had opportunities to improve her budgeting and cash flow management processes. With Polk’s evaluation of Dixon’s business plan, CU helped Dixon define and better align her business’s trajectory to its mission, vision, and purpose today, considering the last five years of growth.

Ashtone Dixon is working with CU's Entrepreneurship Team on her salon business
Ashtone Dixon is working with CU's Entrepreneurship Team on her salon business

Since October 2023, Polk has spent over 50 hours working with Dixon on a business model to spur growth and development. They implemented Wave Accounting Tools and analyzed operating budgets for financial statements and projections planning.

Prior to working with CU, Dixon had decided to launch a new 2-seat Yoni steam service within her salon. Dixon had invested in introducing this new service to test it within the Northwest Arkansas market area, without conducting a true market analysis to gauge interest. This resulted in an insufficient return on her initial investment.

With CU’s assistance, Dixon was able to conduct a strategic market analysis, supporting her decision to pause on providing this service as a result of the extensive market research that was completed. Dixon has gained valuable business and financial management knowledge, which has led to operational improvements and opened up new directions for growth and scalability.

CU’s work with Hot Spot Salon has helped Dixon formalize her business model, clarify revenue plans, provided financial projections, and business resources for strategic growth planning.

Polk’s strategic planning and business development support have helped Dixon both evaluate a new trajectory in business and plan for potential expansion into a larger commercial space to serve more beauty salon and spa customers in Fayetteville.

“Ashtone is so passionate about helping her clients see and bring out the beauty within themselves,” Polk said. “Supporting Ashtone through the planning process to help determine potential new avenues to pivot into and explore has been such a pleasure. Ashtone’s work since relocating to this part of the region has a thread, aligned to her desire to help close accessibility gaps for people in Northwest Arkansas who seek knowledgeable professionals that care about the health of textured hair.”

With CU’s guidance, Dixon is now better equipped to achieve her business goals and continue growing The Hot Spot AR Salon & Spa.

“My experience working with Sierra has been great,” Dixon said. “She is so passionate and knowledgeable. I can tell Sierra cares about the success of her clients.”