What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned during the pandemic?
“In this industry, our revenue is generated predominantly from clients coming into our businesses, and the coronavirus lockdowns highlighted big weaknesses in our business strategy. It made us question how to create a revenue stream at a time when we were unable to provide treatments.
“My time has been spent looking at these weaknesses. We had an online store that was active, but not brilliant, and we looked at how to switch our training from in a classroom to online, and we thought about how to communicate with our customers.”
How have you maintained communication with clients?
“I never made an announcement that the business was closed, because it wasn’t, it was still there behind the scenes. We had our phone system set up to work remotely; we could pick up voicemails, emails and manage the online booking system. It was important for clients to know we were still here, and it meant that we could get a commitment that they would return when we reopened.
“The reopening strategy was also important – we needed to keep the business moving, make sure our team was motivated and manage client expectations, letting them know about changes we had made to keep them safe.”
What makes a successful entrepreneur and business owner?
“There is a big difference between an entrepreneur and a business owner. Every person in my team has entrepreneurial spirt; they’re great at coming up with ideas and giving me feedback on things that work and don’t work. My role as a business owner is to take those ideas and bring them to fruition.
“My advice is listen to your team and clients and don’t take yourself too seriously. Try to enjoy problem solving, be determined and make sure you love what you do.”
What business mistakes have you made and learned from?
“I made one of my biggest errors when I didn’t understand business. I was a beauty therapist – I could do treatments with my eyes shut but running my own business was very different.
“I opened our doors before social media and in the early stages of the internet so the only real way to advertise to clients was by getting out, handing out flyers and taking out adverts in the Yellow Pages.
“In 2005, I spent £10,000 on a Yellow Pages advert and it brought in absolutely no business. It was a harsh lesson to learn but it taught me to be cautious about where, how and why I was spending my money. From then on, I always questioned what success I was going to get back from the spend and how it was going to benefit the business.” PB