Hanna: Opening a Yoga studio
Hanna always wanted to open her own yoga studio. She started practicing yoga 3 years ago and fell in love with it. As the years went by, she met a lot of like-minded people who also wanted to make their own mark and carry their own brand of yoga. Yoga can mean different things to different individuals. It can be a form of exercise, meditation; a lifestyle; or even a religion.
Hanna felt that she lacked the necessary entrepreneurial experience. Running a business is not like working for a company. The reality of running or starting a business as opposed to working is very different.
The coaching session at DISCOVERY helped her to align her goals. She had a successful coaching session with YJ and she was comfortable to share her aspirations and fears in running a business. Read more about her Discovery experience here.
Betsy: From Humble Beginnings to Fulfilling a Dream
Following her passion for beauty care, Betsy decided to venture out on her own after accumulating 10 years of experience working for some renowned brands in the industry. As a modest start-up, her first salon specialising in manicures and pedicures opened in an HDB estate.
The salon was staffed with 3 manicurists and pedicurists, along with Betsy herself doubling as senior therapist and business manager. Business was bustling at the start as residents were curious about the new outfit in their estate and were attracted by Betsy’s opening promotional prices.
However, after the initial hype, business dropped and was not breaking even, due to limited potential customers. To cut costs, she implemented a number of measures, including terminating phone lines, converting full-time staff to part-time and even subletting shop space. Still, she was losing money and running out of ideas. That was when she came to us for advice.
Identifying the Issues
After a one-on-one session with Betsy, we immediately identified a number of issues to be addressed in order to improve the salon’s business.
First was its location. The salon was located in an area with at least 3 other shops offering similar services at very competitive prices. The estate also housed mostly older folks who did not have the financial means to justify “luxurious indulgences”. It was estimated that only 25% of her clients were working adults with higher spending power, but were not using her services regularly either.
Furthermore, while Betsy possessed excellent skills, she lacked formal certification. We guided her to obtain formal and widely-recognised certification. This would give her the seal of approval by a known authority for her skills and also give her customers confidence of quality service. With better skills and service quality, customers are often willing to pay more.
Creating a Workable Plan
A brainstorming session with Betsy revealed that she should target a more affluent customer segment. However, this group prefers to shop at nearby malls rather than the neighbourhood shops. We suggested that Betsy should relocate her salon into a mall even though the rent is higher. She explored this option and discovered that despite the higher rent, there would also be marketing collaborations to reach out to new customers and increase sales.
To ease the financial burden of the transition, we proposed that Betsy take up a unit with a floor area smaller than her previous salon. We also introduced a known, reliable interior designer to help her optimise the unit. This would allow her to install the same number of service stations as before, but at a reasonable budget.
We also advised her to focus on upgrading her skills continually. We recognized that customer experience at every salon visit is a key success factor in building and retaining loyalty. As such, improving customer service and ensuring satisfaction were the key aspects we advised Betsy to focus on.
A Success Story
Betsy’s salon moved into the mall 4 months ago and business is now thriving, with both existing customers transferred from her old salon and a larger customer footfall at the mall. With many gaps plugged, her business is operating smoothly and customers are signing up for packages and upgrading service requests. Betsy also reported that while revenue has doubled, operating costs have only increased marginally. She is happy, her staff are happy and her customers are happy.
As Betsy puts it, “At one point in my business, I thought I would not survive. I did, and DISCOVERY’s valuable coaching put my salon on the right path for growth and the future. DISCOVERY has been my greatest discovery!”