I am a migrant that has been living in the UK for about ten years and I work as a hairdresser. I have been working in this field for a long time, and from when I was in my country. Now I am at a stage that I would like my own business.
Working for more than five years in a big salon has given me more confidence in my job and I have learned a lot.
Therefore I have started to think that instead of working so hard for someone else it is better to work for myself. I have a dream of building a big salon and then use it as a school for girls who want to learn and become a hairdresser. But when I have discussed it with my husband, my family and friends, they don’t encourage me. They think that this is not a good time for business because of the recession.
My husband had a bad experience in business four years ago when he tried to succeed with a café bar he opened near the house but after two years he closed it because it didn’t work out. But with me I know that it is going to work because I know how to build relationships with clients and I am good at this job. However, I really would need some advice and encouragement in order to not lose my motivation. I do have my own savings set aside. Do you think I have a chance to succeed with my business idea? What is the best way to start? I would appreciate your opinion. F.
Baybars Replies: Do Your Calculations And Then Decide
Having invested ten years in the business, you know it well. You are strongly motivated to set up your own business despite an economic recession, and despite the fact that your husband, owing to his own negative experience, is not able to provide the encouragement you’d like to have from him.
Now, put all these things aside, including your own experience and expertise. Answer this critical question: How many of your current clients will follow you? Customers in the hairdressing sector are typically loyal to the individuals who serve them at the salon.
Just to give you a personal example, if my hairdresser moves to another shop, I simply move along with him. The hairdressing business is rather unique in this way. You are paying not just for your hair treatment. The money you pay also includes a personal relationship – and the chat with your hairdresser while you are in the shop. If you enjoy talking about, say, football (or recipes, or cars, or local events) and if your hairdresser also enjoys talking about it, then that’s it! What I’m saying is that hairdressers’ customers are not usually tied to a brand. For would-be entrepreneurs in the hairdressing sector, this is a definite and significant advantage.
The answer to the question I asked above is therefore crucial, because you will make your first calculations according to the number of your loyal customers and the value of the services they purchase from you. If the revenue you have at the end of the first month is enough to cover your operating expenses (rent, staff, equipment leasing, supplies, utilities, and so on) in your new shop that is good. However, in case you haven’t created a network of clients who will finance at least your first month’s expenses, you should wait until you have developed a sufficient client base.
You will understand from this discussion that I am recommending letting your customers finance your business. The recession, your know-how, and your husband’s views are secondary factors in making the decision. The primary issue is the value of the customers who will follow you.
So concentrate on the guaranteed number of customers and the value of the services they require, do your calculations – and then decide!
Baybars Altuntas is a Turkish entrepreneur, speaker and author and also a Dragon on ‘Dragon’s Den Turkey’. Send your questions to: