This is a story about the 5 year journey of Amanda from start-up to what is now an established growing business.
How I met Amanda
I met Amanda in early 2011 when I interviewed her to join the South Australian Young Entrepreneurs Scheme (SAYES), a start-up program offered by Business SA http://business-sa.com/business-support/sa-young-entrepreneur-scheme. The program targets young entrepreneurs mainly in bricks and mortar businesses (e.g. builders, podiatrists, wine makers, gyms, small manufacturers, etc.).
Amanda was starting out as a tattoo removalist using laser technology. Her husband ran a tattoo business and she saw the growing need for removals and modifications.
The SAYES program consists of a set of workshops on key startup topics, support of a mentor, and the requirement to produce a business plan. Amanda successfully completed the program and established her tattoo removal business.
Surviving the Typical Start-Up Challenges
Through 2012-13 while Amanda survived startup, she was still in the start-up mode. The doer and decision maker, and firefighting customer and supplier problems. During this time Amanda had integrated her husband’s business into hers and was the mother of two young children. As a consequence she felt a lack of work/life balance.
In mid-2014 Amanda joined a group coaching program I facilitate for Business SA http://business-sa.com/business-support/coaching-and-mentoring-program. It is a structured 10 session program of coaching on core topics, peer-to-peer discussion between members of the group, workshopping burning issues, and access to industry experts. Its focus is on businesses that have survived start-up but want to get out of the start-up mode so they can grow.
Focusing On What Can Move A Business Forward
In the program we identified Amanda’s time management and her business model as the keys to her moving forward with growing the business. We then focussed on her target markets, value propositions, channels to market and customer relationships. The outcome was that Amanda completely reworked her website and undertook a training course in sales and customer service. Amanda completed the coaching program in early 2015.
In March this year I visited Amanda’s studio to catch up with her and see how she was doing.
Enjoying The Results
The reworked website has been pulling in higher value customers and filtering out the tyre kickers and low value customers. Revenue per session has increased significantly, the studio is now more like an art gallery, and the high level of customer service was evident. Expansion plans were underway through acquisition of the adjacent premise.
Amanda was very proud that revenue for the first 3 months of the year was more than double that of the corresponding period in 2015. She told me that each month she dedicates some time to reviewing a topic from her coaching notes so she can continue improving the business. And most importantly, she told me she now has a good work/life balance.
A Perspective On Key Success Factors
In recounting Amanda’s journey I am reminded of the Bill Gross TED video on the single biggest reason start-ups succeed**. In this talk Bill states this reason to be Timing, followed by Team and Idea. In Amanda’s journey timing was important as we have all witnessed the transition of tattoos from fringe to mainstream. But her success is also due to team (i.e. Amanda herself and her commitment to personal improvement and development). And while the idea was not new, what has been critical for Amanda has been the way in which it has been executed.
**TED talks Bill Gross
An Opportunity For Effective Support
Mentors, coaches and business advisors who are members of The Network Of Consulting Professionals , have a lot to offer to start-ups and most work with young (and young at heart) entrepreneurs, in one way or another. Their experience and their network power enable them to help the owners of businesses in “start-up mode” to identify how to unlock the path to real success and to implement effective action plans.
Interested? Contact The NCP to enquire about start-up support.
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