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Eshwar Dhap is a well experienced business woman who is well aware of both the pros and cons of the business. She has been in the same business for last 18 years. She managed to run her first business successfully with reasonable profit. Her success was based on number of factors involving good economy and less competition in the area.
Eshwar is well aware of her weak points, her lack of interest and her future prospects to survive in the business without making some major changes on many fronts are looking grim. However, she was not open to admit fearing this could undermine her authority in presence of other staff members.
Recommendations to Curls and Co:
Timing of moving Curls & Co's business to the new location was a serious mistake. Eshwar should have looked at the business away from her past business location. It is not too late for her to be proactive and keep investigating for new opportunities. As and when recession improves she could make a fresh start.
Eshwar must seek new ways of promoting her present business, number of modern media tools are available such as building her own website as well as e-mail address dedicated for her business. Also website must have an order form for customers to order products without visiting the business or telephone to place manual order.
Be practical to compete against other competitor to stay one step ahead of them in prices, services, longer availability of opening hours and promotional products. In addition Eshwar should get customer satisfaction feedback with a view to make positive improvement.
In order for 'Curls and Co' to improve financially, I believe that Eshwar should analyse her sales and profits (accounts), If this is done on a regular basis, it means that Eshwar can monitor how well the business is doing in which specific area and whether her improvements are showing any changes.
Aims and objectives are a business's outline of what they plan to achieve. This allows a company to set out its goals and the method of achievement. Curls & Co have a main aim of making a profit, just like any other business. However, if the goals are not realistic for example, making over £25,000 profit over a year, the aim should be made more achievable, such as, £20,000 over a year, so she can work towards her aims and objectives. Another aim of Curls and Co may be to survive in the business during recession and against large numbers of competitors, for this Curls & Co must provide the best service to the customers and to meet their needs better then her competitors.
Expanding business is a step that most businesses take when they choose to widen their products and services. In the possibility of Eshwar expanding her business she should look into the opportunity of expanding and improving her products and services. As she already offers a wide range of hair salon treatment such as, cutting, washing and styling. I feel that as a hair salon she could start up a nail salon and facial treatment within the shop which will then attract a much wider range of customers.
Another option for Eshwar to improve her profits of her business is to give consideration to renting out the living accommodation based on top of Curls & Co. Renting out the property will enable her to benefit from monthly rent. These profits can be used towards the expansion and payments of her business. For example, if she rented the property for roughly £1,000. That would mean that she would be getting a little extra each month and on top she may be fixing in a new business proposal altogether. Part of this profit can be used for buying new high-tech equipment for other or new possible services. This will then help to cut down time, therefore she would be able to serve more customers in the same period of time in and at the same time reach customers demands, which will then naturally lead to more profits and success.
Locations are a very important factor for any business, as it affects almost every aspect of the organisation, from, sales to customers. Curls & Co is located in the heart of Southall. Eshwar should give serious consideration to present business location. Her business is surrounded by lots of competitors. Therefore, the competition rate is extremely high. I feel that it would be wise for her to review her location and give consideration to relocating to new location, where there are fewer hairdressers and a high demand for customers; therefore she would make more profit and expand her business. However, realistically, that would be almost impossible without any back up plan. For example, this would mean restarting her business from scratch, leaving behind repeat customers. Therefore, I feel that there is a more simple approach to competing with local competitors, for instance lowering prices and offering more for less.
Eshwar could also think about offering a mobile hairdressing service, this will then help increase her profit. Her services will prove very useful for older and disable members of the community. This will provide a huge opportunity for Eshwar to meet new customers along with possible repeats and may learn some other requirements that the customers may need from her business, for example, elderly discount for over 60's. This will then led to a marketing strategy that will then also help bring new and old customers to the business, to help increase profit.
Appearance of any business is vital as first impressions always count. For example, if the customer is greeted and entertained whilst waiting for their turn. Customers would naturally feel that they would like to revisit the business. Where as if it is the opposite then customers will take their business elsewhere. I feel Eshwar should think about adding slight improvements to her waiting room as it is appears very dull and boring. She could think about putting a television in the waiting room so people could be entertained whilst waiting. Some other games can be added for children, cost of all this could come out of her profits. Although she already has a few magazines, it would be better for her to keep updated magazines as well as daily newspapers.
Eshwar should also think about hiring new staff members from different ethnic groups with different skills. Such changes will boost her business to overcome with language barriers and provide help in reducing customers waiting time. These staff members can be learning students that are studying hair and beauty at college and provide them with experience.
Advertising is important to every business as it helps the local people come to know of the products and services available. To help promote Curls & Co a lot more, Eshwar should also think about advertising her business and the products and services she provides. For example, she can advertise Curls & Co on local TV, radio, local newspapers, leaflets, phone call to customers, Media attention and local magazines, so people know about Curls & Co and it will be an advantage for her. One other way for her to promote her business is to open a website that will allow customers to see for themselves in their own time from the comfort of their own home.
Customer parking facility is important to customers even more needy for parents with young children. Curls & Co could reach an agreement with the local authorities or some private land owner to provide parking facilities. Other option for Curls & Co is to purchase short term parking permits from local authorities to help customers with parking facilities. Lack of parking could make the customers unhappy and to make them move to their competitors.
Curls & Co could also benefit from going into partnership with another business, which will have different specialist skills that would help the business. In partnership Curls & Co could handle all the salon work, and the other business could manage the specialise business affairs. This would allow Curls and Co the chance to learn new business skills that they might need in the future to set up a new business. However the other half (partnership company) will be able to gain more customers and flexibility resulting in more profit.
In addition, Curls and Co would have to share the profits with their partner, and would have to consult him/her on any decisions she wanted to make. They would have to draw up a deed of partnership to make sure that profits and losses were shared equally. This would be important, as a partnership has unlimited liability, and both partners of the business would be personally liable for any business debts. They may want to consider setting up a limited company together to avoid this, and have limited liability.
Eshwar must consider selling different hair and beauty products for people from different ethnic groups such as Afro, Asian and European, as well as meeting needs of local customers. Variety of different products with different price range will help. She should also sell hair products on special or discount price and give advice on which hair products are suitable for different type hair. Eshwar should show examples of the range of hairstyles from her personal portfolio to ensure customers the customers like the way she would cut their hair.
Eshwar should rethink her pricing strategy as I personally feel that her prices are expensive and match those of designer hairdressers such as Toni and Guy. If she continues to raise her prices, customers will go to her competitors who are within the same location and are much cheaper for the same services.
On average 3 out of 5 people would prefer and suggest getting haircut from Eshwar as they can see that Eshwar is capable of dealing with their requirements. Her personal involvement with regular customers has shown that she understands and knows what the regular customer wants. Customer satisfaction and improvement survey will help her to peg any week points.
Communication and customer relationship in any business is extremely vital as it reflects on the service quality. I feel that my interview with Eshwar went ok but not as I had planned. I personally feel Eshwar needs to improve her customer service skills, this is demonstrated by the interview I had with her, as she spoke unprofessionally where she showed no interest in her skills or in her attempt to make Curls & Co the best place to have a haircut. Overall she has a successful business within a limit. But thinking outside the box will do her no harm to improve her business and profitability.