Top 5 Secrets to Business Success by London Lash Founder Hanna PutjatoFirstly, a quick introduction. London Lash, as you may already know, is one of the most well-known lash brands - the most exciting part about it all is that I only started this business 8 years ago. I started my journey in the lash industry as a therapist, I was a self-employed lash technician and honestly, I did very good lashes. A lot of my clients and friends then started asking me if I can teach them how to apply for eyelash extensions and I thought – why not? Of course, I can teach you! However, I wasn’t a government approved training academy, I couldn’t issue certificates so my first step was to approach a few big eyelash brands in England and ask if I could become an eyelash trainer for their brand. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) all of them refused my application. Of course, at first, I was upset but as my determination grew, this is where my proper business journey began...
Don’t Dream Big
It sounds controversial, doesn’t it? Everyone else always says ‘Dream big!’ And to a certain extent, I can agree, but I also disagree. But only because sometimes our dreams can be TOO big and they can scare us, paralyse and become so ambitious that we have no idea where to start.
Just consider this:
You are working as a beauty therapist in a salon and one day, you dream to open your own beautiful lash salon in a busy city centre location. Your client base is growing, business is booming, celebrities are visiting your salon and you now have 20 lash technicians working for you. You only have to do eyelashes occasionally, and only when you want to.
Sounds good, doesn’t it? But there are so many things to consider before this happens. Where do I start? Do I start looking for investors? Can I go to the bank to borrow money? Where do I look for lash technicians? How will I teach them? Where do I even get customers?!
There are so many questions and fears in your head that you don’t know where to start, so it’s more likely, that you won’t do anything at all. You’ll just keep dreaming: ‘I’ll do it one day.’
So my advice is, forget about your dream for now and really concentrate on your short term goals. Instead, focus on smaller steps:
If you are working for somebody else, think: how do I rent a beauty room and start working for myself?
If you already work for yourself, think: how I can get fully booked? Which marketing channels should I use to advertise myself?
Once you are getting fully booked, think: how can I raise my prices and improve my profitability?
And slowly but surely, you’ll begin to realise how these little steps will naturally grow to the point where you’ll finally open that dream salon of yours. Sometimes we really don’t need to think big to go far. My advice – take it one step at the time.
Change Your Relationship With Your Mistakes
Starting out your own business is a daunting task and more often than not, nobody has taught you how to do things. Everything you do, you do for the first time. So, naturally, you’ll make lots of mistakes. There’ll be issues from recruiting wrong people to overpaying for salon rent, you’ll be counting taxes incorrectly, but an entrepreneur’s life really is the chain of mistakes and failures that have led to their success.
Normally a person’s response to a mistake is to get upset and sometimes even give up on the project thinking that they are useless, but this shouldn’t be that case.
You might not know but burglars broke into the London Lash salon in London 2 months ago. And understandably, all my staff got really upset but I was actually really happy. The first reason for my happiness - they didn’t break the windows and they didn’t steal much! But the second reason – it was such a wonderful lesson! At that time, we were moving our lash products into a new big warehouse and, to be honest with you, we didn’t even think much about security. And after somebody broke into the salon, we were able to consider the potential for loss if this happened in our warehouse. We could potentially lose all our stock and of course, we didn’t want this problem to happen. As a result, our new warehouse is now as protected as a government treasure fund!
My advice to you: Always be positive and just accept the fact that you’ll always be making mistakes on your business journey. You can’t stop yourself from making mistakes but what you can do, is change your mind about them. Change your relationships with mistakes Think about them, analyse them, and they will give you lots of new knowledge!
‘You can’t run a successful bakery and be a baker at the same time.’
Once I’d heard this sentence my whole life changed: ‘you can’t run a successful bakery and be a baker there at the same time!’
This simple sentence triggered so many thoughts in my head and really changed the way I do business completely. Think about it: you can’t imagine an owner of multi-million pound pancake factory who spends 5 days a week baking these pancakes. He just wouldn’t do it. He needs to run the business!
So, 2 years ago I stopped doing lashes, I stopped doing the teaching, I stopped replying to messages on Facebook and Instagram, I stopped doing everything. That’s not my job. That’s the job of my employees. My role in the company – to move it forward, to develop it. My job is to think about.
And I’d like to give the same advice to you. It might be financially difficult at first but trust me – as soon as you start employing staff and step away from the actual salon work, the faster your business will grow. By delegating day to day tasks, you’ll release an enormous amount of time to spend on your business growth and development.
Never Stop Learning
Over the past few years, I’ve read thousands of articles, hundreds of books and watched an enormous amount of YouTube videos. All business-related.
First, I learnt about the lash application, then I learned about salon customer service, then I learned about social media marketing and so on. Every single day of my life I learn something new and this is something which I feel is extremely important for my business. I always aim to learn something I can implement straight away.
When I was living in London, on my own, I even threw my TV away as I always thought that watching TV is a useless thing and a total waste of my life. Education was the only thing I wanted to spend my free time on.
I won’t recommend you throw your TV away, but I’ll advise you to start scheduling learning time into your calendar. Spend just 20-30 minutes a day learning something new. Concentrate on practical knowledge that you can implement straight away. And soon as you do, you’ll see a massive improvement in your business.
I’ve noticed that a lot of business owners are mentioning competitors when I ask them about their business. They watch their competitors, they think about their competitors, they try to be better than their competitors, but I have always found it a bit strange. Yes, it’s good to have an idea of what your competitors are doing but thinking about them and competing with them – it’s a total waste of time.
When you are doing the business – it’s all about the quality of your product and services, it’s all about the satisfaction of your customers and employees. All you need to do is concentrate on your business and think of how to do it better. Forget about competitors. It really doesn’t matter what they are doing. What’s really important, is what you are doing.
One of the reasons why London Lash is so successful is because we really try to be unique. We don’t copy anyone – we come up with fresh new ideas. For example, I was the first one who came up with the idea of paper boxes for lash trays. I really wanted to reduce the amount of non-recyclable plastic boxes and it was a massive success – we gained lots of new loyal customers! Because we were unique, we came up with better ideas. Now every second lash brand is coming up with the same paper packaging as us. We are being copied now. But it’s fine. We were the first and we’ve gained lots out of this.
So, my advice to you: don’t let competitors steal your time and energy! It’s better to spend your time and energy on your products, on your services, and on your clients. And I guarantee that your business will always be incredibly successful.