We asked our readers: Is your mom or dad successful? A whole lot of them replied! We bring you Soumya Alias's story, from Chennai, on how her mother made a successful venture in the beauty business.
My mother Susan Alias is an entrepreneur (at least in a small way). She runs a beauty parlour at Avadi, a suburb in Chennai. Today, her parlour stands first in the midst of an umpteen number of parlours that have sprung up over the years. Be it delivery of services or quality of work, she stays at number one, catering to all kinds of customers, new and old.
My mother was a graduate, and a qualified teacher. Wanting to start up something of her own, she first enrolled herself in a 45-day beauty course. With small children in tow, she struggled with it. What helped was she had the full support of my father.
Setting it up
After completion of the course, she wanted to set up a parlour in Avadi but didn't have the capital. Fifteen years ago, Avadi was a conservative suburb where ladies had other things to worry about, let alone experimenting or enhancing their beauty. So, naturally, when my parents approached a bank for a loan, the manager pessimistically asked, 'How can the beauty business survive in a place like Avadi?'
With no banks willing to loan them the initial capital, my parents put together all the savings they had and set up shop. As part of their marketing strategy, on the day of inauguration, my father's collegues and their wives were invited. This was the only way of letting people know there was a beauty parlour in Avadi.
The initial months were testing times. There was not much revenue. My mother had kept an assistant. In those early days, she was scared of servicing customers and preferred to let her assistant attend to them. When the assistant had to leave following a personal setback, however, my mother began attending to customers herself. She soon realised she was good at it, and the number of customers began to increase.
Change of location
Although business was fine, it wasn't growing very well. This prompted my parents to think of moving to the centre of Avadi. It was the best decision they made, as profit margins increased to a great extent. Meanwhile, a number of parlours had come up in Avadi. My mother remained unfazed, and continued to work with dedication.
Every success comes with some sacrifices. My mother had to forego weddings, family vacations and school functions. She also had her share of health problems in the process. Today, she has 4-5 five assistants to help her out. She also updates her knowledge constantly by attending seminars and short-term courses. From her success and hard work come these pearls of wisdom:
- Give 101 per cent to any enterprise you are setting up.
- Make sacrifices if required. Those moments may be lost forever, but they will be never be fruitless in the long run.
- Constantly update your knowledge to keep up with changing times.
- Spend time in the enterprise. Know your customers and attend to their individual needs.