The Business of Beauty
Hello and welcome to the end of another working week! Well, when I say that I pauses and think ‘really Amanda? What about the Fashion Expo on Sunday that you are going to or the formulating work that you have booked in for Saturday afternoon after Hockey mum duties”……. The week never ends when you are a business owner and that’s just one of the things I want to talk about here.
I’ve had a really hectic month as you would have possibly gathered from the lack of blog posts. Ironically my radio silence has coincided with a burst of ideas that I was desperate to get down, lots of news to share and plenty of AHA moments but alas, I had no time AND I ended up getting what has turned out to be a very pesky cold virus. It has burrowed into my ears making every day feel like I’m living in a high altitude cloud bubble. Great!
But enough about that and me, I wanted to talk about YOU.
This month has put me in direct contact with many new and existing brand owners in strife one way or another. Their woes are varied but underneath it all is a person just wanting to be heard, respected and left alone to do their thing without the bull crapola that can come along with running a business. There, I’ve said the ‘b’ word. Maybe we should brain storm that some more…..
No matter what we all think when we draw up our beautiful plans in the sky from our beach hut mini-break when we turn our ideas into a business things shift.
Business is where goods or services are exchanged for money not good will, friendship, respect, great ideas or niceties. It’s money, cash, dosh, the folding stuff that keep you in the game.
I remember the day when I realised that my baby dream business where I get up each morning free from the strain of a 7.30 commute, with no need to consider what I wear on my feet or body, nobody screaming for a monthly report and nobody to justify my expenses to (well, maybe my accountant but anyway) grew up. My day-dream play thing had become a business. I had customers to chase me and wake me, commitments and deadlines, money to win or lose, expectations to meet and a reputation to maintain. I remember that day because it felt bad. I felt like the biggest fool in the world because I was unprepared for this sudden wake-up call and was nervous about the new level of pressure baring down on me. What had I created?
I remembered all of this as I spoke to these new and existing brand owners facing issues both similar and different to the ones I faced.
Then I remembered how it felt after I’d come to terms with all of the above and got stuck in only to find that it wasn’t working for me, that I hated it, that some customers weren’t as happy as I had wanted them to be. I remember feeling that it wasn’t fair, that I was all alone with nobody to give me the answers that I so needed and that this shouldn’t be happening to me as I’m a decent human being who wants to do the right thing.
But then I recall what happened the day after I stayed up all night coming to terms with this new information, this new vision of the world. I recall clearly that I felt what I had been doing for the past few years was my apprenticeship in business, my training and that now I had to grow up and accept my role as a company Director.
A Company Director is legally bound to act in the companies best interests even when they might not be in your own interest.
So how does this relate to the people who I talk to?
Quite often when I listen to how things have gone wrong for clients and brand-owning friends I hear signs that people expected the beauty business to be different, to be kind, caring, beautiful and gracious. To be one big family that respects each others patches or brands and looks out for one another. That would be nice but that isn’t how it is at all. That isn’t because the beauty industry is full of hard-headed crazy folk, it is purely because that isn’t how any business works.
As individual business owners we have the right and responsibility to set our business ethics to align with our personal values and morals but underpinning those ethics must be an ability to create an income that keeps the business in business. As a company Director you are legally bound to make decisions that protect and even grow your business and sometimes that might inadvertently step on another’s toes or cause them discomfort. Deliberately sabotaging or targeting another’s business might land you in legal strife and if you feel that you are being measurably disadvantaged by the actions of another company then you should see legal advice immediately. However, if you just take advantage of a window of opportunity faster than your competitor or feel inspired by your competitor to do something bigger and better that is probably just business.
I didn’t go to business school and have spent much of my 7 years learning on the job and experiencing the pain that goes along with getting it wrong. However, having worked in corporate I was never under any cloud of illusion that people are nice and kind and friendly and happy to give you lots of money and leave you alone in business.
Like everything else in life this is just another learning curve for my brand owning friends and while it can seem like a harsh old world at first once you get the hang of it being in business and being a company Director is actually lots of fun!