DESPITE the economic situation, there are still people braving the economic situations to start their own business. Driven by passion or the fact that they cannot find someone who meets up to their expectations, they decide to venture out and start out on their own. What these new business owners need to be aware of are the challenges that they might face. More importantly, they need to be resilient and prepared for the ups-and-downs.
An example of such a person is Caryn Lim, who is in her 20s. She decided to set up shop along Siglap Drive, giving the residents a place to go to be pampered. Lim says: “I always had a keen interest for beauty and wellness. Hence, when I stumbled upon the place, I decided it had a good space to provide nail services and foot reflexology services. That was how Hands + Feet Studio came about.”
PHOTOS: SJ NUNIS
Hands + Feet Studio is about four months old. Lim’s main concern for the moment is growth, not just sustainability. She works hard to ensure that the standards of service are consistent. This ensures quality control is adhered to. Being an advocate of word-of-mouth marketing, she wants her customers to be advocates for her studio. Lim hopes that they will share what they love about Hands + Feet Studio with others.
In order to sustain the business, she understands the importance of being prudent with managing the resources, manpower, and inventories. She knows that she needs to stay grounded and be conservative, despite how tempting the desire to expand may be. The last thing Lim wants is to end up in the same boat as big name competitors like Wellness Village Spa and Wax in the City. Both the above businesses had gone bust in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
To increase business at Hands + Feet’s business, Lim has unique selling points. Lim says: “We have unique products like the exfoliating tool from Australia which we implement in our pedicures. We use Ginger + Liz, a brand of nail polish that comes from New York that is vegan-friendly and does not contain any harmful toxics.”
Lim adds: “We maintain consistency among manicurists and massage therapists. Often you walk into a spa, you pray that a good massage therapist or manicurist would be allocated to you. But at Hands + Feet Studio, all our manicurists and massage therapists has a consistent standard. They are all certified, tried, and tested to prove that they are capable of providing a good service to customers. Finally, we have a modern spa concept. We keep it clean and simple by having a minimalistic spacious set-up. This helps to appeal to both locals and expats. We double-up as a venue to display Asian art. We try to support budding local and Asian artists as much as we can. At the same time, our customers are able to admire and appreciate the art displayed at our foot reflexology area.”
Despite all these unique selling points working in her favour, she knows the importance of keeping the morale of her staff high. She feels that if her staff exudes a positive vibe in their service, it will make it a pleasant experience for her customers. In terms of marketing efforts, apart from word-of-mouth, Lim runs weekly promotions on some of the services provided. Apart from that, flyers are distributed weekly to houses around the East Coast.
Despite some issues with parking spaces for example, business is slowly ramping up. With her constant promotions for weekdays that are sent to regular customers via SMS, she manages to sustain the business so far.
Read about other businesses that have competed and sustained over the “big players” in Today’s Manager’s August-September issue article titled: Small Businesses Sometimes Do Better than Bigger Players.
Copyright © 2012 Singapore Institute of Management