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Small business spotlight: Five minutes with…

…Angela Goudie
Salon owner, Gaudi Hair, Bristol..

Five minutes with Angela Goudie

My business card says:
Hair professional offering expertise.

I would describe myself in five words as:
Fair, committed, passionate about hairdressing.

I decided I wanted to run my own business when:
The opportunity came my way 18 years ago when I was working part-time as a self-employed hairdresser. This suited me as a mum with two young children. I’d previously spoken with my accountant about owning a business but it wasn’t on my immediate agenda. But when she found out this salon was up for sale she asked if I was interested. I had a look, thought why not and decided to go for it.

The hardest part of setting up my business was:
Finding the finance. My businesses partner – who’s also my other half – and I put in our savings but we also had to find a loan. That was really tough. We put our house up as collateral but that still didn’t guarantee us a loan as banks were dubious about lending. I think banks could do more for businesses: bank charges cripple us. We have to pay for every transaction.

I would tell other businesses to shop around and negotiate your banking regularly. Don’t stick with one bank for years. You might want to build up a relationship with a bank thinking goodwill goes a long way but it doesn’t – I’ve only met my bank manager once. Also, I could cut hair but I didn’t know about marketing the business or managing the team. I’ve had to educate myself.

My greatest business success is:
Being in business for 18 years and being successful year on year.

The key to being a successful small business owner is:

  1. Have clear business goals and share these with your team. Keep yourself and your team up-to-date with industry training. Reward your team too.
  2. Delegate and communicate. Don’t do it all yourself. Build a good team around you and put a structure in place so everyone knows who’s responsible for what. We have a handbook with salon policy and procedure which we keep updated and we hold regular team meetings.
  3. Manage your finances. My partner is in charge of this side of things but if there’s anything I need to know I ask. Never be afraid to ask.

My top tip for entrepreneurs is:
You can get advice from business coaches and your local business community and I’ve always found most people are willing to help, but don’t forget to listen to your instincts.

My top money-saving tip is:
Shop around. For utilities, for insurance, for business banking. And check regularly to make sure you’re still getting the best deal.

The business headline I would most like to see is:
‘VAT rate cut to 15%.. VAT is a killer, especially having risen to 20%.

If I wasn’t answering these questions I would be:
Having lunch! It’s gone 5pm and I’m only just now getting to eat as it’s been so busy.

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