In December of 2008 Dan and Dawn Kinney came to SCORE at the Grand Haven Chamber of Commerce office. Dawn had been a hair stylist for a number of years and dreamed of owning her own salon. They were considering two options- to purchase an existing salon that was having difficulties or to open a new salon. According to Dan who assisted his wife in this venture, "When we first started talking with you two years ago, we really had no idea what or how to begin the process of starting a small business. We really appreciated the guidance that you and the other people at SCORE gave us to get started. I believe that the guidance we got helped us establish a solid business that will remain in the community..."
SCORE helped Dawn evaluate these options and it became apparent that the best solution was to open a new salon. With SCORE's assistance, a business plan was developed and the Kinneys went looking for financing in what was the toughest lending environment in recent memory. The Business Plan was reworked several times with the help of SCORE. SBTDC entered into the process and financing was arranged with a local Grand Haven bank. One of the main reasons the Kinneys were able to obtain financing in this tough environment was because of their clear vision, thorough business planning and realistic goals and objectives.
In July 0f 2010 Pizazz Beauty Salon celebrated its first anniversary. Pizazz is now in full operation with a staff of four employees supervised by Dawn. According to the Kinneys, It has not reached its full potential- there are two open chairs. But it is growing and has reached the point where it is self-sustaining. We discussed "Challenges" and "Lessons Learned". The first issue was hiring and managing stylists who can develop their own clients. Dawn found this a challenge, but slowly she is conquering this obstacle by being careful to hire the right people and then working with each person on an individual basis and providing training to help them be successful. A second challenge was that by starting as a new business Pizazz is the "new kid on the block" with no name recognition. Dawn has slowly overcome this with superb service and attention to details- it takes time to develop the type of reputation Dawn wants for her business. The final challenge was the time commitment required by both Dawn and Dan to establish this business from the ground up. This is something that most new entrepreneurs underestimate.
In the "Lessons Learned" category the following were key. First, develop a relationship based on trust and mutual respect with each employee. Second, emphasize customer service- it should be an obsession. The common theme is that both issues revolve around how to treat people. The third lesson discussed involves flexibility. The Kinneys prepared a thoughtful and realistic Business Plan, but they have found that many circumstances change over time and they must constantly be flexible and open to change. In this way, the Business Plan has become a working document.
SCORE congratulates the Kinneys and Pizazz on their first anniversary and the success they have achieved. They have a solid foundation and are well on their way to achieving their objective of being (in Dan's own words) "...a solid business that will remain in the community...".