In my spare time I have recently been helping a good friend set up her first business ‘Karla Cosmetics’. Karla Powell is a International Makeup artist and has recently won the prestigious Illamasqua professional make up award at an event in London. She has worked with many celebrities, her work published in magazines and has around 500,000 followers across her social media platforms.
Ever since she can remember Karla wanted her own make up company and to stock her own products. She is very creative, but wanted me to assist her in the set up, formation and development of her brand. Something I was delighted to help with.
The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer. – Nolan Bushnell
I was 21 when I first really took the reins at L&R. I noticed that my dad and his partner were struggling to cope with the business; it was effectively growing quicker than they could manage. I was about to enter my final year at University, but I decided that the time was right to jump on board at L&R and drag them into the 21st century (kicking and screaming!) I sacrificed my degree but I felt I was about to learn much more with hands on experience, more than I would in a class room. It is a decision I am also completely comfortable with.
I knew that the technology we were using was insufficient. It would take Gerry over a week to compile, calculate, check and post the storage and service invoices. A whole week to invoice clients, we had to get with the times otherwise we would be effectively dead in the water!
I remember we lost two clients that year. We simply could not service them how they required, so they moved on and I don’t blame them. We were obviously disappointed but I decided we would turn it into a positive situation; in fact it was possibly the turning point at L&R. We knew the reasons why they left; this allowed us to eradicate and address the issues and prevent it happening again in the future.
We invested in our software, we invested in our facilities, transport, and we invested in new staff. We were no longer a company that would just house boxes and deliver them when they were required. We were going to manage the whole document life cycle, from creation to destruction.
We were going to track the documents throughout their life-cycle; we would know who had requested files, when they were requested, who had handled them, what time they were picked packed and dispatched, who the driver was and the client who had signed for the documents once delivered. When boxes were entered into storage, review dates would be placed next to the box, we would inform our clients when this review date had expired and whether they wanted to retain or destroy the files. In turn saving them money, they wouldn’t be storing boxes and files they no longer required.
Gerry was delighted, the new software meant the invoices would be calculated and sent automatically! All invoices would be completed in less than 10 minutes, about 6 working days less than what it previously took.
We wanted to control the whole process and control storage costs for our clients. We wanted dedicated account managers to be on hand at any point in the day to assist our clients. We were to become our clients archive department, in turn saving them valuable time and money. This was our goal around a decade ago, and this is what we continue to do to this day. We formulated a plan and we went about executing it, there and then. This is where I feel I can have the most impact on Karla’s new business.
When forming a business plan I have learned it is vitally important to consider your personal goals and ambitions as well. In order to be successful these plans often need to come together, not contradict each other. How do you know where you want your business to be, if you don’t know where your life will be? You also wouldn’t set out on a long journey with no idea of your destination?
During the past 10 years, since leaving university and joining the L&R family business I have had some incredible days; yes I have had some bloody awful ones too! That is just the nature of business; I think one thing that sticks in my mind is ‘don’t get too up and don’t get too down!’ By sticking to our business plan, our cores, beliefs and with lots hard work we ensure are always moving forwards.
I feel I am in a good position to help and pass on my knowledge to Karla and apply what I have learned during the past decade. It has already helped me with my role at L&R as well. This is a completely new industry and I am looking to apply aspects of what I learn at L&R. However, fear not, you will not see me delivering boxes in make up…….just yet!