Having associated for almost eight years with Chennai- based salon chain, Preethi Menon, Franchise Partner, Naturals Salon today owns franchise rights of its two units in Nungambakkam and in Ashok Nagar, in Chennai. Here is her success story
You bought franchise at what age? Does age makes a difference to exist in the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
I became a franchise partner of Naturals at the age of 39 years. It has been a journey of almost 8 years and an amazing one. I don’t think age makes a difference to be an entrepreneur. Certain qualities are required to be one, and this can be attained at any age. For example, I find I need to be extremely patient in this business, but there are many franchise partners my age or younger who are very impatient. So, for me, age did not play a great differentiating factor.
How were you received as young/old, franchise business owner?
As a slightly older franchise partner, I find my maturity to be a big plus. Staff look up to me, and are more inclined to listen to what I have to say. They seem to see me as a mother figure.
What's the remarkable change since you became a franchisee? 2-3 memorable moments you would like to share of your business journey.
This journey has been full of moments, but my greatest learning has been that I have learnt to handle many things women are normally content to leave to their husbands. From handling government agencies, to problems in the salon, to salary negotiations, I can handle all this with ease today. I find I have a standing in society today, as taking this franchiseship has resulted in a big leap in my career. I can see my changes for the better with my own eyes and what is more all this has resulted from doing business in a field I love.
How many franchise units do you have and how do you justify your time for multi-unit/ diverse businesses?
I have taken the franchise for two salons, and though it is challenging, there are ways to surmount all difficulties. Today technology plays a huge role in helping me run both my salons. I do not have to be on the spot for business to run. The brand also provides me with excellent technogical support without which I would not have been able to manage. For example, I can check through WhatsApp if the salon is cleaned, if staff has come on time, if clients are being handled well – thanks to improved technology multitasking has become a breeze.
Most franchisees switch or add brands. Why have you stuck with the same one?
I have been associated with Naturals in some form for the past 15 years. Simply put, I have grown with the brand. I have seen it grow from one salon to 500+ salons and I have grown with it. I don’t see Naturals as a business partner but feel it is my brand! I am very comfortable here and have full confidence that the brand will not let me down.
The most important element to grow a blockbuster franchise business.
Personalised care is the only way. The customer should not be seen as a tool to bring in your ROI, but as a means to provide him or her with good service. If I give the customer the service he or she deserves, my business will automatically grow.
Two lines on what’s awesome about being a boss.
As a boss, I can do my work when I feel like and not be stuck to a rigid schedule. I have the freedom to multitask which I might not have had if I had gone in for a regular nine to five job
Five points to maintain cordial relationship with your franchisor.
Do you foresee yourself as a franchisor soon?
I don’t know! I did not plan this career as a franchise partner. It just happened to me. I am sure whatever is in my future will be for the best and will accept whatever opportunities come my way.
Any mistakes you have made in your business journey & what have you learnt from them.
Quite a few mistakes! Every day is a learning process and what are more important is not the mistakes I make, but what I learn from them and whether I repeat them or not. Life in the salon is an ongoing learning and I love every day I spend there. I am proud to be associated with Naturals, it is a superb brand and its success is my success!