It was never going to be easy launching a beauty and wellbeing start-up after working for the world’s largest beauty company. But a smart idea, combined with sound financial management, has helped SalonMotion’s founder and CEO make the cut as an entrepreneur.
About the Business
It was a networking conversation with a hair stylist in February 2015 that set Kanayo Ogodazi on the path to creating an exciting new wellbeing and beauty venture. Several months later SalonMotion came into being, its remit to give consumers access to senior level nail technicians, hair styling professionals, barbers and masseurs from the convenience of their own office.
After testing various models, Kanayo tapped into the needs to the ever more busy working lives of people and the ever increasing need for employers to keep their employees happy at work. Unlike other mobile beauty and wellbeing web-based platforms, which connect clients at home with stylists based on proximity and availability rather than competence and technique, SalonMotion only services busy employees at work.
Essentially providing a complete platform which self manages scheduling and booking of beauty and wellbeing services by employees at no cost to the corporate client. All the host has to do is provide a space once a week.
Employees from a consultancy, hedge funds, a gym group, facilities manager, investment bank and a utility are now using SalonMotion’s services. Securing these major companies as clients is just the beginning.
With an ambitious target to grow bookings by 7% a week and to service 100 sites within the next 2 years – it’s little surprise that he wanted to concentrate on developing the business rather than on back-office duties such as financial management.
“It’s relatively easy to manage spreadsheets when you start a business,” he explains. “But what takes time is converting those spreadsheets into a set of accounts so you can very clearly see your top and bottom line, project where you’re going to be at the end of the year, and understand what you need to do to cover your costs.
“You can spend a lot of time messing around with spreadsheets and accounting software, and I don’t think it adds value,” he continues. “It also gets more complicated as time goes on and businesses grow.”
Kanayo acknowledges that he could have gone to many sources for basic bookkeeping and reporting. But having met members of KPMG’s Small Business Accounting (SBA) team at an event held by the entrepreneur network Enterprise Nation, he decided to enlist their help.
“There were three things that appealed to me about KPMG,” he reveals. “Firstly, they had the profile of an organisation that could potentially be a client. Secondly, they were offering the service on a free trial for three months – something I felt would give me the opportunity to see how they work. And thirdly, I was aware that they were working hard to create a set of services specifically for start-ups, such as a business incubator.
“That’s why I went with them – because I was looking for an accountancy firm that understood start-ups and would have resources on tap to support businesses like mine,” he adds.
There are obvious advantages in using SBA, says Kanayo, including:
Financial management without the legwork: Although SalonMotion is still in its infancy, Kanayo cites SBA’s cloud-based accounting platform Xero as a benefit because it integrates seamlessly with his business banking accounts and payment platforms, reconciling information automatically. “It’s great that I don’t have to go into each of those accounts to reconcile statements with transactions.”
A simple, automated process for managing receipts and invoices: The ReceiptBank functionality within Xero has allowed Kanayo to dispense with his spreadsheets while still feeling confident that his income and expenditure is being logged correctly. “It’s all done electronically,” he says. “I just forward receipts and invoices to an email address and they’re loaded automatically into ReceiptBank. It’s very cool.”
24/7 access to business reports: “Rather than having to rely on my own spreadsheets, I’m able to go into Xero and project from there. I can see where I am at a particular point in time, at the push of a button.”
KPMG’s ancillary services: “The biggest challenge for start-ups is moving quickly enough,” explains Kanayo. “The idea of KPMG having a business incubator and other services for businesses like mine is very appealing.”
It may be early days for SalonMotion, but Kanayo’s plans should ensure it has a bright future.
As well as delving deeper into KPMG’s own offerings, he recently started receiving mentoring through Startup Direct – the delivery partner of the government-backed start-up loans scheme – and is hoping to use his newly acquired knowledge to secure angel investment over the coming months.
These steps, alongside a strategy to work with industry networks, are expected to take Salon Motion to a whole new level: one Kanayo hopes will be a cut above the competition.
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