Lee Duffield

Edited by Lee Duffield
Freedom and Truth

Businesswomen trio soar ahead in financial crisis

Three of Brisbane’s brightest business women have ridden their businesses through the financial crisis and have all made it through to the other side, armed with tips.

Lauren McKean is proud of her new studio in Springfield, which opened in August.

Lauren McKean is proud of her new studio in Springfield, which opened in August.

Mrs Lauren McKean, 28, Mrs Rebecca Senyard, 25, and Miss Elizabeth Ashton, 28, represent some businesses that have managed to come out on top after the two-year crisis.

Mrs McKean says she started in 2008 with 10 students in a hired hall.

“But here I am mid 2009 with over 100 students in my own studio in Springfield and Ipswich as well,” Mrs McKean said.

Mrs McKean, owner of Prestige Dance Centre, planned on being a professional dancer but the moment she tried teaching, it was something she could never give up.

“I’ve had a couple of families who have cut down on classes, but at no time has there been no interest,” she said.

“I get at least five enquiries a week which is just incredible.”

Miss Ashton, owner of Genisis Hair, has a similar story to tell, with a clientele base that has more than doubled in two years.

Elizabeth Ashton celebrated the opening of her new studio in Corinda three weeks ago.

Elizabeth Ashton celebrated the opening of her new studio in Corinda three weeks ago.

“I started cutting and dying in my  home, but never thought three years ago that I would be here with my own big salon,” she said.

“I moved from my home to a one-sink room in Chelmer, but after two years we just grew so much that I needed this bigger salon.”

Apart from a two \-week slow point last year, she says Genisis Hair felt no effects of the financial crisis.

“For small businesses like us, it has actually been beneficial because instead of going to the larger salons for expensive treatments, customers are seeking us out for our more affordable services,” she said.

But Mrs Senyard, senior employer for Jacol Plumbing, says she has had to rebrand the business to be able to remain a strong competitor in the construction industry.

Jacol Plumbing is a family run business since 1995, specialising in the commercial interior largely in the CBD area.

Her career and business opportunities really took off after she received the Dux Queensland Plumbing Apprentice of the year in 2008.

Rebecca Senyard was awarded the Dux Queensland Plumbing Apprentice last year.

Rebecca Senyard was awarded the Dux Queensland Plumbing Apprentice last year (courtesy of Jacol Plumbing)

“We have been lucky in the industry because many businesses have gone under or had to sack a large number of employees,” Mrs Senyard said.

“So Dad and I thought we’d market ourselves as a ‘dad and daughter’ plumbing team and as a result we’ve rebranded our logo, got a website and placed an ad on the radio to stimulate business that way.”

Small Business Tips

Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland president Beatrice Booth says the small to medium business industry is looking promising but it does not mean the state is out of trouble yet.

“Small to medium businesses are the major employer in this state and we need to keep a look out for them,” she said.

Ms Booth says small business should seek financial advice sooner rather than later.

“Ensure if you need finance, go and talk to the banks and see a finance manager that’s right for you,” she said.

“Also ensure that you up-skill, re-skill and retain, retain, retain.”

The three female entrepreneurs have also offered advice for those struggling or thinking about starting up their own small businesses.

Mrs McKean says take it gradually.

“Start small and be willing to grow in the direction the customers want you to go in,” she said.

Miss Ashton says it all comes down to customers.

“So as long as you treat them well, they’ll always come back and bring their friends too,” she said.

Mrs Senyard says do not cut costs.

“It will turn out to be a waste of time and is a very dangerous thing to do,” she said.

Miss Ashton, owner of Genisis Hair, has a similar story to tell, with a clientele base that has more than doubled in two years.

“I started cutting and dying in my own home, but never though three years ago that I would be here with my own big salon,” she said.

<!–[if gte vml 1]> <![endif]–><!–[if !vml]–>liz picture.jpg<!–[endif]–>“I moved from my home to a one-sink room in Chelmer, but after two years we just grew so much that I needed this bigger salon.”

Apart from a one or two week slow point last year, Genisis Hair felt no effects of the financial crisis.

“For small businesses like us, it has actually been beneficial because instead of going to the larger salons for expensive treatments, customers are seeking us out for our more affordable services,” she said.

Elizabeth Ashton celebrated the opening of her new studio in Corinda three weeks ago.

<!–[if !vml]–>Text Box: Elizabeth Ashton celebrated the opening of her new studio in Corinda three weeks ago.<!–[endif]–>But Mrs Senyard, senior employer for Jacol Plumbing, has had to rebrand the business to be able to remain a strong competitor in the construction industry.

<!–[if gte vml 1]> <![endif]–><!–[if !vml]–>rebecca picture.jpg<!–[endif]–>Jacol Plumbing is a family run business since 1995, specialising in the commercial interior largely in the CBD area.

Her career and business opportunities really took off after she received the Dux Queensland Plumbing Apprentice of the year in 2008.

Rebecca Senyard was awarded the Dux Queensland Plumbing Apprentice last year.

<!–[if !vml]–>Text Box: Rebecca Senyard was awarded the Dux Queensland Plumbing Apprentice last year.<!–[endif]–> “We have been lucky in the industry because many businesses have gone under or had to sack a large number of employees,” she said.

“So Dad and I thought we’d market ourselves as a ‘dad and daughter’ plumbing team and as a result we’ve rebranded our logo, got a website and placed an ad on the radio to stimulate business that way.”

Small Business Tips

Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland President, Beatrice Booth, says the small to medium business industry is looking promising but it doesn’t mean the state is out of trouble yet.

“Small to medium businesses are the major employer in this state and we need to keep a look out for them,” she said.

Ms Booth has some advice for small business.

“Ensure if you need finance, go and talk to the banks and see a finance manager that’s right for you,” she said.

“Also ensure that you up-skill, re-skill and retain, retain, retain.”

All three women have also offered advice for those struggling or thinking about starting up their own small businesses.

“Take it gradually – start small and be willing to grow in the direction the customers want you to go in,” says Mrs McKean.

“It all comes down to customers, so as long as you treat them well, they’ll always come back and bring their friends too,” says Miss Ashton.

“Don’t cut costs, because it will turn out to be a waste of time, and is a very dangerous thing to do,” says Mrs Senyard.