'I had never dreamt of setting up my own salon. When I joined the USAID Business Incubation Program for Women Home-Based Workers, I surveyed the market and realized that the services offered at beauty salons were substandard. Being a certified beautician, I knew very well what beauty and hygiene standards to follow and how professionalism is an integral part of this process so I decided to build my Business Model that revolved around these three factors.'
Mariyam Waseem, has acquired an educational level of Matriculation and is a mother to 2 children. After she got her Diploma in Beauty and Grooming services from the Vocational Training Institute (Buffer zone), Mariyam joined this program in a desire to grow her business and transform it from a home-based venture to a full-scale salon in her vicinity.
Observing the enthusiasm of her fellow participants and being constantly motivated by program instructors' and guest speakers made Mariyam confident in her abilities. She has now decided to use her knowledge and experience to launch her salon with the help of her husband, who is a web designer.
'I have finalized the business logo after joining the program. I designed my business model through the business model canvas and it gave me a snapshot of how my business will look like. I started defining my customer segments and refined my Value Proposition. In my classes, I learnt to differentiate my services and mapped the list of possible expenditure/revenues that may arise.'
A little market research helped Mariyam do wonders for her business. She realized that large-scale salons in her area did not have that personalized feel that every customer desires. They did not offer many discounts, did not practice hygiene and had no authorized certification. This made those salons less attractive in terms of customization and customer delight. After taking sessions on Social Media Marketing, Mariyam also realized that existing salons missed out on untapped segments in the market that had access to Facebook, Instagram etc.
Mariyam tweaked her marketing channels after joining the program; developed the salon's website with the help of her husband, actively marketed her page on social media and encouraged word of mouth marketing from her customers. The training at the Business Incubation Program has made Mariyam able enough to handle all the internal matters of her business effectively and utilize her bird-in-hand i.e. her husband who is an expert in poster designing and social media.
'I have decided to start appointment based services and now plan to attend numerous workshops that will help me train me further in areas where I lack expertise. I have decided to introduce oxygen facial that has not been introduced in my area. IBA has helped me polish my skill and has helped me run a business professionally. I have also learnt to manage my time after I attended the business incubation program classes because I felt that there was a dire need to do so if I am to run a successful business.'
Mariyam has now set milestones for her upcoming entrepreneurial journey and her very first step is to develop her team of professionals. She is going to hire an assistant that will help her with the salon,that is to launch soon. She has seen significant difference in her business in the past 3 months but realizes that her salon is still at the beginning phase. Moreover, Mariyam Waseem needs mentoring and microfinance in order to boost her business growth and offer excellent customer service at the Xuni Beauty Salon.