Sharon Evans, owner of Kinexions Holistic Health Studio, has broken every rule in the book; she has no business plan, makes snap decisions and follows her gut. Not a smart way to run a business – right?
Wrong! Although Sharon doesn’t have a written plan, she DOES have the one thing very successful entrepreneur must have – a very clear vision about what her business is and should be.
Kinexions is here to help people in a holistic and natural way.
Every decision Sharon makes about the business is measured against this vision and philosophy. If something doesn’t measure up, it’s not right for her business. On the other hand, if something matches her vision and philosophy Sharon jumps at it, no holds barred.
Like many women-owned businesses, Sharon started part-time. Her path to self-employment began when her employer gave her six month’s notice. Since she had been a part-time fitness instructor for a number of years, Sharon decided to pursue this field rather than look for another office job. During the six months, she took courses to become certified as a pilates instructor and began teaching at the local YMCA.
At the end of six months, Sharon was informed she wouldn’t be laid off after all; but the ball was already in motion. Sharon continued to teach part-time until the two jobs became too much. She approached her employer about working part-time so she could devote more time to her business. A year later, she turned in her notice and began her business full-time.
Flexibility has been one of Sharon’s strengths. When she noticed a number of her pilates clients had brain injuries, she took courses on treating people with brain injuries. While hosting a bridal spa day, the maid of honour mentioned she worked for a company selling natural soaps and lotions. Sharon loved the products and decided they’d be a perfect fit. She immediately placed an order and started selling them from her studio. Both these actions fit with her vision so Sharon could easily make the decision to act.
Purchasing the house she works out of was another “gut” decision based on her vision. She was renting a room in a nearby business and saw a sign for an open house. She came in and immediately felt she needed to have the house.
“People come in here and just go ‘ahhhh.’ We’re here to help and serve people. They are pampered; this is a place to just relax,” says Sharon. “I felt it when I first walked into the house.”
Service to the customer is an essential part of Sharon’s vision. “I think women-owned businesses are different because women are nurturers. We work hard at making sure people feel good,” says Sharon.
This service is key to Kinexions’ success. Whether Sharon’s just had an argument with the bank or her husband, the customer never sees that. From the moment they step through the door, everything is geared to making sure people feel good.
Another key to Sharon’s success is getting support. She has a friend who started her business about the same time. They share their struggles, joined the Chamber of Commerce together and give each other encouragement. “We borrow each other’s energy,” says Sharon. “Otherwise, you can get caught up in negativity.”
As with any business, getting customers through the door is Sharon’s biggest challenge. While she did some advertising and had an article written about her in the paper, they really haven’t been effective for her.
Her connections from teaching prior to opening her studio, word of mouth and networking have been her biggest sources of new business. The challenge with networking is the time. It takes time to network – time away from her business.
Many women entrepreneurs struggle with balancing family and work. Sharon feels she could only have started her business now. Her children are grown and don’t need her as much which allows her the time and energy to focus on her business. This is something she couldn’t have done when they were younger. The demands of family would have been too much to allow her to give the business the focus it needs.
The success of Sharon’s business shows that having a clear vision for your business is key to making it work. Even if you have a business plan, if you don’t have a clear vision and a philosophy for your business, you may not make the right decisions. If you really know what your business is about and where you want it to go, you can make even major decisions easily.
Andrea J. Stenberg