COMING UP FAST: Decisions

COMING UP FAST: Decisions - MY BEST ... was to focus on making Toni & Guy an international hairdressing chain. I wanted to expand beyond our first salon in South London, which we opened in 1963. We needed to move away from being just a local shop. It was

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

MY BEST ... was to focus on making Toni & Guy an international hairdressing chain. I wanted to expand beyond our first salon in South London, which we opened in 1963. We needed to move away from being just a local shop. It was 1972 when I finally opened a salon in central London. It took nine years to open the second one, and another nine to open the third. But we were good at publicity, and we began to make a name for ourselves. The expansion was helped by my decision to use franchises. We started franchising in 1991, despite the disapproval of my bank manager. Through franchises, we now have salons in more than 30 countries.

MY WORST ...

I opened three salons in Canada but didn't go there myself to oversee them. That was a mistake - cutting hair in North America is a very different business from what it is in Europe. You've got to give 105% and be there all the time. Although the salons are successful now, it took almost two years for them to reach that point. In comparison, some UK salons can start making a profit almost overnight. I should have learnt from my previous travels in the US and Canada that to succeed there you must either go yourself or send a very trusted deputy. In the long run, the salons will be a success, but if I had to do it again, I'd do it differently.

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