It was also important for this busy mum to look for something that would fit around her family
Barbara Burnett had always enjoyed her career in strategic senior management, working for various national charities across the UK. But when the mum-of-two found herself attracted to the idea of running her own business, she soon discovered the benefits that go hand-in-hand with owning a franchise. After a year of researching various business opportunities, she found the perfect fit for her and her family – Australian salon brand, Just Cuts.
Having launched on British soil in January 2018 – with three franchise owner-operated salons across the south east – the timing was right for Barbara to enquire about the Just Cuts franchise opportunity. As well as more time to spend with her family, the appeal of running a Just Cuts franchise came down to their unique position in a competitive marketplace and an apparent demand for a convenient salon experience in her local area.
“I recognised early on that the first step in finding the right franchise for me and my family was to establish essential criteria – my first priority was a better work-life balance but I also wanted to run a business I felt passionate about,” she says. “I was instantly drawn to the Just Cuts franchise model. What you get in terms of support is second-to-none and the brand is so innovative. The concept of walk-in appointments managed by a bespoke app, fixed pricing and a professional quality, affordable haircare range really differentiates the brand.”
Born and bred in Stevenage, Barbara also felt compelled to run a business that would keep her close to home. With her daughter, Lauren, having Down’s syndrome and additional complex needs, it was also important for the busy mum to look for something that would fit around her family. Becoming her own boss gives her the security and flexibility that is so crucial.
“There comes a moment when your life choices change direction and I realised I wanted to step back from working for someone else to do something for myself. When I first started looking into Just Cuts, I was so impressed by the model and support package. Initially, I looked into other franchising opportunities too, even going along to some of the national franchising exhibitions to make sure I was covering all my bases. I just kept getting drawn back to Just Cuts. Once I knew they were the right fit for me, I got in touch and asked to find out more,” explains Barbara.
Just Cuts recognised a sense of determination in Barbara and, with her long-term plan for a portfolio of salons across Hertfordshire, Just Cuts’ dedicated Academy Team welcomed Barbara into the network.
“The support I’ve received from David Mathie, general manager, and the rest of the Academy Team in getting my salon off the ground has been superb,” she says. “Despite my belief in the Just Cuts model, I have no hairdressing experience – but with Just Cuts, that doesn’t matter. I manage the operations of the salon whilst my qualified stylists look after our clients. However, I still found the Just Cuts franchise owner training invaluable. I bought into a franchise network because of the appeal of the constant backing and support – Just Cuts provide this in spades.”
Barbara’s salon in Stevenage launches at an opportune time. The commuter-belt town is soon to benefit from a £1bn regeneration investment in its retail district, so the new salon will be located alongside popular retailers, bustling restaurants and corporate offices. The revamp will take up to eight years to complete in phases, with work beginning in 2020.
As well as achieving that elusive work-life balance that many people spend their entire careers striving for, Barbara is benefitting from the convenience and flexibility which the Just Cuts franchise model affords.
“Just Cuts have put a number of processes in place to allow franchisees to achieve a great work-life balance. One innovative feature is their online dashboard, which tracks activity in real-time in each salon and includes a chat feature, so I can message my stylists from wherever I am. It’s also really convenient that JustOnline software, our point-of-sale system, sits on the cloud so there’s no need for large, clunky equipment. Yet more ways Just Cuts make life as simple as possible for their franchise owners.
“It’s no coincidence that I was so keen to join Just Cuts. Working for myself, on my own terms, is going to make all the difference to my quality of life. I’ll have more time to spend with Lauren whilst also never taking my finger off the pulse. I’m determined to make a real success of my business and feel as though this goal is achievable with the support of the franchisor behind me,” she says.
Having met with her fellow franchisees during her time researching the brand, Barbara was instantly impressed with the camaraderie and shared enthusiasm of the network. Now running a salon of her own, she is keen to impart her words of advice to other prospects who find themselves considering the opportunity.
“I stand by the fact that research is paramount when looking for the right franchise opportunity,” says Barbara. “I wanted a better work-life balance, flexibility and I needed a business that I would happily use myself. I needed to feel attracted to its concept but, most of all, I needed it to have a strong USP. Just Cuts provides all that - and more. My advice to others on the search for a franchise is to make a list of non-negotiable requirements and stick to it. If what you’re looking for is an established and viable business opportunity with long-term potential, then a Just Cuts franchise might be the perfect fit for you. It’s certainly is for me.”