Savage Beauty - Our expertise and inspirational qualities in action

We are proud that Pillow May has been named as one of the most inspiring accountancy practices in the world in Steve Pipe’s book of this title. An extraordinary achievement, considering over a hundred thousand accountancy practices from across the world were shortlisted and only 57, from 10 countries, made it through the rigorous 18-month research process to the final list.

Chartered Accountant, Steve Pipe, described Pillow May as ‘a team of working mums who are blazing a trail, setting new standards and making a real difference’.

The business case that said it all

The business case that helped secure Pillow May’s listing in the book details our work with Emma Savage, a young entrepreneur who founded beauty salon Savage Beauty in Devizes.

Emma wanted to realise her dreams of putting systems in place, financed through grant funding, to beat her ambitious growth targets so the previously demanding business could run without her being there. But when we first met Emma, her profits were down despite her client base expanding, and she was injecting personal cash into the business each month and working long hours to keep afloat.

Jessica worked with Emma over an intense period to devise an action plan and implement more sustainable and efficient internal systems to increase profitability.   Jessica’s expert business advice and cloud software knowledge helped Savage Beauty become a viable business and provided Emma with the confidence and the tools to make better financial decisions. Pillow May offered personalised software support and Jessica acted as a business mentor for Emma.

Having Jessica is like having a business partner who I can bounce ideas off at any time. She explains all the financial data and reasoning behind her recommendations, but I am still in control of my decisions. Emma Savage, Savage Beauty

Fast forward and things are now looking rosy for Emma, sales are up with increased bookings for treatments at higher prices; she has less cash tied up in stock and she has been able to take more time away from the business. Emma’s latest target is a 40% increase in sales from the previous year, allowing her to take a proper director’s salary and dividends.

Here are our top tips for entrepreneurs on how to reach your goals:

  1. Revisit your aims – go over your original aims for the business. By doing this you can identify what isn’t working to make these aims a reality. In Emma’s case we identified the issues in reaching her aims by sketching out a budget to work out the number of treatments required per week to achieve break-even point and why this wasn’t happening.
  2. Set up a business plan – the next step is to set up an action plan to achieve those aims. This will give you more focus and often, the confidence to make decisions. The more in control Emma felt, the less she worried and stressed.
  3. Recognise the value of your time – whether you need to increase the rate you charge out at or delegate more to better utilise your time, understanding the value of your personal input is essential for accurate margins. For example, Emma increased her treatment prices by 25% as there wasn’t sufficient mark-up on her rates compared to less senior therapists.
  4. Let your software do the hard work for you – take some time and advice on the best software for your business, as the right system combinations really will save you time and money. Emma also found her employees really appreciated the more efficient working environment. For Savage Beauty we set up:
  • Receipt Bank, a cloud-based tool for scanning and automatically processing purchase invoices and receipts
  • Timely, a cloud-based system that allows clients to book their own appointment slots, and integrated them both with Xero, a cloud-based accounting software

This ensured that large parts of the sales and purchasing functions were now automated, and comprehensive management information could be produced at the push of a button.

5. Knowledge is key for decision making – better systems give you quicker access to more accurate financial data. In Emma’s case, the new software enabled her to see which treatments were popular, when the salon was busy and full stock reports, so she could better manage her inventory levels and staffing costs.

If you feel your business could benefit from some business planning and budgeting advice with the team at Pillow May, please get in touch as we would love to help you reach your goals.

You’ll find the full Savage Beauty case study here.



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