A Dream Fulfilled
When Lisa Phelps and Megan Mandigo opened Parlour in August 2016, their vision was clear: to bring high quality hair and spa services to Middlebury, VT. They also aimed to build and nurture a talented team of stylists and spa professionals who provide an extraordinary experience for every client.
During the early days of starting their business, Lisa and Megan had consulted with VtSBDC (Vermont Small Business Development Center) to help organize their finances, set up their systems, and develop plans for growth and management. Business was running smoothly, and their dream was coming to fruition. Then COVID-19 hit.
The Impact of COVID-19
The challenges facing Parlour as a result of the pandemic brought Lisa and Megan back to VtSBDC. They needed to know what resources were available to keep their business going. Area Advisor Sarah Kearns provided Megan and Lisa with relevant, accurate direction to deal with the issues at hand.
“…while struggling through our business closure and navigating loans and grants, Sarah was always available to answer questions and offer guidance. With her help, we were able to make smart financial decisions and keep our business alive.”
During the closure, Megan and Lisa faced the reality of their situation and took stock of their next steps. They were forced to rely on retail product sales and to create an online platform. The closure required them to think outside the box and to pivot their business plan for the foreseeable future.
“With the closure of our store, and the halt of service income, we were forced to re-evaluate our business plan. We took the time off to think about our online presence and plan for potential closures in the future…”
Financial Literacy Boosts Resilience
Sarah emphasizes that Lisa and Megan’s fluency in financial literacy bolstered their resilience and enabled them to pivot their business when they needed to be nimble and responsive. VtSBDC advisors Steve Densham and Ross Hart agree that financial literacy is the key to operating a stable, thriving business. Business owners need to learn how to use QuickBooks, understand their Chart of Accounts, and react to their balance sheets and P&L reports.
For Megan and Lisa, the foundation they have built together strengthens their business today. They have recently reopened – carefully following health and safety guidelines for their staff and clients Consulting with VtSBDC at the outset enabled them to set up the right systems to manage and monitor their finances moving forward. And when confronted with the impact of the pandemic, their financial savvy gave them the freedom to think ahead about their online presence, ecommerce programs, and potential future innovations.
Parlour has set an excellent example for owners of any type of small business: focus on becoming financially literate and understand how and when to apply your knowledge. Those abilities are critical to success…before, during, and after a pandemic.
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