Transitioning a big city business to Whistler

November 8, 2016
By: Blair Kaplan

Sally Shureih, owner of Lionsgate Laser Clinic, took a large leap of faith three years ago when she moved her very successful laser hair removal clinic from Ottawa to Whistler.

Shureih, who owned the award-winning Ottawa Laser Clinic, spent years building up her reputation and client base. Sally and her business stood out from the competition, but in 2013 Shurieh made the big move to be closer to her children and grandchildren who now reside in Pemberton and Vancouver. She knew that relocating a business wasn’t going to be as easy, but it was doable.

How do you rebuild a successful “big city” business to fit into the structure of a small town? Well, for Shureih, the main ingredients are hard work, networking, hiring the right people and putting a big focus on customer service.

Have a strong work ethic

When building any business, you need to be determined and work hard. When in Ottawa, Shureih had up to 12 other laser clinics to compete against, so she had to work hard to stand out from the competition.

“There are over one million people in Ottawa to draw from and also six to 12 laser clinics, so competition was strong, but with those numbers, and the fact that I had been living and working for eight years in the area prior to going out on my own, it was relatively easy to start my business,” Shureih explained. “I had a strong work ethic and had honed my craft for eight years.”

This same work ethic was required when rebuilding her business in Whistler, but because the size of the community, she knew that business growth may be slower.

Make networking a priority

With Whistler being much smaller than Ottawa and being new to town Shureih had to rebuild her network. One of the best ways to build a business is by networking and it’s something that every business should be doing.

“Thinking I would hit the ground running again when I came to B.C. was a rude awakening. The main drawback was that no one knew who ‘Sally’ was. It takes time to build your reputation, whoever you are. Network, network, network,” Shureih said.

Hiring the right people

When you are growing a business you can’t do it all on your own and you often need to hire a team. What’s the secret to hiring the right people?

“I have learned to hire staff with similar work ethics as myself and then train them in my field rather than thinking you are taking a shortcut by hiring already trained staff, as chances are their standards are not the same. It may take longer in the short term, but you have a much better chance of them staying for the long term,” Shureih said.

Word of mouth marketing is valuable

Another thing that is crucial to growing your business is to ensure that you and your team are providing the highest level of customer service. This will, in turn, help customer retention and encourage positive word of mouth marketing.

“Because of my amazing staff we are able to retain customers, have an extremely high ratio of new potential clients as consult turn into clients and then this leads to strong referrals too,” Shureih explained. “Here, in a small town like Whistler (with 99.9 per cent of our clients being locals), when you do a good job on ‘Kayleigh’ and she tells all her close friends and roommates, we are able to keep our prices affordable by keeping advertising spending to an absolute minimum by relying on word of mouth.”

Shureih’s final words on providing customer service that leads to customer retention and business growth: “We all care about our clients. We treat clients like they are family and I think it shows in our many positive testimonials on our website. We are kind, empathetic and listen to the needs of our clients.”

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Link to Whistler Question article: http://ow.ly/VJRnm