I believe if you’re not respecting your top-three values in life, everyday, you’re not inspired. If the culture ever falls in the salon, we always come back to what our values are.

Anna Ntalianis, Owner of Anaka Salon, Malvern Victoria

Owner Anna Ntalianis reflects on a decade of creativity, challenge and growth as a small business owner.

Opened in 2008 at former location on Winter Street Street, Malvern, Anaka was born from the passion of two young entrepreneurs and friends, Anna and then co-founder, Kara Layton (hence the name).

“For me, I personally wanted a change. I had a great bridal following and felt like opening a small business was the next step for me. I knew it would be a challenge and what I needed to really push me further,” says Anna.

Anaka was first and foremost built as a place for hairdressers to practice their craft in a beautiful environment, and while Anna remains passionate and dedicated to nurturing the creativity of her staff (and herself), the years’ passed have encouraged a shift in priorities.

“I am more purpose driven now and have evolved the salon culture to have a very clear vision and set of values … and I really try to keep this alive in the team,” she says.

Anaka’s values are: Be Compassionate, Love Thy Team, Be Honest, Be Authentic.

“I believe if you’re not respecting your top-three values in life, everyday, you’re not inspired. If the culture ever falls in the salon, we always come back to what our values are.”

For Anna, inspiring staff is one of the hardest things to do as a business owner yet imperative for success. If the values, culture and inspiration are healthy and alive then this not only benefits productivity and sales, but also allows her to step away from the salon with confidence.

One of Anna’s biggest challenges in business has been managing cash flow, reading and understanding profit and loss statements and also communication, “communication with staff and my previous business partner so everyone is on the same page.”

“It’s so important to know your numbers – how much each service costs and how much you’re charging, and wages versus time. This is my greatest advice for anyone looking to open a salon or small business, do a business course to learn and understand your numbers.”

“When I broke my numbers down I worked out that after 300 clients and figures reading $20,000, I was only taking home $1,000. This is because of how much we were charging and how long the operators were taking. So now we have less, but more productive staff,” shares Anna.

In addition to signing up to a business course relevant to the Australian market (Anna attended Entourage), Anna suggests looking at how to collaborate strategically with different local businesses. And importantly, enjoy the drive.

“I always looked at mistakes rather than achievements. When you look at where you started and where you’re at, it really makes you realize how many things you’ve done … make sure you relish every moment,” she says.

Now at the salon’s 10thyear there are many evolutions to celebrate. The salon is more spacious and the team’s focus on the all-important consultation has never been greater; a reputation for beautiful blondes a welcome repercussion.

“Our pursuit is to create the best salon experience, and the consultation is a big part of that. We’re asking more questions at reception so to allocate the correct amount of service time for the best results and of course, this is all backed by the best in professional hair colour and care with Wella Professionals.”

Anaka will celebrate their 10thbirthday late June with an in-salon soiree between staff, clients and friends.

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