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Change can do you good: why reinvention is the vital new norm



Regardless of your situation, we all have one thing in common. Each one of us is getting older. That ageing is usually accompanied by a change in our thinking, behaviours, interests, shape, dress, hair, health and most certainly our skin. I've worked with many beauty brands over the years and I have beauty therapists in my family. I regularly hear about the powerful impact that our skin has on how we look and feel about ourselves.

Our skin naturally rejuvenates when we sleep but work-load and stress negatively affects our sleep patterns. So if you've just studied yourself in the mirror, I have some good news for you!

Bellazza Clinic

For years, skincare was aimed principally at women. But men are now much more conscious of how they look. Consequently there is significant growth in skincare treatments for them. But it's not just about lotions and potions. More men now visit salons for a scrub-up.

Catering for women and men, Bellazza Clinic is based in Ranelagh in Dublin. Owned and managed by Sue Machesney, the business started out as a regular beauty salon. Over the years, Sue's knowledge and passion for skincare grew.

The clinic then developed a strong expertise and reputation specialising in reinvigorating the face and body with non-invasive anti-ageing treatments. "Ageing is not nice and I believe we all deserve to look the best we can for our age.

"When we do, we feel better. And the instant gratification that we get from a skin treatment is great for our state of mind too," says Sue.

A regular guest on TV, she has been a driving force in the industry, innovating and keeping up with the newest technologies. Bellazza was one of the first clinics in Ireland to introduce laser skin treatment and semi-permanent make-up.

Recent Challenges

For over 20 years, the business has been tremendously successful and continues to grow from strength to strength. But Sue herself has gone through quite a lot of change in her personal life.

Her family expanded with two children in recent years and that brings all the challenges of balancing work and home life.

Not only that, she lost both her parents in the last two years. Her mother in particular played a big part in her life, both at home and in the business.

Those life-changing events were also coupled with the passing of a birthday milestone that included the numbers four and zero.

Just like her clients, Sue has great empathy for all that goes with getting older. She knows what it takes to stay on top of that.

While the past few years have been personally tough for Sue, she continued to work through it all. She has now given herself a shake and is ready to reinvent herself and the business with a new focus for the future.

Change tips

There is a perpetual struggle in getting the balance right between family and business. Real life brings rollercoasters to all of us, professionally known as the 'sigmoid curve'. (Picture the letter 'S' on its side).

If we don't manage it effectively, the impact can show in the business with our colleagues and suppliers. Our customers too will notice it.

The trick is to anticipate and avoid the dip and to do whatever you can to get onto an upward swing. We can't always see that for ourselves and that's why it's important to listen to those around us that have our best interests at heart. Here is what Sue did.

1 Reconnect with wider market in an objective way

Sue listened to herself and close friends and family. She then took time away from the business for a few days just to think. She considered the changing lifestyle trends and the newest non-invasive technologies in the skincare market. That enabled her to identify real opportunities for the next few years. She also considered the threats in terms of new competition and other negative trends.

2 Identify your own strengths and weaknesses.

Against the backdrop of the opportunities and threats you have identified, consider what your strengths are. A good checklist to use is people, product/services, route to market, marketing, internal controls (such as costs, IT, systems etc.). Follow that with identifying your weaknesses, using the same checklist. Be honest and objective here. Challenge yourself.

3 Do a gap analysis and consider your options.

When you have prioritised your list of options, do a cost-benefit analysis on the ideas you favour most to help you to narrow the funnel.

4 Draw up an action plan.

Make a list of what needs to be done, by whom and by when.


When life presents challenges to us at home and in our business, it is easy and quite understandable to fall into a rut of complacency, procrastination and maybe even some self-doubt.

We see younger people flying around the place with 'digital this' and 'apps for that' and we wonder if we can ever catch up. That is totally within our control.

Arnold Schwarzenegger has successfully reinvented himself a number of times. Starting out in life as a body-builder, he went on to become an A-list actor in Hollywood. He reinvented himself again as the republican governor of California. More recently he has returned to acting again. Now we don't have to be so drastic or adventurous in how we re-invent ourselves or our business. But fast change is a reality of our new world, regardless of whether you are an employee or self-employed. From now on, reinvention every few years will be the new norm.

Alan O'Neill, The Change Agent. alanoneill.biz. Contact Alan if you'd like support with your business. Business advice questions for Alan can be sent to sundaybusiness@independent.ie

In association with RGON, specialists in Employee Engagement Surveys www.rgon.ie


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