I started MJ Driver Laser Tattoo Removal & Lightening in Brisbane in 2010. The industry was a lot smaller back then, and finding a trustworthy, highly accredited laser tattoo removal clinician was hard. It was also rare to find a laser clinician that operated out of a tattoo shop - most people were going to medical centres and receiving treatment from health care providers who had no experience or credibility within the tattoo industry.
My experience and reputation within the industry was a big part of how I managed to grow my business interstate.
In my first year, I started to receive bookings from people who were flying in from Sydney and Melbourne to get treatment. I had more demand than what I could keep up with, so I started up a second location in Melbourne and was personally travelling between the two cities to fill appointments. Word spread fast that I was operating out of tattoo shops with top-of-the-range medical equipment, and the fact that I was the only one doing so, meant that demand just keep getting higher.
Before too long, I reached a point where I needed to bring in the help of others. The training and equipment required to perform laser tattoo removal is expensive, and it’s so important to me to be able to trust the people who are performing treatments under my brand completely. This has been the biggest expense for me when expanding to a new location, but ultimately it’s been worth it, and I have a strong team behind me now who’s own reputations are now bringing in a steady flow of business. We now operate out of six locations across Australia.
If I were to give any advice to other young business owners who are growing their businesses beyond their home turf, it would be this:
1. Build yourself a strong team who love what they do as much as you do.
I’m extremely lucky to have a fantastic, trustworthy team behind me. From the very beginning when I brought in my first employee, I made it my goal to ensure that everyone I worked with wanted to come to work each day. The last thing you want is to become the type of boss who everyone hates, with a workplace full of people who don’t want to be there. We pride ourselves on creating a relaxed, functional environment where our technicians feel good every day. Your clients will notice when your employees are happy to be doing their work, and they’ll keep coming back. Given that I only have one or two employees in each of my locations, it’s important that I know they’re representing our brand in a respectful way, and giving our clients the best experience.
2. Don’t let the copycats get you down.
As the laser tattoo removal industry has grown, we have had the challenge of copycat businesses coming in and flattering us with imitating what we do. The frustrating part is when it goes beyond imitating your brand, where people are literally stealing your work and claiming it as their own (that’s where the legal system comes in handy)! At the end of the day, your business will stand the test of competition and imitation if you keep your head up and keep doing what you’re good at. If your work is good enough for people to want to copy, it’s good enough to weather the storm and your customers will stick with you, whether it’s in your hometown or beyond.
3. Never get complacent.
The pressure of competition, growth, brand reputation and everything else keeps me on my toes, and that’s a good thing. If you get complacent, you’ll lose the drive to keep succeeding and moving forward. If the day comes that I feel complacent, I’ll know it’s time to pack it all in and sell the business.
This Article was Contributed by Mike Driver, he is the founding owner and operator of MJ Driver Laser Tattoo Removal & Lightening. MJ Driver and his team are recognised across Australia as leaders in the laser tattoo removal industry, and have grown to provide their laser removal services in clinics throughout Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.