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Flashback to 1998: Catching up with Jason Shankey

Tue, 20 November 2012

In 1998, Jason Shankey scooped two awards at the Shell LiveWIRE Northern Ireland Finals for his business, Hackers Barber Shop.
He now runs a number of salons and has produced a Jason Shankey skincare and grooming product range. In June 2012 Jason appeared on The Apprentice offering his expert advice.

What can you remember about your involvement with Shell LiveWIRE?
I can remember being both excited and petrified at the thought of risking it all on my own business.

How have things changed for you since you won your Shell LiveWIRE award?
We have since gone on to open four Male Grooming salons and a range of men's hair and skincare products. We have three salons in Belfast and a franchised store in London. Our products are sold across the UK in stores such as Urban Retreat at Harrods and House of Fraser.

How have you had to adapt as an entrepreneur over the years?
We have to adapt every day as things don't stand still in a business! On a daily basis, we have to deal with competition, marketing, finances and cash flow. These are all skills I have learned along the way.

What has been the biggest obstacle you have overcome in business?
Taking my skincare range to market is up there with the toughest challenges I have done. With so many ranges out there, it's really difficult getting your foot in the door.
What are your top tips for a young entrepreneur about to set up in business?
Nail your business plan and be completely realistic about it. Don't be in denial that you have a great idea if you don't! Ask other entrepreneurs what they think and get as many opinions as possible. Mix this up with your market research to decide whether it will work or not.
Watch your cash flow! Cash is like the oil in an engine. Without it, your business will simply collapse.

Don't let detractors get you down! You will come across lots of people who will tell you that you'll not succeed, and you'll meet a lot of jealous people along your journey. Take their comments with a pinch of salt and move on. Remember that your journey is about your business, not the detractors!

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