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JODY'S BEAUTY VENTURE IS JUST THE JOB Advice For Small Businesses; Neil Hodgson on a new beauty treatments site, Just Bella.

JODY Riley's Just Bella business is the perfect illustration of just how the internet can be harnessed as a massive labour-saving device.

Like almost all Liverpool girls Jody is acutely conscious of looking her best and, in pursuit of that perfect look, she says she has spent hour upon hour rushing around salons and beauty parlours trying to arrange appointments.

"Not everyone has the time and money to be calling round local businesses to see if they are available, driving to endless salons, only to be told 'no spaces'" she said.

But, she adds, Just Bella can turn a day of running around into just a few seconds.

Her venture, which officially launched last Friday, is the first online appointment booking website that offers hair, beauty, health, body and fitness treatments for both salons and mobile practitioners.

So far she has signed up 52 Merseyside businesses to her site which can offer a variety of beauty treatments for people to log on to and book in their own personal online diary.

However, Jody has ambition to spare and is targeting business opportunities far beyond the Merseyside boundaries.

Across the country she says there are 35,704 hair salons, 1,512 nail bars and technicians, 967 registered mobile beauty therapists, 6,019 fitness facilities, and 13,770 registered personal trainers.

But that is for another day. For the time being, the single mum-of-one is concentrating on building her fledgling venture into a business success that she believes can yield a turnover of PS243,000 in its first year alone.

She said its appeal is a no-brainer. It saves time booking appointments, can save clients money, sources the best offers in the area, and offers access to a personalised online beauty diary.

Jody said: "The idea is to get rid of pen and paper. People are still writing their appointments in diaries, but they can have an online diary and can book appointments straight to their diary."

On top of all those benefits for customers, she says Just Bella is also a winner for the businesses that register with the site.

Just Bella will be able to generate a new customer base for salons and mobile technicians.

Jody said: "With the health and beauty industry becoming a crowded market, small businesses often find it hard to stand out from the crowd.

"However, by showcasing their entire offerings on Just Bella, businesses can directly target potential customers, allowing them to book exactly what they want, when they want."

Local firm Apposing has built the Just Bella website. Jody said: "I haven't a clue about building a website.

" I just have the ideas. "Apposing did that stuff for me, but I have complete control of the website."

She said the site will be running competitions, and will offer customers the chance to leave a review of any services they use, which will then be used as the basis for an awards programme at the end of the year.

And the site will be complemented by a Just Bella app later this summer.

Jody said: "Liverpool is the best place for something like this.

Everyone wants to look good. It is what Liverpool needs for hair and beauty.

"Our slogan is 'book yourself beautiful.'.

"I have wanted this forever because I have always been trying to find appointments."

After leaving school Jody, from Aintree, worked in sales and the beauty market.

She qualied from Huyton's Beauty Academy as a beautician, providing treatments for nails, tanning, and eye lashes.

Having qualied she worked as a mobile beautician. But after becoming a mum she had to work the business around her new maternal duties, and many of her clients then visited her at home.

But after two years, and with the seeds of the idea for Just Bella in her head, she said she needed to boost her income.

She became a distributor for health foods group Juice PLUS+, and was so successful that her bosses then oered her the role of national marketing director.

Jody worked with them for around a year and said she was able to build up sizeable savings from her regular bonuses.

"I had had Just Bella in my head since I did the beauty business and I knew that is what people need, and what I needed as a platform."

She set up her venture as a limited company last August.

But she admitted it wasn't as straightforward as she had anticipated: "Last August I thought I would save PS3,000, get a website, and be a millionaire.

"But so far I have spent PS21,000."

She has received a start-up loan from Liverpool-based Merseyside Special Investment Fund, but apart from that, the business is debt free.

"I worked hard to build what I have now," she added.

She has been helped by Liverpool's Women's Organisation, and is based in their St James Street incubator.

"C/e Women's Organisation has helped me set up and has pointed me in the right direction to people like their business advisor Francine Taylor.

"She has been my right hand girl and has helped me write my business plan."

JODY'Said she will also turn to the Women's Organisation when the time comes to full her next ambition for Just Bella, which will be creating a franchise model.

"You have to be trading for three years before you can do that, but the Women's Organisation will be able to help me with franchising.

"I have got so much planned for this. I want to go to Manchester, Leeds, and Birmingham, then franchise later."

And she believes her business will also be able to provide the opportunity for people to break into the beauty business, as it expands.

She currently has three sales sta and a part-time employee, but added: "I am hoping there will be a lot of employment.

"I need someone to do marketing and an in-house web developer and sales and interns.

"I have massive ideas. C/ere's so much we can bring to Just Bella, and hopefully it will open doors for other people as well."

THE FACTS Age: 26.

Best advice received: Don't run before you can walk.

Ambition: To have Just Bella worldwide as a well-known salon name. I want us to be like the 'Just Eat' of beauty and for me to be a successful businesswoman running several companies. I want to help a lot of people into the industry. Hobbies: I don't unwind from Just Bella. I have a three-month-old boy, so the only time I switch off is when I pick him up from nursery and the phone goes in the pocket, but comes out later in the evening.

Jody only gives herself a couple | | of hours off from her phone MORE than 8m taxpayers who filed their 2013-14 tax return electronically by the January 31, deadline can now access their online tax summary.

The summaries set out how much tax and National Insurance each person has paid in the tax year, and how it contributed to public expenditure.

The online summaries can be viewed by logging onto HMRC online services and selecting the 'View your 2013 to 2014 tax summary' option.

Millions of taxpayers who are in the PAYE system and don't file tax returns have already received paper summaries in the post.

Others will receive a paper version in the future, once S 2013-14 tax affairs have been finalised.

Online filers who missed the deadline will have access S contributions.

"The Government promised to provide transparent information about its expenditure and these summaries deliver on that promise."

Any taxpayer who does not receive a tax summary can use HMRC's tax calculator to estimate their tax bill and see how it contributes to public spending.

The 'HMRC App' containing the calculator can be downloaded free of charge from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store by searching for 'HMRC'.

The summaries were first announced by the Chancellor in 2012.
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 19, 2015
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