Father-of-two David O’Neal would keep his two young sons amused by bringing along computer games, iPads and a car chair. Now he has turned his ‘lightbulb moment’ into a business.

His experience with his boys gave David the initial idea to start a children’s hairdressing salon with entertainment and toys to make having a haircut a fun experience for youngsters and, with the help of a £15,000 start-up loan from the government’s Business is GREAT campaign, he opened his first Shortcuts salon in Milton Keynes last year and is planning to open a second.

Mr O’Neal said: “The satisfaction of setting up a business goes further than just financial gain. Seeing my business start from scratch and flourish in such a short time frame gives me an immense amount of gratification.”

As well as the hair salon, Shortcuts has its Hollywood Room for makeover parties where girls can have their nails done and other beauty treatments.

In the next six to eight months David hopes to open another Shortcuts salon in the area. He also plans to build the brand and dreams of one day opening a chain of shops or franchising the brand.

“I love how I have turned something which could be quite a daunting experience for children into something which they look forward to,” he said.

He praised the help from Business is GREAT. “If it was not for The Start-Up Loan Company and advice from the Business is GREAT campaign, I would not have been able to set up Shortcuts.

“My advice to anyone considering starting a business is to have the confidence in your business. I think my personal and business belief has been the key to Shortcut’s success.

"Yes, you have to take a risk, and that can be daunting, but I always think to myself ‘You have to be in it to win it’.” 

www.greatbusiness.gov.uk/start

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