Reality television star and hairdresser Tabatha Coffey.
Reality television star and hairdresser Tabatha Coffey. PAUL MILLER/AAP

Tabatha’s reality check for small businesses

IF THERE is one thing to amplify issues in a family then it's running a business, but thankfully Tabatha Coffey is here to help.  

The 48-year-old TV star, who moved to the US from the Gold Coast more than 20 years ago, is taking on her biggest challenge yet with the new show Relative Success with Tabatha, currently airing on Foxtel's Arena.  

In this new show, Tabatha uses her experience as a small business and hair salon owner to help family businesses get back on track, often with explosive results. Previously in Tabatha Takes Over it was hair salons that got her attention, but now it's open to anyone.   

"This show came about because we were getting so many people saying they wanted help with their business, but they weren't a hair salon," Tabatha says.   

"The family dynamic in business really heightens everything. Business is business.   

"What you're selling, what your product is, what your expertise is - that's universal to any business, so just keep the family drama out."  

Tabatha Coffey in a scene from the TV series Relative Success with Tabatha.
Tabatha Coffey in a scene from the TV series Relative Success with Tabatha. Nicole Weingart/Bravo

Tabatha says there were times she would wonder why business owners had asked for her help, hitting a wall of opposition when she suggested changes.   

"I throw my hands up in the air all the time, and when my frustrating hits... it's not well hidden. It can be frustrating when you're trying to help someone and they become so paralysed by their fear of change or doing something different," she says.   

"I find it amazing that they are doing something that isn't working, yet they want to keep doing that rather than doing something new based on the fact it is too scary for them.  

"I take the attitude that when times are bad, you don't have a lot to lose. In fact you have everything to gain, which makes it so hard when they don't want to listen."  

Often a business can work just fine, but when it is a family business it often means all kinds of baggage comes with each member of staff.   

"It doesn't matter how grown up we are or how successful we were in a different life, when we get with our families, dramas can happen," Tabatha says.   

"There can be issues or resentments there that haven't been worked through in the past, and when they bring that to the business it can be a problem."  

Tabatha hopes people watching at home get something out of every episode.   

"We've been doing this for eight years now and I've now gone from hair salons to all kinds of businesses... we just got so many requests for help. Whether you own a business or not, you'll always notice something that you can use," she says.  

"The majority of businesses don't make it past the first year, that's just a statistical fact. Many businesses fail, so it's great to talk about successes on the show as it gives people hope.  

"It's also good to talk about the things that aren't working, and to tweak them.   

"Running a successful business takes more than hanging up a sign saying  'open' on the front door. You need to have a plan.   

"How do I do this? Is the location right? How much money do I have behind me? These are the things that they don't think about."  

Relative Success With Tabatha returns on Arena on Thursday, March 1 at 6.30pm QLD, 7.30pm NSW.    

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