I know you’re busy this time of year! I know it’s hard to be thinking about where your business is heading in the upcoming year— but if you don’t start planning now, spring will be creeping up on you and you’ll still be doing everything just like last year: Same prices, same problems, same processes. And same profit—if not lower.
Is that what you want? Or do you want to do better?
There’s a familiar theme I hear over and over from my clients: Excuses for inaction. Excuses such as, “I just haven’t gotten around to it”, or “Something else came up”. Procrastination. Indecision. Stalling.
My goal is to give my clients the tools they need to take action, and to provide guidance along the way. I always start with evaluating and then planning. Look at the story the numbers tell you. Numbers do not lie or tell you only the things you want to hear. Numbers speak the truth.
Spa Success takes planning. And planning is something too often neglected by small business owners. With a new year about to start, now is the time to re-evaluate your goals and priorities and develop a strategy to lead your business in the right direction. Look at the activities and actions that have been taken in the past year. What has worked? What has not?
So, how do you begin? The best way to begin is by planning to plan!
Add Planning Appointments to Your Calendar
Make several appointments with yourself and put them on your calendar. When those appointment times come around, don’t cancel on yourself! You are too important!
Each appointment must result in a well-defined plan or goal. Set specific objectives and a have timeline that will help you reach your goals for the coming year.
Here are some ideas for the first few appointments with yourself:
Appointment 1: Decide What It Is You Want!
What are your short-term and long-term goals? Have those goals changed? Do you want to make more money? Work fewer hours? Expand your business—or sell it? Maybe it’s time your spa had a new look. Be honest with yourself, and be realistic. What do you really want?
It’s a good idea to talk about these goals with your family as well. Running a small business is not a nine-to-five job. The support of your family may be a very important factor in determining your goals.
Once you have a clear vision, move on to the next appointments with well-defined goals in mind.
Appointment 2: What Do the Numbers Tell You?
Schedule time to get your bookkeeping up-to-date. Do it as soon as possible so that you can accurately analyze your financial performance to-date. Don’t hesitate to get help and advice from business and accounting professionals who can help you better understand the numbers. It’s much easier to figure out how to get where you’re going if you know where you are right now!
Once you have a good understanding of your financial position, you will be better able to plan for change.
Appointment 3: Team Productivity
You know who’s bringing in the business – and who’s not. January is the perfect time to take action with staff that aren’t contributing their share to the bottom line. Maybe they need training and guidance – or maybe it’s time they left. January is also a great time to make sure your top performers are taken care of and ready to deliver for you in the New Year. They will also benefit from training and guidance to give them more skills and keep them motivated.
Put some thought into what other responsibilities your staff can take on. Perhaps encourage more social media postings. Each and every new social media post is a win for everyone in the spa.
Appointment 4: Marketing Activities
Hopefully you have a marketing calendar to plan you annual marketing activities. If you don’t, you’d better start one! Promotions should be planned in advance to avoid last-minute rushed decisions. All the holiday dates are known years in advance, so you have no excuse for starting your Mother’s Day promotion 5 days before the date.
The schedule should include things like: Regular emails, monthly promotions, holiday promotions, loyalty rewards, and social media postings. If you will be using the postal service to mail anything, make sure you allow ample for design, printing and delivery time.
Try to add new idea to your marketing plan. Explore new social media tools and try to use creative new methods of getting your message out.
Appointment 5: Costs, Suppliers, and Inventory
An annual review of your inventory and supplies is always a good idea. Reflect on how well your supplier relationships are serving your needs. If the terms, prices, minimum orders, and shipping don’t meet your needs and/or budget, try to renegotiate or look into changing suppliers.
Supply management is an area in which all staff should play an active role. Reducing waste and making everyone responsible for the products and supplies they use can make a significant difference to profit margin.
Since you should now have an understanding of your current finances, it’s a good time to evaluate your prices and make sure they are in line with the competition. Have a look at your service menu and make some changes and adjustments if needed.
Appointment 6: Topic of Your Choice
I’ve recommended 5 appointments based on my many years of experience as a consultant to spa owners. But I don’t have specific knowledge of your business. There is most likely another key element (or several) that merits its own appointment. If your financial reports or your goals indicate you need to make time to work on other specifics, then schedule the time.
Once you’ve completed this set of appointments, you must not consider the issues to be resolved. It is vital to keep a watchful eye on the goals you have set.
Follow Up and Monitor Your Progress
I recommend having a schedule for monitoring how things are going. Setting a goal and starting the process of achieving it is rarely enough to make it happen. You must keep tabs on progress.
I suggest a weekly review of your key goals. You must be able to measure and chart progress in areas such sales, re-booking, and retail sales. Are they headed in the right direction? If not – why not?
Adjust your plan as needed. You will likely have to make an extra effort to speed things up for some goals and—quite possibly—adjust course or strategy for other goals.
Take responsibility for the goals you set. Hold yourself accountable. Commit to taking the action required to meet the targets. When December rolls around next year, you will certainly feel that the effort was worth it!
New Year, New Attitude
Aside from measurable business goals and finances, a new year is a great time to evaluate more personal ambitions.
Being happy and fulfilled in your life makes business success even more gratifying. Plan time for yourself. Learn a new skill. It could be totally unrelated to your profession, or it could enhance your business—or both!
Another suggestion for both your business and spiritual well-being is to support a cause in your community. Not only will you find personal gratification, but your business will gain goodwill and will certainly enhance your reputation. Invite your staff to be involved as well, and the benefits will multiply.
So, get out your calendar right now and make some appointments—even if you don’t know exactly what they’ll be for yet! The best time to start building a better business is NOW.
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