It isn’t just the money, although lack of adequate funding has to top the list. That and the failure of spa owners and managers to fully appreciate the financial side of their business.
“They assume that if they build a spa, it will be busy with clients, and that everything will be fine,” Lisa M. Starr, an international spa consultant, told a seminar for spa owners at Continental Cosmetics.
“They don’t apply the math. They don’t look at what they really need to produce in terms of income.”
The second biggest issue is knowing what to pay staff. Many overpay, despite that it’s their single biggest cost. They assume they should pay what other businesses in their area are paying.
At the same time, she adds, you have to be fair in your compensation, with options that apply to everyone as well as equal training for all.
“You have to think outside the box. Costs are going up and up but we’re not raising prices to compensate, with the result that margins are getting tighter and tighter.
“We’ve had as hard time after the recession in 2008. We’ve seen a lot of spas shutter – but these were essentially spas that were not needed or that were not well thought out.
“The ones who survived are strong. They know what they’re doing and will become even stronger as business improves.”
Lisa believes were seeing a recovery. And with the recovery, many more spas are becoming wellness oriented, which gives spas a broader mandate and able to offer more services and products.
“It’s not just facials and massages any more. We have so many more therapies that we can do and a lot more options as we go forward.
“I think it’s a good time”.
Number Three is trying to cater to too many markets and trying to be the spa for everyone.
If you’re wise, you’ll find your niche and play it for all it’s worth.
Your ideal client should be between 30 and 55. “Beyond that, you can’t make everyone happy, and you can’t design your spa and your spa menu with products that are good for everyone.”
Number Four is differentiation. She believes it’s more important today than ever before. “Always keep in mind that you’re not the only spa in your area and that everyone shares customers. And everyone knows what a spa looks like today and what to expect. If your spa is essentially like all the others, ask yourself why clients should visit your spa. You need to give them a good enough reason to choose you and your spa. Your spa has to have its own personality.
“People want experiences today. and customers have shown they’re willing to pay for that.”
Number Five is how we do business. It’s become very transactional in many spas today. “We have to rethink how we do things for each step of our spa journey with clients. The answer may include visiting other businesses and see how they handle they’re interactions with their customers. I went to a mall near here yesterday and did just that…I think our business model is so boring.”