When to Hire a Consultant – Part II

Why hire a professional consultant?” This is a valid question. And here’s the answer: When your spa is faced with problems that won’t go away. The right consultant can give you valuable insight into your business, increase productivity and improve your bottom line.

So, once you determine it is time to hire a consultant, you must compile a list of potential candidates for the job. There are many ways to go about finding a consultant that is right for you. The best is asking other spa owners, and/or The Day Spa Association for recommendations.

When asking for recommendations, determine whether the prospects have demonstrated the following capabilities:

  • Ability to diagnose problems
  • A track record of presenting workable solutions to clients
  • The ability to implement those solutions (e.g., installing equipment, training employees, re-vamping a budgetary procedure or compensation package, etc.)
  • The ability to facilitate and commitment to the plan of action

The Most Common Tasks that Consultants Undertake in the Spa World:

  • Diagnosis and Assessment – They’ll identify your problems with your business and state them.
  • Problem Solving – They’ll suggest ways of solving your problems.
  • Research and Analysis – They’ll investigate the trends, events, obstacles and opportunities affecting your spa’s goals.
  • Training – They’ll teach your manager(s) and staff essential skills.
  • Mediation – They’ll help resolve disputes with or within your organization.

The eventual goal when working with a consultant is to develop business courage, skill and independence while moving steadily towards profitability. With any business decision, take your time when hiring a consultant, and make sure you are a good fit. The results can be business and life changing, if you’re all willing to put the time and effort into it.

Ana Loiselle-Donahue
President: theSECRET Salon & Spa by Design



One Response

  1. Mrs. Loiselle-Donahue,

    I applaud your message about reaching out to consultants for help.

    However, I also would like to point out the importance of that consultant having a network of experts who can be recommended to assist salon and spa owners with specific tasks that require expertise and every day working knowledge, i.e. marketing, advertising and website development.

    It is important that the business type consultant is willing to acknowledge their weaknesses and when it is appropriate to bring in a third party to assist in the solution.

    As I am sure you are aware, marketing and advertising in the beauty industry is an essential ingredient to the success of the salon/spa industry and is being outsourced more and more.

    In today’s market it is not a good idea to take make a staff member within your salon/spa head of marketing or your website developer. Although it may seem like it is cost effective, the salon/spa owner must ask herself/himself, what can this person do for my business? Would you put the same person in charge of your accounting? Hopefully, you said no. Why then would you let someone who is not trained in marketing, advertising and websie development in charge of one of the most important line items in your budget?

    A marketing plan within a specific budget is essential to success and often is the one thing business owners tend to neglect, very similar to their website and its role in the success of their business.

    I am an owner of Uproar Communications, an advertising agency in Ann Arbor, MI. We have worked in the industry for over 12 years and know the value of expertise.

    With the evolution of technology, website development, and, frankly, the “bread and butter” target audience every salon/spa is trying to attract, marketing budgets can no longer be determined by the “shot gun” approach.

    Consultants are an excellent resource to bring a fresh and objective perspective to the table. The price for their provided services should be clear and the deliverables for the price should be identified.

    Don’t be afraid to ask for references and demand answers to your questions. A good consultant will also demand from you.

    Expect to be very busy when you use a consulant. They should be pushing you to look at your business from an objective perspective. They should be asking you to put tools in place to track progress.

    Also, remember you have to be ready for success when you engage a consultant. You also have to surrender yourself to their expertise. You have to be willing to trus they know what they are doing!

    Our clients are always reminded that our job is to drive guests to their doors, it is their job to keep those clients.

    If your staff is not ready for more clients because they are not yet trained to perform at the level you expect to retain new clients, do not advertise. It is a waste of resources at that point.

    Get your ducks in a row and have a plan, because consultants who are worth their weight will bring you success. Your business has to be ready to accept and prosper in that success.

    It is an exiting process and Mrs. Loiselle-Donahue is correct, you must be willing to put the time and effort into it!

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