A challenging year is coming to an end and it is not too soon!

Now, the past year’s experience is not all bad if you put things in perspective. Hear me out;

  • For one, it forced us to get out of the mode of business as usual- because business as usual in a recession leads to losses, set backs, or worse, bankruptcy. Some business failed in 2009 due to no fault of their own, others could have made it if they had had a worse case scenario plan, better marketing, a financial cushion, less waste… because they were barely sustainable in the first place, but the owners and staff may not have been aware of their business’s weakness when the economy was good.
  • Second, employees and employers are working very closely to multiply marketing efforts, offer the very best services to clients, and reduce unnecessary expenses and waste – to stay in business and protect their families’ livelihood.
  • Third, the environment benefits; spas use the dryer less and air dry lab coats, turn off light in unused rooms reducing their carbon footprint and expenses. It is now fashionable to “brag” about saving energy. You no longer look cheap when you protect the environment and your pocket book! Let’s hope it will last!

I could list many other things, but you get the picture.

Fortunately most spas and vendors in our industry tweaked their business model quickly to survive the reduced income most faced. Good business acumen, determination, long hours and hard work, and a winning attitude save businesses in a downturn. Congratulations you made it; now get ready for 2010. There is no time to waste; you are not completely secure yet! (Sorry)

Now what is coming for 2010? I will not list the “mostly” good news about getting out of the recession; the news media does a good job at that. I will make one first suggestion for 2010: take time to reflect, analyze, and evaluate all aspects of your business. This includes inventories, services on your menu, staffing, marketing, communication, finance, and advertising. Speak with colleagues, marketing experts, finance/ accounting professionals, staff and vendors to get ideas, feedback, and advice as to how you can make 2010 an excellent year. Plan now, anticipate challenges, tackle the unknown, and you will be in the driver seat in 2010.”

Catherine Atzen, MBA
Cidesco Diplomat
Business Consultant
Direct: 408 353 2605 PST
Cell: 408 892 4570
Fax: 408 353 8517
catherineatzen@flash.net

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Quick Fix

While bookings in hair and nail salons might be up around the holidays, spas may have reduced demand for facials and massages- the services that take an hour or plus because clients are squeezed for time.

 Spas report more last minute cancellations when their clients simply run out of time and tend to cut spa visit in favor of a holiday party or more shopping time. But there is positive news and potential revenues from services requiring little time: spas report an increase in last minute inquiries for services that offer a “QUICK FIX” to remedy the well known “after parties” skin conditions, dark circles, skin dehydration, and fatigue that shows on their faces, or aches their bodies. Due to the booked social calendars guests may favor shorter services. Here are a few tips on how you can increase revenues and the number of visits for 15 to 30 minutes spa visits.

  • De-stress 10, 20 and 30 minutes massages; chair massages are popular because guests do not have to change
  • Facial exfoliation and massage can make an express “freshness boost” before a party. Keep the service to no more than 25 minutes. You may include a shoulder massage, or hand and arm massage while the mask is on
  • Detox session for the eyes; refer to the eye treatment I referred to a couple of weeks ago. It includes a massage and eye products to reduce dark circles, lines and puffiness around the eyes
  • Lymphatic drainage massage on the face or body to detox, relax, hydrate and brighten the complexion
  • Sell a “holiday at home package” for the face, including 2 products such as an ampoule and a mask, for a quick “hydration  fix”
  • Sell a “spa ritual” bath kit or shower kit including an exfoliating product for the body and a body lotion

 Tell all your clients about those services, send e-mails, call clients, place signage in the windows, and promote them on your web site

Catherine Atzen, MBA
Cidesco Diplomat, NCEA
Business Consultant
Ph: 408 353 2605 PST
Em: catherineatzen@flash.net

Create differential advantage

Avoid looking like your competitors; by differentiating yourself you will appeal to other potential customers.

 A few ideas:

  • If you are building, redecorating, ask a consultant to help you do a market study to evaluate an untapped niche; for instance, the teen market may not get served in your community, or as I recently identified when advising a spa, the area had some of the most beautiful spas focusing on luxury and relaxing – my client chose to capture the untapped niche: therapeutic skin care that transforms the skin. She picked a high-end skin care line no other competitor spa carries, and focuses her business on aging and acne.
  • Carry a skin care line different from competitors and offer different services or add-ons. There is no need to spend 60000$ on a new machine, but a small investment in learning a new add-on service may pay off and get client’s attention. Example: eye treatment to reduce dark circles, puffiness and fatigue with a facial or a body wrap.
  • Offer such services, and don’t forget to offer one or two home care products to go along

 Catherine Atzen, MBA
Cidesco Diplomat
Business Consultant
Direct: 408 353 2605 PST
Cell: 408 892 4570
Fax: 408 353 8517
PO Box 1849
Los Gatos, CA 95031
catherineatzen@flash.net

Gift Certificates

 

Gift Certificates are a great way to increase cash flow and help business revenues.

You have 2 major events coming up:  Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Don’t miss out.

 Here are a few tips to market GC:

  • Word of mouth:  Have your staff tell all clients coming to the spa and on the Phone – GC make life easy!
  • Promote GC on your web site and get a shopping cart – so purchases are made online, can get sent to the recipient or the buyer.

Have beautiful certificates (printed from your computer on nice stock) and nice envelops or boxes

Make a very visible display of GC, a. Sign in the reception area, front window if you have a store front, b. a reminder in each treatment room as well as changing rooms and bathrooms.

To sell more in this challenging economy offer a gift with purchase or an extra coupon to the buyer. For instance: buy a GC for a facial and receive a 20$ coupon to use on retail or services. The gift can be given to the recipient or kept by the buyer. Let buyers decide; they like to make the choice.

Send e-mail blasts – more than one as repetition reminds them to buy.

Call your clients to offer GC and wish them happy holidays

 Mailings are an option but are costly.

Last – make the process easy;  let them extend or change the recipient etc.

It is all about value and service!

Catherine Atzen, MBA
Cidesco Diplomat, NCEA
Business Consultant
Ph: 408 353 2605 PST
Fax: 408 353 8517
Em: catherineatzen@flash.net