to Success (part 2), By
Continued from Part 1
can be a decorator if you have an unlimited budget, but real creativity
comes from someone who can take pennies and make it look like dollars
where spent. Am I describing you? Do you have an “inner
designer” yearning to break out? I find that many people have
great instincts and a wealth of creativity within our industry,
and if that is you then by all means go for it and decorate yourself,
if not then hire a professional, but find one that knows the value
of a dollar and can enhance YOUR vision not make a vision of their
of the loveliest Spas I have been in have used plants and fabric
and wonderful colors to make a far bolder statement then expensive
furnishings and art. Find the balance that best speaks to
your “Feng Shui”.
may have a pretty good idea of what services you want to offer and
your product vendors will help you come up with some more, but here
are a few guidelines that you may not have considered:
Not Try to Be Everything to Everybody”, this is a common mistake
made by Day Spas. They have a huge variety of services so
that they offer something for everyone. First, this is a waste
of time because 80% of the sales you do will be the plain vanilla
massage and facial. Second you need to specialize in one or
two services that you want to become known for so that anyone wanting
“Cellulite Reduction”, “Microderm” or whatever your specialty is,
will think of your Spa first and know that they are getting the
very best of these treatments and not a mediocre version of 32 different
flavors. Third, this will simplify training, and allow you
the time you need to build consistency into the delivery of ALL
your services. Forth, a wide variety of services requires
a wide variety of labor with various licenses standing by and ready
to deliver when someone orders that specialty. Simplifying
the menu allows you to minimize your staffing requirements, thus
saving you money and aggravation.
to make the menu simple, in order to facilitate an immediate buying
decision. Nothing is worse than someone needing to “study”
your menu for a few days before they are comfortable making an appointment.
the Product Lines
only takes one trade show to know that the biggest problem with
picking Product Lines is trying not to be overwhelmed. Attempt
to work backwards, by asking yourself; “What am I trying to accomplish
for my Guests/Clients?” “What do I really need from my Product
Line?” and “Are my Clients/Guests on a budget or is money no object?”
you can begin to narrow your choices down to a small handful.
For example if your Spa approach is “Holistic” then Products with
artificial ingredients are not an option. If “Anti-Aging”
is the focus then the more high tech Product Lines are probably
your best option.
you have narrowed the field then invite the salespeople of these
few companies to come visit you to analyze them further. See
if they are a company that you can deal with the investment, payment,
and delivery requirements and then sign-up and make your best deal.
One word of caution, my experience is that they will always want
to sell you far more than you will need to get started, be very
protective of your cash flow and do not spend more than you need
of the equipment will have lead times of about 6-8 weeks but check
with each manufacturer or distributor when specifying the equipment
so that you can plan accordingly. Then reassess your construction
schedule prior to placing these orders so that you can request a
time for delivery that allows you to accept the delivery and begin
any set-up and assembly that may be required and not interfere with
planning will also prevent you from having to “overnight” or rush
deliveries, saving much in shipping expense. Any piece of
equipment that will prevent you from opening should be followed
up on regularly to assure on time delivery, words of experience
here; “Never trust that a vendor will do what he/she promised, always
check and double check”.
linen and uniforms are not technically equipment this is also the
point at which you need to purchase and schedule their arrival as
Writing the Employee Manual, Operational Procedures, and Job Descriptions
can de a daunting task if you start from scratch, and if that is
your plan then you should have started them even earlier not because
you needed them prior to this time but because at this point you
have dozens of things you are working on simultaneously that need
your attention and writing these takes a lot of concentration.
There are however a couple of remedies, you can find Ready-to-Use
business tools out there that can save you about 70-80% of the time
it takes to write these important documents and guidelines, or you
can hire your Assistant Manager at this point and assign that task
to them (or both).
are they important? The short answer is that you will need
them to assist in the hiring process and the training process.
They will help you build consistency in the delivery of the services
your Spa sells, simplify the training process and allow your employees
to know what is expected of them. Waiting until after you
are open to do this is too late, this is what will insure high quality
personnel, high quality customer service, and high quality services.
For the long answer see my article “Aesthetics and Politics” – Dermascope
January 2001 (I know the title is misleading) which is all about
“Rules, Tools, and Goals” and how they will help set-up your staff
(and business) for success.
Processes and Systems for Reservations, Accounting, and Marketing
can be great and they can make this job easier, but you will need
to design the steps in the system that will insure; great customer
service, keep employees honest, provide accurate accounting, and
keep important marketing information on all your clients/guests.
build checks and balances into the system so that “Closers” are
double checking Front Desk Agents and then Managers or Controllers
double check the closing reports and Owners see Daily Reconciliations
and Bank Reconciliations. The systems you design should also
be Customer friendly and make the accuracy and timeliness of their
appointment smooth and seamless. The process should also be
collecting data on all your Clients/Guests so that you can accurately
market to them via phone, email, and direct mail. For more
detailed information of “Checks & Balances” and how to set up
an accounting system for a Spa please see “Curbing Fraud” – Dermascope
designing the right compensation system, which is a pet subject
of mine that we will NOT be covered in this article, selecting the
right employees is the MOST IMPORTANT task in front of you.
The right people will make it a pleasure to go to work, the right
people can make your customers day, and the right people will make
your business successful. Of course the wrong people will
have the opposite effect!
then do we find them? When it comes to recruitment I have
a saying; “You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a Prince!” and
that means you have to have a large inventory of applicants if you
expect to find that nugget of gold. Do not be shy about finding
a Human Resources expert or consultant to help you with this most
advertise a job fair creatively, newspapers, bulletin boards at
massage and beauty schools, word of mouth, and referrals.
know what you are looking for. If you spent some time creating
the “Job Descriptions” discussed above you will know the requirements
needed for each position. But I like to go further than that
and find people who have the natural talent that I am looking for,
such as the natural ability for customer service, sales, career
oriented, care giving, etc.
the questions you want to ask around what amounts of these or other
characteristics that you are looking for. They will vary from
position to position so design a set of specific questions for each
position and decide ahead of time what the “desired answers” are.
This will allow you the ability to have an unbiased process that
will obtain the very best “picks of the liter” and take the “subjection”
out of the process.
you’ve done your homework or hired a Human Resources expert that
believes in the same process to help you, then you “will have found
your fair Prince(s)!”
Training and Adequate Testing will insure that your Spa delivers
services uniformly and with your companies flare and details.
This will allow you to “Build a Brand” which will be important for
future retention of Clients/Guests.
may know how to give a Swedish Massage, but they must learn your
version of a Swedish Massage, the correct order of events, and the
flourishes you want added to the service to make it uniquely your
Spa’s. Train to the specific Standard Operational Procedures
(SOP’s) that you designed previously. If your staff comes
up with suggested changes to the SOP that will enhance the service
feel free to implement it, but be sure EVERYONE incorporates the
changes into their routine.
test your Providers to make sure that they are doing the procedure
step for step and stroke for stroke. Do not allow them to
perform the services until they are doing the steps perfectly.
this process is not just for Providers, it should also be used for
Front Desk staff, Attendants, and any other positions that will
have repeated tasks involved. SOP’s, training and testing
will allow you to build the quality into all that you do and consequently
build a brand that will bring your Clients/Guests back for years
the level of Customer Service that you would like to achieve.
I like to use the “Stars” and “Diamond” ratings that you find in
Hotels. Do you want to be a 3-Star Spa (customer service wise)
or a 5-Star? If you are not already familiar with the differences
then visit a few hotels with various ratings to she the difference
in how you are treated. High Tea at a Ritz-Carlton would be
an example of just how good customer service can get with the right
people and training. Perhaps that is too “High-Brow” for your
cozy Day Spa, that is fine just decide the level that you want,
then quantify it, and then train to it.
last note on the subject however is that without the right people,
people that have the natural talent of a servant’s heart, then training
alone will not work, it is like trying to teach a dog to quack,
it isn’t going to happen, sometimes the dog might sound a little
like a duck, he may even be able to imitate the duck, but he will
never be the duck! Talent comes from the inside and who we
are, it is not a skill!
Equipment, Furniture, Décor, and Fixtures
should now be arriving, you have the staff on board, and hopefully
the construction has left the building (or at least no longer in
the way). So we all work to begin assembling the equipment,
moving things into place and decorating. It can be a frantic
time but usually a fun time with everyone pulling together to prepare
is also a good time to call in help from friends and family (if
appropriate) to help with some of these tasks, because each can
be time consuming and “many hands will make light work”.
systems and computer networks are usually best left to professionals
and this is the time for them to be installing their systems.
Make sure the installers are keenly aware of your exact needs, for
examples: Exactly how many phone lines you will need, and how and
where they should ring to. Where will you need your work stations,
printers and faxes set-up, and any specific needs of your Spa software
such a SQL or Server requirements?
that you have several things installed, phones and computers in
particular, you may find that you need to modify the SOP’s for a
few things based on new information that you did not have before.
This is the time to change your processes and train with the modifications
this is your last chance to review the existing processes and practice
as it may have been a week or two since your staff worked on them.
however is an ongoing process and it should be the second priority
of what everyone works on right after taking care of the Clients/Guests.
This is what will separate you from your competition and make a
smooth running profitable operation.
day that you’ve been waiting for has finally arrived! Because
you did your homework, started your marketing early, construction
and décor are complete, and you have the best selected and best
trained staff in town, you are in great shape. A grand opening
party would be nice, but at least have an open house that potential
Clients/Guests can feel free to come see your beautiful facility
and learn about the wonderful services that you will be providing.
Analysis and Improvement
be Better Business Today than You were Yesterday” should be your
motto from here out. Your processes should get better, your
staff become more efficient, and your marketing more effective and
further reaching. Training should continue, as mentioned before,
and new ideas incorporated into the operation on a regular basis.
Never be content with the services levels or the profitability of
that you must always think ahead and you can not be totally focused
on one step without thinking ahead to the next steps, I hope this
chronological blueprint of events to opening your Dream Spa is helpful.
also know in any project there are at least a thousand other overwhelming
details, often unforeseen that we could not write about in this
article, this is where getting the advice, guidance, or better yet
the full time help of a consultant or someone who has been through
all or most of this process before is invaluable, it can save time,
money and most of all your sanity!
you are presently at some point on this timeline and have opinions
or questions I would love to hear from you, please let me know how
useful this “Blueprint” is and what challenges you are facing.
Wishes & Healthy Profits