10 Challenges Every Spa Director is Going to Face

Running a business is not easy, and running a spa is no exception. Whether you are a spa's owner and operator, a spa director, or even a manager, you are bound to face a number of challenges that will undoubtedly become frustrating. Here, we've compiled a list of 10 challenges you will likely face during your time running a spa, plus why these issues arise and how you can solve them.

  1. Problem: Your employees don't do what you want them to do.
    Why It Happens: You haven't shown them how to do it. 
    How to Solve It: Open your mouth often and talk to your employees; show them how to do what you need them to do and when to do it, and then show them how to do it better and when to do more of it, and how to smile when they're doing it. Break it down like you’re teaching someone who has never worked in a spa before.
  2. Problem: The spa’s retail products aren’t selling.
    Why It Happens: You haven't made your mind up to sell them.
    How to Solve It: First, teach your employees to love the products, not how to sell the products. Your employees must love the products first, then, selling will come second nature. Second, train your customers to love themselves, not to purchase products, that will follow. Remind employees that there are only two revenue streams in the spa – services and retail – and that one is nothing without the other.
  3. Problem: Service quality is becoming inconsistent.
    Why It Happens: The spa’s quality service controls have not been upheld.
    How to Solve It: Remind everyone of the spa’s standards of quality, and then reward employee behaviors like a generous desire to please, concurrence, kept promises, respect of processes, voluntary acceptance and support of management, and smiling a lot.
  4. Problem: Employees are becoming belligerent.
    Why It Happens: You have not developed and nurtured the relationship.
    How to Solve It: Spend 50 to 60 percent of your day on staff development. Have one-on-ones, vow to learn something from your staff every day, vow to teach something to your staff every day, persuade them to learn and teach something to each other every day. If your team is getting along, smiling will come naturally. You shouldn’t have to remind your employees to smile.
  5. Problem: Employees aren’t showing initiative.
    Why It Happens: There is no incentive.
    How to Solve It: Always offer staff unique challenges. Inject new energy into old job descriptions, recognize their efforts, laugh at their mistakes. Also, always strive towards new goals, give them copious rewards, smile with them.
  6. Problem: Customers aren’t coming back.
    Why It Happens: They haven’t been shown that you really want them back.
    How to Solve It: Give them lots of presents, verbally thank them, be their servant. Share the occasional secret, care about their life, and make them smile. 
  7. Problem: Employees are always wanting more.
    Why It Happens: They do not know what they want truly isn’t available.
    How to Solve It:  Be transparent. Report on the spa's progress – share your winnings, communicate short falls, cut out the happy talk, make sure your spa doesn't reek of success as you underpay your staff, know your star performers and give them more than they deserve.
  8. Problem: Employees are looking for greener pastures.
    Why It Happens: Theirs is no longer green.
    How to Solve It: Identify potential and develop their talent. Don't just assign a mentor – be their mentor. Provide stretch opportunities, ask them to show you how to grow, and show them your smile.
  9. Problem: Employees are talking about you behind your back.
    Why It Happens: There are too many things on your back.
    How to Solve It: Learn how to delegate (assigning the task but retaining responsibility); dump (handing over both the task and the responsibility); or defer (putting off non-priority tasks for you to complete later). Pay special attention to defer; set aside three consecutive hours, once a week for deferrals. Get the monkeys off your back and your staff will get off too.
  10. Problem: You are working too many hours.
    Why It Happens: Because you have to.
    How to Solve It: Working smarter means working hard, but less often. Focus only where you can provide the most benefit and know when to bring in the professionals. Take 10 minutes at the beginning of each morning, an hour at the beginning of each month, and a day at the beginning of each year to identify priorities and weigh their importance.

About the Author: Leslie Lyon, president of Spas2b online spa education, has evolved with the health and beauty industry for more than 35 years. She has been involved in in many aspects of the spa trade, including cosmetology, esthetics, spa direction and management, spa staff training, educator and business owner. Today, her contributions to the industry are international.


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