Advice on Entering the Spa Management Field

There are so many opportunities in spa management, yet a lack of qualified talent to adequately fill the need. How do you go about entering the field? Here is some advice:

You can be successful as a spa owner without having the technical background of a service provider. Being a good massage therapist or esthetician is no guarantee of being a good spa manager or owner. In fact, the very qualities that make for a good technician can sometims impede you as a business owner.

A solid business education is a great start. You can take business classes at your local community college, including marketing, human resources, and accounting courses. SBA also offers excellent small business planning workshops.

The most important work experience to have is operations management. Hands on management experience in any industry is hugely helpful to the aspiring spa owner. Great industries for relevant experience are retail and hospitality, including restaurant. People that have the hardest time making the transition are folks from white-collar professions seeking respite from "corporate stress", who are often dismayed by the gritty behind-the-scenes work and yes, stress, involved in running a spa.

Get behind a spa's front desk and learn the industry by "getting your hands dirty." When Valarie Lawrence wanted to transition from the entertainment industry to the spa industry, she left her cushy corporate job to take a front desk job at the Mandarin Oriental Spa in NYC. Valerie worked her way up to become the Spa Manager!

There are also some great spa-specific management programs out there. Check out:

Preston Wynne Success Systems www.pwsuccesssystems.com

Spas2B www.spas2b.com

UC Irvine Extension (a degree program) www.extension.uci.edu
UC Irvine Extension also offers a hands-on course entitled: "Internship in Spa and Hospitality Management". The course provides practical, on-the-job experience and behind-the-scenes looks at the exploding spa industry. The internship course is a valuable element to the "Spa and Hospitality Management" certificate program.

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