Finding Your Niche

The fact that day spas are now an ubiquitous part of American culture makes it even more difficult to stand out in the crowd—and even more important to carve out a unique niche. A niche is a defined place or role within a marketplace, developed to fulfill a particular need. Increased competition and slowing economic conditions make it imperative to develop a clear identity. Carving a niche means owning a space in your customer's mind. Who you are and what you stand for must come through loud and clear.

To clearly "own" a niche, your spa must clearly articulate its vision and mission both internally and externally. Day spas must clearly understand their position vis-à-vis competition and, more importantly, in relation to real consumer wants (and not necessarily needs—the spa industry is great at telling clients what they need, without listening and responding to what they want, for better or worse). The key to thriving into the future is twofold: 1. knowing what you stand for and 2. consistently communicating your message to your target clients—both repeat and potential.

Being "all things to all people" is death when you are attempting to dominate a niche. Day spa owners are often seduced by new equipment and the hottest new treatments, but gratuitously adding services and products without a rational plan is a recipe for disaster. Limit your major product lines so that one line doesn't "cannibalize" another. Stick to services that your staff can professionally fulfill. Consider adding a specials board and inviting independent contractors to perform more esoteric treatments.