New Year's Resolutions You Can "Take to the Bank"

I predict that 2011 will be a year of comebacks…and downfalls.  Spa operators who have been weathering the downturn through clever marketing and cost-cutting will finally see the light of day (fingers-crossed!) Spas that have been skating along maintaining micro-thin margins or suffering chronic losses will continue to go out of business.

My first blog of 2011 offers practical advice to the spa owners and managers out there in the trenches. These New Year’s Resolutions speak right to your bottom line:

Resolution #1:  Improve communications in your spa. Communication is the essence of leadership, and behind every great spa is a great leader. Honestly assess the way you communicate. As with most of us, your listening skills could probably use some improvement. Don’t be afraid to share your hardships with your staff, but be positive and professional. Employee “buy-in” is more critical than ever—drama and negativity can turn a good spa bad…and fast!

Resolution #2: Make sure your numbers are in line. Now is the time to take a hard look at your revenues and expenses from the previous year. Is your payout for employee compensation in line with your revenues? Is your retail to services ratio where it should be? You may find you need to make some hard changes to put things back in balance. Changing compensation plans and commission structures is an ugly process, but better to take action today than face bankruptcy tomorrow.

Resolution #3:  Look at your spa with fresh eyes. Over time, it is easy to gloss over certain aspects of your spa that need changing. The most obvious oversight is often cleanliness. Is your spa scrupulously clean? Are your procedures safe and sanitary? Design and amenities are other aspects of your spa that should be carefully scrutinized. You can bet the worn out chairs in your relaxation room or threadbare robes are reflecting on your brand.

Resolution #4: Focus on the “bird in the hand”. Successful spa marketers focus on client retention and increasing spend per visit as much as cultivating new clients. There is truth to the old adage that "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." Offer specials to your “regulars” and stay in constant communication with email, direct mail, or a blog.

Resolution #5:  Know what you don’t know about retail—and fix it! Revenues from retail sales are essential to the survival of any spa. Most spa operators, however, lack the skills to successfully merchandise their products. If your retail is not where it should be, seek out experts who can help you develop a promotions calendar, analyze retail winners and losers, and train your staff to be comfortable selling.

Care to share your New Year’s resolutions and business goals for 2011? Please leave us your comments below!

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