Ways to Make Your Business More Efficient

January 28, 2015 Kathy Watts permalink

Business office networking and communicationRunning a small business in this economy can be challenging. You need to run your business as efficiently as possible in order to remain competitive in the marketplace. Here are a few things you can do to make your business run even more efficiently.

Don’t expand too quickly.

Your business is successful because you’ve got the proper workflow, staffing, and systems in place. But if you expand too quickly, you may not give yourself enough time to evaluate these workflows and determine if they will work on a larger scale. But expanding slowly, you give yourself the time to ensure that all the workflows, systems, and technology is scalable.

Streamline your workflows

By testing and regularly tweaking your workflows to be more efficient, you will save you and your staff time and money in the long run. Workflows should never be implemented until they are tested and all of your staff should understand how they work and why they exist. Your staff is also your greatest resource for testing and improving workflows. Listen to their feedback.

Cross train your staff

Training can increase your employees knowledge and comfort level in their own job. But cross training your employees so they can perform other tasks or cover other positions in the company can make your business even more efficient. It also increases employee satisfaction and retention. An employee who feels you are invested in their professional growth is less likely to leave the company. Employees who feel valued and have the knowledge and resources to do multiple jobs means you can focus more resources on growing your business and less on training new hires.

Be communicative with your staff

Maintain open lines of communication with your staff. Don’t make them wonder what the thinking is behind workflows or company decisions and don’t let them hear it second hand. Involve them in discussions about the company vision and listen to them when they have thoughts or ideas on improving the business. A company will run much more efficiently if everyone is always on the same page.

In the long run, making your business more efficient will save you time and money. Take some time to look at your business plan and evaluate where you can implement these changes to streamline how your business runs.

Looking Back, Planning Ahead

December 23, 2014 Stephany Toman permalink

planningYou’re in the midst of the last significant revenue generating opportunity of the year, so you may not be thinking yet about 2015 planning, but you should begin the process. Marketing is dynamic, which doesn’t mean that change for change sake should be your goal, but instead that adapting to fluctuating audience preferences makes solid business sense.

There is no place for rigid thinking when it comes to promotion, even if your preferred premise is simplicity and consistency. Flexibility and simplicity are not mutually exclusive, in fact, they complement one another beautifully!

Points to ponder as 2014 winds down and 2015 waits in the wings:

  • What worked for you in 2014?
  • Did one or more of your marketing promotions produce particularly good results? What element of that campaign did the trick, in your estimation?
  • What seemed like a good idea but didn’t work so well?
  • Have you added new products or services that deserve promotion?
  • Have you dropped products or services over the last year?
  • Do you have a vision for 2015? A theme, perhaps? A desire to reposition or reinforce your marketing messaging?

No doubt you’re getting the drift of what I’m saying, here. Between juggling client appointments, ensuring great services continue to be delivered in your spa, salon, massage therapy or esthetics practice, allow your mind to wander into the marketing realm and begin the assessment, adjustment, and planning you’ll need to lay the foundation for a successful 2015.

Holiday Hours

December 18, 2014 Janell Loving permalink

holidaysOur customer service technicians will be available on  Wednesday, December 24th, from 8am – 3pm Mountain. We will be closed on Christmas Day, Thursday December 25th.

We will also provide customer support on New Year’s Eve, from 8am – 3pm Mountain, and will be closed New Year’s Day, January 1st.

Wishing you and yours a joyous holiday season!

Team SpaBoom

Are You Sending Mixed Messages?

December 15, 2014 Kathy Watts permalink

messagesIn this day and age, with so many different places to interact with your clients, it can be difficult to maintain consistency. Email, social media, your website, the telephone, and your actual physical location – you interact with your clients in so many different ways and it can be difficult to maintain consistent branding and messaging across all these platforms. What can you do to not send mixed messages? And why is consistency so important anyway?

Your brand is the representation of your business, and any communications you send on its behalf are representing your business as well. It’s fine to have varying messages or versions of your voice, depending on who your specific target audience is. You want to make sure you tailor things to match the audience. But you want to make sure that all your communications have consistency and fully represent your overall brand and voice.

Consistency helps breed trust in your brand. And that positive gut feeling that your potential and regular clients have about your brand is what will drive their purchasing decisions. So using consistency to create and maintain a positive feeling about your brand will ultimately help build your business. It’s also comforting to clients for them to know what sort of experience they will have when they deal with your company. Make sure it is a positive one.

So what are some things you can do to maintain consistency?

Make sure your branding is consistent
Your clients should be able to recognize your brand across all platforms. Logos and color schemes should be consistent whether your client is receiving an email or visiting your Facebook page.

Keep your voice and message consistent across all platforms of communication
Maintaining a consistent message across all social media platforms & email communications make your message even more powerful. This is not to say that every single outlet should have exactly the same format or exactly the same message. Obviously, your messages need to be specifically geared towards the channel you are using (whether it is email, print, or social media). But you want your overall message to be a consistent one that supports your branding, and it should be in a voice that is recognizable as your brand’s voice.

Provide Excellent Customer Service
Make sure you are providing excellent customer service to your clients. It establishes trust and cultivates loyalty. Consistency means that your clients will always know what to expect when they deal with your business, whether it is online or in person. Consistency here also means that your clients will feel comfortable recommending you to family and friends, because they will feel confident in the experience and level of service they are recommending.

Create Clear and Standardized Business Policies
Consistency in your day to day operations makes your business run smoother. It also makes your business more easily scalable as you grow. So make sure you provide consistency to your employees through clear and standardized policies. They should always know what to expect and how they will be treated. Maintaining this sort of transparency with your employees increases the level of trust and engagement. Employees who are secure in their position and know what to expect (and what is expected of them) are much more engaged in growing the business and providing a high level of service. Clear business policies also help you and your employees provide the best customer experience possible, because they have consistent guidelines to follow. This helps inspire trust and loyalty.

Consistency is the key to building a strong brand that your customers will come to trust. By properly implementing it into your business and communication practices, you will find it much easier to not only run your business, but to create a strong brand identity. Both of these things also translate into more regular sales growth.

Spa Trends for 2015

December 12, 2014 Kathy Watts permalink

spa2015 will be here before we know it. As we look forward to the new year, here are some of the hottest trends in spa for 2015.

Wellness and Preventive Treatments
Consumers will continue to focus on wellness and treatments that help them support good health and well being in the coming years, whether it is treatments designed to protect your skin and hair from environmental damage, or wellness massage packages. The key interest is going to be on treatments that support health and prevent problems rather than just addressing issues once they become problematic.

Customizable Treatments
Consumers love the idea of couture treatments. And we will continue to see growth in treatments and services that have a customizable aspect to them. Whether it is picking the essential oils to be used in a massage, or choosing the focus of a facial, everyone loves to feel like the treatment they are receiving is as unique and special as they are.

DIY Treatments
Consumers are always looking for ways to extend their treatments and have them last longer. At the same time, they are also looking for ways to make a spa lifestyle more affordable. DIY treatments that they can do themselves at home are a rapidly growing segment of the spa and salon industry. Whether it is customized hair color that they can take home to touch up their roots or a special facial mask that will help them extend the benefits of their facial, there are many different opportunities for creating DIY treatments.

Green treatments
People are paying more attention to living a green, environmentally friendly lifestyle and this translates over into their spa treatments as well. As we continue into 2015, you will see a rising demand for green treatments and products made with organic ingredients by companies who are ecologically responsible. Consumers will also be paying more attention to whether your business has implemented environmentally friendly practices such as water conservation, use of organic ingredients, and proper disposal of chemicals.

De-stressing treatments
This is such a fast paced world we live in and it seems we’re all suffering from stress. Consumers are constantly on the lookout for ways to de-stress and recharge. Whether it is through massage or a specific skincare treatment designed to de-stress and detox the skin, treatments involving a de-stressing element or catering to consumer’s need to recharge will continue to be popular in 2015.

Hydrotherapy has always been a popular aspect of spa, primarily as an add-on to other spa treatments. But as people start to recognize the many benefits of hydrotherapy, we’ll see a lot more demand for hydrotherapy and wet body treatments in the coming year.

Mini Treatments
Time is a hot commodity in today’s world. Nobody seems to have enough of it. Mini treatments can mean the difference between getting in some spa time or having to give it up due to lack of scheduling and budget concerns. It can be a great way to fill in small spaces in your calendar, feature new treatments that consumers aren’t ready to commit more time to, or provide the opportunity for clients to fit more spa time into their busy schedules. Having mini-treatments as an option on your spa menu can mean big bucks in 2015.

Treatments for Men
Men are a huge demographic who are becoming more aware of the value of taking better care of themselves. In 2015, we will see even more men looking for treatments geared towards them and their specific needs. From high-end barber services to facials and massage, the demand for treatments designed for men will continue to grow.

Group Experiences
Spa and salon has typically been focused on individual treatments. But a growing trend is toward encompassing a more social group aspect into the spa world. From mini classes on health and wellness topics to more group treatments (such as massage or manicures), the opportunity to come together as a group for learning and pampering will be one more and more consumers continue to seek out.

Spa for the Whole Family
Everyone is always looking for more ways to spend time with their families. The spa world is not well known for incorporating family into treatment time, but creating a place for families on your spa menu could be a game changer.  It could be something as simple as providing childcare services while parents enjoy some spa time or offering spa treatments for teens and kids. Regardless, busy parents are always grateful for a way to spend time with their families and pamper themselves at the same time.

Take some time and think about how you can incorporate one or more of these into your spa menu for the new year. Capitalizing on these trends can help improve your revenue in the new year, especially if you come up with unique offerings for your area that address some of these wants.

Protect What’s Core to Your Business

December 9, 2014 Stephany Toman permalink

Enthusiasm + passion = successRemember the passion you had when you envisioned your spa, salon, massage therapy or esthetics business? Remember how you just knew you had what it took to succeed? Remember when the reason you knew you’d succeed was because you wanted to create a culture like no other, one that reflected your core values and would help guide you back to center when times got challenging?

Do you still feel connected to that core system, your own personal culture around which your built your business?

It’s not uncommon through the passing of time, and in the face of constant outside pressure, to follow other professionals’ ideas. Learning as we go is part of the beauty of life, and adjusting to changing circumstances is just smart from a business management perspective. But losing touch with the culture that formed the very foundation on which you’ve built your business is a sure way to veer off course in the most fundamental way possible and unnecessarily complicate things in the process.

If you’re not sure you’re nurturing your culture, you probably aren’t. The good news is canny business people in many sectors face the need to remain true to their culture, and often intentionally choose to take a step back and re-examine that which formed the core ideals behind their growth to begin with.

Why does this matter? Knowing not just who you are, and why you’re doing what you’re doing in terms of your business is important. Coalescing a team of like-minded, enthusiastic, professional and dedicated colleagues to develop your business how you want to is critical. Excellence is possible when everyone is following the same ideology; mediocrity is likely if no true center exists.

Burnout, frustration, disenchantment – rarely will these surface if you’re on track and abiding by the cultural definition you created. The risk is wavering and wandering without that center. It’s a risk you don’t need to take.

Maybe it’s time to take a step back and reaffirm your culture. Clarity and renewed commitment to the cause are sure to follow.

The Benefits of Mindfulness

December 3, 2014 Kathy Watts permalink

Fall in love with your hairMindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment. It’s a technique that can allow us to live in the moment and experience what is happening to us rather than reacting to it. Based on teachings in Eastern Philosophy, it is most commonly practiced as part of meditation or the practice of yoga.

In our industry, we are all familiar with the benefits one can gain from practicing mindfulness through yoga or meditation. It can bring a sense of calm and purpose and teach us to live in the now, rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Mindfulness is a popular buzzword at the moment and there is lots of talk about how incorporating mindfulness into your business is a good thing. Some of the biggest and most innovative companies, such as Google & Facebook, are incorporating mindfulness training and practices into their businesses.

Let’s talk about some of the benefits of embracing mindfulness in your business.

Mindfulness can help you be less reactive
By learning to be present in the moment in a non-judgmental manner, mindfulness can make you much less reactive and judgmental, which means that you are better able to objectively evaluate the benefit or risk of projects and decisions related to your business. Learning to be present in the moment and responding (rather than reacting) to experiences can help you eliminate much of the risk involved in making decisions. It allows you to be more proactive and make decisions based on what is the best choice for your business at that time rather than making decisions based on emotion.

Mindfulness can help you (& your employees) better handle stress
The techniques one learns when practicing mindfulness: living in the moment, responding rather than reacting, and being present and open to facing consequences openly, are the same techniques that can help you better handle stress. Teaching your employees to practice mindfulness, and practicing it yourself in your business, can create an environment where stress just melts away. And that is a great atmosphere for happy and engaged employees.

Mindfulness can bring about innovation
When you open up your views to focus on and live in the present, you are much more open to new ideas and new ways of doing things. This can open up your business to all sorts of new ideas about standard operating procedures and new, potentially better ways to do things. It could be the path that allows you to streamline your business procedures by doing fewer things, but doing those fewer things better. Mindfulness opens up your mind and your business to innovation.

Practicing mindfulness in our business can help us be more proactive and better able to handle the ups and downs of everyday business life. It can be a unique and powerful tool for helping to strengthen your business.

Managing Online Reviews Effectively

November 25, 2014 Kathy Watts permalink

ChecklistOnline Reviews are important. Studies show that a majority of today’s consumers look at online reviews and use them as a tool when deciding what company or service to use. Negative reviews are especially scrutinized and can have more of an influence on whether or not a consumer chooses you. The good reviews showcase how great your business, staff, and services are. But the bad ones can also be really useful, especially if you handle them appropriately and effectively. I know when I am shopping around for a new business, I usually look at both good and bad reviews. And I usually find that looking at the bad reviews, and how the business responds to those (or if they even respond at all), can be the most telling about your business practices and customer service. A business that is responsive to their online reviews (both good and bad) and who appropriately handles the negative ones is a business that will win my patronage.

Here are a few tips for managing your reviews effectively:

Make it Easy for Your Clients to Post and Read Reviews
Make the reviews section or button on your website easy to find. And make sure you promote online reviews when your clients visit you as well, by providing them with the link to your reviews page and asking them to please review their visit.

Listen to Your Clients
Pay attention to what your clients say in reviews, and then take that information and use it to improve your business. Your clients are your best source of information on how you are doing as a company. So really listen to what they have to say, both good and bad. Then take that information and use it to shape your customer service and business practices going forward. Clients who really feel like their opinion matters will be loyal clients for years to come.

Be Responsive
Designate a person to manage reviews and make sure you are responsive in a timely fashion and appropriate in your responses. Be professional and polite even if the unhappy client is not. It is also a good idea to take the conversation with a negative reviewer private initially. Email or contact them privately to address the situation and then post a response online once you have resolved the situation. We’ve all seen those negative reviews that turn into a back and forth volley of snarkiness and unprofessional behavior on both sides. Nobody wants that as an online review or as the end result of a complaint. No client is more loyal than an unhappy one that you have turned around.

By effectively managing your reviews online, you will help grow your reputation and also provide potential customers with valuable information about your business and the quality of the services you provide. By ensuring that you have a good online reputation as a business, you are ensuring that your business will continue to grow.

3 Ways to Sell More Instant Gift Certificates this Holiday Season

November 20, 2014 Stephany Toman permalink

IGCThe holiday marketing clock is ticking, and what you do now will help ensure you sell the most instant gift certificates possible.

Start advertising now

Now is the time to get the word out about offering instant gift certificates for your services. Create incentives for purchasing, and emphasize availability and ease of purchase in time to grab the Black Friday/Cyber Monday shoppers. Let them know they can enjoy themselves in front of a crackling fire while everyone else is out fighting crowds, cold and general hostility in their pursuit of gift deals.

Make sure specials, packages and links to buy are available where shoppers are

This is when you update your website, add links and options to purchase on your social media platforms as well as any email correspondence you generate. And you need to generate email correspondence to let people know about how easy it is to buy instant gift certificates from any number of online locations – tell them, give them links, then let them do their buying thing.

Create in-store displays and gift sets to promote and support your online message

Gift sets are all great ways to incorporate gift certificates, and can help increase overall value and sales. Creating several for the holidays will bump the perceived value of the gifts you’re promoting and provide a nice tangible giveaway to boot.

This is not rocket science, but time is of the essence. So get focused, update your website, your social media, and put together some fun displays that promote your holiday packages.

Happy holiday prep!