Dare To Experiment

June 13, 2014 Kathy Watts permalink

ResearchAll of us are constantly striving to improve and grow our businesses. And there are so many ways to go about doing that. We can read recommendations from experts, or talk to other local business owners about their strategy. We can study success stories and do research or hire experts to advise us; but, the truth is that your business is unique and what works for someone else might not work for you. So a little bit of experimentation with new strategies or solutions can often be the only way to know for sure.

Now is a great time to bring experimentation into your business model. You could try focusing on testing out one new thing a month. If it works: Great! Now you can start looking at ways to wrap it into your permanent business model. Or you might find that what you were doing before is the best choice after all. But growth can’t happen without a bit of experimenting. Here are a few things you could try experimenting with in the coming months.

Test out a new service offering or different business hours
People’s lifestyles, schedules, and needs are changing all the time. And your business needs to be ready to adapt to meet those new needs. But it can be challenging to integrate changes into your regular business practices. So try testing out a new service offering or different business hours on a smaller scale. Offer mini-treatments of your new service to your VIP clients as a free or reduced price add-on or a special promotion. You will be able to get feedback from your clients and staff and then decide whether or not to incorporate it as a full offering on your main spa menu. Or offer extended business hours one day a week to see if the interest is there to fill that extra time. Your clients will show you they are interested by taking advantage of the extra availability and your staff might be interested in having the extra time as well and will volunteer to work those hours. Either way, by the end of a month or so, you should know whether offering extended hours or a new service on a more permanent basis is a good idea, for both your staff and your clients.

Revamp your Loyalty Program
Your loyalty program is very popular with your clients. But maybe you’re getting some feedback from them on other things they would like to see in the program. Or maybe you’re seeing what other businesses are offering their clients and want to bring your business more in line with theirs. Why not try implementing one this change on a small scale as well. You could try offering a new reward to just your VIP clients for a few months, and then get their feedback. Or maybe create a new monthly feature to your rewards program where each month you offer something unique and special at or above a certain tier for a limited time. (Sephora stores do a great job at this with their changing monthly reward offerings.) This lets you try out new reward options on a short term basis and evaluate their success.

You could even choose to experiment on a small scale with a completely new rewards system with a select group of clients – maybe VIPs or your newest clients. This is a great opportunity to try something drastically different from your regular offerings. Get feedback or suggestions from your clients and staff on what their dream Loyalty program would look like and then take the pieces that make the most sense for your business (& your bottom line) and test them out. Testing these things out on a smaller scale gives you the opportunity to evaluate what works best for you and what doesn’t. From there you can take the new things that work and implement them across your entire Loyalty program.

Change Your Social Media Approach
We all know that social media is important. From Facebook and Twitter, to Google Plus, Pinterest, & Instagram, we are all interacting with each other on social media all the time. So a great place to experiment with ways to grow your business is with your social media strategy.

Maybe you want to try out a new platform, like Pinterest or Instagram. Start by creating an account and posting on a regular basis. Be sure to let your clients know with announcements in the spa as well as on your other social media accounts. You’ll be able to track the effectiveness of this extra platform based on the number of followers you attract and maintain.

It might be that you think that more regular and engaging posts on your Facebook and Twitter accounts might generate more interest, and more business. So experiment with posting more regularly (perhaps daily for a few weeks) or by putting up posts that encourage feedback and invite your clients to join the conversation. Try out a month’s worth of regular questions that invite your clients to participate. These could be related to offerings in the spa or salon, or could just be lifestyle or personal interest questions such as “What is your favorite summer beauty tip?” or “What is your dream summer trip?”

Try increasing your social media involvement over the course of a month and then evaluate any changes you have seen in activity. Are you getting more or less hits? This will let you determine whether the extra engagement on your part is something worth implementing permanently.

Experimentation is a great way to effectively build and flex your business over time to take advantage of a changing market. Be sure to make some time regularly to brainstorm ideas and then commit to testing these things out over the course of the year. One of the best ways to come up with new things to try is to ask your biggest cheerleaders: your staff and your top clients. Without buy in and participation from them, no change will ever really work. Ask them for suggestions. Involve them in the testing process. Then ask for their feedback and listen to it.

It could turn out that your new idea or strategy is a complete failure. A lot of experiments are. But it might turn out to be just what your business needs to grow. Even the failures have a lot to teach us about how we can make our business better. Either way, you’ll never know unless you try.

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