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Massage Today
December, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 12

Step 12: Sustainability

By John Fanuzzi

In the past year, I have presented the basics of opening a successful day spa, from conception to opening. Once open, there is just as much work (or more) necessary to sustain the business you've created.

In a sense, it's like keeping the marriage alive after the honeymoon. You have convinced your investors, or the banks, that you can make a substantial profit. Now you must use all of your energy and expertise to keep everyone happy.

Expect some bad days, bad weather, a bad economy, or any number of problems. But through the challenges, keep the vision; don't let those down days get you depressed. New businesses don't always start off with a bang, so be patient; at the same time, prepare yourself, so you don't get into so much trouble that you can't make adjustments. The most important thing to consider is the minimum amount of business you need to maintain - that way, you will know on a daily basis if you are swimming or sinking. My April article on budgeting included a sample startup cost sheet that illustrated initial set-up costs with monthly amortization, startup month-to-month expenses; monthly net profits; and daily net profits with breakeven points. Set your daily goals and place them where they can be seen. The only way to transcend yourself is to know where you have been. The day spa owner, and possibly the managers, should know the breakeven points, and you should post your actual number of treatments per room, along with your retail sales. The more visible you are, the more you and your staff will be comfortable with the progress of the spa, or make the proper adjustments before it's too late.

As an owner of a manufacturing company, I check our daily quotes, orders and invoices, along with the daily average for the month and several month-to-month and year-to-year comparisons. These figures are posted for everyone to see. Sure, you could get the reports for your eyes only; however, it is empowering to share the progress with your staff. If the numbers are up, everyone gets a sense of a personal victory; if the numbers are down, everyone gets a chance to give a bit extra. If sales decline, it may be a time for a special promotion, a spa party, or a few calls to customers. If it is a historically slow period, it might be time for cleanup or training. Your ability to adapt and respond quickly to problems can make or break you. If you have prepared well; worked with experienced spa consultants, have a good way to get the proper financial reporting promptly, and can make timely adjustments, you should be able to sustain your business for years to come. The Baby Boomers are here, and they are ready to spend tons of money. Even though the competition is increasing, all reports show an increasing demand for alternatives to feel better. The flower children of the 60s may be older now, but they still prefer to eat organic foods and frequent spas. The future of the spa business looks positive, and it should be sustainable for years to come.

So, may you have your victory now! That's all there is.

Only Victory,

John Fanuzzi


Click here for previous articles by John Fanuzzi.

 

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