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Massage Today
November, 2010, Vol. 10, Issue 11

Planning for Seasonal Success All Year Long

By Angie Patrick

How can it already be November? Wasn't it just Labor Day a few weeks ago? It seems every year the holiday season creeps in faster and faster. True Story: The "big box" wholesale clubs in my area had Halloween and Christmas decorations out at the same time in August! I ventured into the mall (which I am mortified to admit) and found Christmas music playing in September.

Any way you slice it, mainstream retail across the board is pushing the gift-giving agenda earlier and earlier in hopes they can get a head start on fourth quarter earnings by pressuring people to buy, buy, buy. These same retailers are posting thinner and thinner fourth quarter earnings and singing the blues over a less than anticipated bump in sales for the last quarter, making the masses believe the sales are simply not there.

The truth is, there are only so many holiday dollars to go around, and when retailers begin the push for sales at summer's end, it should come as no surprise the final quarter boon they once enjoyed a decade ago no longer exists due to the in-your-face "pre" marketing beginning so early in the year.

What does this mean to you? Well, if you are a business owner, and part of your revenue is generated by retail sales, then perhaps you should consider planning earlier for your holiday promotions as well. Recognizing that waiting can cause you to miss out on some of the already generated interest in holiday gift giving thanks to the commercial consumer retailers, it simply makes more sense to ride this wave with them rather than paddle to keep up. They are already spending the dollars to put the customer in that frame of mind, so by planning just a bit earlier, you can capitalize on their existing marketing.

It's All In The Planning

calendar - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Whether you are planning for retail sales, or working out a holiday inspired menu of services to offer your clientele, you are missing the boat if you are not planning at least an average of 4-5 months in advance of the holiday. By planning, I mean, deciding: what products you will need to order and sell; which items you will carry seasonally for last-minute gift giving; think about what gift certificates to offer; which specials to run, what protocols to practice; and what specialty menu offerings you will be providing to make the most of the holiday dollars.

I know, many of you are reading this and thinking, "Oh no, I have completely waited too late to parlay the holiday season into revenue". Well, the good news is there is still time, and here are a couple of ways you can still wring the last little bit of revenue out of the holidays.

Offer gift certificates. This is money now for work later. They are brilliant for providing an instant boost to the cash flow, and provide a great safety net for your clients who have procrastinated until the last minute to find something of meaning for a loved one or client. What better gift is there than massage? And by offering, marketing, and touting the benefits and ease of this wonderful gift, you are sure to see a boost in your bottom line.

Think gift basket. Think of things that can be put together in a nice little package that your clients can use at home or give as gifts. Perhaps a CD, some massage oil, a candle, perhaps a bath sachet. All these things can make a lovely little basket, will not require much capital to build and provide, and will be a great way for your clients to do their shopping while in your capable hands.

Consider offering incentives for your clients. One idea may be to offer an extra 15 minutes on their next massage for every new client they bring to the table. People generally like sharing good news, and when they can eek out more time on your table then it makes it more than just a referral; they get a little something in return. You build client lists, they bank massage time--this is a WIN-WIN in anyone's book.

While these ideas are great for making the most of the season at-hand, these ideas can also be applied to future holidays. You should seriously consider planning for Valentine's day and Mother's day NOW. I know, I know, it doesn't feel like you get a minute to breathe. The truth is - smart business is in the planning. And to have a plan and a schedule for your year's promotions and retail offerings laid out on your calendar makes so much sense. Take the time to look at a calendar and plot your ordering and treatment offerings. This need not be too labor-intensive. All you need at this stage in planning is a starting point. Look at the holidays and gift-giving opportunities throughout the year, and mark your calendar four months in advance of each to prompt you to think about what your plan of implementation will be to maximize your income and provide stellar service to your client base.

Taking the time to think in the larger picture, considering all the opportunities available to customize your menus, and offer interesting and new ideas and options to your clients keeps your practice fresh and interesting. Your clients will soon become intrigued with your ability to roll with the holiday changes with ease and may even come to rely on you to assist in their gift-giving needs. This is the prize! This is the nugget all retailers seek, and you can have your share with a bit of forethought and planning.

Click here for previous articles by Angie Patrick.


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