Ask me who my clients are for spa consultancy or the one day business analysis and I will have to be blunt and say 9 times out of 10 they are businesses who are on their knees. It’s not a great place to be for them, for me it’s what I love and it doesn’t faze me at all. But I often wonder why businesses wait to hit rock bottom before they invest in their business.
The spa industry as a whole has a poor network of support. Therapists get trained; get a job, more treatment training and a little retail sales training – bang that’s them sorted for another couple of years. But how do people grow if you don’t have a develop path for them? How do businesses grow if you are not constantly looking for new innovation?
When I arrived in Ireland the country was in a financial boom. Money was of abundance and there was no shortage of business flowing into the spas. The bigger challenge was actually how much more could I pack in the therapists columns without killing them off! Better still create new space in the spa for more treatment rooms – yes I was on a roll. Then in 2008 the recession hit with an almighty bang. Businesses came crashing down, people were jobless; the country was in a terrible state.
For the next few years, salaries were lower, jobs of any kind were in short supply and training and development were a distant memory due to the lack of additional funding. The country was literally trying to survive each day.
During that time I left my role as a spa manager as I gave birth to my beautiful daughter. I almost felt blessed that I had to leave the industry for a while because things were so bad. But I had never, not worked and struggled to be a stay at home full time Mum. So I embarked on a home fitness and nutrition business. My business flew high, but how was this possible because the country was in a deep recessions? How did people have the money for fitness classes and for personal training? Well let me tell you they did, and I never once looked at my business and said ‘I can’t succeed we are in a recession’. I had to succeed, I had to earn a wage and I did and it was a flying success until the time my daughter went to school and I went back to the spa industry.
Now during this time I was nervous I had taken 4 years out of the industry, with a little spa consultancy here and there but I felt I was going to be behind on my skills. Oh how wrong I could be. The industry had literally stagnated for 4 years. No progressions, a little backwards in some areas – I was shocked. I asked what training a development program they had in place for their spa team I was told there was no money or time to offer this. The team were miserable, they had a high staff turnover, no loyal local client base and costs were high and revenue was mediocre.
So how was the business meant to develop and grow? We certainly weren’t giving the staff and management the tools to be motivated enough to take the business to the next level. I decided to embark on a 6 month development program with my department. Dedicating time to the team, working hands on with the staff to develop their individual skills and further develop their talents.
We had job chats every 3 months where we discussed their goals and aspirations, no one had ever asked them that before and no one really cared. But I did and I still do. My favourite reply was ‘I want your job Heidi I want manage.’ That was the best news I could hear because I would make it my mission to give them the tools they needed to understand how to develop the business of a spa. In return my spa business boomed because of the knowledge I was gifting to my team. They excelled in their jobs and to be honest I rarely lost a team member to my competitors once I had trained them because they enjoyed their working environment, they felt appreciated and they were always learning. As a manager my job got far easier.
Training your team and developing your business should be a part of the annual development plan for your business.
As the quote goes ‘if it doesn’t scare you, you probably aren’t dreaming big enough’
Dream big; don’t rest on your laurels when your business is going well. ‘It’s ok we had a busy high season we can afford to lose a bit of money low season. ‘Why should you? There is money to be made all year round, you just have to have a structure in place, you have to have a development program.
I was told during the recession that you can’t blame the recession for the demise of your business if you want to take all the glory when it is doing well. And I get that – because in theory my fitness business should never had been the success it was, because people were apparently broke – so why did it work? Two things:
My attitude towards what was and wasn’t possible
I gave the clients what they were looking for rather than what I ‘thought’ they wanted.
Book your one day business analysis program today or call me for a chat about your staff and business needs.