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3 Truths You Need to Hear About Spa Ownership

You all have a very special place in my heart. I remember how hard it was as spa owner who didn’t know enough about the spa business. Waking up at 3 am worrying about how much money I owed to suppliers, quietly panicking when a client cancelled last minute or simply wondering how I could push past my stalled-out growth into profits & a paycheque.

"My Why" is to empower the spa industry, particularly when it comes to understanding the business side of our profession. It is my vision, my mandate, and my path, lit with a torch of knowledge, to teach the truths of salon, spa and wellness business. It's not right to keep it from you, even if the truth hurts a little bit.

If I'm going to be completely honest, my vision began from my annoyance that most, if not all, trade schools offer the option to easily own your own business, yet fail to provide any meaningful curriculum to do so (don’t get me started).

So today, I propose three simple (but maybe hard to hear) truths that could light up your own business path to show you how to be financially and personally successful in the salon, spa & wellness industry.

1.  You need more than your hands-on skills to run a profitable spa business.

Not being aware of this truth is primarily what keeps spa entrepreneurs working long hours and earning very little money. You are taught your skill-set at a trade school, but not given accurate skills needed to understand business development.

The Fix: To understand how your operations (or lack of) are affecting your bottom line, you must continuously seek out business training until the day you sell or close your salon. Otherwise, you will spend years wondering why your business never turns a profit. Find a mentor or training company that understands business and commit to working on a long-term strategic approach to your spa or clinic sales and profits.

2.  Leadership is an action.

Opening your own salon, spa or wellness clinic doesn’t automatically make you a great leader. If leadership is not one of your stronger characteristics, think of it like a muscle and give it regular work outs to make it outstanding.

The Fix: The moment you choose to look at your leadership as an action instead of a position, you become a leader! What small thing could you be doing every day to contribute to lifting up your team or inspiring guests? The simplest way to start this is to begin reading inspirational leadership books or attend a lecture of a leader you admire. Thought-leadership is contagious!

3.  You cannot build a successful business quickly without cash flow.

On the surface, it seems as though you could easily open your new spa with very little money because it requires very little equipment other than your hands. Well, go ahead can start it, but you won't get very far.

The truth is, your business growth will stall without the cash.

The Fix: Before you start spending money on opening your business, make sure you either have enough money set aside to operate your business after you’ve hung your shingle or you have a support system in place that can fund your venture until your client retention dollars can take over and sustain you.

If you are already cash-strapped, find a trusted mentor to strategically get you out of this mess. The best money I ever spent (and didn't have) was when I signed up for Incubator, a sort-of business boot camp for salon owners. To this day, I continue to spend a lot money for ongoing business coaching of my own.

The old adage “It takes money to make money” is a simple truth.

Ultimately, up & coming spa owners need the cold hard facts about what it's really like to run this type of business. It's not about being negative. It's about being practical, logical and strategic. Only then can we serve more in our community.