In just a few weeks, it will be difficult to think about much more than holiday treatment promotions and special retail offerings for gift giving. Yet before you know it, you’ll be ringing in 2015 at your spa or massage practice; and to make sure it is as successful or even better than 2014, you need to plan now. The process of writing your annual business plan helps you focus and prioritize activities so that you have a clear direction and goals for the New Year.
Your annual plan doesn’t need to be long but it should set goals and benchmarks for performance, and they need to be realistic. Unrealistic goals about revenue, new client acquisition or additional services you want to offer can lead to increased overhead followed by damaging cash flow.
Get Your Team Involved
Include your team in the planning process. They can be helpful in pointing out areas that could use improvement. Here are some questions to pose to your team individually or in a group meeting:
What is one area where your practice underperformed this year? What should you do to fix it?
What is the area where the business performed at its best? How do you make this a repeatable process?
What part of the business demonstrated the most growth opportunity? What are steps to maintain momentum?
What are the metrics to use to measure the success of your spa or massage practice over the coming year?
KEY BUSINESS PLAN COMPONENTS
Assess The Market and Your Offering
Make sure your services and your target customers are aligned. You may choose to expand into new areas, such as sports massage, or focus on massage for the elderly or expectant moms. As you identify new areas, consider what team training or equipment is necessary for your spa or massage practice to expand into these areas.
Examine the competitive landscape, including both long term players and new market entrants. Take time to conduct online research through social media and review sites to find out what clients are saying about other spas and massage practitioners. Assess your advantages and disadvantages against the competition so that you know your opportunities and challenges in the coming year.
Review Your Marketing
Don’t limit your online research to the competition. Find out what clients and prospects are saying about your spa or massage practice. Also determine if the marketing messages about your business are resonating with your clients and prospects. You may find that your business has a perception problem that needs addressing. Maybe you are perceived as too high end in pricing or not full service enough.
Evaluate your marketing activities both on and offline. If you have been conducting direct mail or email marketing you should have reports on response rates to know what has been most successful. Determine what have been the most effective promotions throughout the year.
Look at your web traffic to assess how much it has grown and where visitors are coming from – email marketing, online ads, social media channels or blog posts. Also analyze where most of your visitors are spending time on your site to determine if you need to make any changes.
Marketing activities also can include community involvement through volunteer work or sponsorship and participation in local business events. Gauge what activities have helped raise your visibility and attract new clients.
Based on your research and your goals, determine what activities you want to continue or launch next year, and set a budget for each.
Assess Operational Efficiency and Productivity
Analyze your operations from your lease, if you rent space, to equipment to your information technology. Identify what changes are needed for improved efficiency and productivity and to enable you to meet growth goals.
Determine Hiring Needs
You’ll need to decide not only who you need to hire to meet projected goals but what areas of expertise new team members must have to service new client targets.
Finish With Financial Performance
Review financial information for your spa or massage practice over the past three to five years, if applicable. Break down total sales into different service areas and retail products and determine gross profit margin for each. Include figures on capital expenditures and make sure balance sheets and profit and loss statements are up to date. Using this information, forecast your financials for the next three years.
You may want to bring in outside consultants for marketing and engage with your accountant to help with the financials. They key is to plan. It takes time but in the end, it pays off.