What was your goal for your business when you first set out? Did you hope to achieve the kind of financial success that would enable you to eventually work part time and travel the rest? Were you hoping to become so successful, a larger entity would buy you out? Maybe your goal was to become an industry thought leader who other professionals would call upon for speaking engagements and contributed articles.
Unfortunately, some small business owners achieved success only to suffer enormous setbacks because of COVID. Still, the drive to “make it” is strong among many small business owners and despite suffering losses because of the pandemic, they are forging ahead to regain lost ground. Think of it this way, a setback can set you up for a comeback.
Steps to stage your comeback
In preparing for your comeback, consider the following steps:
Review your operations: Look over your operations and see what you can change so that your spa or massage practice runs even smoother and potentially saves you money. If you aren’t offering online booking, that’s a change you may want to consider. Today there are a wide range of offerings for online booking software, many of them that are cloud-based – that is, you don’t need to acquire any software to run on your computers. You access the booking software from a browser and pay a subscription fee, which varies between providers.
Many of the online booking offerings do more than just make it convenient for clients to book a massage or skin treatment. Some, in addition to enabling clients to book more than one appointment, access client history and provide reminders so you know what services clients requested in the past and the at-home products they selected. Furthermore, by eliminating the need for someone to be on the phone all the time; your free up staff so they can work on other projects – updating retail shelves, managing your social media channels and marketing activities - or even taking a training course.
Also, look at your retail offerings and see how you can boost sales, whether through more staff training, frequent promotions, or a change in inventory. Maybe it’s time to eliminate products that aren’t moving quickly for ones that are more in demand.
Boost communication: Effective communication begins when the client walks through the door but it doesn’t end there. During the intake session, you want to learn everything you can about client treatment goals so you can recommend the best solution. Throughout the treatment, keep checking in with the client to make sure they are comfortable.
Between visits, keep in touch with clients – and prospects – through social media, aiming for a conversation in which you learn what clients expect. Outreach through email marketing and even text messages with updates about specials and promotions keeps you front and center in a client’s mind. Also, ask questions. Find out what clients value – and don’t- about your business, and use that input to make changes.
Buildup your team: Whether through team meetings or one-on-ones, make sure you communicate regularly with your team members to understand their concerns so that you can get ahead of problems. Also, your team is a great source of ideas for your business. Ask for input and take recommendations to heart. As part of team communication, be upfront with your employees about the business. The absence of information can lead to speculation and anxiety. Even if things aren’t going as well as you’d like, be honest about it and let your team know what you are doing to get back on track.
Get outside help: You can’t always do everything by yourself. It may be time to call in a consultant to help with business and/or financial planning. Other professionals may also be a good source of ideas for getting your business focused and back on track. You can connect with others in the industry through professional organizations and online sources such as LinkedIn. Throw out a question and see what kind of feedback you get.
Stand out from the crowd: The competition may be even fiercer as businesses struggle to regain lost ground. Now is the time to make sure you establish your competitive value add and stand out from the crowd. Establish a special niche and communicate your offering through social media activity, special events and promotions, participation in community activities and possibly partnership with other businesses. Being known for a specialty or expertise tailored to a specific type of client need will enable you to own a segment of the market.
Going through a low point and staging a successful comeback makes you stronger and better able to tackle the other challenges down the road that you inevitably face in building your business.