Monthly Archives: December, 2015

Professional Burn Out Confessional

December 3rd, 2015 Posted by Videos No Comment yet

Daily Inspections Podcast

December 2nd, 2015 Posted by Podcasts No Comment yet

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      Daily Inspections

Create Community Podcast

December 2nd, 2015 Posted by Podcasts No Comment yet

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      Create_Community_Podcast

100% effort 100% of the time

December 1st, 2015 Posted by Articles No Comment yet

100percent effort 100percent of the time

Strive for 100% effort 100% of the time


Does this excite or terrify you? Does it make you want to create a list and attack? Or shrink from the overwhelming feelings of pressure?
The normal and honest response for most of us is a little of both. Yet, the benefits far outweigh the fear. The impact of making the effort and consequently making a difference every day is the payoff. When you know that you can never take a day off from giving your best, it becomes part of your discipline and takes less effort over time. The daunting feeling is replaced with the pride of a job well done and high standards maintained.

Here are some pointers to help the new habit form:

• Show up daily with a great attitude
• Keep the BIG picture in the forefront of your mind
• Check the work you and your team do each day, don’t let things slide.
• Get people involved- delegate where you can and then follow up so growth can happen.
• Pay attention to the details and progress.  What you focus on your staff will focus on. So whether it’s you or someone else, the point is to keep everyone actively engaged with the goals and tasks.
• Build alliances with your staff as well as other colleagues.  Work together for a common cause and goal
• Work when you’re working and play when you aren’t.  Recognize that sometimes they mix.
• Be consistent!
• Take a setback in stride.  Accept that there will be days that you do not get everything right.
• Own that you have the chance to make a difference each day

Leading by example and never give up when there are setbacks. For example, you implement a new attendance policy to avoid the constant call-outs during your busy weekends. When it seems to provide relief and a resolution, you decide to add more appointments to your booking availability. Now, the busy weekend is here and you are ready to roll it out. Murphy’s law kicks in, three of your staff call-out on a fully booked Saturday.
You can look at this situation and think, “well, that didn’t work for long.”  Or you can sit the three individuals down and address the specific problem. This is more in line with your goal, rather than throw in the towel on the rest of the team who have made improvements. You may not have reached your goal that day, but there’s always tomorrow.  Remember that giving 100% doesn’t erase the chance of mistakes or failure. However, it does increase the likelihood of more successes.
Stay optimistic and keep your head up, don’t let minor or major challenges deter you from the BIG Picture goals. It seems simple enough, but it can be tough to not be distracted and let the hiccups get your down. Giving 100% effort  100% of the time isn’t about being perfect, it’s about making the effort and working towards the goal. The only way this is possible is to adjust your attitude and keep it in perspective to the bigger picture.
Four easy and quick tips:
1) Prioritize your calendar and daily tasks and meeting in order of those that support your BIG picture goal
2) Tell people. Sharing the information with others holds you accountable. Let others help you achieve 100%.
3) Set reminders.  Keep yourself inspired and motivated with a little levity and fun.
4) Reward and applaud your achievements, when you make efforts and achieve goals, take a moment to celebrate them before taking it to the next level.

The Artistry of Positive Attitude

December 1st, 2015 Posted by Articles No Comment yet

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Staff Meetings: The importance of inspiration through communication.

Amazing spa experiences do not “JUST HAPPEN.” They are a combination of skills, personality and perfecting professionalism. The artistry of attitude is something that needs to be cultivated and coaxed out on a daily basis to be GREAT at what we do in the spa business.
In our organization, we hold pre- shift meetings with our teams before every shift starts. Of course, we share organizational projects, financial goals for our spa, special guests and celebratory occasions. We also discuss general spa magic we would like to manifest and ways we plan to “WOW.” These meetings last 5-15 minutes but happen daily. They keep us connected and on the same page. They also minimize the need for long and frequent staff meetings and excessive memos posted.
As informative of these pre-shift meetings are they are also a source of inspiration and opportunity to have fun and share the love of what we do with each other. We try to integrate a little of these intentions in every meeting. As service providers, we give our guests a lot. Our day involves pampering, massaging, analyzing, polishing, brushing, coloring, cooing and caring for our guests all day, every day. We need to be reinvigorated to bring out our best 100% of the time. In order to do this, our spa leadership teams incorporate the following elements into the pre-shift meetings.
Zest.
What it is: Tackling life with energy, excitement, enthusiasm and eagerness.
Why it matters: People filled with positive energy tend to see their work as a calling – and end up more satisfied with what they do and with life in general!
How to get more: Zest is contagious, so surround yourself with active, interested, enthusiastic people.
Optimism.
What it is: Believing that the best may lie ahead.
Why it matters: If you believe that good things are likely to happen, you may be open to more opportunities when they arise (Great Guests experiences!) Optimists tend to see setbacks as temporary, which makes it easier to persevere.
How to get more: Each day, think of three things that went well and why. If you do it for a week, you’ll feel happier. If you keep it up, you’ll be unstoppable. Small effort. Big payoff!
Curiosity.
What it is: A penchant for seeking out the new and different.
Why it matters: People who describe themselves as intentionally curious report greater life satisfaction and a deeper sense of meaning. They also push themselves to learn and meet their goals.
How to get more: As soon as we think we’re an expert in something, we usually stop paying attention and switch to autopilot. So when you’re doing something you’ve done a thousand times, make it your goal to see what can be different this time!

Creating magic is organic but also a result of setting the intention consistently. Give this some thought the next time you step into a spa, either for service or for your shift. If we all bring a little magic there is more magic to share.

“We do not remember days, we remember moments.” Cesare Paves

So… You want to open a spa? OK!

December 1st, 2015 Posted by Articles No Comment yet

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So you want to open a spa or salon? Great idea!

When people envision opening a new spa everyone starts at a different point. Your vision may begin with linen colors and refreshment ideas, or distinctive uniforms and training or perhaps a state-of-the-art facility. Regardless of where you start or what kind of spa you want to open… everyone needs to consider a few things before the guests arrive.

A successful spa opening requires three important things. First of all, a clear vision of what you want to be known for at your spa. Whether your goal is to be at the top tier and pulling out every stop or you’re going for the middle of the road “comfort food” spa embracing a stellar Massage Therapy team, first think of what type of lasting impression you want to make on your guests and members.

I have seen the challenges of spas trying to be a little bit of everything while not being really wonderful at anything. Be clear on what your team and facility can provide for your guest experience and expectations. From there, strive to be the very best version of yourself possible!

Next, a 30, 60 and 90 day plan sprinkled with a lot of flexibility. Even months of planning require a little give or take here and there. It may be that a line of plumbing will not work where you planned to put those gorgeous infinity tubs, and they need to be moved a foot. Or it could be that the Star Stylist with a clientele has gotten cold feet at the last minute, declined your offer and you have appointments on the books. In any case, having a little flexibility and a plan B and C is the key to making it happen without losing your grace.

Lastly, an empowered staff!  Allow your team to be a part of it. Whether they come up with the most brilliant plan to maximize space or they move the same boxes back to the EXACT place you just asked them to move it from. Get them part of the process so they can have ownership once you’ve opened. You may have created the idea or held the vision, but it takes a team to bring it to life!! Borrowing from one a delightful Concierge, Eric, at Balance Philly~ “teamwork makes the dream work!’

Plan for long hours and moments where you can’t tell if you are making things better or worse. But, in the end there is nothing like the feeling of opening a space where people come to make themselves better, either on or off the table! Where the next you is working the desk or unpacking a shipment waiting for the chance to be groomed to success!

Just don’t forget to instill in your team the three pillars of the best spa experiences: Friendliness, Cleanliness and Efficiency. Everything else can be painted over later. ☺

Understanding your cost per service ratio

December 1st, 2015 Posted by Articles No Comment yet

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Are you dialed into the cent on your expenses or

are you ballparking the cost of operating your spa or salon?

How do you know what your expenses are to operate your spa or salon? How much does each of your services cost to provide?

You may be guesstimating or you may not have any idea at all. However, you do need to understand the financial truth of increased cost of supplies for high volume promotions or discount you may offering that has decreased revenue and the effects on your bottom line.  This can be felt keenly if you are a small salon or spa. Also, you may be just starting out and trying to determine where you fit in your local or regional market in terms of service pricing. It is key to understanding the expense side of things first and foremost. It has been said by many, but bears repeating: The best way to make more money is to spend less.

There are a lot of obvious parts of the expense and some not so obvious. Once you have a good idea of the exact cost you can begin to dial into more detail and really understand the cost and determine how or where you can cut the expenses. For the sake of this example, I will list the most common expenses below:
• Overhead- rent and utilities
• Service Provider payroll
• Cleaning services- in-house or contracted
• Spa or Salon Equipment- newly purchased and maintenance of existing equipment
• Linens
• Amenities of locker room/relaxation areas
• Professional products
• Sundry items
• Reception staff payroll
For this example let’s say you rent and facility overhead is $4500/month for your 3000 sq. ft. spa. Add to that the additional $600 in utilities and maintenance of your facility each month. Let’s speculate your average volume of service at 400/month. This means the built-in cost is $12.75/service, not factoring in the retail component which in some cases makes up the entire rent if you have a stellar team!!

The highest expense next to overhead is our service provider payroll of our businesses. That payroll cost ranges anywhere from 30-50% of the service provided. On the average $100, 50-minute Swedish massage, you will pay anywhere from $30-50 in payroll for the service provider.

Next, professional supplies, when you consider how many massages you get out of each gallon of oil or lotion: you can know the exact cost of professional supplies for that service. It is as simple as checking the date of purchase/circulation of that gallon of oil and then reviewing your schedule to determine how many massages were performed during that time. Another way you can figure this out is to check your current inventory compared to your last purchases and then calculate the number of massages your spa has performed during that time. Say you spent $100 on 3 gallons of oil/lotion in the month of April and you performed 100 massages during that month. The cost of massage professional products= $1.00.
Your linen costs are the same. If you send your laundry out, it is usually done by article or weight. You can average 1-2 days of laundry and then calculate the number of services performed during that time to give you the average cost per service. Therefore, if your laundry cost for a weekend’s worth of linens if $300 and you performed 150 services during those two days you can safely calculate that your average service/linen cost is $2 per service. This not only helps you to monitor the regular expenses, but it is important information if you are planning to expand or looking for a way to cut down the cost of doing business.

The same things can be calculated for your locker room amenities based on the overall purchases and the number of total guests serviced in the spa salon. You spent $600 in toilet paper, tissue, teas, fruit, magazines and wine to service the 400 guests you saw last month. For this conversation, let’s say the average per guests is $1.50. Not every client will use every amenity item you offer, but the offering is the extra touch that sets you apart from your competition. In order to do this well and without breaking the bank you have to know where and how you spend your operating money.

If you handle everything in-house and your average support payroll is $3000 per month to service those 400 guests, from reservations to reception and checkout. You can calculate your per service cost for support is $7.50.  So now we can quickly add up just how much the cost of doing your average $100
50-minute Swedish massage service is:
Service Provider payroll-$30
Pro supplies-$1
Linen-$2
Amenities-$1.50
Support payroll-7.50
Rent/overhead- $12.75
Total operations cost of doing a $100 50 minute Swedish massage= $54.75 and if
you pay your therapist higher pay, the expense can increase to $74.75/massage
At this calculation you think, “YES, a profit of $45.25 or even $25.25 per massage. This is great!” Then, there are insurance expenses and administrative fees like payroll service or time required doing payroll that dip into that profit margin and the decrease in profit if you offer any discounts etc. We all know that massage is the most popular and the most profitable service on the spa menu, along with haircutting in the salon. So, keep in mind the expense/profit ratio varies with each service depending on the supplies and equipment needed. That is why the cost of the services should be analyzed along with cutting unnecessary expenses.

Keep this helpful information in mind while you forecast the monthly expenses you have and the growth you will need in revenue and volume for your business to achieve your financial objectives and reach your goals without guesswork.

Good luck and happy expense managing!

Internal Customer Service

December 1st, 2015 Posted by Articles No Comment yet

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We are in the business of giving 100%, 100% of the time.

We talk a lot about how important it is to “wow” the guest, pulling out all the stops and making them feel special.  It is the most powerful tool to our individual and company-wide success. Yet, we seldom think of our internal customer service being equally vital to the business success.
To be clear, internal customer service is how we treat each other. Whether we create a positive work environment for each other and how flexible we are as a team when things do not go as planned. Before you begin to rate and size up your Spa Manager/Director, think about yourself first. Do you go above and beyond to create a positive and encouraging ambiance at work? Do you hold the door open for your colleagues, as you would a guest? Do you greet your brand new Front Desk team the way you do a first-time client? Do you ask your manager how they are doing today? Conversely, does your Spa or Salon Manager make sure you are comfortable at work and have the tools you need to accomplish your job? Do you enjoy returning to work? Is it one of your favorite places? Or is it someplace you dread going 3 – 5 times a week?
The goal is to feel comfortable in the space you spend much of your time ~ personally and professionally. If there are things that you think could be better, be part of the solution rather than just the complaint. Offer to make things better just like you would if it were a guest service situation. You would never walk away from your client who was unhappy, thinking “not my problem!” Being part of the solution is the most empowering thing you can do for your workplace happiness.

Consider the words of Maya Angelou or Cesar Paves and so many other poets on the matter of actions and feelings.  It is not what you say or do, but how you make people feel that is remembered.

Make your colleagues glad they came to work; it will make you feel that way too.

Manager vs. Leader

December 1st, 2015 Posted by Articles No Comment yet

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Are you a Manager or a Leader?

Managers get the work done yet Leaders decide what work is important enough to do. The difference is that a manager typically administers tasks, checking things off a list while focusing on follow-up vs. a leader who leads by example and inspiration while developing and growing a team as well as the other business.
How much time do you spend each day on tasks or administrative related details versus inspiring your team? Tasks are important, don’t get me wrong. They keep the machine running smoothly and streamline communication on a daily basis. However, they do little to get your team stretching themselves to their next level. It is the daily or weekly “touch base” and inspiring conversations that will get them reaching for their place next to you. Daily meetings or powwows are imperative to the operations of your spa, but the other meetings and conversations are also just as vital to the success of your spa or salon.
First of all, regularly, even weekly, hold staff meetings. They are important to gauge the team’s needs and performance. Use these meetings to put issues on the table, exchange ideas and focus on solutions- then make a plan. From there the ideas and empowerment trickle down to the rest of your staff. When the spa employees feel that their leader is taking an invested interest in their role and not just the bottom line of the business, they tend to become more involved in its success.
Secondly, look for the potential in a few special employees that stand out. Then, find ways to nurture their professional growth. If they succeed, they will pay it forward to others. These efforts will continue to multiply and create a change in your cultural climate. You must be able to see potential in people to become an inspired leader. Reading that last sentence, you may consider what I propose to have a mystical tone to it. But, believe me, when I say it is as easy as logging into your computer each day. Listen to people’s passion; hear the challenges that get in their way of achieving their goals. From there, put on your leader hat using your experience and influence to guide them to the solutions or opportunities. We’ve all had a moment where our ideas needed a sounding board, a cheerleader or a shining light to make them a reality. You simply have to listen and observe to become a great leader.
Lastly, don’t make the mistake of taking the old saying ”Business is business; don’t take it personally” too seriously. For strong leaders and those who are extremely passionate about what they do~ it is personal. Taking a personal interest in mentoring an employee to the next level of their career is personal for them, too. Some of the strongest alliances are made between mentors and mentees. In my experience, the MOST rewarding thing has been to propel a great talent or employee towards their goals even beyond where they believed they could go in their career.

I believe you can be successful in your career and still be human. Knowing their pet’s name or their children’s ages and interests will not stop you from being a successful leader. However, losing focus on what you are trying to accomplish at work will. Boundaries are important because they allow you to maintain focus on your common goal. In our society right now, we can feel a bit disconnected from one another, so a personal touch at work is often welcomed as long as it’s within the appropriate boundaries. People work for people. Therefore, as a leader you must take a specific interest in the growth of the individuals on your team not just the team as a whole. So, if you care for your people outside of their performance at work, your chance of building a long-term professional relationship is much more likely.
So it comes down to three simple things to turn your management skills into leadership skills:
• Create opportunities for your team to share ideas or challenges.
• Listen & offer guidance
• Care about the outcome.
It truly is this simple. As a leader, we often confuse our role with the weight of the outcome held upon our shoulders. But, by managing tasks while empowering people you will get more done, better results and feel more positive yourself. The rest is just practicing these skills daily and being open to the possibilities.
Happy Leading~

Self -Evaluation for leaders is a tough task

December 1st, 2015 Posted by Articles No Comment yet

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What questions to ask and where to find the honest feedback.

It’s just as important that the person mentoring the whole salon or spa team receives coaching and feedback as it is for the stylist, therapist and concierge employees. Our experience and our track records give us the sense of whether “it’s working” or not. As leaders or managers, we often feel like we must have all the answers while at the same time preparing to take the heat for tough decisions. Sometimes we do so with our fingers crossed under our desks, hoping for the best. However, our growth and inspiration can stall without constructive and honest feedback. In relationship to checks and balances, it’s understood that every boss needs a boss or at the very least a steering committee or an advisory board to give guidance and regulate accountability.
But, we can’t ignore the importance of the direct benefit of evaluation to our leaders and managers, either.
People are happy to hear the affirming “good job!” We also want to hear what we could do better, too. Ideally, the owners or executive committee can provide examples and overall performance appraisals for the Spa/Salon leaders. While it is great to hear from your peers and your employers, this does not provide the full range of feedback needed to improve management skills. Unfortunately, it is missing the stylist, therapist and concierge employees staff feedback and perspective.
Most passionate leaders want to be the best they can. We want our staff to be the best they can be and our businesses to thrive to its fullest. If you are like me, you go over every angle of a situation before you make a decision and beat yourself up over the fact that not everyone will be happy. It’s hard to make tough calls, when you know it will affect someone negatively or even personally, but you do it because there is the possibility that they will stretch and develop from the feedback. It doesn’t always happen, and that is our opportunity for improvement. Perhaps you could have taken a different approach, perhaps you could have chosen a different time or place to deliver the information, perhaps the employee could have been more involved in the decision-making process itself and perhaps the employee in question, simply couldn’t hear the feedback you shared at that stage in their career. This happens a lot, too.
So, again, how and where do we get the feedback to become the best leaders and managers? There are many different ways out there I’ll share a couple easy ones here.

1) You can use an anonymous format in the form of a survey or performance appraisal is completed by your staff. Perhaps you recruit feedback from employees once or twice a year with a deadline of when to turn it in. You can count on a lot of interesting and specific feedback here. However, you will not be able to dialogue for clear understanding, as it is one-dimensional.

2)  Another way you can do this is to conduct performance reviews of your work from select staff, preferably those who work in a leadership capacity themselves, like your assistant managers or your lead therapists. This allows room for their feedback as well as that of the rest of the staff through second hand sharing to lessen the vulnerability. This provides more structure and ensures a dialogue. The goal in doing this is to hear what is and is not working, so keeping avenues open and creative is necessary.

Whatever way you choose to do it, your questions should be both specific and open-ended. Avoid questions like “do you think I’m doing a good job?” Try to ask both broad questions while tuning into preferences on leadership styles. For example, here are two specific questions that should be on your survey or questionnaire.
1) Do you think all employees are treated fairly and with respect?
2) Does your manager use leadership styles that motivate and inspire you?
If so, give an example. If not, share a situation that was de-motivating and how you would have preferred it to be handled?
3) Do you feel your Manager is invested in your success? Please give an example.
4) Do you feel comfortable going to your manager with challenges, even if they relate to her/his performance?
It is important to remember that most people desire to avoid conflict. Even if you have made it clear that you are open and receptive to what they have to say. If your day-to-day role is to give and receive criticism, you have experience that will guide you. Otherwise, you are really putting things out there and hoping for the best outcome. It is important to keep this in mind when asking your team or less experienced support roles to provide this feedback.
It can be a terrifying prospect to ask your team whether you are doing a good job or what you could do to become a better manager. You can hear things you don’t like, that hurt your feelings, and possibly that you didn’t even know. Also, you might hear one-sided opinions from a disgruntled employee, or conversely you could hear only positive things since some employees may be concerned with being disliked if they have any feedback other than positive.
Once you are able to get information from your team, the “challenging” part begins. The next step is to receive it and take note. You have to be able to sift through each point and make sense of it. I think taking time on this part is very important. Reflection is key to really understanding what changes or conversations need to take place. At the end of the day, leaders and managers are accountable to several groups of people. Owners, staff, and guests… you have to make choices that will keep all three groups happy. Consider all three perspectives before acting upon the feedback you receive.
If you can, try to take the feedback to a trusted colleague or to your owners and bounce it off them as a way of sort through it. It is helpful to have a trusted outside perspective sometimes, as well as a sounding board, to air out the validity of the feedback. A great gauge is to put yourself in the shoes of those providing feedback and determine if the concern resonates with you. Even if the feedback is positive, try to make time for reflection. What are you doing right?  Can you spread that success into other areas or into your personal life? Though it’s hard to argue with that “feel good” feeling, be sure you have asked the right people for feedback. If you receive tough criticism, reflect on its validity or truth. If it does ring true with examples of your behavior, consider why and what you reacted to in those situations.
Just remember it is a process. Gathering the feedback, receiving the information and processing how to become better takes time and patience. Remember to treat yourself with the same fairness, compassion and support you provide to your staff. Nothing happens overnight, it takes time. It’s not about having all the right answers, in fact, that is impossible. However, it is about having the right intention.

“Nothing will work unless you do.”

~Maya Angelou