No matter what is happening in the economy, people still need haircuts and stress-relieving pampering. Although a bad economy might slow your business, if you present what the spa customer wants at a price that conveys value, your business should be able to survive recessions and prosper in good times. There are five ways you can enter the spa business: buy a franchise; buy an existing spa from an owner who wants to sell; rent a chair in an existing salon or spa; take your services to your customers via a mobile spa business; or develop your own facilities and open a completely new spa according to your vision.
Start your business plan with a description of your spa business idea. Forget the hype and concentrate on the value proposition you will offer potential customers to draw them into your business, and how you will continue to offer value that will keep your customers coming back. Value can be in terms of price, ambiance, unique services, outstanding operator skill or whatever your vision tells you your customer will not be able to find elsewhere.
Define in detail the characteristics of your target customers in terms of gender, money to spend, personal service priorities, their true perception of value, beauty products used, and how you will establish a marketing dialog with them in the most effective way. Maintain a skeptical attitude in evaluating exactly what you can sell to these customers and their likelihood of choosing you over their current beauty and wellness providers. The fact that you can't live without herbal wraps doesn't mean your customers will feel the same way, particularly if they are being careful about their spending.
In this section of your business plan, describe how you will develop and launch your business. Your build-out plan may involve one or several of the five different ways to get into the spa business, so describe what you will do first and develop a timeline with benchmarks for the continued development of your business. Discuss equipment, employees, supplies, retail inventory, methods you will use to market your spa and how you will keep your customers coming back for more.
Once you have a detailed plan of what you will offer in your spa business and how you expect to build it, do your research into the costs of facilities, furnishings, equipment and supplies, inventory of products for sale, utilities, insurance, employees, marketing, business licenses and permits. Over-estimate your expenses and under-estimate your revenues. Use an income statement or profit/loss statement template, available from Microsoft Office and many other places on the Internet. You may have to adjust your plans to assure your financial survival during your first few months of operation.
Victoria Duff specializes in entrepreneurial subjects, drawing on her experience as an acclaimed start-up facilitator, venture catalyst and investor relations manager. Since 1995 she has written many articles for e-zines and was a regular columnist for "Digital Coast Reporter" and "Developments Magazine." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in public administration from the University of California at Berkeley.