Owning a spa can be challenging, especially in the beginning. As is the case with most small business owners, spa owners wear many hats and are often trying to balance managing employees, dealing with finances, and getting face time with their clients. As a result, spa owners normally put in a lot more than 40 hours a week to make sure they are utilizing every opportunity to grow their business.
Thankfully, with innovations in technology, it’s now easier than ever for spa owners to face the many challenges seen in this line of work and still maintain some balance in their lives. Schedule flexibility and the ability to work from home is proven to not only increase productivity, but also happiness levels, according to a recent Stanford study.
To achieve better work-life balance and more efficiently manage operations, many spa owners are turning to business management software which allows them to centralize their data (clients, staff, invoices, and so forth) on one platform. Platforms like these enable owners to access this centralized data from the comfort of their own homes. Spa owners already have enough on their plates without spending time hunting for information like upcoming appointments, staff vacation schedules, or marketing campaigns on different platforms.
Investing in the right technology can put an end to late nights hunched over the spa’s computer and to using multiple platforms or paper files for all of the different aspects of running a business. Here are the features to look for in a comprehensive business management solution if you’re a spa owner looking to gain flexibility and discover greater work-life balance.
Cloud computing is a relatively recent advancement in software delivery that secures your data and keeps it available at all times. This accessibility ensures you are not stuck in the back office for hours on end. The cloud allows any internet connected device (phones, tablets, and laptops) with the proper credentials to access your data as though you were in the spa. This means staff can check their upcoming schedule from home before heading into work and managers and owners can securely log in and review business reports or payroll records remotely, giving you the flexibility to run your businesses from the palm of your hand.
Even if you’ve already graduated from paper calendars for scheduling to some kind of software, investing in a more comprehensive business management solution with robust employee management capabilities enables automated notifications that alert the staff to last-minute cancellations or appointment changes. Assembling a schedule can be complicated, but management software can set recurring schedules so you’re not starting from scratch each week and can associate recurring time blocks with employees. All you have to do is make small adjustments to accommodate time off requests. Tracking capabilities can also help you and employees stay on top of how many personal, sick, or vacation days they have left.
The best software solutions also grant employees access to their schedule. If they can’t make it into work for a specific shift, they can easily see who could take their shift so they can arrange for their own coverage. This saves management the headache of having to reorganize the schedule, while making the staff happier and more independent.
Spa owners are sometimes stuck at the front desk because the phone won’t stop ringing as clients call to schedule or change appointments, which ultimately can be a good problem to have. However, you might consider investing in software to allow clients to book or request appointments online. With the right platform, clients can see all available appointments online and book the one that works for them.
AUTOMATED REMINDERS AND CONFIRMATIONS
Another integral part of appointment booking is the confirmation calls to confirm upcoming appointments. To avoid challenges like costly no-shows, business management software can send automated appointment reminders to all clients with upcoming appointments through e-mail or text message. Not only does this save time, it is also proven to save money by limiting no-shows and prompting clients to reschedule if the date no longer works for them. As more clients adopt or expect the convenience of online booking, you’ll find yourself at the front desk less often.
Software can be a secret weapon to simplifying the payroll process. If your management system integrates with a payroll provider and produces the required reports, you can remove a lot of manual work so employees get paid correctly and on time, every time. The business software can also track commission-based pay and bonuses, as well as calculate split commissions, which are common in spas where multiple service providers are splitting tips and commissions.
Promoting your spa can be critical to success, but self-promotion doesn’t always come naturally to owners focused on helping others. Automating simple campaigns that remind clients to rebook or invite them to visit for a discounted service during their birthday month are small touches that can increase retention and revenue per client. Look for a software solution that includes website capabilities or the ability to integrate with your existing website and social media profiles. Some platforms even come with built-in booking features for Instagram and Facebook, so your followers can engage with your posts and make an appointment all in the same place.
Running any business is a time-consuming endeavor, but that doesn’t mean work-life balance is unattainable. Cloud-based software that offers employee management, online booking, robust reporting, automated marketing, and payroll processing can mean working smarter, not harder. You have taken on a big task in starting a spa business, but it doesn’t have to take over your life.
Jeff Dickerson is the CEO of DaySmart Software, the makers of Orchid Spa Software, a leading spa business management software for appointment booking, staff management, payment processing, marketing, and customer communications for spa professionals worldwide. Dickerson has over 25 years of experience building software companies and developing technology that empowers and drives real business results for customers.