When is the last time your spa management to-do list said “plan for tomorrow?”
I don’t know about you, but I’m a list-maker. I keep piles of pads near my desk, and every day I make a list and date it. High priority at the top, low at the bottom. Every week I take the pile of notes with half-scratched-off items and start over. It’s an old-fashioned system but it works for me.
Admittedly, spa directors and managers rarely get time to sit down and make a list of what they will do each day. Spa operations are very fluid and in-the-moment, and it’s easy to just go with the flow. Quickly, the day is consumed by chatting with customers, listening to an idea or complaint from a staff member, meeting with a vendor who stops by unannounced, taking a call from the media, or maybe – if you’re lucky -- reviewing yesterday’s numbers. Spa management is hardly a desk job, although sometimes you may long for a few minutes alone in your office.
Is this ebb and flow method really the best way to manage your business?
It’s certainly essential that spa managers be readily available and up-to-speed on everything that is happening in the spa every day. But this focus on the here-and-now may result in a lack of focus on the future. Especially, when thinking about the future feels like a luxury to many spa managers. Actually, planning is not a luxury for the health of the business. It’s essential that someone think about tomorrow.
So where is the balance? Spa business managers often operate from a reactive, rather than proactive, approach, because of the non-stop demands on their time. Finding balance is a different challenge for everyone, and there’s no quick or obvious solution. One first step is to just acknowledge and notice that you need it, and to start looking for ways to create it. Don’t leave the “plan for next week, month, year” entry unchecked on your to-do list. Try to carve out a period each day, or even a few days per week, to have some quality alone-time. In fact, it may be easier to accomplish this out of the spa.
Start small – an uninterrupted 30 minutes can do wonders, and can be a springboard to more regular time-outs in the near future. Make some rules for yourself. This is not review time, it’s forward-thinking time. Use it to catch up on ideas from the spa trade magazines, or to read the latest in business management trends and new concepts from Inc, Wired or HBR Magazines. Or perhaps you can just wander the local shopping mall and observe the stores and the people in them. It will open your mind to new ideas and possibilities.
The hugely popular Mindful Magazine has a lot of tips and methods to help you find some balance between high levels of activity and mindful pursuits. We can’t turn away completely from the demands of our daily schedule, but we do need to ensure that we create a plan to move the business forward, not just put out fires all day. Help is only a few finger taps away. So try to make some time to read the blogs and articles on developing your leadership vision. You’ll find it will pay off as you better manage your business’s growth!
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