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Business Success Part 1: What Makes a Successful Company?

By: Cathy Christensen
Posted: March 30, 2010, from the April 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
Cygalle Healing Spa

Cygalle Healing Spa hasn't been very affected by the economy due to its location and focus on holistic wellness. "I'm in the right marketplace at the right time," says Dias.

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If there is one thing the economy has taught small business owners, it is how to persevere. Qualities such as getting back to the basics and reinvention have become the cornerstones of the businesses that will succeed in the new malleable marketplace that is emerging after the economic downturn.

Back to the basics. “Although the economy has been devastating for so many, it also has been enlightening,” says McNair-Wingate. “I personally feel like everything got almost too big, and I think we are now looking at our businesses and lives in a different way, taking inventory, figuring out what’s really important. We were willing to go to any lengths to not reduce our employee base, and we have been able to get through the last two years without doing it. We have changed our hours; we don’t offer the overtime we once did.”

Owen also has pared down for the better. “We set our benchmarks and sales goals, and we are tracking more, monitoring more and training more. It has forced me back in the box; I’m having to go back to the basics and ask how can we do what we’re doing better,” she says. “We’ll never go back to the old ways. All of what we have put into place, we will keep. It’s harder work—we put more thought and effort into everything—but it really has helped us.”

Wurwand agrees, saying, “It’s forced us to be more creative and work quicker. We have to do more now and come up with ideas; you’ve got to be relentlessly focused on growth.”

Reinvention. Many businesses that existed before the economic downturn have found the business credos they once held true have gone out the window, and reinvention is crucial for future success. “The economy has proposed an opportunity to relook, rethink, redo and change where necessary,” says McNair-Wingate, and Owen agrees, “The most important thing is to be flexible. Keep your eyes open and instead of giving up when faced with challenges, find a solution that is different than expected.”