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Business Success, Part II: Elements of Staying on Top
By: Cathy Christensen
Posted: April 28, 2010, from the May 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.
“Being up a little and having a comfortable enough cash flow; it’s a trick, but it’s what makes Glen Ivy go,” Gray says.
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Even the most focused long-term businesses encounter obstacles now and then, whether they be catastrophic ones, such as Hurricane Katrina, or economic ones, such as the current recession. “For whatever reason, companies go through cycles. There are some nice cycles where business is booming, and then there are periods that aren’t so good,” explains Murad. Marini agrees, saying, “I think that No. 1 is having confidence in your own ability to resolve challenges or conflicts fairly and appropriately and not expect that the solution is always going to be immediately apparent. Businesses are built one day at a time; it is a marathon, it’s a process.”
Jamal admits that she is one of the many spa owners who have been challenged by the current recession. “The past 18–24 months have been the toughest I’ve experienced throughout the history of my business,” she says. “It’s about reinventing yourself and staying positive. I’ve surrounded myself with positive people and have gotten involved in the industry. I’m a big believer in giving back to the community. To be successful, you have to align yourself with successful people so that you can continue to motivate each other.”
Gray says Glen Ivy has also been challenged by the economy, but due to method changes in various departments and attitude changes in clients, the spa was up approximately 17% over 2008. “We’ve done promotions to make things more affordable, and guests are forgoing expensive vacations to have enjoyable experiences more frequently, such as visiting the spa for two or three days at a time,” he says.
Staying customer-centric is a challenge PCA has faced head on. “It can be difficult to stay focused on your customers’ needs, so we made it a point to go out into the field and spend more time with ours one-on-one,” says Yeargin. “You can work in a room with four walls and think something is great and make a big mistake that you only realize after the fact. We don’t work on anything now until we have feedback from customers.”
Even uncontrolled weather conditions and catastrophic events can challenge a business to its breaking point, whether it be an earthquake, unrelenting snowstorms or, in Dudek’s case, a hurricane. “During Katrina, I was in a personal funk. It’s odd to go through a period where your business’s culture changes, and I let it change because I was so exhausted. I had to recreate myself after 20 years in business,” she states. “It took me asking a mentor for help and letting go of the trauma. A lot of people are emotionally damaged from Katrina and those of us who are ready to move on can’t support that type of energy.” In order to move on, Dudek is embracing change, something that has always been one of the secrets of her success. “Do not be afraid of change. If what you’re doing isn’t working, you can’t continue to do it; that’s the definition of insanity. You have to figure out how to change it,” Dudek suggests.