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Regaining Control of a Wandering Business

By: David Suzuki
Posted: June 11, 2008, from the November 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Starting your own business can be one of the most exhilarating and satisfying experiences of your professional life. It is the ultimate challenge: You have to take ownership of every responsibility and every task so that, at the end of the day, what you accomplish or lack is completely up to you and has everything to do with your spa’s survival.

As a small-business owner, you literally are every department head combined into one: accounts payable, accounts receivable, purchasing, maintenance, reception, marketing and don’t forget lead esthetician. Changing hats without hesitation is a skill that you must acquire and refine quickly, or you may find yourself out of work. Many spa owners reflect back on the early days with a smile, amazed at what they have been able to accomplish single-handedly.

Beginning and operating your own spa can be both scary and gratifying. The excitement of this experience seems to produce an endless amount of obsessive energy, similar to an adrenalin rush that never seems to end. And then—out of nowhere—it does. When this happens, many small-business owners experience complete and utter confusion. You discover that there simply is not enough of you to go around, and not enough time in the day or night to make it happen any longer.

Things have changed

So what happened? And why does your business and personal life seem as though they are coming apart at the seams? Simply put, things have changed, and you have not.

As with life, a business is perpetual and is moving continuously. In the beginning, most owners have much more time than they do funding and, therefore, assume most of the duties required to operate the spa, regardless of whether or not the duty is within their skill set. As it grows, so does the burden of each department. And, as this increases, the owner commonly absorbs the additional work rather than hiring or delegating this responsibility. This often leads to financial disaster, burnout and turmoil in a person’s private life.

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