It has never been easier than it is today to find a professional consultant who can offer you holistic business solutions. By Lisa Starr
Spas and wellness facilities are continuing to experience an evolution, as global consumers are increasingly aware of their personal responsibility for their own wellbeing, and are interested in trying new and progressive therapies, treatments and devices. For spa operators, these developments can feel so rapid that it seems impossible to keep up with all of the changes, as well as understand how to incorporate these options into a new or existing business. But fear not, spa operations consultants are here to help!
Common in the business world, there are hundreds of thousands of management consultants worldwide, and they tend to work in a particular industry or discipline. Often holding advanced degrees in business administration, consultants are typically well-versed on the latest developments in their own specialty, be it the operations of accounting firms, manufacturers, or hospitality and leisure activities. Consultants know what is required to make a business successful, and have seen many examples of both effective and non-effective strategies throughout their careers. They are able to combine a deep understanding of the required success metrics of their particular industry specialty along with broad knowledge of other business factors including geography, economic conditions, the local labor pool and the experience and skillset of the project or property owners. This perspective enables them to perform an audit study of an existing business and to provide concrete suggestions and action steps that can be undertaken to evolve or improve the current results.
In the case of a new spa, hospitality or wellness project, the consultant’s input can be invaluable in avoiding costly mistakes in the design, development and planning stages, which can have lasting negative effects. An owner or developer who is creating a spa or wellness business may have a clear idea of what they want the resulting business to look or feel like, and may have a clearly established brand, but they may not understand how to structure the business so that it operates efficiently and ergonomically, keeping costs down. Spas are labor-intensive businesses, and the people who are attracted to spa employment often have a personality profile that differs from what is common in the business world, making it difficult for owners without spa experience to understand how to relate to and motivate the staff for optimum results.
Finding spa and wellness consultants has never been easier; approximately 150 of the best-known industry consultants are part of an Initiative of the Global Wellness Institute, a non-profit research foundation that supports the spa and wellness industry. It has a webpage http://www.globalspaandwellnessconsultants.com where visitors can search for consultants by name, broad consulting scope, language and region in which the consultant typically works. In addition, the Initiative website provides access to some useful information including defining the scope of work, the variety of activities that consultants undertake, and tips on the consultant selection process.
Consultants are highly ethical professionals who typically work with contracts stipulating the terms of engagement. These will usually include items such as details pertaining to the scope of work and project deliverables, issues of confidentiality of business and financial information, and the conditions of payment. It is common for a consultant to be working with multiple owners/properties at one time, but they are adept at keeping all of the data and information separate, and never disclosing proprietary information.
Additionally, consultants who regularly work across different countries or regions will be equipped with broad perspective and best practice strategies that can add immeasurably to a project, enabling it to outperform the competition or reach profitability more rapidly. Popular Asian-based consultant Samantha Foster, Director at Destination Spa Management, comments that “Consulting is really challenging – in a positive, stimulating way – because it requires you to draw on all of your experience to create solutions that are unique, relevant, attractive to customers and meet the particular goals of the business owner. Layer in the requirements for creativity, operations knowledge, marketing and financial savvy… It’s like solving a huge, multi-dimensional puzzle!” Recent project developer and consulting client Amelia Yao shares her perspective; “Consultants specialize in what they do, and are the best in their field. I am fortunate to work with a great development/consultant team; everyone is specific to their area of expertise, and focused on doing what they know best. Collectively as a team we are pushing industry boundaries, challenging standards, and creating a project that is innovative and sustainable.”
So whether you are thinking about starting a spa or wellness-oriented business, or already operate one but believe your business results could be improved, the good news is that qualified help is just an email away.