Health Spa Business Plan

Your plan should include a description of your business and the services you'll offer; market strategies (developed with the demographic info you've collected); an analysis of your competition; an operations and management plan; financial information, including assets and startup capital needs; an income/expense forecast and repayment plan; and a personnel management plan.

Also early in the planning process, you'll have to decide exactly which services to offer.

"Americans are shy about taking off their clothes and standing naked in front of a stranger who will perform unfamiliar therapies on them.

It's better to open your spa without water therapy, especially if your funds are limited.

But you can put it into your business plan so you're ready to expand when and if your clients are ready for it."Dennis Gullo, 47, used an easy formula for determining which services to offer in his spa.

"I started with [commonly known] services, like massages," he says.

Your best options are a free-standing building, a storefront property or a strip mall store.

Mall locations usually aren't optimal since people go to malls to shop, not to enjoy a salt glow treatment, and the rent is often very high.

Cosmetology schools are the best places to find personnel trained to handle the equipment and products found in a day spa.So if it's difficult to visit your spa for any reason, they won't come-or they'll go somewhere else.Day spas require a lot of equipment to emulate the level of service found in resort spas.The range of services you plan to offer will have a major bearing on the kind of facility you choose.Because spa equipment (like massage tables) tends to be large, you'll need enough room to spread out and create a relaxing atmosphere.Many spas also offer healing therapies such as Reiki (a form of "energy healing") and acupressure, which must be performed by a licensed practitioner, depending on which state you're in.Services are usually combined in complementary spa packages that guests enjoy for four to eight hours, but à la carte services and pricing should also be available, both for clients who wish to mix and match their treatments, and for clients who would like to try something new.Case in point: ISPA's 2001 Day Spa Usage Survey indicates that two of the top five reasons people don't visit a day spa are that they think spas are too costly, and they feel they're not the "spa type." So study the demographics of your target market to see whether, say, the residents of a farming community in the heart of Nebraska are the type who will be interested in pedicures.The fact is, you're more likely to attract clientele if the market area is populated with white-collar professionals under age 45 who have college degrees, according to the survey."You also have to educate people about your services so they don't think of them as a luxury," Gullo says.To attract an upper-end clientele, you'll need a well-appointed facility in a good neighborhood.It should be located near other retail businesses for good visibility, and it must have sufficient parking. Spa services are not necessities, not even for baby boomers bent on preserving their youth.

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