My business background is in the salon and day spa industry, which ultimately, is The Perfectionist of all service industries. In 1996 I built the first and largest day spa in my town, drawing a large customer base from day one, to almost needing to shut the doors, to a thriving, award-winning turnkey business that my husband and I sold in 2003, which, financially, allowed me to take a break and write at my leisure.
I discovered I had bitten off more than I could chew when I took my two small hair salons (that ran on an independent contractor business model) and turned those salons into one gorgeous day spa with 30 employees. We were slammed with customers the very first day we opened, which sounds great except for the fact that we were not at all ready for that. We pulled it together as best we could and managed to make it through the first year by trial and error.
After already being in business for several years with my smaller salons and writing a solid business plan for this venture, my husband (my financial partner) and I expected to lose money the first year, but by the second, we could see that the numbers were not only not improving, but were going in the wrong direction and we were running out of backup resources fast. Unbeknownst to the staff, the business was financially tanking; the overhead was higher than the already high prices we charged and brought in; staff members seemed to have one complaint after another even though we (and they) had plenty of clients, plus, they were getting a high commission; the water heater couldn’t keep up with the demand, and the place was so busy there was never a moment to rest.
I couldn’t understand it. I had a vision I thought I had explained well and a mission statement, a business plan, an employee manual, and regular staff meetings—all of it. At one point I took the financial risk of hiring a consultant who helped me to get a bit more organized. It was a bit more helpful, but the main problems persisted.
I was determined (not to mention in debt for hundreds of thousands of dollars) to find the missing link. One night at 2 a.m., sitting all by myself in the middle of the day spa living room after staying late to finish the books, I realized something important: I noticed that I was more distraught (and confused) over the chaotic unhappiness of the staff than I was about the deteriorating funds and backwards cash flow. I had a hunch (or innately knew) that the secret to healing my business lay within the spirit of my co-workers, as well as myself.
The next day I happened to be consulting with a business associate, Jim, who asked me to help him with a business problem. We met for coffee, and after he explained his concerns and reasons for asking for help, I dove right in to the source of what I could see was the problem. Weirdly, I heard myself using terms I hadn’t used before as I described to him the importance of getting clear about the vision. I described it as a ball of energy, which I called “The Orb” (I know, I know, it sounded a little “out there” even to me). But what I was relaying to him was a system I understood but hadn’t yet clarified. I described a system that takes the pressure (and criticism) off of the owner and gives more definition, direction, and power to the staff and customers, without relinquishing or threatening the authority of the owner of the business or changing the vision. The powerful seedlings of a basic business structure took hold with a vengeance, right then and there. One insight after another came flooding in and a new concept was born. As I figured out solutions to Jim’s issues, I was actually figuring out the solutions to my own.
I left the meeting excited, but wondering if my language and concepts would be too weird for Jim. To my surprise, Jim called the next day, also excited, and told me that “The Orb” concept completely changed his thinking and that he and his wife had a great conversation about their business concept.
For my own business, I got busy analyzing, crunching numbers, identifying, and rearranging the puzzle pieces. When finished, I presented the new model to the staff members, who immediately “got it”. It’s true that I lost one or two staff members because of it, but gained a stronger loyalty of the others. The business lost more than a few customers, but gained a significantly higher number of the right customers!
I heard my co-workers not only using the new lingo frequently, but also defending and protecting the business and concept as well. Feeling more empowered than ever, I no longer needed to carry the load by myself—the staff and I handled each challenge easily by identifying, assessing, and overcoming without a lot of drama or time. Financially, everything improved and we became profitable.
It would be two more years after turning my business around that we’d win Service Business of the Year in my city. Three years after that (2003), we sold our financially successful business as a turnkey operation and privately coached businesses part-time while I also took a much deserved break. In 2005, an entirely different project took shape and I wrote a book on the hormonal body clock of women (4 Seasons in 4 Weeks), which was published in 2012. Today, I’m still fully involved in that endeavor, but after being sought out by a couple of friends to do some business coaching, I’ve decided to integrate this back into my offerings. It’s exciting to return to something I love so much and know so well. It’s the simple business model that made it all happen.
My vision is to help others shift business and relationships into higher consciousness realms of balance. Together we can create a more sensible world.
- The Business Vision
- The Business Structure
- Crunching Numbers and Troubleshooting
- The Client Experience
- Customer Service
- Service Industry Staff/Client Consultations
Let's Have a Conversation
Could you use a conversation about your business? Think about booking a session with me. Time allotments are 90 minutes at $325, with no pressure to do more unless we decide to work together for a series of four or more. For the purpose of making true and sustainable change, I only consult with the owner or the main decision-maker/s to begin with. I will work with managers and staff members on customer service and the client experience once the owner has bought into their own new business structure.
An easy place to begin is by reading the pilot book of The Orb series: The Business Shaman: The Mind, Body, and Spirit of Workplace Wealth.
Schedule a Consultation
- Sessions are 90 minutes
- All sessions are prepaid. 24 hour notice required for cancellation refund.
- Invoice will be sent upon appointment schedule completion