Global Nomads Say Happy Birthday

18 01 2010

A WELL ADJUSTED “TODDLER”

Most 3 year olds don’t receive a virally launched internationally spotlighted birthday wish  from around the world. But there is one dynamic 3 year old I know, that deserves it! EXPATWOMEN.COM

ExpatWomen.com turned 3 January 16th. Founded by two travelers bonded together as friends in their expat adventures.  Andrea Martins and Jill Lengré, have 20 years of combined experience living  broad, and decided to launch ExpatWomen.com while living in Mexico City. Both are professionals, adventurers, mothers, and authors, and created a version of truth for themselves and others in the midst of the labrinyth and chaos of Mexico’s capital city.

I’ve been inspired by their vision, and have relied on the stories and the women of ExpatWomen.com many times in my own foreign escapades for commaraderie and inspiration. 

The well developed site tools provide interviews, links, resources, newsletters, clubs, real life stories, and a writers forum for ALL of us to tell our most intimate adventures and share it with women who GET IT. Just travel, create and upload.

You can also take your blogs to ExpatWomen.com, I did, along with many other talented women. BLOG AT EXPAT WOMEN. 

BLOW OUT THE CANDLES!

There are many things that define each of us in our individuality and UNIQUENESS.  Travel is one of them. Find you. Be you. And don’t look back. I always remind myself that it is better to go solo, than pretending to be something or someone else for another. We all create our moments. Past, present and future.

One thing I love about being an expat, is the diversity of it all, and a little anonymity. It’s also a little like being in a secret club. It takes a different breed to be an expat, and even more to be a serial expat.  Even better is finding websites and resources from similar women where you can find outlets for expression, creation, and getting things done.  Just like the one that Andrea and Jill have poured their hearts into.

I was also honored for my story, “Round & Round it Goes….” to be nominated by Jill and Andrea for the winning story in November 2009 on their site.  I was a little frazzled to reveal an inside look to my feelings with my story, and when I received the email of nomination over my morning coffee, I actually teared up.

Thanks EXPAT WOMEN.com, a big birthday BESO, and UNA ABRAZO FUERTE from Planet Spa! We love you and what you do.

Cheers to many, many years to come.





Don’t Let the Fear of Hard Times, Overshadow Your Real Spa Business Goals

28 03 2008

spamoney.jpgThe recession detox. It’s time to purge your personal and business systems from the anxiety and trepidation coupled with hard times. Discover how to overcome the fearful predictions for the economy, and why many feel that these effects have been exaggerated, even for small business owners. There have been hard times before, and traditionally in times of a perceived crisis people tend to stick with what they feel is safe, their favorite brands, and look to businesses that are confident in their product and stimulate innovation. Avon, for example,survived the downturn of the 1930’s by selling it’s business opportunity to women, and a commitment to door to door sales and service. The difference of a direct selling method and an empowered women workforce allowed them to continue their successful management through the depression. The opposite of that would have been the inability of Avon’s leader’s to recognize the importance of market synergies, even in a difficult time, and ultimately, defeat. Are we in a similar situation? Consider following the lead of Avon’s approach in the 30’s, and up sizing your service and retail market.

The definition of optimism can be seen as an outlook on life such that allows one to maintain a view of the world as a positive place. With current predictions, many spa owners and entrepreneur’s will need a healthy share of optimism to get through what these times are predicted to bring. Or do we look to reports like that of the Economist, who say that with the national unemployment rate at 6.4 percent, people are still fueling the $160 billion-a-year international beauty industry. Though there does seem to be a modest decline in leisure travel and spending, most small businesses, including spas are saying they are not necessarily feeling the crunch. The retail director at a Burke- Williams spa, says even with tax season, business is great. Other spa directors and individuals also feel these predictions may have been overblown, and they are still experiencing an influx of people who need pampering, botox, teeth whitening, massage and waxing. According to most we are still not sure we are in a recession, and there does seem to be light at the end of the tunnel. Smart businesses will survive.

What are the real issues facing spas with a cloud of recession, and what are the perceived issues? Though some spa services and wellness programs may be viewed as a nicety rather than a necessity, don’t get bogged down in pessimism. Spas have the ability to provide a vital service that contributes to the relief of increased stress from uncertain times. Well produced services and beneficial products contribute to a healthy society by addressing the holistic needs of both emotional and physical tension. A commodity greatly needed at this time.

BELIEVE IN YOUR SPA – SUGGESTED STRATEGIES

professinallearning.jpg Whatever your business viewing angle, it is clear that there is a need for improved recruiting methods for top staff, key sales management, downsizing expensive advertising and new product and market tactics to meet the current situation. It may be necessary to change your target market, if only temporarily, and focus more on internal marketing and retention. Choose a few specialties to promote, and ensure that your services are viewed as a necessity. Your marketing dollars now need to go further so you may pull print ad’s and revive e commerce options, more viral marketing, and of course as much positive media as you can muster.

Take a look at your cities community spending, travel sectors, hospitality sectors and leisure spending that contributes to comparable markets, like spa spending. One good place to start is building a relationship with your local visitors bureau and chamber’s of commerce. You can find a wealth of information on general consumer purchasing, how many people visit the area, and what they are spending. Possibly more pressing is information on increases and decreases in estimated spending, expected local expansion and pre development information. Your city could be a gold mine of tourist, meeting, convention and special event destinations funds. Areas that spas can create super affiliate ventures with.Spas should be looking at their proximity to other attractions, demand, and consumer necessities, even whether people use travel and hospitality to access their location. This is a time where you need to ensure that you take advantage of the market when others are shying away. Hesitation is devastation.

FOLLOW THE RESULTS – NOT OTHERS

Social proof is a funny thing. Most people will follow what others think is right, fair, or correct rather then taking a deeper look at their own facts and circumstance. Don’t let social proof or majority opinion focused on an increasing recession be one of your mistakes. It’s time to get tough, and creative. Be aware of what the competition is doing, but don’t use it as the directive that determines your planning. It will be necessary to create a balance in the supply and demand in the leisure industry, as growth and competition will continue to increase, and we ride out the first and second quarters of 2008 for results. The supply of day spas is sufficient, the demand is there. You have the responsibility to create a channel of effective marketing that will bring that demand to you, and carry you through what some are calling a recession. If you are a smaller business, don’t worry, you have some advantages over corporate behemoths. You have less bureaucracy, more decision making responsibility, recognition of success, more influence with top management, a niche market, and the ability to directly affect the bottom line.

To create your own results, check out where your bottom line is, and re direct your efforts to high return marketing like a publicist, who may cost less than your current efforts. Focus on creative ideas, headlines and adopt products that will create differentiation. Over all you will need to do what your numbers say you can do. In all of this arranging and researching, you can find solace in knowing that you’re not the only one who may be experiencing uncertainty. Some of your competitor’s are seeking the guidance of advisors, and beta testing new ideas to stay competitive. Not a bad suggestion.

Though many feel that is isn’t safe or smart to reveal their worries or challenges in business, especially in a time of tightened competition. It can be an emotional and financial lifesaver during times like these. Not recognizing these ‘little’ things can begin to tear the business culture in your spa apart and be a dis-advantage to you.

A few suggested solutions to check out are MayerLeadership.com, and Emotional Intelligence seminars. You can also find a business driven healing arts advisor to direct you through tough times, and you shouldn’t view that as a weakness.

IS YOGA A GOOD ANALOGY FOR BUSINESS

prayer.jpg All of this decision making and necessity for effecting change, reminds me of those times when I’m on my way to yoga class. I know it will be good for me, and I will feel better after, but I weigh it out with the amount of effort, time and dedication it takes. It’s even sometimes downright painful, but the end result is worth it. However I find myself watching the clock thinking I can fit in just one more phone call, or a little more work before class. Minutes pass by, then a few more, and now I’ve got to rush to class just to make it on time, and there’s little chance that I will.

Have I some how sub consciously created tasks to procrastinate? Things that will get me off the ‘hook’ of going to class. I think even though I didn’t make it to class like I should, I can still feel good about myself because I was working, or completing something else that was important, right? Wrong, had I just stuck to my schedule and completed the task at hand and made it to yoga, I would have reaped the rewards that I was looking for, rather than putting it off until another day.

In other words, sometimes we don’t do what we should, or what we know is best for us, whether it’s a simple yoga class, or a new marketing tactic to pommel a recession. It will too take effort, and focus, so remember while you’re putting off your goals and change for another day, others are digging in their heels and gaining clients, revenue, and the benefits of a well contemplated plan.

 

So instead of being focused on that whatchamacallit, explore your options and speak with a specialist for additional insight and plan your own recession detox. One for staying power. After all I don’t think we’ve heard the whole story yet.