There’s a chapter in Richard Branson’s book, “Finding my Virginity”, that talks about making your business stand out from the competition. He advocates for finding 100 different touches that will set you apart. Branson does something, I often find myself doing when coming up with new ideas, and that is to start by addressing all the pain points. When you are a consumer or client of your future competition, what are the things that they do that piss you off, discourage you, or turn you away? Find out what those things are, and then do the exact opposite.
When thinking about new business ideas or marketing strategies, I often ask myself, what would get my attention? What would resonate with me? Would I respond to this? I know that’s not always the best strategy, especially if you are not a reflection of your target market, but on the occasion that you are a reflection of your target market, those are excellent questions to ask.
For example, when I started out as a massage therapist, working for myself, I asked myself, what experiences have I had as a consumer of massage? The biggest turn-off I ever experienced was when (and this has happened more than once at different locations) I pay extra for a deep tissue massage only to walk out of there feeling like I just received a very light or ordinary massage. This upsets me to no end. I feel like I’ve just wasted my money because when I leave, I’m still in need of a deep tissue massage!
For this reason, when I opened my practice, the first thing I did was to structure a flat-rate massage. I tend to perform deep tissue massage on just about everyone unless I just know that they can’t tolerate it. But I don’t ever want one of my customers to walk out feeling like they paid for something and didn’t get what they expected. So, I have a flat rate for massage – light or deep work.
I also know that one of the things people complain most about the franchise spa industry is that they feel like they are just a number, another body on the table being ushered in and right back out. There is very little meaningful conversation. I never want my clients to feel that way. I am in the business of my clients being heard. I want them to feel safe, at home, and listened to every time they walk in the doors. For us, this means that we schedule at least 30min. between every appointment so we have the time to carry on meaningful conversations with clients before, during, and after their sessions.
As I work on growing not only my massage practice, but also the education center, and many of the other business ideas I have stirring in the back of my brain, I am reminded to create a working environment where owners, employees and clients alike are free to express themselves in their own unique way. I liked watching Steve Jobs wearing his jeans and turtle-necks at every press conference or Mark Zuckerburg wearing jeans and a tee-shirt. Shun the status-quo and be comfortable in your own skin.