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Do Your Homework
Before you find a location or hire an aesthetician, do a little footwork and phone work. What other day spas are in the area? How many are there? What do they offer, and what are their prices? Are you entering a market that is saturated, or can you offer something new and unique enough to be appealing to many people in the area? You also need to do some research into the licensing required to open a day spa. Besides the usual local business licensing, day spas may be subject to additional regulations due to the nature of the business. Check with your local (city) government first; start with your local licensing, and then start getting your state licensing in line. Your Secretary of State's office is the best place to start for state regulation information.
Make a Business Plan
What is your ultimate vision for your new day spa? Do you have a focus, such as organic treatments or a luxurious spin you can't find at other day spas? And how many services do you want to offer? There is a wide range in the day spa business; you can offer everything from hair and make-up styling to massage therapy to aromatherapy, fitness classes, and professional aesthetic services. You may not be able to start with a complete offering; decide what is important to start with and what you can add over time. Make a financial plan, as well, because you'll need to know the amount of capital you need, the operating expenses, the inventory, salaries, insurance and other costs.
Find a Location
Once you know more about the kind of day spa you want to open, search for a location. Think about the natural flow of traffic (both pedestrian and vehicular) that goes past each location. What other businesses are nearby? Do they attract the same kind of clients, and would they benefit your business? Or are you looking at a location that is somewhat hidden and will need a lot of effort to popularise? Analyse the pros and cons of each situation. A more hidden location might require more advertising, but you might be able to get a much lower lease price. Is it worth it, or should you pay a higher rent for a more visible location?
You need to either find investors or find another way to raise the capital for starting your business. Make a professional presentation of your vision for the day spa and the financial breakdown to show potential investors. Don't be discouraged if it takes a while to find investors. It takes time and lots of follow-through; people looking to invest are inundated with opportunities. Be polite and persistent but not pushy or rude. It's your job to show these potential investors how you will make their money do more and return more than any of the other opportunities they may be contemplating.
Set Up Shop
Once you have your licensing, location and capital, find the people who will staff your day spa, train them and set up the location to serve your customers. Set up and decorate the interior to suit your spa. Get inventory and supplies. Set prices, make brochures, get phones in order and plan your grand opening.
Market and Publicize
As you set up your business, begin publicising. Set a date for the big opening day, and have an open house or other celebration. Offer lots of special deals, samples, coupons, discounts, prizes or other incentives to get people to come see what your business offers. Publicise the event as much as you can and in as many ways as you can, such as newspaper ads, radio ads, personal mailed invitations, e-mails, phone calls, flyers and business cards.
Follow through After Opening Day
Have a sign-up sheet at your grand opening, and gather as many e-mails, addresses and phone numbers as you can of the people who attend your grand opening. Within a week or so, follow up on your new mailing list with a special offer or promotion that will help bring those new customers back in. Keep finding new ways to market and make your presence known as your business gets established.