On Monday, February 25th at about 12:30 pm, I was having some strange, physical symptoms. I’d had them before but mostly ignored them, because they usually went away. After all, even at my “maturing age”, I am still an athlete, playing some 12-14 games of full-court basketball every week. I outplay many guys half my age and still have a sneaky, fade away shot they have to contend with. How could I not be healthy?
But on that particular Monday, the symptoms wouldn’t go away. With some of the little good sense still in me, I left my health club and the games that day and pulled into a firehouse where I knew there would be EMT personnel who could check me out. Best move I ever made. The symptoms were not simply fatigue from chasing around a ball on a court, but the onset of a heart attack. Within an hour of walking into that firehouse, I was in the hospital getting an angiogram and “clean out” of an artery that was 100 percent blocked.
So, what does this have to do with indoor tanning? Prepare yourself for the great connection!
Every day of my working life in this business, I assume the role of a doctor who checks out tanning businesses for symptoms of decline. Just as the EMT team took my blood pressure, temp, heart waves and such, I do the same type of checkup. Similar to my ignorance of the symptoms that brought me to the hospital (I wrote this article from my hospital bed in the ICU because you might say I’m “inspired” to share this experience with IST readers), many independent salon operators ignore symptoms of a failing business for too many years. Symptoms such as a year-to-year, downward trend of session counts, loss of per tan sales, fewer unique tanners, lower average EFT draws and a general decline of the “indulgence experience” that today’s tanners expect and demand. The latter is the heart of the tanning business and without it, your salon will die.
But, there are many ways to correct those symptoms, such as consistent, bi-monthly traffic counts for your most immediate and significant competition, which will keep you aware of your market share. Subscribing to competitors’ email and text clubs, as well as perusing their websites will inform you of their current offers. But, the most important symptoms to watch are your own revenue numbers, especially PTA and EFT draws. Invariably, those numbers in decline means that the “experience” in your salon(s) is deteriorating.
Using marketing techniques to bring in new tanners – and maybe recover old ones – is key; but more important is the commitment of your team to actually care about engaging your tanners to visit consistently and invest in higher levels of the experience offered at your salons. Without a staff that cares, your business’ symptoms of decline will only worsen. And, like a person who suffers a heart attack, a declining tanning salon doesn’t get better on its own. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is to bring in a specialist to “clean out” some old thinking and get the heart of your business healthy again. I’m ready with stethoscope in hand.
Me? I feel great!