Setting SMART Goals for Your Spa Business

2017 is just around the corner and now is the time to start setting goals and plans to help get your spa to new heights and profits. Sometimes thinking about goals and plans can be terrifying because it’s putting your dreams and ambitions on paper. Only 8% of individuals accomplish resolutions according to research from the University of Scranton. This means that 92% of people set goals and don’t achieve them! I believe it’s because most people, especially business owners, don’t understand how to make SMART goals.

What are SMART goals?

The term SMART goal isn’t something we created at Spapreneur, but it is a well-known method for creating goals that you will follow up and accomplish. These are goals that are clear with steps laid out.

You may know the term S.M.A.R.T if not here’s a refresher:

  • S – Specific
  • M – Measurable
  • A- Actionable
  • R – Realistic
  • T – Timely

So many spa owners and practitioners run their businesses by accident. Without a plan, you stumble through, and you don’t have a way to measure success and progress. This can cause feelings of failure or self-loathing which can lead you to leave the business or worse work for a corporate spa.

Owning a business is not for the timid – it is for those people who can take risks, and to determine if the risk is worth it, you need to have a plan for where you are going. Having big goals will keep you accountable, and will help keep you motivated through the course of your month.

This is why we want you to have a SMART goal – one that you can measure, that’s specific, and one that your can realistically take action on to see favorable results.

Specific Goals

Having goals is critical for a successful business, but loose or random goals isn’t enough. A SMART spa owner knows that she must have specific goals that directly relate to the work she is doing.

A Specific goal is one where the outcome is direct and clear. When looking at it, the result should be clear if the goal is accomplished.


“I want to be the best massage therapist in my area.”

This might seem like a clear, specific goal. The best massage therapist is something that can be measured through reviews and retention rates – but this goal is still too vague. What does the best massage therapist in your area mean? Best in the particular spa you work in? Best in the city? Best in your region? Best in the country. When outlining your goals, you must have something very specific that enables you to make and produce a healthy game plan.

A better goal for the above is this:

“I want to increase my personal client retention numbers by 20% over last year in six months.”

Here is why this is a better goal:

  1. There is a specific outcome – increase retention numbers by 20% over last year
  2. There is a specific measurement – the number increase and what you’re comparing it too
  3. There is a specific time – within six months

The precise nature of the goal allows you when sitting down to create your action plan to have an endgame. Since we now have a clear goal in site – “increase my personal client retention numbers by 20% over last year within six months” now we can work back. What does this massage therapist need to do to get there? That’s where we create an Actionable Plan, but first, we look at how to measure success.

Measurable Numbers

Having a specific goal is the first step for a successful spa business, but it also needs to be a measurable goal. Measurable goals allow you to have guideposts towards success, and it forces you to take the necessary steps to get to what you want from your day spa business.

Let’s look back at our goal: “Increase my personal client retention numbers by 20% over last year within six months.” We know the goal is accurate but how to we measure it? Obviously, we’ll know at the end of six months if we achieved the goal, but waiting until the end of the six months is too long to check in.

Measurable means that we need to take steps to get there – and these will be the guideposts that allow us to change course if we need to.

For the massage therapist that wants to increase her retention numbers, she needs to do the following:

Take a look at the previous year’s numbers to determine the retention percentage.

  • In our example, our massage therapist averaged about 25 appointments each week the previous year.
  • By year’s end, 15 of these appointments are standing, recurring appointments with retained clients.
  • The other 10 are a mix of walk-ins, gift certificate redeemers, and special occasion clients.
  • If she wants to increase her client retention to 20% over last year, then she needs to convince 3 of those ten each week to become a regular client.

See how every step can be measured and marked – this massage therapist can track the effectiveness of her plan directly and adjust how they get there. Measurable goals give us a guide to success.

Actionable Goal Setting

S.M.A.R.T goals typically means the following

  • S – specific
  • M – measurable
  • A – achievable
  • R – realistic
  • T – timely

But I don’t agree with having achievable as one of the big criteria because all goals are achievable with the right steps. And while having achievable goals are important the R – realistic takes care the achievable part because all realistic goals are achievable.

So instead my A is actionable – because you MUST take action on your goals otherwise what the point is?

When I was a child, I loved playing Barbies and spent hours setting up the town in which my Barbies lived. I spent so much time building the town that I never really got to play Barbies. The same thing happens to business owners.  We spend so much time planning that we never actually execute the plan.

This is why actionable needs to be in your vocabulary. Otherwise, the goals are just words on paper.

Here is how you take action on the goals

Using our example of increasing client retention we now have a specific, measurable goal – we know the numbers we need to keep so now we need to focus on how we get there. A good action plan is required to create the results we desire.

Think about client retention; there are several things we can do to increase that number. Here are some examples:

  • Create prepaid packages
  • Give a discount for prebooking appointments
  • Do confirmation calls
  • Give the client a reason to return – lay out a treatment plan

Create a chart to map out these ideas but tracking the goals ensures you remain actionable and measurable.

SMART goals

Keep the goals reasonable

Too often when looking at long-term goals, we can set out sites too high. It’s like going to an all-you-can-eat buffet. Often our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. Don’t let your goals be this way either.

Realistic means that these are goals you can achieve. For example, if you’re a single massage therapist 20% increase in retention is going to look very different from a woman who owns a 4,000 square foot day spa. You can’t compare numbers with her. Instead, make the goals reasonable for the things you can accomplish.

Realistic goals can sometimes feel like an oxymoron. To take the risk to become a business owner one has to have some big dreams – and practically doesn’t usually fit into that mold. But, being realistic doesn’t mean you can’t dream big – it just means you need to focus on what you can realistically accomplish right now to get to your larger goals.

When looking at your goals, you need, to be honest with yourself and with every step along the way – can you realistically do the things necessary to accomplish the target?

Let’s look at our on-going example. The massage therapist that wants to increase their client retention by 20% in six months. This is a realistic goal only if have the room in your appointment schedule to add three more recurring appointments. To really determine this you have to understand:

  1. Understanding your strengths
  2. Understanding your weaknesses

Knowing your strengths means you’re going to align your goals and actions to your strengths. And when you know your weaknesses you can drop those activities that don’t bring you business, or if they are necessary, you can hire out the jobs.

Realistic means knowing what you can do. Once you know this, you will be able to make smarter decisions about your time and money – both of which are incredibly important.

To maintain higher client retention you might need to have more social media posts, more emails sent out, or do confirmation calls. But if you’re the person doing the massaging you might not have time to do this. Hiring an assistant to help with this might not seem realistic in your fiscal budget, but if it can increase your bottom line, it might be worth the expense.

The only way to determine these things is to set a goal and then map out all the things you need to make it happen. This step is important to determine if your goal is reasonable or if you need to readjust.

Time Needs to Be On Your Side

Now that we’ve discovered the practical nature of our goals, it’s finally time to determine a timeline.

In our example of 20% increase in client retention, we decided that in six months is our goal target. This means that we need three clients to become regular clients – coming in three times to call them retained clients. Six months gives us time to do this.

When looking at time frames, you need to have something that has enough time to succeed but still provides you with a deadline that will force you to take action. If this were 20% over five years, it wouldn’t be an everyday focus. By giving a tight deadline to yourself, you’re giving yourself a wonderful gift – pressure.

Pressure isn’t necessarily a bad thing when it is pushing us towards success. It allows us to move the needle in our business so we can push forward.

We would love to know your SMART goals for your spa business for 2017. If we can help in any way we would love to – just email us at

Want to start achieving your SMART Goals? Download our free SMART Goals worksheet today!

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