Do you love your work environment? Is it lifting you up or dragging you down?
Our environment shapes the way we think, believe, and behave. A toxic work setting not only affects our health and well-being but also has an impact on the number of clients and amount of income we create.
If you’re having the following challenges, like some estheticians or clients I’ve talked to, it’s time to take action and make some changes:
- You’re renting a space in a solo suite or office building and have no one to talk to. You’re feeling isolated and lonely;
- You’re renting within another business (e.g., a salon), which has a toxic environment. Maybe the owner is disengaged from the operation and has no desire to promote the business, or maybe your co-renters are not in the best of terms.
- You feel stifled and disconnected from others at your spa practice. You’ve lost your passion for the trade, and start to watch the clock as your workday begins.
If that sounds like you, then it’s time to take serious action to either remedy the situation or consider relocating your business.
I’m not saying you have to pack your bags today, so hold on! You want to first to assess the situation and determine a course of action.
In this two-part series, we’ll first look at how to create a supportive work environment by cultivating relationships with those around you.
In the second part, we’ll “get real” on when you need to pull the plug and leave your current space, and how to make the transition as smooth and seamless as possible.
Create a Supportive Work Environment
Your work environment is more that the interior design, cleanliness, and ambiance.
It also includes everyone around you – whether they’re directly working with your clients, or are sharing the space with you.
When you put yourself in a supportive environment, you can increase your contact with potential partners and clients, which will ultimately get you more clients.If you want your customers to feel good in your space, you should too. Click To Tweet
Clients visit a spa or an esthetician to feel good. If the spa owner or co-renters within a solo space are at odds with each other, stressed out or exhibiting toxic emotions or behaviors, your clients will sense the tension and are less likely to return.
Just like you, many of your “neighbors” are solo practitioners. They may feel isolated and become withdrawn.
Their “less than social” behaviors have nothing to do with you. In fact, you’re in the position to take constructive actions to build relationships and create a win-win situation for all.
Here are my three time-tested relationship-building strategies, which I used over the 27 years in business to forge fruitful and profitable relationships with my neighbors and co-renters:
Be a Good Neighbor
To build a strong network, you don’t have to endure sleazy networking events during which everyone’s only objective is to hand out as many business cards as possible.
In fact, taking to time to know your “neighbors” and co-renter will probably yield better results than schmoozing with random people.
Make a point of introducing yourself to everyone in your solo space, spa, or building. Visit surrounding businesses and chat up the managers or owners.
Bring a basket of muffins and a cup of coffee. Nothing breaks the ice like a little nibble and a friendly chat.
Focus the conversation on learning about what they do instead of talking about yourself. Show genuine interest not only in their businesses but also who they are outside of work.
You can build rapport much easier and faster if you can find common ground that ties you together.
Even though you should keep an eye out for potential collaborative or referral relationships, you also want to make sure the conversation evolves organically. It’s a little awkward to ask someone to marry you on the first date, isn’t it?
You can make this relationship-building activity part of your marketing plan. At the beginning, you can put in more intense effort to get to know everyone around you.
Then you can make notes on relationships that you want to focus on cultivating, vs. those you just want to “stay in touch.”
Maybe you want to connect with potential collaboration or referral partners more often – e.g. swing by every month or two for a cup of coffee, and contact those you just want to “keep in touch” less frequently – e.g. every three or four months to stay on their radar.
Block out time for networking on your calendar and make an effort to stay on good terms with your neighbors and co-renters.
People lead to people. Even though there’s no immediate opportunity presented in a relationship, it often pays off to keep the communication alive.People lead to people. It often pays off to keep the communication alive. Click To Tweet
Make Yourself the Social Hub
Take your networking effort up a notch and become the “hub” by gathering your neighbors and co-renters for a happy hour or coffee break.
I was very lucky to have a cute little wine bar very close to my spa. I sent out invites to surrounding business owners to gather and strengthen relationships.
You’ll be seen as the heart of the social network and a leader in your space. By connecting people to each other, you’re also raising your profile and will be top of mind when they’re looking to refer their clients or considering a collaborative relationship.
People like doing business with people they know, like, and trust. Often you just need to take the time to interact with others so they get to know you as a person.
Look For Cross-Marketing Opportunities
When you get to know your neighbors and co-renters, you’ll start to identify folks you’d like to build deeper relationships with and even start exploring cross-marketing opportunities.
I used to bring baked goods and spa gift cards to all neighboring businesses. They were well-received and I developed plenty of opportunities to cross-market.
I built beautiful friendships with a florist, a fitness center, and a high-end restaurant.
I co-hosted events at the fitness center to build client lists. We had a brow shaping station set up to so I could meet new clients.
The florist and I created value-add offering to complement each other’s services during different seasons. Wedding season was a great time of the year to combine a small gift card from our spa with flower purchase. In turn, we offered a coupon for flowers when a bride came in our spa for treatments.
Look for partners who share a similar clientele as you do, but not a direct competitor. Your products and services should complement each other, and add value to your offerings.
Sometimes the connection is pretty obvious. Other times, you need to be creative.
For instance, esthetician and florist may not have much in common at first glance. However, if you look at a specific subset of customers (brides) then the link becomes pretty clear that you share a clientele that, at a specific stage in their lives, can benefit from both services.
Be generous when you cultivate relationships with your network and partners. Reciprocity is a very powerful persuasive strategy, or as I like to say, “giving starts the receiving process.”Reciprocity is a very powerful persuasive strategy. Click To Tweet
In our next installment, we’ll see when you need to pull the plug and leave your current space, and how to make the transition as smooth and seamless as possible.
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