"If You're Dreams Don't Scare You, They're Not Big Enough"

Five Island Spa Company, Inc.
Emmetsburg, IA
Five Island Spa Company is a growing massage therapy, aesthetics and aromatherapy based practice looking to hire and expand. My goal as owner is simple: supply my practitioners with all of the resources they need to be successful, and to inspire others along the way.
Five Island Spa Company is successful because our business model addresses two major obstacles faced by the massage therapy profession in rural areas, each of which I encountered personally in the nearly five years I worked building the practice as a sole proprietor. We are the only multi-therapist practice in a thirty mile radius, and the only practice to focus solely on bodywork and skincare in the region.

The first obstacle is the perception that a good massage therapist is hard to find and nearly impossible to get an appointment with. Massage therapists are often hidden in the back of chiropractic clinics, salons and business offices; further complicating scheduling is the fact that many sole practitioners are in session most of the work day and unable to take calls and inquiries. Many seasoned therapists are booked out for weeks.

Five Island Spa Company first addresses this obstacle with accessibility. We have multiple therapists available so that clients don't have to wait weeks for an appointment. We employee two receptionists so that phone calls are answered promptly. In addition, we utilize online scheduling to ensure that appointments can be made at any hour of the day.

Secondly, we address this obstacle with professionalism. There are no unknowns or concerns when making a new appointment with our massage therapists. Our clients know that our therapists are educated, trained and trustworthy. For this reason, we receive many referrals not just from clients, but from the local chiropractors and physicians who know and trust in our work.

The second major obstacle faced by our profession is from a practitioner stand point. Despite having two massage therapy courses at Iowa Lakes Community College, there is an overriding mentality that it is hard to become a successful massage therapist. The start up costs and overhead expenses, combined with the time it takes to build up a clientele often deter many new graduates from taking the leap into practitioner.

Five Island Spa Co takes allows new graduates to jump right into the profession and focus on building their clientele and expanding knowledge and skills while the business and management issues are initially taken care of by ownership. "Initially" because it is my personal goal that each practitioner we bring on has the opportunity to learn the business side of the industry as well as hone their hands on skills.

Overcoming these obstacles has allowed Five Island Spa Company to expand from a single massage therapist to include four licensed practitioners and two receptionists in the past eighteen months. Our service list has grown from simply massage to include facials, waxing, Thai Yoga and Aromatherapy. Our gross sales increased by over 250% from 2014 to 2015 and we are aiming to increase another 100% by the end of 2016.

To accomplish these goals we are working closely with Katy Thomsen, a business consultant specializing in marketing and corporate training. We have a thorough marketing campaign planned for the year. Each quarter, we will do a direct mailing to each of the surrounding areas, north, south, east and west, to attract new clients. Each mailing will be tracked through our POS system so that we will be able to further narrow our target market in the future.

In addition, monthly specials will be advertised in the county newspapers and press releases focused on the impact our practice is making are scheduled to go to surrounding areas. We are also focusing in on Facebook and social media advertising, including targeted marketing using newsletters directed at our current clients.

From a management perspective, I am dedicating this first quarter to building and writing a comprehensive employee guidebook including roles and processes for each position. This may seem like a small step for many companies, but after five years as a sole practitioner, I feel that by putting the policies that contributed to our success in writing is the most important step I can take to ensure my employees are set for growth.

Secondly, I am transitioning to a part time practitioner role so that I can spend more time planning the growth of our company, as well as be more available to my employees. We have bi weekly one on one sessions set up for each practitioner as well as monthly team meetings to encourage open lines of communication, and analyze potential areas of growth and training.

Our 2016 gross sales goal is $200,000 with a profit margin of 25-30%. By the end of this year, we want to be in a larger office space to accommodate the growing clientele and staffing needs. We plan on hiring at least one more part time therapist beginning in June 2016 and are actively recruiting for that position. By the end of 2016, I hope to have solidified the roles and responsibilities of a full time office manager position and will be taking applications for that role.

By 2018, my goal is to have transitioned completely to an ownership role, leaving a fully staffed and well functioning business in the hands of our well trained, knowledgeable and competent employees. It is at this point that I dream of turning my attention to the second part of my goal, inspiring others to dream big and grow here through classes and consulting focused on small business and individual professional development.

At Five Island Spa Company, we know exactly who we are and where we are going, and we greatly appreciate your time and consideration in helping us get there!
Five Island Spa Company currently resides in a downtown location with three treatment rooms that are shared among our four practitioners. As we look towards the future, expanding our services, clientele and hiring more staff, we will need a larger space. Should we win the Dream Big, Grow Here prize money, all proceeds will go towards securing and renovating a larger location, preferably remaining in downtown Emmetsburg.

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