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按摩店女老板的生意经:要有活力

Dinah Eng 2018年09月15日

埃文斯如何将她的按摩店做到了营收上亿美元的规模。

图片:Benjamin Rasmussen

沙恩·埃文斯后背受过伤,经常按摩有利于康复,但问题是,她付不起按摩的费用。难过之余,埃文斯也由此获得启发。她和丈夫韦恩取出投资和积蓄,开了一家名叫“按摩高峰”的会员制按摩公司,提供物美价廉的按摩服务。如今公司在美国和加拿大有147家品牌加盟店,2017年营业收入达到1.1亿美元。

一直以来,我对健康和健身领域很感兴趣,我出生在一个创业氛围浓厚的家庭,在圣安东尼奥长大,从小到大目睹过父母在那里经营各种生意。高中毕业后,父亲对我说:“你要么上大学要么找工作,我们没有钱供你上大学。”于是,我在报纸上找机会,在总裁健康俱乐部找到了工作。

上世纪80年代末到90年代初,健身房生意火爆。我晋升很快,也掌握了很多客服和管理的技巧。韦恩是我的同事,1994年时我们结婚了。

我21岁时,因下背部受伤疼痛难忍。后来我找到了一位按摩治疗师,他告诉疼痛的根本原因是肌肉。在此之前,我一直以为按摩的作用是放松身心,不知道还有治疗功效。按摩能带来奇迹,但治疗费用不菲,我没钱经常做按摩治疗。

2003年12月,为庆祝我的生日,丈夫在一家水疗中心给我安排了一次按摩,但体验并不好。失望之余,我不由得想到,要是有既平价又优质的按摩服务就好了。由于我们在健身房工作多年,很了解收入稳定的会员制经营模式。如果应用在按摩行业里,根本没有竞争对手。所以我们决定创业。

有人说,遇见真命天子的时候,感觉就像被巨石砸中。想到成立按摩高峰的时候,我就是这种感觉。四个月后,我们投资25万美元在得州圣安东尼奥市开了第一家店。

为此,我们取出了各自401(k)账户里的养老金,挪用了给孩子上大学准备的存款,还拿出了积蓄。为了降低成本,很多工作只能自己做。丈夫成了包工头,我们亲手给店里刷漆。

店里的家具是祖母留下来的。我们并没有为了图便宜买一大堆按摩用品,而是根据需要买必要的用品,因为实在没钱。我们小心控制各种花销,请不起人看孩子,也没有经济能力送孩子参加课外辅导活动,家人帮忙带孩子帮了很大忙。

我们犯过很多错。买过一些很便宜的钟,给每间按摩室都配了一块,来掌控时间。但是,客人在房间内听到钟走动的声音,影响人放松。我们还铺过地毯,可按摩用的精油会滴下渗入地毯,很难清理。我们设了五间按摩室,后来发现没有空间存放按摩用品、清洗毛巾等用品,按摩师等客人的时候连坐的地方都没有。洗浴室也比较简陋,做不到人人满意。但某种程度上说,第一家店还是成功了。九个月后,我们开了第二家。

开业第一年,公司营业收入36万美元。我们原本希望,以平民化的价格吸引希望身心放松的女顾客,却没有料到,背部疼痛、纤维肌痛等其他病症的男性和女性患者纷纷前来,想按摩理疗舒缓病痛。他们没有时间坐下来品茶,也没空在蒸汽房里洗桑拿,只想通过负担得起的消费,享受更多优质的按摩。

全城各处都有客人慕名而来,还主动询问我们计划今后在哪开新店。因此,我们开始授权得州的亲朋好友,让他们开设特许经营的公司加盟店。

2007年,我们请到一位有开授权加盟店经验的业内人士,开始向全国扩张。从小企业转型为特许经营授权商的过程中,遇到了形形色色的问题。

保持特许经营店品牌一致是关键。起初,一批加盟店请人建了自己的网站。我应该立刻让他们关闭网站,但又觉得也许有机会利用加盟店网站为自己的网站导入流量。等到发现无助于导流时,公司已经蒙受很大损失。其实我应该采取更直接的手段管理品牌,当初只想着维护好跟加盟店的关系,结果品牌形象出现割裂。

2008年,我们开了一家供应链企业,给特许经营店提供全套解决方案,降低开店难度。新店开张48小时内,我们会派一辆卡车过去,车上满载家具、润肤液、工作服等足够经营数日的物品。那一年,公司的盈利首次达到100万美元。

当时我亲自料理各类事务,帮助制定培训计划,为支持新的加盟店去现场工作、挑选产品、领导市场推广活动,还处理法律问题等等。

尽管如此,我还是难以掌控加盟店的具体经营。去年,美国田纳西州查塔努加市的一家加盟店意外关门,我们向该店突然失业的员工伸出援手。该店附近的另一家加盟店愿意聘请他们,我们家族的非营利组织无偿提供每位失业员工500美元,协助他们渡过难关。

事业成功后,开始有人向我们咨询怎样经营品牌加盟业务。我的兄弟,也是合伙人格伦•弗兰森向The Gents Place的创始人提供建议。The Gents Place是一家为上流男士美容服务的会员制俱乐部。2016年,我们同意合作,帮助他们成立品牌连锁公司。

后来我们创立了新公司Elevated Brands,希望在一段时间内经营三到五个像The Gents Place一样的品牌,在健康、健身和美容领域提供品牌授权。

对家族企业而言,平衡工作与生活是个难题。身为公司总裁,我回家之后不能和丈夫谈工作。现在,公司的战略决策由董事会来做,并非我一言堂,这样更容易确保只在办公室讨论工作。

我创立的公司秉持关爱他人的文化,代表了家庭的价值观,我感到很骄傲。特别令我自豪的是能以此告诉女儿们,只要拥有梦想、热情、勤奋,再做好周密计划,就可以实现人生的目标。

最佳建议:企业领导者要健身养心、保持活力

按摩高峰联合创始人兼总裁沙恩·埃文斯

年龄:48岁

来自:圣安东尼奥

每天开始工作前,先冥想十分钟。

可以利用这段时间回顾反省,为工作做准备。

工作间隙做高强度健身训练。

工作间隙可以健身30分钟,包括力量训练和有氧运动。运动可以产生更多能带来愉悦感的内啡肽,让你精神焕发,头脑清醒。

接受按摩。

按摩能帮助你放松身心,放慢心跳,有助于减压。

本文发表于2018年9月1日出版的《财富》,原文标题为《金手指》。(财富中文网)

译者:Ty

Shane Evans had a back injury that was helped by frequent massages. Problem was, she couldn’t always afford to pay spa prices. Frustrated, and inspired, she and her husband, Wayne, cashed in their investments and savings to start Massage Heights, a massage membership business that offers an upscale environment at affordable prices. Today the company has 147 franchisees in the U.S. and Canada and generated revenues of $110 million in 2017.

I WAS ALWAYS INTERESTED in health and wellness and was born into an entrepreneurial family: My parents owned different businesses where I grew up, in San Antonio. After high school, my dad said, “You either need to go to college or get a job, and we don’t have the money to send you to college.” So I looked through the newspaper and found a job at a President’s Health Club.

The gym business was on fire in the late ’80s and early ’90s. I worked my way up the ranks, learning customer service and management skills. Wayne, my future husband, came to work there, and we were married in 1994.

When I was 21, I experienced a lower back injury and was in excruciating pain. Finally, I ended up going to a massage therapist who recognized the issue was muscular in nature. I’d always thought a massage was just a way to relax and didn’t know that it had real health benefits. The massages worked wonders, but treatments were expensive, and I couldn’t afford them often.

In December 2003, my husband arranged a massage at a spa for my birthday, and it wasn’t a good experience. I was so disappointed that it made me think, There’s got to be a way to offer great massage services at an affordable price. With our gym experience, we knew about membership-based, revenue-recurring models. There wasn’t any competition in the massage space, so we decided to start our own business.

Some people say that when they meet their significant other, it hits them like a ton of bricks. That’s how I felt getting the idea for Massage Heights. Four months later, we opened the first location, in San Antonio. It cost $250,000 to do it.

We cashed out our 401(k)s, our kids’ college fund, and our savings. We kept the cost down by doing a lot of our own work. My husband was the general contractor, and we painted it ourselves.

We used furniture I’d inherited from my grandmother. We didn’t buy in bulk, which would have saved money, but bought supplies as needed because we didn’t have the cash. We had to watch every expense. Family members were a big help with our kids, since we couldn’t afford sitters or send them to a lot of extracurricular activities.

We made a lot of mistakes. We bought cheap clocks to monitor the time in each treatment room, but you could hear them ticking, which didn’t make for a relaxing experience. We laid carpet down, but essential oils would drip and get into it. We had five treatment rooms and realized there was no room for supplies, laundry, or a place for therapists to sit while waiting for clients. One bathroom wasn’t enough for everyone. But somehow, it became a success. We opened the second location nine months later.

Our first year’s revenue was $360,000. We thought we’d get women coming in just for relaxation at an affordable price, but men and women came with back pain, fibromyalgia, and other medical ailments, looking for therapeutic relief. They didn’t have the time to sit and have tea or hang out in a steam room. They wanted a great massage more frequently at an affordable price.

Customers started coming from all over the city asking about our expansion plans, so we started franchising to friends and family in Texas.

In 2007 we found someone with franchising experience who helped us move forward nationally. Transitioning from being a smallbusiness owner to being a franchisor brought different problems.

Brand consistency is key, and early on, a group of franchisees hired someone to create their own websites. I should have shut that down quickly, but I thought we could leverage what they created to drive traffic to the site we managed. By the time I realized it wouldn’t work, it had cost us a lot of money. I should have been more direct. I wanted to protect the relationship, and instead, it caused a rift.

In 2008 we started a supply-chain business to provide a turnkey operation to our franchisees, making it easier for them to open. We have a truck that rolls in 48 hours after the floors go down, loaded with furniture, lotions, uniforms—everything needed to make a location operational over several days. That year, we made our first million in profit.

Back then, I had my hand in everything. I helped create training programs, worked in the field to support new franchisees, did product selection, headed marketing efforts, and dealt with legalities.

It can still be hard to control how our operators run their businesses. Last year a franchisee in Chattanooga shut its doors unexpectedly, and we offered to help the employees who were suddenly without jobs. Another franchisee nearby offered to hire people, and our family nonprofit gave each employee $500 to help mitigate the pain.

Because of our success, people started asking us for advice on how to franchise their brands. My brother, Glenn Franson, who’s a partner in our business, started talking with the founders of The Gents Place, a members-only club that offers upscale men’s grooming. We agreed to partner with them in 2016 to form a franchising company.

We then started Elevated Brands, with the hope of having three to five brands over time that we can partner with—like The Gents Place—to franchise in the health, wellness, and beauty space.

One thing that’s hard with a family-owned business is work/life balance. As president of the company, I need to be able to go home and not have a conversation about work with my husband. Strategy decisions are now made with the board, not just by me, which has made it easier to leave work discussions at the office.

I’m proud of building a company with a caring culture that represents our family values. I’m especially proud of showing our daughters that with a dream, passion, diligence, and a plan, you can do anything you want in life.

Best Advice: Leading With a Mind-Body-Spirit Connection

Shane Evans, CoFounder and President of Massage Heights

AGE: 48

FROM: San Antonio

START THE DAY WITH 10 MINUTES OF MEDITATION.

It gives you time to reflect and prepare for work.

DO HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING.

Short 30-minute workouts with weight training and cardio will raise your endorphins, give you energy, and clear your head.

GET A MASSAGE.

It helps you relax, slows down the heart rate, and helps you reduce stress.

A version of this article appears in the September 1, 2018 issue of Fortune with the headline “Golden Touch.”

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