Bonnie Annis and Will Roderick of L’Moor

We spoke to Bonnie and Will about the L.E.A.D. Spa and Wellness Conference, and why they are hosting it for the second consecutive year.

Q. Bonnie, you already offer training of all kinds through L’Moor. Why did you decide to also create the L.E.A.D. conference?

A. For over 11 years, L’Moor has been so fortunate to get to know hundreds if not thousands of spa and wellness professionals from across Canada. These are kind, committed and talented people with dreams and families, who deserve to earn a decent living. And we are passionate about helping them achieve success! Sadly, however what we’re also seeing is a lot of struggling businesses—a lot. In fact, 90% of businesses in this industry fail within the first 12 months! That means only 10% of spa and wellness businesses make it to their first anniversary. What does this mean? Schools are doing a great job teaching the hands-on skills, but the industry also needs to have real education—and not just in the esthetics department. We created L.E.A.D. to move beyond that, and significantly improve the chances of success. It doesn’t matter whether you work for yourself or for someone else: this conference is about giving you the knowledge and tools to be your OWN leader, wherever you are in the industry.

Q. Will, you’ve been in the industry for more than two decades. What do you believe is the number-one key to success for spa and wellness businesses?

A. Failure in this industry is not because these professionals are unskilled; often, it’s because they don’t understand how to effectively operate their own businesses. And because of that, they tend to do things that put them at risk of going out of business.

Q. What kind of risky things do you see spa and wellness businesses doing?

A. There are many, but I’ll share a couple. Many businesses today don’t know if they’re making a profit on their products or services. They’re focusing more on the sale of services and products, but not on the actual cost to their business. For example, they need to know exactly how much it costs to provide a facial—not just the product costs but the staff, the rent, the hydro and so on. I also see professionals investing in things they can’t afford—like skills training for a fad service—even when they’re having troubles with the business, like retaining staff. Or I see them putting their hard-earned dollars toward promotional strategies, like Groupon, that offer a low return on investment. These things are so frustrating to see—because we really want these wonderful people to succeed! That’s a big reason why we decided to create L.E.A.D.

Q. But shouldn’t spa and wellness professionals be taking classes to learn new skills?

A. Skills training is definitely important, but that’s not going to get you the clients. Many professionals today think that if they learn “one more technique,” they’re going to be a success. But success in this industry really is about knowing how to run your business effectively, understanding how it all works, and making smart business decisions.

Q. Does that rationale go for home-based businesses too?

A. Absolutely! It doesn’t matter if you see your home-based business as more of a hobby, or a part-time job The fact is, it’s a business—and if you want to see it grow and be successful, you need to know these things.

Q. So what can attendees expect to learn at this year’s L.E.A.D. Conference?

A. We’re helping participants get clarity on all the inner workings of their business. We’re going to tackle one important issue at a time—the finances and money, the HR, the branding & marketing, etc.—and break it all down into manageable chunks. We’ve got a roster of amazing speakers with lots of valuable tips for boosting your business. Ultimately, attendees will walk away chock-full of insights on things they can do better, to be stronger and more profitable in their businesses.

Q. What else would you like attendees to know about this year’s L.E.A.D. conference?

A. Unlike many industry-focused events, this isn’t a thinly-veiled sales pitch. In fact, in our business, we’re often put in the weird position of telling clients not to buy so many of our products. We would sooner see them save a little cash to leave themselves enough runway to build their business, then order more products and equipment NEXT month..