You want to start your own day spa.

Maybe becoming an entrepreneur has always been a dream of yours, or maybe you’ve just recently realized that you can be your own boss.

And it’s so exciting, to plan and dream and know that you can be in charge of your own future.

But then…

You remember that you need a business plan. And the thought of a business plan has you intimidated. After all, you didn’t go to business school! You just want to open your spa and serve your clients.

Don’t worry, though. I have some good news:

The long, painful, 60-page business plans are a relic of the past, especially for service based small business owners.

Here are the elements of a simple, 1-5 page business plan that won’t leave your head ready to explode.

Who You’re Serving

Many old-school business plans encourage the owners to think about the business’ mission and vision first.

Mission and vision statements are meant to communicate the purpose of the business. These two elements provide some guiding principles to help the business owner make sound decisions about their business.

However, in a simple business plan, it’s best to stick with the most basic and powerful question:

Who are you serving?

Answer this question and be explicit in exactly who your business is meant to help. What do they have in common? What are their demographics and psychographics? What do they struggle with?

These people make up your “target market.”

Example: My target market is young professionals who are getting married and are between the ages of 25-35, live in Minneapolis, MN and appreciate luxury and convenience.

What Problem You’re Solving For Your Target Market

As we’ve mentioned before, every business needs to solve a problem. It’s best to define your target market before you define the exact problem you’re solving for them with your day spa, because once you’re crystal clear on your target market, you can find out exactly what problems they’re struggling with.

So start digging. What problem does your target market specifically experience?

Example: My target market struggles with finding a central day spa for themselves and the bridal party to relax before the big day that can accommodate the entire party at the same time and has a full-service menu.

How You’re Serving Them

How are you solving the problem you nailed down in the above portion of the business plan?

Example: I will solve my target market’s problem by offering a full menu of services including group pedicures, massages, and manicures. My day spa will have a lounge area for the bridal party to relax before their treatments that can be privately booked.

Where You’ll Find Them

After you’ve defined exactly who you’re serving, or who your target market is with your business, you need to determine how or where you’ll find your target market.

You need to get your business in front of your target market – those people that experience the same set of problems that you’re solving for them – so that you can provide them with the solution you’re offering.

Will you find them through social media? Or will you focus most of your efforts on print advertising?

It’s important to consider where your target market is – if they spend time on social media it might be a great avenue for you. But if they spend more time reading magazines, then social media won’t serve you as well.

Example: My target market spends a lot of time on Pinterest and Facebook, so I will find them there by posting Facebook advertisements and creating pinnable content. My target market also visits wedding shows in Minneapolis, so I will find them at wedding shows where I will set up a booth with sample chair massages.

What Equipment You’ll Need

If you’re opening a day spa, you’ll need some equipment.

One section of your business plan needs to list out all of the equipment you foresee requiring to open and run your day spa within the first 1-3 years.

Example: 3 hair dryers, 6 pedicure chairs, 4 UV manicure lights, 6 salon chairs…. etc.

Your Costs and Expenses

Startup businesses like day spas require some money to get them up and running, and also to keep them going.

So an important piece of the business plan puzzle is considering this. In this section, list out your costs and expenses that you’ll incur over the first year of business.

Consider:

  • Startup costs (equipment, tools, deposits)
  • Ongoing expenses (utilities, rent, supplies)
  • Salaries (your own, your staff)

Make sure to list out as many expenses as you can think of. It’s important to get an accurate picture of just how much money your day spa will need to earn to stay afloat and be successful.

It may be a good idea to do this in a spreadsheet so it can total the amount up for you, even if you make changes to it.

Your Revenue Requirements

Now that you have an accurate picture of how much your business will cost to start and run, you can make an educated assessment of how much revenue your business needs to generate.

How much would you need to earn to account for the expenses, salaries, and taxes you’ll be incurring with your business?

Example: Let’s say your day spa will cost $13,000/month to run, and you’ll have a $30,000 loan to purchase the equipment paid back over a period of 3 years (or $833.33/month).

That means that at a bare minimum, you’ll need to earn almost $14,000/month to stay afloat.

If you estimate the average treatment with a client to cost $250, to cover your expenses you only need to serve 56 clients per month – or just under 2 clients per day.

Who is Involved

Will you be a sole proprietor, or will you have partners in your business?

Be sure to consider who will be involved, and exactly what type of involvement they will have. Are they silent partners who have invested in your business and get a portion back? Are they equal decision makers? How will the revenue be split? What will the duties and responsibilities be for each of you?

How You’ll Know You’re Successful

Traditional business plans have pages and pages of financial forecasting. They answer questions like how much revenue the business owner estimates they’ll be able to generate in their first year, and try to accurately predict the profits (or losses) that will be incurred by the business over a period of time.

This is just fancy guesswork, however, because business plans are typically assembled before the business has even opened its doors for customers and clients. In reality, they are attempting to make a plan of which the success depends on external factors. So it’s all just a dream.

Instead of spending hours (or days!) obsessing about something you can’t really control, set a benchmark of how you know your business will be successful in the first year, second year, and third year.

Remember that your first year in business may not be uber-profitable, so don’t set your sights too high. Just answer the question:

What will prove to me that my business is a success and that I should keep going on this track?

Be Sure to Plan…

But don’t spend restless nights worrying over having to create the perfect 60-page business plan, which will inevitably be shoved into a drawer or file folder somewhere, never to be looked at again.

You don’t need a long, cumbersome business plan to start your business. You just need to consider some important questions to be off to the races.