The usual crises

Been a while since I last wrote I think. Been busy in the time since with a bunch of things – a weeks worth of training in the city, managing my latest health thingy, and, of course, dealing with the latest crisis at the shop.

The most frustrating of these was clearly the shop. A combination of factors means that for the last 10 days we’ve been running on a skeleton, and one day even weren’t able to open at all. I’m coming to realise that you can’t really get too comfortable with how things are travelling. You’re paddling along happily thinking how’s good this when the ominous music from Jaws starts up in the background and you think oh fuck, just before he puts the bite on you.

In this case everything was happy and good. Had a stable staff and the money was coming in nicely in big gobbets. Had a slight hiccup when the American receptionist did the typical gen Y thing sending me a text message 10 minutes after she was due to have started work (and letting the staff in) saying (and I quote): “Hi Peter. I quit.” As you can appreciate I was not best pleased at that, particularly as I had to then speed across Melbourne, unlock the place, and stand in as receptionist.

That was nuisance, but not disastrous. Her actions confirmed what I had already figured, that I couldn’t trust her completely. I wanted to move her on, just not in these circumstances. It was done though, and we carried on. In fact it was good – we had a lively photo shoot at the shop, everyone was happy, we were busy. Then the Jaws music started.

It was kind of innocuous at first. My main masseuse, the girl who worked the most hours, had to go off to complete some activity as part of her visa (she’s Italian) – working on a farm, somewhere in Queensland. She’ll be back in a month she reckons – she loves the place – but in the meantime she left a big hole.

Then two of my part-time masseuse decided to leave within a day of each other. Suddenly I’m down a lot of hours with no back-up. We arrange replacements, but for whatever reason they come, and then they go. While all of this is happening one of my receptionists – and remember I’m now down to two – has to rush off to Thailand to visit a dying relative.

To top all of this off the bad cold that everyone (but me) has been catching in Melbourne strikes at the shop. No surprises there, I guess.

What does this culminate in? Saturday is our best and busiest day of the week. Last Saturday week I couldn’t open because I had no-one to work. You reckon that broke my heart? It’s not just the money I didn’t make, just at a time I needed to make it, but the really bad message that sends to the market. Couldn’t be helped though.

Last week we were open every day, but there was only a few hours when I had two staff working. The rest of the time it was one only, tag teaming it as it where staying home sick. I made money, but probably less than 50% of the usual. All throughout me, and particularly Lisa, the manager, are scrambling to make things right. That means finding stand-in staff, and hopefully recruiting more permanent staff.

As I write this things are improving, though I have only one girl rostered for tomorrow, and no-one on reception. I think I have two masseuse lined up to start later this week – one of them excellent; and I interviewed a remedial masseur yesterday who has the qualifications necessary to offer rebates on health insurance. That’s potentially a game changer.

I remain very confident that this can be a very profitable venture, but understand how precarious it can be. I’ve got the grey hairs to prove it.

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