Keeping it interesting

I’m in the shop as I write. I’m sitting at the front desk looking out the front window as the world passes by. People go by, shoppers out to get their weekly groceries, or couples looking to sit themselves in a cafe somewhere, or else people – women mainly – on their way back from gym or yoga, all of them in their lycra. So much lycra these days.

Traffic passes by, pausing every so often as it backs up, the lights red. Few are stopping in here today.

It’s a pensive looking day. The sun is away. It’s not cold, but it’s cool. Every so often there are a sprinkling of cursory raindrops. Footy season has begun, and there’s something of footy weather outside.

I’m pensive too. I’m thinking hard about the shop, but also other things. Footy season indicates a drop off in weekend business. Cooler weather means people aren’t out as much. We have to find new ways to get them in.

I doubt you understand how much creativity goes into running a shop like this. You can’t let it go and hope they come. You have to keep at it, keep it fresh, new, make it interesting this week and next and so on. You have to catch their eye, make them stop, give them pause to consider. We have constant promotions, whether they be small, daily specials, or more substantial, lengthy promotions; and we’re always looking at ways to change things up to keep them interesting.

We did some for Valentines day, for example. That worked well – a couples massage and we’ll throw in the bubbles. Or we’ll highlight four hand massages. We have specials for locals, or flash specials when for the next two hours 20% comes off the price. We promote these in the window, or the little blackboard we put out on the street, or on Facebook.

I’m always trying to get the girls to use their initiative, but it doesn’t seem to come naturally to them. I must do about 80% of it.

The week after next we’re embarking on what is potentially a risky promo, but a promo that may pay off big time. We’re dropping out prices for a fortnight to a dollar a minute of massage. That reduces my margin quite substantially, but hopefully that’s offset by drawing in more customers, and ultimately new clientele. That’s the main thrust of it – get new people in who can then enjoy an authentic, quality Thai massage and will look to come back.

I’ve designed and am getting flyers to be distributed in the neighbourhood, and a poster for the window.

Since parting ways with Mr Lee I’ve been gratified at the resilience of the business. Up to yesterday they were the best 2 weeks since I’ve been here (discounting Mr Lee’s tenure). The problem is that you can never rest on your laurels. Every week you have to do it again. And coming in the slow season, need to do it twice as well.

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