As a small business owner, one thing that genuinely brings me great joy is the successes of other small businesses, especially ones owned my fellow moms! When you are balancing a family and paying the bills with nurturing your business, it can be a struggle. Can you imagine also throwing in the added challenges that come with doing that in a new country?
In August I had the pleasure of introducing you to Sweta, the owner of Sway Spa here in Boston. Her story, if you haven’t read it, is incredibly inspiring. Sweta had many roadblocks along her journey of fulfilling her dream of opening a spa. First it was waiting from the U.S. government to get permission to work here. After that, there were building and permitting issues, challenges finding and retaining skilled staff, and getting customers in the door. Despite these setbacks, with a ton of hard work — and some tears she has truly succeeded. On Sunday Sweta is celebrating the one-year anniversary of Sway Spa opening, and in honor of this celebration she’s here today sharing what she has learned during this time.
As a small business owner, what did you learn in the first year of your business?
There is no shortcut to success and no one beats time. No matter how good you are, it takes time to build up a client (at least in this business). We were very disappointed during the first few months as our clients would rave about our services to their friends, on Yelp and other social media but we had very few clients coming in. We had very aggressive referral program as we knew the clients were happy, but it took us close to 8 months to get 3 referrals from a single client. We realized, word of mouth takes time, it is slow process but if you are consistent, honest and passionate about your work, you will succeed.
We see you have so many amazing 5 star reviews on Yelp, FB and Google+. What are you doing differently that other places?
Honestly speaking, not sure but on second thought, I think it is honesty. We never try selling services or products to clients, we only recommend what is right for them. We have asked so many clients to skip the gel as their nails needed time to breathe. We have told so many brows and brazilian wax clients to come back later as they weren’t ready instead of trying to make money. The other thing I can think of is customer service. I remember a few months back, there were 2 visitors who came in from Mexico and had to go to an event and Giacomo and Rondi salon was closed and Zen hair salon was busy. We actually washed their hair in our sink (we don’t do hair) free of cost so that they could attend the event.
Tell us what has changed in one year?
Oh gosh! We have evolved, we have learnt and of course we grew. From the time when we used to wait for just one client to show up to now when we have to say sorry to clients as we can’t accommodate them, it has been a big roller coaster. We had a very rough winter right after our launch but things really started to come together a few months back.
What triggered that change?
I believe it was Yelp. As people started writing about their experience, we started getting more and more calls.
How do you feel when you see so many great reviews?
Oh it’s absolutely amazing, satisfying and proud feeling. I still remember our first Yelp review. Nothing has changed since then, we still say “Yes!” with every positive review and then we applaud the technician who got the rating. It definitely motivates us to keep doing it better day by day
What’s your goal?
Well, it will be great to get Best of Boston award.
What advice would you offer for other small business owners?
Hard work, customer service and patience are the keys to success. You loose one and you loose success at least that’s how it worked for us.
If you are in Boston this weekend, be sure to stop by Sway Spa, located across the street from the Kenmore Square T stop, for their one-year anniversary celebration, including $30 off massage and facials and complimentary 10-minute chair massages.
Sway Spa is also giving away a $25 gift certificate to be used toward an Aveda facial or Aveda massage to one lucky. I can tell you from personal experience that they are fantastic — I left both feeling utterly relaxed and rejuvenated!
To enter in the giveaway you must be 18 years or older and live in the U.S. By entering into the giveaway you are also agreeing to be added to the Linkouture and Sway Spa newsletters. You can always unsubscribe later.
I received free services from Sway Spa in exchange for this post. All opinions are 100% my own.
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