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Customer Spotlight Small Business Owner Spa Industry Spa Management

Customer Spotlight: Laser Spa Group

Bozana Skojo was recently awarded the title of Software Savant in DaySmart’s 2021 Small Business Brilliance Awards. This recognition honors customers known for their resourcefulness, who leverage their dynamic DaySmart toolkit to continue driving business forward even amid challenging circumstances.

The owner of Laser Spa Group in Hamilton and Burlington, Ontario, Bozana is committed to providing her clients the highest quality of care. We recently spoke with her to learn more about how her software investments help her achieve this mission, especially amid the disruption of the pandemic.

Q: To start, we’d love to learn a little more about your business. What sets it apart from others?

A: When I opened Laser Spa Group 18 years ago, we were the first spa in our area to offer laser treatments. We’ve since performed over 75,000 treatments to date, on about 10,000 clients. Our staff of nine aesthetic professionals have a combined 150 years of experience, and we also offer professional development courses for aestheticians and nurses to enhance their careers.

Q: How long have you been using Orchid? What inspired you to start using the software?

A: I’ve been a loyal user for 11 years now! I was a one-person show when I first opened my business, so as I got busier, I needed help with managing client information and treatment packages. At the time, all I needed was a way to track their services and where they were at in their treatments, and a good scheduling calendar. As we expanded our staff though, we needed a digital platform that could grow with us.

Q: What has been your experience with the software?

A: Orchid offers us convenience. We can create notes on laser settings or treatment parameters in clients’ profiles, which the receptionists can use when they call in to book an appointment so there’s no guessing at which treatment was suggested for them or what it’ll cost. Once we launch our new website, we’ll add the online booking feature, which will alleviate congestion on the phone lines further. We can have up to 30 clients come through the clinics each day, so it’s important to have as many operations streamlined as possible so that we can function efficiently.

The email marketing features have been invaluable. It’s a great way to alert clients to flash sales and monthly promotions and to generate interest in products or services that they might have always wanted to try or that they didn’t even know we offered. We also use Orchid to track coupon activations, to monitor which offers are working best, and loyalty points. Our goal is to execute as much marketing interactions as we can with clients to encourage repeat business.

It’s also been great to have Orchid’s immediate support whenever a member of my staff needs help troubleshooting, especially for new hires who are learning the system. I’ve been contacted by other software companies over the years to try their products, but I’d never give up the capabilities Orchid offers. There are capabilities I don’t even realize I need as a business owner, and Orchid continues to grow and come up with new solutions. I wouldn’t have the business I have without Orchid.

Q: How has the pandemic impacted your business?

A: We were closed for six of the past 11 months, so we’ve had to reinvent how we generate income these days. Orchid’s remote access enabled us to work from home and book virtual appointments to secure revenue for the clinic. I couldn’t live without the remote access!

Q: How have you used Orchid over the past year to keep business moving amid disruption?

A: We used Orchid’s marketing features throughout the lockdown to email newsletters communicating the status of the clinics, updates to policies and procedures and information about monthly specials, as well as curbside pickup details for spa products. We also introduced virtual skin consultations during the shutdown, so we configured the appointment notification templates with information about the new service, like how to get themselves set up in the consultation system and pre- and post-care instructions. I think we’ll definitely keep the virtual consultations once business returns to normal, so that if a client can’t get to the clinic for whatever reason—say they have kids, or they don’t have a car—they will still have the option to keep their appointment.

To learn more about how Orchid Software can help with your business’ reopening—as well as other key tips for business owners during this time—visit our blog.

Categories
Customer Service Customer Spotlight Small Business Owner Spa Management

Customer Spotlight: Allure Skin and Laser

Allure Skin and Laser

As part of our commitment to supporting and educating entrepreneurs, we’re spotlighting Orchid customers impacted by the pandemic to learn more about how they’ve adapted their operations to overcome resulting business challenges. The passion and innovation of these customers have never been more pronounced than in their responses to the difficulties posed by the coronavirus outbreak, and we hope their stories serve as a guide for those navigating similarly difficult situations.

 

We recently spoke with Ann Ossanna, owner of Allure Skin and Laser in Queen Creek, AZ, to learn more about her experience running a medical spa during a pandemic, including how she’s using software to mitigate business disruption.

Q: To start, we’d love to learn a little more about your business.

A: We opened in 2008 as a medical practice and quickly expanded into an aesthetics one. What sets us apart from other spas is that we have an onsite, board-certified doctor available to answer staff and patient questions.

 

We specialize in anything skin related: injectables, Botox, Juvéderm, laser photo facials and hair removal, various chemical peels, antiaging rejuvenation and micro needling—we like to offer the newest technologies that are available. We also sell medical-grade skincare, including our own private label.

Q: How long have you been using Orchid? What’s been your experience with it?

A: We’ve been using Orchid since the beginning, when it was still on discs! Before that, we were using an EMR system, then paper charts. Now we’re using the online version of Orchid. We use the software for scheduling, check-in and checkout processes and to send text and email reminders.

 

We love having the Orchid app because it allows us to keep track of what’s going on at the spa even when we’re out of office. We can easily check inventory and schedules in real time. Especially during the pandemic, the app was helpful because it gave us remote access to the inventory so that we could pull together product for clients, and it allowed us to conduct virtual consultations.

Allure Skincare

Q: How has the pandemic impacted the way your med spa operates?

A: We were closed for service for about six weeks at the start, which was understandable because I didn’t think we were an essential business. Fortunately, we were able to keep our staff on payroll throughout the closure. During that time, we were offering curbside pickup for products.

 

We’re reopened now, limiting the number of patients in the space and staggering appointments. We try to keep the waiting room empty and get clients right into their treatment rooms. We’ve also decluttered the waiting area by eliminating items people could touch. Everyone wears masks at the spa, and we’re immediately disinfecting everything that people touch, like phones and pens.

 

As a medical spa, we’ve been thoroughly disinfecting for the past ten years. For example, if we do a laser treatment, we wipe down every surface—the cords, the touch screens, the chairs. We’ve always been careful about maintaining the highest standard of cleanliness because we recognize that people are choosing to come in, so we want to put safety first and offer them a high quality of service.

Q: Are there any changes you’ve made to how you run your business that you intend to uphold once business returns to normal?

A: We’re not charging late fees if patients aren’t feeling well. If that’s the case, we’re happy to reschedule—we’ll continue doing that.

Q: Are you preparing for a potential coronavirus resurgence?

A: The idea of a resurgence is always present. Even before we officially shut down the first time, we had been thinking about how we could wind business down, as it didn’t feel right to stay open during that time. If we have to close again, we will do whatever is required because the ultimate goal is safety for everyone, including my staff and their families. We need to keep looking at the long term, and if there’s something we can do in the short term to help that, then we’re going to do it.

 

To learn more about how Orchid Software can help with your business’ reopening—as well as other key tips for business owners during this time—visit our blog.

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business loans CARES Act Small Business Owner

The CARES Act – Just the Facts!

If you own a small business in the USA that:

  • was operating on FEB 15, 2019
  • have fewer than 500 employees
  • suffered substantial economic injury as a result of this declared disaster
  • are interested in forgivable loans to maintain staff and pay expenses…

You should apply right now for these relief loans. FULL DISCLAIMER: we are not qualified, nor certified, to offer financial advice – so please don’t base your decisions solely on what you read here.

In short, the opportunity presented by the recent federal stimulus will save thousands of businesses. These loans require no personal guarantees which means that default will not impact your credit rating. The interest rates start low (1%!) and stay low.  Every small business owner should thoroughly understand the three types of programs that will have the most potential impact on their business:

1. Payroll Loans: The Paycheck Protection Program

  • Up to $10 million dollars (payroll dependent)
  • 1% interest rate with a term of 2 years
  • No re-payment required for the first 6 months
  • 100% forgiven if you comply with the terms of the loan
  • Up to 25% may be used for business rent, utilities…
  • Self-employed, independent contractors, sole props eligible (on April 10th)
  • No collateral or personal guarantees, and zero fees for the borrower

The so-called PPP is loaning up to $10 million dollars (a factor of your recent payroll totals). If the borrower abides by the terms of the loan, the lender will forgive the amount owed. Yes, you read that right. Step one is putting your hands on complete, correct payroll reports.  Step two beginning the application process, which really consists of completing a short application, business tax ID, acknowledges the terms of the program… and then submit that application through a lending agent. That is typically a bank, but there are other SBA-certified lenders like credit unions and other entities.  At Orchid we have partnered with a lending agent who is currently accepting and processing applications. As of this writing, there are some slowdowns in what had been described as an accelerated approval process, so I should point out as of this writing, few if any loans have been funded. So honestly, a bit of a backlog is building – my advice is apply now.  And yes, you can (and should) apply for both.

2. Disaster Loans: Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

  • Up to $2 million dollars
  • Not more than 500 employees
  • No re-payment required for the first 6 months
  • 3.75% interest rate with terms of 15-30 years
  • NOT currently considered forgivable but terms are very favorable
  • $10,000 advances are being offered, which do not need to be repaid

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you were recently denied an advance, you can re-apply

For those who have suffered “substantial economic injury” as a result of this declared disaster (and really, who hasn’t?) AND can prove that they are an existing US small business, maybe eligible for EIDL loans designed to enable you to endure this declared disaster.

These loans are commonly issued by the SBA in the wake of a natural disaster to enable regions to recover economically. There is some more latitude in how the money can be used, as compared with the PPP, but the intent is described as “expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred, including payroll and other operating expenses”. One element of the program that is not to be overlooked is the emergency advance component. They are offering grants of up to $10,000, delivered in as little as three days after applying, which will not have to be repaid – these advances are in addition to any EIDL loan they may approve for your business.

3. Other SBA Relief Programs

The SBA has long maintained a number of other lending programs, and some of them are being made more generous as part of the CARES Act. If you have a commercial loan and want to reduce that interest rate or lengthen that term, the Small Business Administration may be able to help. You might also consider talking to each of your creditors to determine if they can help you out.

The SBA is also extending bridge loans which can provide near term cash at low-interest rates.  Most of these programs are deferring the initial payments, so whether you to choose the SBA too for payroll loans disaster loans, refinancing, new micro-loan or shorter bridge loans, there are lots of options for both loans and debt relief.

If you already have a non-deliquent SBA loan (either 7(a), 504, or a microloan) I think you’ll be happy to learn the SBA will be picking up those payments for the next 6 months!  If you don’t have an SBA micro-loan and feel like you missed out on that 6 months of free money…  You didn’t, because they are also issuing new microloans (from now until September 27, 2020) at great low rates to help businesses to survive this COVID turmoil, and then to thrive in its aftermath.

If you’re serious about trying to lean in and weather this storm, then capital and employees will be critical components. These programs endeavor to bring both to your operation. My advice is to borrow as much as they will let you and use that wisely to strengthen your business now and position you to emerge operationally when the opportunity arrives. I’ve talked to many of you over the last few weeks and I know you’re hurting more than most. Orchid customers can’t “work from home”.  I encourage everyone to seize this opportunity and to remember that we’re here to help. We’re talking to lots of customers right now and if you need help using messaging to communicate with customers, or pull payroll reports to submit with loan applications, or want to talk about rebooking techniques, give us a call or drop me a line anytime.

Right Now:

  • Gather your payroll records for the last three months in one report and the last 12 months in another
  • Print and complete the sample application form from the SBA. (The PPP form lives right here and the EIDL form lives right here)
  • Always a good idea to read the fine print and fully understand what you’re getting into.  Want to calculator the potential value of your loan?  I think the Chamber did a great job with this loan calculator here. The upshot is, you’ll be told what you’re eligible for and everyone gets the same interest rate – it’s likely the easiest loan you’ll ever get.

With these materials in hand, apply through an SBA-certified lender. Orchid has partnered with one (that link above) but any lender that the SBA certifies is a fine choice.

Categories
Medical Spa Software Small Business Owner Spa Industry Spa Management

Staying Informed with COVID-19: Resources for Small Businesses

Orchid Covid-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is causing anxiety for small business owners across the country. The business landscape is rapidly changing, and we are all trying our best to protect our employees, support our customers, and address the financial stress. There is a lot of online information and resources aimed at assisting businesses with best practices. We have compiled a list of resources that we feel you as small business owners can use to stay informed.

Keep Planning as Things Evolve

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published an article with helpful links to provide businesses and employers interim guidance on how to best operate during this outbreak of the coronavirus disease. Having an Infectious Disease Outbreak Response Plan should be top of mind, the CDC suggests.

Important Considerations for Creating an Infectious Disease Outbreak Response Plan

All employers should be ready to implement strategies to protect their workforce from COVID-19 while ensuring continuity of operations. During a COVID-19 outbreak, all sick employees should stay home and away from the workplace, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene should be encouraged, and routine cleaning of commonly touched surfaces should be performed regularly.

Know your Obligations as an Employer 

The U.S Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has a Q+A available on Public health emergencies and the fair labor standards aimed at giving context for employers and employees during the COVID-19 emergency. Knowing how to best protect yourself as a business owner, and as an employee, can help mitigate the widespread uncertainty.

What are an employer’s obligations to an employee who is under government-imposed quarantine? WHD encourages employers to be accommodating and flexible with workers impacted by government-imposed quarantines. Employers may offer alternative work arrangements, such as teleworking, and additional paid time off to such employees.

How many hours per day or per week can an employee work? The FLSA does not limit the number of hours per day or per week that employees aged 16 years and older can be required to work.

Can an employee be required to perform work outside of the employee’s job description? Yes. The FLSA does not limit the types of work employees age 18 and older may be required to perform. However, there are restrictions on what work employees under the age of 18 can do. This is true whether or not the work is listed in that employee’s job description.

Small Business Owners Need To Communicate With Customers

The U.S Chamber of Commerce has made available a Response Toolkit to provide message examples to directly address anxious clients. Tailoring these communications to best fit your customer relationships is an opportunity to emphasize your commitment to the health and safety of your employees, and convey your need for the support of your clients as well.

Check out the suggested social media posts to share accurate information.  Use the official hashtags: #COVID_19, #COVID19

small business owners

We all have a part to play in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Make sure you are regularly practicing these healthy habits. If you think you are getting sick with COVID-19, follow this step-by-step guide to prevent spreading the virus to others. All employers should be prepared to address the impacts of the coronavirus, including planning for unexpected closures in your area and exploring telework options.

Small Business Owners Should Prepare For An Economic Impact 

With economic uncertainty looming as people remain in their homes and reduce their spending, the U.S Small Business Administration has provided a list of disaster loan programs and resources for businesses whose profits are severely impacted, as well as common issues small businesses may encounter.

  • Capital Access – Incidents can strain a small business’s financial capacity to make payroll, maintain inventory and respond to market fluctuations (both sudden drops and surges in demand). Businesses should prepare by exploring and testing their capital access options so they have what they need when they need it.  See SBA’s capital access resources.
  • Workforce Capacity – Incidents have just as much impact on your workers as they do your clientele. It’s critical to ensure they have the ability to fulfill their duties while protected.
  • Inventory and Supply Chain Shortfalls – While the possibility could be remote, it is a prudent preparedness measure to ensure you have either adequate supplies of inventory for a sustained period and/or diversify your distributor sources in the event one supplier cannot meet an order request.
  • Facility Remediation/Clean-up Costs – Depending on the incident, there may be a need to enhance the protection of customers and staff by increasing the frequency and intensity by which your business conducts cleaning of surfaces frequently touched by occupants and visitors. Check your maintenance contracts and supplies of cleaning materials to ensure they can meet increases in demand.
  • Insurance Coverage Issues – Many businesses have business interruption insurance; Now is the time to contact your insurance agent to review your policy to understand precisely what you are and are not covered for in the event of an extended incident.
  • Changing Market Demand – Depending on the incident, there may be access controls or movement restrictions established which can impede your customers from reaching your business. Additionally, there may be public concerns about public exposure to an incident and they may decide not to go to your business out of concern of exposing themselves to greater risk. SBA’s Resources Partners and District Offices have trained experts who can help you craft a plan specific to your situation to help navigate any rapid changes in demand.
  • Marketing – It’s critical to communicate openly with your customers about the status of your operations, what protective measures you’ve implemented, and how they (as customers) will be protected when they visit your business. Promotions may also help incentivize customers who may be reluctant to patronize your business.
  • Plan – As a business, bring your staff together and prepare a plan for what you will do if the incident worsens or improves. It’s also helpful to conduct a tabletop exercise to simulate potential scenarios and how your business management and staff might respond to the hypothetical scenario in the exercise. For examples of tabletop exercises, visit FEMA’s website at: https://www.fema.gov/emergency-planning-exercises

Small Business Owners – Know Your Points of Contact

Lastly, keep involved with your local Chamber of Commerce and know your points of contact. The Small Business Association Administrator has issued a statement and provided additional information for potential financial aid. Keep in mind as this virus advances, the information will be quickly changing, as will the advice. Staying informed is a vital part of maintaining normalcy and providing confidence to your employees and clients amidst times of uncertainty.

small business owners

“Small businesses are vital economic engines in every community and state, and they have helped make our economy the strongest in the world. Our Agency will work directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest disaster recovery loans to small businesses that have been severely impacted by the situation. Additionally, the SBA continues to assist small businesses with counseling and navigating their own preparedness plans through our network of 68 District Offices and numerous Resource Partners located around the country. The SBA will continue to provide every small business with the most effective and customer-focused response possible during these times of uncertainty.”

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for a small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail [email protected].