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Chess and Spa – Part 1 of 2


This blog is all about using one world to improve in another.  Today, we’re going to apply the principles of chess, to help you position your spa business ahead of the competition.   

Even if you don’t know the first thing about chess, I know you will still enjoy the benefits that you can extract from the book “Every Move Must Have a Purpose” by Bruce Pandolfini; a leading chess expert.  I’ve drawn out the points that resonated with me and came up with this abbreviated interpretation that I hope will at the very least entertain you!  But even better, it may challenge you to apply some of these important game strategies to win at your tough challenges.  Enjoy!

1. Play with a Plan

Practically any plan is better than no plan.  As Seneca the Roman once said:  “If a sailor doesn’t know which harbour he is making for, no wind is the right one” (See our Business Plan blog and access our free Business Plan eBook).  And if you aim for shorter plans to begin with, the results are easier to predict and control.  First see what might happen and then strive to make it happen your way the next time.  If your team succeeded at reaching this week’s shorter campaign goals; move next to monthly campaigns; and then to quarterly ones.  Take note of the shorter campaign happenings and results, and then flex to make the longer campaigns happen your way. 

2. Don’t Ignore a Good Hunch

Unconscious assumptions can save us when conscious calculations fail.  Put your faith in your instincts; intuition is no accident, it is an intellectual skill.  Your instincts are based on what you don’t know you already know; a good hunch will eventually explain itself.  I find a good hunch is usually invaluable when it comes to staffing.  Never make desperate or impulsive moves when hiring or firing.  Look away and come back when your vision is clearer and your needs have been weighed. 

3. Play the Game, not the Player

Abide by what logic dictates and your analysis supports.  Respect your competition, don’t fear them; focus your energies on the game.  If you face danger, neutralize it by issuing a threat of your own.  Your moves should do 2 things:  foil your competition’s aims, while fostering your own.  Nothing should be done unless you can see why and nothing can be seen if you haven’t looked.  So this next point on seizing initiatives is timely.

4. Seize Initiatives

It’s always about initiative, which is always about control.  When we have the initiative, we need to maintain it.  If our competition has it, we try to snatch it (do this with a “yin” when your competition “yangs”).  To succeed, it’s better to move first – the first move guarantees a head start and allows you to determine the course.  It’s a slender advantage however, not a decisive one.  Entrepreneurial success relies on your mental momentum.

Winning depends less on your perfection than on your competition’s imperfections.

5. Play for Centre

Think in terms of attack and control, not protection and defence.  The centre position is better because it affords more opportunities.  It requires heading into the thick of things, despite its hazards.  Business is a competition and to compete means to advance, mindful of the risk, aware that if you don’t take chances when the situation calls for it, you may perish.  Point 11 “Emerging Maturialism” in Part 2 of our Trends Report in January 2012, addressed the fact that consumers are becoming more drawn to risqué experiences and daring innovations.  Push your own boundaries a bit, and drop some of the fear of failure to see what this play might offer.

6. Develop the Pieces

Early development is paramount to unbeatable technique.  If you develop efficiently, you gain time – the single most important advantage.  Time is money in business.  To get the most out of your forces, you must ready them from the start.  This takes developing your resources; positioning each component in its best setting; and ensuring all parts boast clear relationships with every other.  This makes me think systems; systems for start up; finances; marketing; staffing (see how to build Extraordinary Spa Professionals); customer service & operations.  

Your spa must have a systems approach.


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About Leslie

Spas2b Inc. is a full service Spa Development company, specializing in Online Spa Management Distance Learning Courses, Spa Business Manual Instant Downloads & Resources, and Spa Consulting Services.
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2 Responses to Chess and Spa – Part 1 of 2

  1. In a management development course many years ago, the instructor said,”A successful business consists of 85% management structure/systems and 15% empowerment/individual initiative.”  I’d guess that that is still a valid proposition today. Love this piece – lots of meat and excellent advice!

    • Leslie says:

      Thanks Kathryn, agree completely – I even need systems to run my systems! The challenge is the committment in time and learning, in order to install them, because often the need surfaces after the fact. But there’s “no more flying by the seat of your pants” these days is there!