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PRESS Modern Massage – Retail Retold Replay with Rachel Beider

Rachel Beider Headshot
Episode #: 227
PRESS Modern Massage - Retail Retold Replay with Rachel Beider

Guest: Rachel Beider
Topics: PRESS Modern Massage, massage therapy, retail real estate

Transcript:

Chris Ressa 0:01
This is Retail Retold, the story of how that store ended up in your neighborhood. I’m your host, Chris Ressa. And I invite you to join my conversation with some of the retail industry’s biggest influencers. This podcast is brought to you by DLC Management. Welcome to Retail Retold, everyone. I am excited today. Today I’m joined by Rachel Beider.

Rachel is an entrepreneur that owns two massage studios in the New York metro area called PRESS Modern Massage. She’s the author of a newly released Amazon Best Seller, Massage MBA, and she is a Wellness Business Consultant. Really excited to have her on the show. Welcome.

Rachel Beider 0:45
Thank you so much, Chris. Thanks for having me.

Ressa 0:48
Thank you for hopping on today. Why don’t you tell everybody, that was a mouthful, why don’t you tell everybody a little bit about who you are, what you’re working on today and what you do.

Beider 1:00
I am a multi passionate entrepreneur. So what that means to me is I’ve been building an umbrella brand with several different components. So first and foremost, I’m a massage therapist, I started a private practice back in 2008. At its height right before COVID, we had four locations, 40 employees, and we just did about 10 million in sales.

Ressa 1:19
Congratulations. Awesome. So is that that’s 5 million a studio?

Beider 1:26
Well, we had four studios actually at the time. So I had just opened our fourth location. And I just was scaling to looking at fifth and sixth. Right right before COVID hit. And so there’s a long story of how we got to from four to two. And I’m sure we’ll dive into that. But yeah, so brick and mortar is is my heart and soul. I love brick and mortar business. And I started working with other folks who are trying to grow and start their own practices.

And so I got into wellness business consulting as sort of a side project. And that side hustle has been really awesome. I love working with folks who want to grow a therapy, practice, massage, practice acupuncture, you name it, anything in the health and wellness space. And really in the service industry, a lot of a lot of those similar, a lot. There’s a lot of similarities and different fields that are wellness related, but also service related.

And then the book really came from a desire to help folks who are just starting out in the wellness space. So the book is called massage MBA. And

Ressa 2:24
look at that, everyone. For those, hold it up again, massage MBA. Looks great.

Beider 2:28
Thank you. And that’s been a really exciting launch that that was recent. And so yeah, that’s, that’s what I’m up to these days. Now. Now I’m looking at more physical locations to keep expanding the business.

Ressa 2:43
That is an incredible story. Tell me a little bit about the book. First, let’s start with the book. What inspired you to write this book?

Beider 2:52
Sure. Well, you know, I think when I was building my business, I had a lot of anxiety, I didn’t really know where to begin, I didn’t have a strategy per se. I didn’t know enough about delegation. And certainly as I scaled, these things got worse and worse. You know, and I learned along the way, quite a lot. But there wasn’t a book for wellness entrepreneurs that I had found. So I was reading about a business book a week and totally unrelated fields.

And I still like to read a business book every month, I’ve slowed down a little bit from my weak, weekly habit. But, you know, I think I could not find a book that was really specific to the anxiety, I was feeling to starting a practice growing a practice delegating. And so this book is a little bit of my journey and how I did it.

And it’s also just some very basic strategies, some decision making, laid out and made simpler, a basic understanding of everything from SEO to marketing, to hiring your first employee and things like that.

Ressa 3:48
That is really smart on your end, since I love people who didn’t find what they’re looking for. So they just built it themselves. So kudos to you on that front. I love that. How long did this take you to write? How long when was the idea conceptualized and it just released? So when did you start the idea to when it got released.

Beider 4:12
I actually started interviewing people for this book about five years ago, which is wild, and so much has changed. But I think in interviewing people, that’s actually how I found my second location. So five years ago, I had one location, we were doing about a million in sales a little over. And I started to think about, you know, what happens if they sell the building, or there’s a fire or the L train shuts down which it was pending to do?

You know, like, what happens to that location if there’s a difficulty and that’s my sole income, and I started to get really anxious and I feel like, you know, waiting anxiously is my superpower. I think a lot about you know, just the decisions I was making as I grew and a lot of it came from this place of I’m feeling really anxious, something bad is gonna happen. I better just make a little life raft just in case and what I learned in the process of looking for that location.

I started actually on the side just interviewing folks who I thought would be helpful. And I started writing down the things I was finding and, and that’s the the genesis of the book. And actually the reason that I found the space I was in is I interviewed this wonderful woman, Jesse who has a Pilates studio.

And I was looking around at her space in Greenpoint, and in a neighborhood just north of my current business and thinking that this is a really gorgeous building. Are there anything else available? She says, actually, a neighbor just moved out, let me put you in touch with a landlord. And that’s how I found my second location, like right off the bat.

Ressa 5:31
Incredible story, little real estate entrepreneur in the making here. I love it. The so you have this book. But before that you had your first location. Obviously, this is an interesting business that was challenged through COVID Massage Therapy. What was that like? Especially in a hotbed like New York.

Beider 5:55
So we had to be we had a mandatory shutdown for almost five months. And our business went from, you know, we were on track to do 2.2 million in sales conservatively. I’m always very conservative with projections because I like to be excited at the end of the year. And we were conservatively to basically zero overnight because we are 100% service based in person business. And we were legally not allowed to operate not remotely, not locally.

Not to mention, I was very scared for my massage therapists, I wanted to keep them safe. And we had not set up the things that we have now to operate more safely. Like the in-room air filters.

Ressa 6:29
And this was all four locations or just was four.

Beider 6:33
Yeah, we had four locations I had opened up. We were in DUMBO, Williamsburg, Greenpoint in Long Island City, I opened up LIC in October. So we were barely open. Six months before closing, I the day of my wedding was in that build out, like approving things to go, Oh my God. Yeah, it was wild. And then.

So for me, I, I closed our locations that we had, we had all I laid off 48 people for a load temporarily. And then a week later gave birth to my first baby. Congratulations. So and then two days after that was applying for the PPP. And as things came through, it was working on those on those processes. So you know, for me, so you had

Ressa 7:20
your baby, I’m sorry, your you had your baby. March of 20 20/24.

Beider 7:25
Yeah, yeah, oh, my God, it was a wild ride, that’s for sure. And, you know, I just kept thinking about the safety of my employees was my, it was my biggest concern. And I had no idea how, you know, we have we have rent in the bank, but we don’t have five months running on zero rent in the bank, you know, and for me, I don’t have investors, I bootstrap this entire business myself. So and our build outs are a couple $100,000.

They’re not inexpensive build outs, you know, as retail goes, they’re actually reasonable. But, you know, I’ve done a lot of this, I might, you might see me painting a wall myself, for example, to save a little bit of money. So, for me, I had some debt from the fourth location that I had been paying down. And all of a sudden, like, you know, we have these rising payments, we have landlords who are threatening to sue. And we had no idea when or if, or how we would reopen any of it. So in the process, I realized I couldn’t carry the volume of rent that I had been and I had to be a little more agile.

And so you know, as I as I mentioned before, before we started recording, I actually have a real estate degree, I became a licensed real estate agent just for fun one time and I just to study it, because I was curious about how it works. And I’m very intentional about having good guy clauses in my leases, thankfully.

And so there’s a reason for that. And so I felt it was a little short sighted on the landlord’s to, to be demanding full payment during that time, especially because, you know, for us having gone from the volume we did to zero overnight, was just challenging.

And I did the very best that I could, but it took a few months for the PPP to come through and overall we had just about half a million dollars of of loans from the government. Thank goodness. Yeah, you know, because we were down about 600k this year, but you know, not before unfortunately having to leave two of our four locations. So that’s why I say it was short sighted on the landlord strike because we could have you know, made those payments eventually.

Ressa 9:24
Would you have done some type of program with the landlord where you’re trying to work with them, like defer the rent? Oh, yeah,

Beider 9:31
anything, literally anything I would have done pretty much anything to save those spaces. And as I moved out from from my demo location, I saw a whole bunch of other neighbors in the elevators and stairwells also having to move out so and I am certain that they haven’t released all of those spaces.

Ressa 9:47
Interesting. We tried to it was tough time right. So I have over 2000 tenants and if you have 2000 tenants that aren’t paying rent, you know, I’m in the same boat as you. So we were able to work with the majority of our tenants on some type of plan to work through.

It was not free rent, but we tried to work with our tenants, especially the entrepreneurs that were in different positions and some of these large battleship companies, and we had a program for our small business owners that we got them into in order to help them through the time and we had very little scenarios for the amount of tenants we had, you know, we had very, very few scenarios where 10 is vacant. So sorry, you had to do that. That stinks.

Beider 10:42
It is what it is. And I always think, whenever something happens like that I try to think of okay, well, what’s great about this, like, what, where’s the good in this because I just have to put myself in that headspace to keep moving forward. And so when I think about that, I think about the fact that there’s about to be a lot of really cool real estate on the market, which is very exciting to me. And we’re actually looking at spaces right now.

Amazing, I think there’s going to be even better locations, even even cooler areas, there’s going to be offices that are already built pretty much the way that we want them. So I don’t have to do as heavy of a lift for that just a little cosmetic judging, but I don’t have to necessarily build a bunch of walls.

And so, you know, it’s exciting for me to see what’s becoming available. Also, I think there’s a lot of practices that have gone under that are maybe available to be purchased or to, you know, take over spaces or to absorb some of their staff that might need a new home.

So I’m just trying to look at it as an opportunity to grow my business in a different kind of way that otherwise wouldn’t have come about

Ressa 11:37
that is truly incredible. Have you figured out how many locations you think this can scale to?

Beider 11:46
Well, that’s the wonderful thing about it is that when you start to have systems in place that are scalable, you start to get economies of scale, too. So for my management, you know, whether they’re managing one location or five, you know, it’s not that different of a lift, because we have such good systems.

So the girl who I’ve brought on for operations, I stole her from SoulCycle, where she was overseeing 93 locations. So for her, this is a piece of cake, like she can do this in her sleep. And I’ve given her a lot of support and a lot of just great staff.

And so we’re ready to scale. I mean, I would love to scale, the bigger issue that I’m having is that massage therapy is one of those funny industries where it’s very different from state to state, what the requirements are, New York has the highest requirements, 1000 hours of training, my school was 1200 hours of training to graduate. But there are other states that are like three and 400 hour programs.

So the quality of work that you’re getting can be a little bit patchy from state to state. And then there are also other states that are more friendly towards businesses than others. So, you know, I’m certainly looking at all of the areas on the Eastern Seaboard that are fun to get to I’m also looking at some southern states, because I wouldn’t mind a little warm weather now and again, and certainly the goal is each of these units, each of these locations should be doing over a million in sales. So my thought was, let’s see if I can get it to five or 10. And then, you know, perhaps then if private equity feels like getting involved, we’ll see.

Ressa 13:10
Understood, I I know that I know a lot of people have gone that route, have any of the large massage franchises reached out to you to potentially purchase?

Beider 13:22
No, I think I think that’s because the franchise model is a little bit different. And they’ve paid so heavily for their licensing and their fees that they’re not likely to, to reach out. You know, and for me, it’s been it’s been very important. You see a lot of exploitation happening in those in those kinds of spaces. And so for me, as someone who felt like a bystander in her own career and often exploited by employers, I’ve always been very mindful of the way that I treat people and the way that I do business. So it’s a little bit different.

We don’t have because I’m a massage therapist myself, we don’t do some of the things that those corporate spa like big chain spas are doing that costs them a lot of turnover and employees. Many of my employees have been with me for 10 years plus. So I’ve been really fortunate in that way. And I think that that shows in the way that we do business as well.

Ressa 14:08
Wow, how many massage therapists do you have in one studio?

Beider 14:12
So right now, our Williamsburg location is quite a lot bigger. So I think there are now 17 or 18. We’re hiring. We’re in a hiring sprint right now in Williamsburg and then in Greenpoint. I want to say there are 12 or possibly 13. And then we also have some front desk folks who are phenomenal and all of our desk has a dual role.

So each person is not just doing the phones in the scheduling each person also does whether that’s blogging or HR or PR, or marketing. Everyone has as a dual role in the company.

Ressa 14:47
Understood, that’s the entrepreneurial way and I think in an entrepreneurial organization, people tend to like that. So I think that’s really great. How big are these facilities? Have 18 massage therapists How big is how big are they?

Beider 15:02
So they’re not huge. Williamsburg has nine treatment rooms and Greenpoint has eight. And in Williamsburg, which is where I started out, I actually had one little treatment room in a basement. And then I found in that same building of a space that was four times the size of my room, and I realized I could put three little rooms and a reception in there. So I did that. That was my first studio.

And as our company has grown, I’ve been able to take over a second suite, and then a third suite. So we’re growing within the building quite well. And you know, what’s the reason that we need so many therapists is that for each of those nine rooms, we split our day in half. So we’ll have a morning shift, and then an evening shift. So on a Saturday, there might be nine people working in the morning and nine totally different people working in the evening.

Ressa 15:42
Understood. The I understand how are they all employees of you? Because I know I’ve been to some places I’ve been to, I don’t know how to pronounce it, air or RA in the city or air into bats. And it’s their like contracted out? I think I don’t think they work there.

Beider 16:00
Yeah, so the thing is, it’s better for folks to be employees for lots and lots of reasons. New York State is not a very friendly place to have contractors and I it’s it’s heading in the direction that California did, where there used to be this 20 point differential between the difference between a contractor and an employee. And in California, they initially didn’t have any one point weighing more than the other.

But now as of two years ago, they made the point that if the worker is doing the same type of work that the business is doing, they have to be an employee. And so because we are motivated to say that we’ve created jobs politically, and because it’s very, if the person is doing the type of work that the business is doing, it’s very unlikely that you have truly a contractor relationship. It just makes more sense to go in the W two route, the employee route, it’s better for them as well. It’s a more ethical way of doing business.

Ressa 16:54
Got it, you learn something new every day. You are inspiring this is really a cool conversation, I think. I want to pivot the conversation a bit. Tell me a little bit about what it’s like bringing the customer back in, you know, to do a million dollars in a location in a massage location, you got to really bring in a lot of people in in this environment in New York City, what has it been like to bring customers back and make them feel comfortable.

Beider 17:24
So every Monday our we have an all team stand up meeting with my with all of my like management and heads of departments, right? And we do this, it’s, we call it our seven by seven plan. So every week for seven weeks, we focus on a different area, and then we do it again. So each each area is covered about seven times a year, give or take some vacation. And what we ask ourselves, one of the strategic questions we ask is, who is our customer?

Who is our customer going to be? What does our customer need? And what are they going to need? And the answer has changed so much over the years, like as the neighborhood has changed, our customer went from being a yoga teacher or various tattoo artists to being a mom with a stroller, you know. So like this, this neighborhood is changing. And so when I think about what is our customer need now, they need to be assured that safety is the most important thing to us.

So how do we build their trust? How do I protect my employees? And also how do I how do I communicate to our clients the way that we are treating this so seriously. And for me that started with, you know, a therapist and a client there’s no six feet, social distancing happening in an eight by 12 foot treatment room where someone is literally touching you. So what does that look like?

And I looked at wire cutter to find the New York Times top choice for air filtration. We got it, it’s called the CO Almighty and it’s a perfect in room air purifier. So one of those in every single treatment room. We put a UV system in with our HVAC to sanitize the air coming through, you put those HEPA filters in.

We have our goggles, we have our masks, we have our smocks, basically every possible thing that New York state says this is what you got to do. We like took it up a notch. And then we made sure that we transparently communicated those efforts through our website, through our social media, through our tone, through the way that we engage with our clients, our emails, we just wanted it to be super, super clear that here’s everything that we’re doing and our clients came back so excited.

You know what, it’s such an opportunity because stress for us is a commodity, right? Like when things get bad, we get really good. So it’s been a really freaking stressful year for folks. And we’ve created this place that feels very safe, comfortable, comforting, physically relaxing. You know, we have those table warmers on it’s warm and toasty. It’s cozy in there, they’re away from their house, they can take a break they they are just loving it. And so we’ve been really lucky in that way.

Ressa 19:41
I haven’t thought about that piece of it, which is it’s been a really stressful time and people probably need to relieve stress and what better way then massage therapy. I hadn’t thought of it from that angle and I had only been thinking about it if the people’s concern about the pandemic but that’s really interesting that that during stressful times, you guys probably do well, because people are trying to relieve stress.

Beider 20:05
Yeah. And also everybody’s setting up these terribly on ergonomic home desks, office situations. And so everybody’s like hunched over their desk like this all day instead of at whatever was slightly.

Ressa 20:15
Yeah, let me sit up right now. Let me sit up now.

Beider 20:19
Yeah. So I think it’s really important to also, you have to treat the injuries you’re seeing right. And seasonally, we used to see all kinds of funny things like when the hurricane waves were hitting, and everyone was injuring themselves surfing, like, we see all kinds of funny trends when there’s like a new sport that comes out.

So you know, here we are seeing the kinds of injuries that happen when you’re on your phone all day like that. We call it text neck, where you’re like looking down at your phone, and it’s causing strain. Or we’re seeing that kind of like hunched over posture from just sitting in front of a computer and not moving as much as we should. So we do really well when that I mean, when that happens, we do really well. So

Ressa 20:52
Really fascinating to me, I you hit on something that I want to talk about a little bit more, before we get into the story, which is the communication piece, we had a three pillar approach approach, we had three initiatives to our customers, which are tenants as well as consumers that are shopping centers. In the beginning of the pandemic, I call it the eights that at EA, it was to accommodate mitigate and communicate.

And we tried to accommodate our tenants in any way that we could to help them we had grocers that were, you know, on fire, because people were panic buying and they needed, like some storage or something like that. And we help them with that the mitigate, obviously, we use all CDC protocols to clean the premises that were our responsibility and give guidance to our tenants on how to do that as well.

And then, most importantly, is communicate. And you mentioned, like the emails, the social media, we had, you know, things on our website about where to get information about COVID, we were providing information, we had a hotline that people could call, we were doing a lot of social media. And I found during the pandemic, the the biggest thing that helped us get through was the communication we had with our customers.

And if you kept that going, and you were in a place where you could have either phone calls, emails or digital communication, stay connected with that customer. It helped the relationship in the long term. Okay. Fascinating stuff. I want to take us to the story. Which location Do you want to tell us about today that the story of how this this got open?

Beider 22:36
Sir, I think the more exciting, the more exciting is probably the very first location because a lot of folks don’t know how do you go from working at a spa to owning a business? How do you go from working for someone else to working for yourself? Because that is such a leap? And

Ressa 22:52
Totally. And is that the Williamsburg or the Yeah, that’s

Beider 22:55
Williamsburg, Williamsburg, okay, I had no savings. I had debt from school. And I just so badly wanted to do my own thing. And so when I started out, I decided, Okay, I’m going to do like a five year plan. And you know, year one, I will just work for whoever will hire me by year three, maybe I’ll have a private practice. If I’m busy enough by year five, maybe I’ll have a business with employees. So that was my like, long term goal. And what happened is that just did it in six months. Like six months after graduating,

Ressa 23:25
wow, that’s growth hacking right there.

Beider 23:27
So for me, I I always looking at how do we make the impossible possible? Like what what am I missing? What can I What else can I do you in this situation? So initially, I was treating people out of my living room and in a large walk up apart, like as a fifth floor, walk up apartment with two roommates. It smelled like dinner, it was not really smelled like dinner. It was like, you know, whatever I could have had like lasagna the night before you could smell it, it was not a good situation.

My roommates had to like stay in their rooms while I was treating a friend really because I didn’t have clients that it was mostly just friends. The first people you work with are always friends. And, and from there. I was like, you know, I just need something that feels more professional, but I couldn’t afford one.

And I found in our neighborhood, a physical therapy office and I walked in I was 24 very precocious. And I said, Do you have massage here? And they’re like, We don’t actually and I said, Well, you’re more likely to have repeat customers for your PT business.

If they’re getting free massages every week, tell you what, I will work on your clients for free two days a week in exchange, let me use the space when you’re not using it. And they kind of looked at me like okay, cool. So try it. And this is May I maybe had like eight or 10 clients who were really just friends. And by August I had 110 clients. Wow, what year is this? This is 2008

Ressa 24:41
This is genius. That is a genius move.

Beider 24:44
Because you know for me, I knew that I had time to work on people. I had energy. I was young. I had a lot of energy and time but I did not have money. And so you know, I was doing that two days a week for free. I was still working at a spa a couple days a week and then I decided seeing customers one on one was going to be my Much harder like to get them in the door than if I would just find one person who could refer me a lot of clients.

So I specifically started looking for individuals who see a volume of their own clients. So whether that’s personal training, who I love, because those people are sore, they can afford massage, they care about their health. I also looked at hairdressers, I traded a lot of massage for haircuts. My hair was amazing that year. They have like 50 clients a week, you know, like there’s some people back to back and they’re sore from like, standing up and cutting hair all day.

They’re on their phone. So they love a good massage. I also was looking at chiropractors, acupuncturist, I just made this this big network of folks who are referring me a lot of clients. And finally, by August, I was like, you know, I can’t afford to, to spend my time for free anymore in exchange, like, let me pay you rent. They said no, which I was kind of surprised by. But I found a place down the street. And that was for rent. And so that’s how I started.

Ressa 25:51
Wow. And that is an incredible story. The place down the street, you mentioned before, it was just like a room.

Beider 25:59
Yeah, so initially, there was this woman Monique, who was a massage therapist. And she had a two room space. It was a one room that she put up a wall mount even to the ceiling. And, and it was great. It was seemed at the time terribly expensive. To me. It was terrifying. But I was like I got to do it. And I recognized very quickly.

I’m not working seven days a week doing massage is not physically possible. So I better hire an employee to work the two days a week that I’m taking off because I just to make sure that I have enough rent coming in, I want to make sure to hire some people.

So actually had an employee right away, almost from the beginning. And the space down the hall became available I saw for rent sign and it was only $50 More than I had been paying. And as I mentioned, this is like a four room space as opposed to one and I quickly realized I was paying like 95% of the rent on this tea room space.

Which you know, businesses business is not personal. And I’m glad for that because it was an easy decision to move down the hall. And at the time I was reading the Suze Orman Suze Orman book, I forget how to pronounce her name, called Young, fabulous and broke.

She says she’s an economist, and she says, if you are going to start a business, you can spend as much money getting it off the ground as you can dig yourself out of within a year doing whatever you were doing before. So that to me was like, okay, I can spend like about $1,000 a month. So I decided my budget for the build out was 12 grand, which is not a lot, you know that.

And I laid those floors down myself. I went to IKEA and I target and Craigslist for a lot of the furniture, I got a lot of secondhand stuff, I found a spot that was closing. And thankfully I was able to buy a bunch of their equipment, and so I bootstrapped it.

Ressa 27:34
Wow, that is incredible. You are the American dream, Rachel, this is the American dream right here. Tell us about and that story is incredible. Tell us about how you go from that to a $10 million business.

Beider 27:49
So the jump, we opening up a couple more sweets in that building helped. But the real jump for me was I had opened the second location. And I hit a tipping point where I was trying to do everything myself. I was spread way too thin. I felt like I was failing all the time.

And I realized I was burning out. And I didn’t like that feeling. I didn’t like the feeling I didn’t like the feeling of the business I was in and I was exhausted. And I realized, I need to get this under control and learn how to scale up or I’m gonna just close because I was freaking out at this time.

It was not fun, not a fun time for me. And I hired a couple of business coaches because I can never have just one. And one is very like strategic numbers person and one is very 30,000 foot view person. And both of those, that combination of those was really empowering for me, because I quickly realized, my numbers were much better than I thought. And actually, I could afford to start delegating, and there’s this this myth of delegation that I can do it faster, and I can do it better than someone else.

And it’s simply not true. And even if you could do it faster, when are you gonna have time to do it really. So I think I learned very quickly, you have to take your hands off the steering wheel a little bit and start delegating right away. And on a senior level, I call it cultivating ignorance. So if there is a problem in the studio, and someone at the front desk can take care of it for let’s call it $50, I’ve empowered them to go ahead and make that decision to take care of it.

And let me know about it after the fact I don’t need to be involved in the decision making. And I’ve given this number, you know exponentially higher to other folks on my team, where if my ops manager calls me and there’s an issue over $1,000, or whatever it is, okay, call me, let me know what’s going on. But if it’s a smaller issue, and you can handle it under that, I trust your judgment, I’m empowering you to go ahead and make the decision fix whatever it is.

And I’ll tell you something, there aren’t problems that are that expensive, usually. So, you know, that quiets a lot of the noise. And I also have at a point to be with my entire team. I want 70% of whatever I’m doing every year off my plate the following year. So if I were to list out every single thing that needs to get done on a day to day, week to week, month to month to make the business run delegate that, especially in the beginning, I was delegating that to a remote receptionist, you know, hired a bunch of vas.

And then I was hiring in person folks. And then I was hiring someone to manage those in person folks, as we scaled location managers, and then an operation manager. On top of that, my goal is that for myself, and for my entire team every year 70% of what they were doing, they should not be doing it next year. So they are delegating it to the person lower and anything at the very bottom should be automated, because it’s dehumanizing to do something that can be automated at the end of the day.

So we’re always looking for technological solutions that we can connect, you know, so whether that’s our scheduling software with our QuickBooks or connecting the communication software that we’re using, I just, I didn’t want to be a bottleneck anymore for my organization to move forward. Because I felt like I was standing in the way of progress. And so delegation, and ignorance cultivating ignorance, those are like my two things.

Ressa 30:52
Wow, what a great story inspiring when you were looking at these business coaches, and you decided to 70% delegation thing, I want to focus on that for a second to 70%. Did you read that in a book somewhere? Did you come up with that? Where’d you get that did

Beider 31:11
I took a course by a phenomenal guy named Ari Meisel, who I love. And he has a course called The Replaceable Founders. I think he also has a book called The Art of Doing less. And I just love everything about him, because he really is the master of delegation, the master of scaling. And he’s also just a phenomenal human being. So yeah, but 70% came from that course, specifically, The Replaceable Founder.

Ressa 31:37
Have you heard of Rory Vaden?

I have not.

So you should check out Rory Vaden. He has a TED Talk. It’s 18 minutes, like most TED talks, that is absolutely phenomenal on task management. And he has something called the focus funnel. He takes a task, and he puts it into his focus funnel, and the top is eliminate. And so the first thing he says you should do is does this task actually have to be done? Is there are some times there are tasks that why is someone doing this?

Does it have to be done? Before before delegation, he says, Can this be automated? Can this actually be automated? He gives the example of online bill pay, and says, Okay, if and I’ve actually done this myself, if it takes you four hours a month to pay your bills, well give yourself the emotional permission to actually spend the eight hours to set up 90% of your bills, because you can’t pay them off to online bill pay.

And you’ve now created more time you’ve multiplied Your time is you now get four hours a month back for eternity, because you don’t have to do that anymore.

Beider 32:59
Yeah, I think that’s the thing that trips people up to is that they’re already so exhausted from doing anything that the thought of adding one more thing. And so one thing that helped me overcome that in a big way was whenever I’m training someone to do something else, I have them take the notes, I like instead of having to create some crazy training manual, I have them record the process.

And I want it recorded in such graphic detail that they could hand it to someone on the street, and that person could do it.

So not just okay sign into QuickBooks, here’s the login, here’s the password, here’s where it is. Here’s what it is. And there’s great software to for this. There’s one called process Street. There’s another that I love with our learning management software that we use at our business called train Yule. And that this way, there’s no you know, we’re not too dependent on God forbid something happens, one of our employees leaves that that knowledge doesn’t live in her brain.

It’s it’s actively in our system so that we can onboard someone in the meantime, or we could onboard a replacement and it’s all right there and I don’t have to worry about where it is and how it’s hiding. I’m gonna check out train you will train you is awesome. You can record videos, you can actually that’s something that we focused on while we were closed. I tried to think about okay, well, what can we do that I wish we always had time to do what cool projects can we dive into on our team front.

And one of my massage therapists who who’s a more senior person, senior and age who was worried about him coming back to work because he was in a higher risk age group. He’s also an actor, and he had done a lot of Shakespearean acting and I was like, Okay, here’s, here’s the project. I want to record. I want to make this more interesting for our new hires. Can we record this as video content, so he recorded a lot of our training videos, which I was really happy about.

Ressa 34:37
That’s really cool. Rory Vaden of going back to Rory Vaden. So after you automate, he says if it can’t be automated, then you delegate it. And then if you can’t delegate it, those are the tasks that you do. And so I think that was really interesting, which is you eliminate you automate, you delegate and if it can’t be eliminated, automated or delegated. Now you know what you’re supposed to be doing?

Everything can be delegated? Well, that’s an interesting point. I mean, how does Tony Robbins has 70 businesses, right? He’s still doing things, though. Hey, he is he is it’s not like he’s not he’s not sitting in. They can’t do his public speaking. I think I think what I think what it gets when it gets interesting is, if you if you start to have your money working for you, right, your money is a little going out and making you money. So investing is I think, the next step up.

Beider 35:27
Yeah, I think when I say the tasks that you should, you should you should be doing, I think when I think about that, if you can’t be sitting on a beach in the Caribbean, 24/7 Because there’s something you have to do, then that’s what you’re supposed to be doing.

Ressa 35:44
I don’t know I’m gonna fight with you on that one. All right.

All right. Well, right now, are you still are you? Or do you do any work?

Beider 35:50
So I do the work I love to do, but I wouldn’t. So the what I do for my massage Studios is every single week, we have a all team strategy meeting on Mondays, because it’s fun. And I love strategy. I love generation of ideas. I love innovation. And I like to be in charge of also having ideas but listening to my team’s ideas and like just inspiring them to do different things. And then someone else is overseeing those projects. I’m just seeing them come in.

And then the other thing that I do every week is I have a one on one with my ops manager where she just gives me the rundown of okay, what happened last week, what am I doing this week, and she gives me a KPI report at the end of the week as well.

So with my massage therapy business, I’m actually doing quite little, I put myself I kind of fired myself from all daily operations. And I put myself entirely in charge of growth. So in a time where growth is available, like coming up, I look at real estate, I make connections, I look at financing. So I do those things, because it’s fun.

Beider 36:48
But I think those are part of your business, though. Yes, I think those are the tests you have to do. I’m teaching my ops manager to do it too, though, because I want her to be able to go out and identify we have we have a process for how do we identify a great piece of real estate? What does that look like for us? And one of my favorite ways is Google Trends. Do you know about this?

Ressa 37:40

Sure. Google Trends, I know Google Trends is my favorite thing. So if we look at it in a city that’s so densely populated, like New York, we can look at massage in whatever neighborhood and in Google Trends, compare it to massage in whatever neighborhood we’re considering. And we can see in real time, how many people are searching for this term. And in this 3060 90 days, and we can also compare that with how many existing businesses are there?

Is this an underserved market? Or is this a market that’s pretty saturated. And you can pretty accurately figure out what neighborhoods you should open in based on the sales of our current studios and where those searches are coming in.
I’m go ahead the other way to go.

Beider 37:43
The other way, I’d love to do this, which is a little bit fake it till you make it, is to toss up a dummy website, I love a minimum viable product. So I’ll toss up a website saying that we’re located in a neighborhood or two that I’m considering. And then under the book now button, I will just have a pop up that says we’re not quite open on the app, drop your email for a gift card for when we do open or on the call, it’ll be a Google Voice number with a message we’re not quite open yet, leave us your name and your email.

And we’ll go ahead and send you a gift certificate for when we do open or you can use it at our other locations. And then I’ll run them I’ll compete them off each other for like three months. And whichever neighborhood I can see in real time is getting clicks on the book now is getting those calls, we know exactly where to open.

So this is my like very focused real estate idea is just build a website, even more MVP, you could run a Google ad, and just see like, which neighborhood is getting more clicks. But this is a really basic, super easy way to just test out new neighborhoods, when you’re thinking of expanding a business.

Ressa 38:37
That is a great one I haven’t heard anyone do and I talk to entrepreneurs all over the country all the time. I love minimum viable product as well, for those who don’t know, MVP, but I haven’t heard anyone do the dummy website, and I talk to local business owners national companies every day. That is really interesting.

Beider 38:55
Because, because for me, I don’t have investors, right? Like, I’m not going to spend 200k of my own money building something out unless I am damn certain it’s gonna crush it, which is part of the reason I think that the businesses did as well as they did. Because I was very certain that these neighborhoods were phenomenal for me.

Ressa 39:11
After this, I have a couple other ideas for you that I want to share with you on the real estate front and connect you with some other people that I think would be great to be connected to. So I want to bring us to a – Thank you for arguing with me. I like that that you disagreed. That was great. I want to take us to the last part of the show. Call it retail wisdom. I have three questions for you. All right, question one. What extinct retailer do you wish would come back from the dead?

Beider 39:42
I love a good bookstore. So I wish many, many extinct bookstores would come back from the dead because I love sitting in a bookstore and I especially like the bookstores that had coffee shops.

Ressa 39:56
Awesome. What is the last product you bought for $20 in the store?

Beider 40:03
Probably would have been something for my nine month old baby. So I’m guessing more than $20. Probably is high chair.

Ressa 40:13
Oh, where’d you get his high chair?

Beider 40:14
I think it was Target.

Ressa 40:16
Target. That brings me to my next question. Let’s stay on Target for a second. Last question. If we were shopping at Target, and I lost you, would I would I find you?

Beider 40:27
That’s a tough one. That’s got to be a toss up between… I love Target, it has some really good bulk… What do you call it? It’s not granola, it’s like trail mix. Sure. A really good bulk trail mix. And I think from many days of doing massage, many years of doing massage therapy, I love a good energy booster snack that I can keep in my bag. So probably like browsing that aisle, or I also love the beauty. I love it. I love looking at Bath salts and exfoliator things. I’m a big bathtub person. I love spa things. So probably poking around there.

Ressa 41:03
Awesome. Well, listen, this was great. For those out there, please check out Rachel Beider on social media. Go look at her book, Massage MBA. Check it out. I’m sure you get a ton of good business nuggets from that book, even if you’re not in massage, because I got a ton of great business information and I am not a massage business. So thank you so much for coming on. This was fantastic. And I hope you keep crushing it. You are inspiring, Rachel.

Beider 41:35
Thank you so much for having me. This was a blast.

Ressa 41:39
Thank you for listening to Retail Retold. If you want to share a story about a retail real estate deal that you were a part of on our show, please reach out to us at retailretold@dlcmgmt.com This show highlights the stories behind the deals from all perspectives. So it doesn’t matter if you are a retailer, broker, entrepreneur, architect or an attorney. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to Retail Retold so you don’t miss out on next Thursday’s episode

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