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How Noli Mini Launched Her Unique Spa Business While Relax Spas is all about rest and relaxation, the business itself is the product of hard work. Founder Noli Mini explains how she got her unique business idea off the ground.

By GG van Rooyen

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Noli Mini

Vital Stats

Noli Mini started in 2010 as a "mobile spa therapist', going to different hotels and offering mobile spa treatments. The concept has evolved and Noli has set up bases, including two spa suites, at various hotels and guest houses. An additional aspect of Relax Spas' offering is to provide spa treatments at corporate offices and on corporate wellness days. She also has her own range of massage oils and is introducing her own brand of beauty and skincare products. To complete the circle, Noli will soon be launching her beauty and spa training institute.

There are her 5 key startup lessons.

Previous experience in an industry is key

Working in an industry before launching your own operation is crucial, since it provides you with the understanding and expertise needed to successfully launch your own business. By working in other businesses first, you gain a realistic idea of what the industry is like. You also experience different environments. You see what works, and what doesn't. You can cherry pick from different companies and create an organisation and culture that will work for you.

Know what you're getting yourself into

Passion and a fun business idea are important, but you also need to understand the basics of launching a company. How easy will it be to develop your product or idea? How will you market it? What sort of financial controls will you put in place? What regulations must you comply with in your industry? Are any licences required? What are the labour laws? These are all questions you need to be able to answer before launching.

Build a good team around you

The combined effort of a team is almost always greater than the sum of individual contributions. Find people that can complement your skillset and bring tools to the table that you don't have. Improving your business acumen and knowledge is important, for instance, but you don't necessarily need to go to university to do it. You can also increase your knowledge by surrounding yourself with the right people, particularly mentors who can guide you in both a personal and business capacity.

Create a buzz around your business by sharing your story

People love hearing stories, and I believe that just about every start-up has a great story to tell. Offering to write free editorial content for magazines is a great way to do it. Another is to speak at conferences. These strategies require effort, but they can greatly increase your reach and position you as a thought leader in your industry.

Use every single opportunity you get to market your business. You need to live and breathe your brand. Marketing is about more than spending money. You can market your business by sponsoring charity walks, wellness events and golf days in your community. Collaboration is another good strategy.

There's no better way of building a business than to get out there and shake some hands. You need to get to know people. Also, be authentic in your networking so that people get to see and know the real you.

Build relationships

Establishing strong relationships with your clients and business partners is of paramount importance. One way you can do this is by face to face weekly or monthly visits, depending on the demographics of your business. Another way is by keeping in touch using email or telephonically. Remember, human interaction is key.

People love feeling appreciated. Also, remember that customer service is important, as a person will usually base his or her entire opinion of a business on a handful of personal interactions. So, you need to make sure that those interactions are positive. It's all too easy to lose a customer forever.

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