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Bookkeeping services like My Small Business Pro are only as good as their clients. Luckily, our customer base includes some of the Chicago area’s best and brightest small business. Meet one of those amazing companies: Fox River Spa & Salon, a full-service spa and salon with two locations in the Northwest suburbs.

Bookkeeping services client Julie Bevel of Fox River Spa & Salon

Fox River Spa & Salon owner Julie Bevel

Led by owner Julie Bevel, its team of 35 artists provides massage, hair, bridal beauty, manicure/pedicure and other services, with a knack for professional pampering. Before connecting with MSBP, the business was growing but not realizing its full potential, wrestling with marketing, staff recruiting/retention and financial challenges. MSBP’s bookkeeping services empowered Bevel to overcome obstacles and attain a higher level of success. They’ve added a second location and have lofty goals for the future—adding additional locations, launching private-label beauty products

What were some of your early finance-related challenges?

We were in full-on growth mode—we had a large start-up loan, credit-card debt, and an owner/operator laser-focused on the brick-and-mortar stuff. We had amazing growth and volume steadily picking up month to month in our spa, and there was always something more we needed to buy, upgrade, or learn. All revenue was reinvested in staff and the business.

I was not paying myself properly and didn’t know exactly where all the money was leaking from. I had a general idea some departments (hair, massage, and skin) were profitable but wasn’t sure at what level, or what expenses were directly related to each. I also knew my compensation plan was out of whack. Payroll expenses were eating way more of my budget than industry standard. I knew money was coming in and going out and that we were doing OK, but I absolutely didn’t have time to classify everything so I could tell where we were doing awesome, and where I needed to adjust.

I had a very clear vision and strategy on growth and revenue goals but not on cash flow management and debt repayment. My business has three VERY seasonal cash bumps (Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, and Christmas) and then three very predictable slow times after each, as well as a shift in demand over the summer in each department—more waxing, less facials; more weddings, fewer massages. Being in the industry for almost 20 years, I was aware of these trends but had not personally lived through the trends in cash flow, so had a real learning curve.

What convinced you to engage MSBP’s services?

It was hard for me to give up the DIY entrepreneur control-freak mannerisms. I’m very hands-on, capable of running payroll and the basics of QuickBooks—I know just enough to be dangerous! However, my energy is BEST spent working with clients and my team. What convinced me to finally write the check was realizing I had hit max capacity with my time and energy and admitting I couldn’t actually do it ALL, despite my best intentions.

In what ways has MSBP helped improve your small business?

Interior of Fox River Spa & Salon, MSBP bookkeeping services client

Interior of Fox River Spa & Salon, MSBP client

All my revenue centers have been classified by department. MSBP takes the time to pull reports from my business software and convert them into QuickBooks so I know exactly which departments are adding to, or taking away from, my bottom line. I also have peace of mind knowing that monthly reconciliation is off my list.

Please tell us a little more about how MSBP engineered a class reporting system to help you better determine which aspects of your spa business were profitable.

The nail department is always the hardest to staff, with the highest complaint ratio. I was ready to demolish the nail station. However, once I got to see the numbers it produced, I was able to take the emotion out of it. Why would I ever trash a profitable station? I also realized how much massage contributes to the bulk of my bottom-line margin. I knew it was a good portion, but seeing the numbers helped me to focus my marketing dollars on my best profit centers.

What would you say to a small business professional who hasn’t yet engaged with a bookkeeping services outfit like MSBP?

If you feel like you don’t have enough time to do everything your business needs you to do, farm it out. Having someone else clean up, reconcile, and organize your numbers helps you make better decisions and frees up your time to focus on your strengths!

Stay tuned for more MSBP client profiles in the coming weeks, and reach out to Daliah@MySmallBusinessPro.com if you’d like to learn more about our consulting and bookkeeping services.