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Maintaining Connection through Uncertainty: 3 Business Owners Share Their Lessons Learned

By Bree Lewis

As part of Mindbody’s new Momentum Series, we’re giving our employees the opportunity to connect with and learn from wellness businesses that are thriving.

For this conversation, Mindbody Chief Marketing Officer Josh Todd sat down with three business owners—Beauty Poet Co-owner Monet Bender, Pole Pressure CEO Devon Williams, and Peaceful Peacock Owner Katie Donzanti—to talk about the challenges they’ve faced over the last year and a half and how they’re moving forward. Although each business owner’s experience was unique, all three agreed upon one critical element: maintaining a connection with your community—including both clients and staff—through uncertainty is an important factor for long-term success.

Here are just a few of the many takeaways that surfaced.

Your business offers much more than a service

Like most businesses, San Luis Obispo-based Beauty Poet was shut down for the majority of 2020, making it an incredibly difficult time for the spa and boutique. During the business’s first closure, Bender says she, too, shut down and felt “crippled by the unknown.” As a result, she stopped engaging frequently with clients. Upon reopening, Bender welcomed back a “huge influx of people that were single or living alone that needed touch.”

The pandemic reminded her of the positive impact of her business; beauty and wellness services don’t just provide physical benefits, they offer a much-needed sense of connection, too.  During a subsequent shutdown, Bender stayed positive and shifted her focus. She offered at-home facial kits, posted more on social media, and kept in close contact with her community. The result? Beauty Poet has since reopened and is busier than ever.

Your staff comes first

Growing up as an army kid, Donzanti carried with her an important value: “mission first, people always.” When the pandemic hit, it was this value that dictated her entire approach for Orlando-based Peaceful Peacock—specifically how she led her staff. She threw her marketing plan out the window, got virtual up and running within 20 minutes, and began to put up digital content for customers. Her goal: keep her community connected so she could keep her staff employed. Today, Donzanti’s kept 100% of the employees she started 2020 with—a testament to her quick adaptability and focus on putting her team first.

With flexible schedules and complimentary services for staff, Williams and Bender also prioritise their employees and their wellbeing. As Williams puts it, “I strongly believe, especially when you go through a transition like this, your clients are important, but your staff is really the most important.”

Competition is a matter of perspective

Whether virtual or in-person, competition is a legitimate worry for most business owners—especially during times of uncertainty. All three business owners, however, had a refreshing take on the topic. Bender believes the right customers will find her business and resonate with the experience she provides. Williams sees mostly all her competition virtually but believes the in-person community she’s created allows the business to “hold its own in a virtual space.”

Donzanti identifies her biggest competitor as the couch, recognising that since the pandemic it’s harder than ever to motivate. That said, she’s also “one of those people that believes that no one is her competition” and encourages other owners to focus on bettering their businesses, rather than looking outward.

Past uncertainty, there’s opportunity

Bender, Williams, and Donzanti offer words of encouragement and advice for others experiencing similar unknowns in the wellness industry. Through the ups and downs, Bender encourages others to take time to themselves and really envision what they want their lives and businesses to look like moving forward.

Williams advocates for authenticity—staying true to your business no matter the circumstance. She believes that “there's enough business for us all to succeed. Because we all have different focuses. So just focus on your path.” Williams reminds business owners to remain grounded in what their business is doing, rather than worry and focus on what another business is doing. Be true to yourself and your business goals.

Donzanti reminds us that perspective all depends on the lens you look through. She sees success and failure as more of a human construct than anything else. "If you move forward with that kind of mindset, it gives you this expansive playground to just focus on yourself. You’re not failing if you’re learning.”

No matter the circumstances, there are a few inalienable truths to running a successful business: prioritising honest communication with your clients and staff, maintaining authentic connection within our communities despite troubling times, and focusing on your own business rather than looking to others. Bender, Williams, and Donzanti are three business owners out of many in our community that illustrate that best.

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About the author:

bree lewis marketing content associate

Bree Lewis

Marketing Content Associate

Mindbody

Born and raised in a small mountain town just south of Yosemite National Park, Bree is an avid lover of health, wellness, and connecting to the outside world around us. As a Cal Poly English major alumn, she has a knack for books, writing, and all things words. In her free time, she enjoys being outside, drinking craft beers, and keeping life jazzy!

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