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Small Business Digest


Shifting Focus May Help Businesses Survive Downturn

To survive the economic downturn, many companies are cutting expenses instead of investing. Yet others are finding that what may help them keep turning a profit is to shift their focus from one aspect of their business to another.

Rudy and Kathleen Stowell, owners of Healing Touch Day Spa in Nipomo, Calif., recognized they needed to spend money on redesigning their Web site to combat the slowdown of their business. The site,, says Rudy Stowell, hadn't been revamped since it was initially created in 2004.

Our “goal was to sell certain lines of skincare products, such as Dermalogica and Bioelements, which are only available through day spas or skin-care centers,” he says of the reason for launching the site.
Stowell’s forethought and planning came full circle when Healing Touch Day Spa became the nation’s top seller of Dermalogica products.
Although that skin-care line was selling, the couple decided that the overall look of the site, which was drafted from a basic template, was prohibiting them from being successful in other areas.

“I would imagine that there were a certain number of people who clicked out when they saw how basic our home page was,” he says. “E-commerce is essential these days. You have to have a good Web
presence or you’re dead.”

The Web-site redesign was completed in May by TechXpress Inc., a San Luis Obispo, Calif., firm. It couldn’t have come at a better time—the day spa’s brick-and-mortar business, which offers massages,
facials, skin care and tanning, had taken a hit.

Louis Camassa, vice president of TechXpress’s Web services, says a polished presentation lends credibility to a site—and a company.

“A well-designed, sophisticated Web site can allow even small businesses to compete with large retailers,” he explains. And not only must it look good, to ensure repeat visitors, the site should be easy
to navigate, have quick-loading pages and have an efficient search engine.

Stowell says the site now gives the spa the opportunity to reach clients who wouldn’t normally visit the brick-and-mortar business but are more than willing to purchase its products online.

To compete with other online vendors, offers competitive prices, expedited shipping and free shipping for orders more than $50. Stowell says he is focused on customer service because
blunders can haunt an online retailer for years.

TechXpress Inc. is an information-technology company offering products and services designed to help small and medium-size enterprises succeed in today’s digital age.


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