Making personal connections is key in the digital age, anyone can pick up a phone but taking the time to speak face to face is what will set you apart from the competition
As part of my series about the leadership lessons of accomplished business leaders` I had the pleasure of interviewing Diane Cook, Founder of BeeSpa.
Diane got her start as a beauty and spa entrepreneur more than 20 years ago after building one of the most successful spas in the Twin Cities, Day Spa. In 2012, after receiving a box of bee-related products that included a stinky, gray foam that revived her dry, cracking feet, she bought the formula; thus, BeeSpa was born.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?
For many years I owned and managed a spa with a large staff. After 20 years, I decided to sell the business and soon found myself at loose ends. One day an acquaintance of the family sent us a box of miscellaneous bee products. In the box was a jar of a gray substance seemingly a type of cream. It did not have a pleasant odor, and I thought, “I would never put this on my body.” One day working at the computer, my feet were dry and itchy. I thought, what have I got to lose. I put the cream on my feet, and overnight, I could feel and see a difference. Upon further investigation, I found that the cream was a formula our friend’s grandmother made in her garage decades ago. Women back then had to make their cosmetics. I knew I had something here, so I bought the basic formula and took it to chemists who helped me make it marketable while keeping the integrity of the formula. The magic ingredient was a large amount of beeswax.
Can you share one of the major challenges you encountered when first leading the company? What lesson did you learn from that?
Years ago, when I opened my spa, I chose a poor location. I should have paid attention to the old saying “location, location, location” because, in this case, my new storefront proved a disaster. The lack of traffic caused me to move the spa to a better location. To be successful, entrepreneurs must try different things until they find what works for them.
What are some of the factors that you believe led to your eventual success?
Business is always a challenge and a work in progress. I have not yet achieved the success I am working towards.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO”? Please share a story or example for each.
Before starting, I received a lot of negative feedback. People told me things like:
- It’s too hard!
- There is too much competition
- You will lose money
- You’ll never persevere
- It’s too hard making calls and getting new accounts! This is true. Out calling is hard for me! I do better in person, and that’s one reason why my business has been growing. I also have a TV commercial and a space ad which I’m enclosing
This is what I wish people had said to me instead:
- The hard days are what make the effort worth it
- You will rise above the competition
- Don’t do it for the money, do it because you are passionate about the cause
- You will persevere because no matter how many ‘no’s’’ you receive, that one yes will make all the difference.
- Making personal connections is key in the digital age, anyone can pick up a phone but taking the time to speak face to face is what will set you apart from the competition
What advice would you give to your colleagues to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Owning a business is not a 9–5 endeavor. It’s hard to turn it off. However, you must take time to exercise and spend time with family and socialize with friends.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
My husband has been my mentor and supporter, both financially and emotionally. He is an author and top marketing innovator in his field, so I always appreciate his input in my writing and marketing decisions.
What are some of the goals you still have and are working to accomplish, both personally and professionally?
My main goal for BeeSpa products is to achieve national distribution. I believe I have excellent products that speak for themselves once people try them!
What do you hope to leave as your lasting legacy?
As for my legacy, I’d love one day to have one or two of my seven granddaughters take over the business!
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would enhance people’s lives in some way, what would it be? You never know what your idea can trigger!
I would love to be a person of influence in the wellness movement.
How can our readers follow you on social media?