All-Star Case Studies

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Ginger Bay Salon & Spa


Company Background

Ginger Bay Salon & Spa, near St. Louis, is a $4-million provider of high-end beauty and personal wellness services. Opening the books in 2008 to its 70 creative professionals was the salon's first solid step on its path to sustainable financial health and employee ownership.

Great Game Solutions

To prepare for Game launch, the executive team, with coaching from GGOB, simplified the P&L, trained team leaders to assume line-item responsibility and created systems to facilitate personal goal-setting, strategic planning, team budgeting and forecasting. Weekly huddles center on a wall-size scoreboard that tracks everyone's daily, weekly and monthly goals. “Posting individual numbers improved behavior overnight,” says owner and CEO Laura Ortmann. “The result has been more awareness, accountability, mentoring and teamwork.”

Mini-Games emerged from an economic readiness plan drafted early in '09 to polish lackluster cash-flow projections. Business "Alert Levels‟ run from Level 1 (normal operations) to Level 5 (close shop). To keep cash flowing, teams rallied like never before to boost sales and shave costs. They feverishly marketed their services, filled the appointment book, logged extra hours, improved workflow efficiency and swiftly increased profitability. At all team meetings, they received prizes such as Cardinal baseball tickets, lunches and gift cards. Meantime, the Alert Level is posted for all to see and discuss.

Despite a challenging 2009, service revenue was up 0.3%, traffic grew by 1.8% and retail sales increased by 11%. Quarterly games moved the salon into the black. And in 2010, Ginger Bay was recognized by Salon Today Magazine as one of the top 200 salons in the country.

“Opening our books allowed us to go from a culture of complacency, lack of accountability, financial ignorance and reactivity to a culture of engagement, empowerment, fiscal responsibility and results,” Ortmann concludes. What's up next for Ginger Bay? A team-based bonus plan to replace a 'stake-in-the-outcome-style' commission system.


  • Sales: In ‘09, service revenue grew by .3%, traffic was up 1.8% and retail sales increased by 11%.
  • Profit: Moved into the black in ‘09.
  • Engagement: Frequent on-site educational workshops and community-outreach events ensure individuals exceed their annual goals: 40 hours of training and 10 hours of community service.
  • Mini-Games: Increased traffic, sales, teamwork, business intelligence and workflow efficiency. Reduced costs across the board. Mini-Games supported the salon‟s economic readiness plan that drove profitability in '09.
  • Profit-sharing: The goal is to replace commissions with a GGOB-inspired share-the-wealth plan in 2011.


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