Important Tips for Starting Your New Massage Therapy Business
February 26 • Business Success
There’s a time in almost every therapist's life when the possibility of going out on one's own comes to mind. Taking those thoughts and turning them into reality can be a little scary. So, what can you do to prepare?
There are numerous barriers or obstacles that must be championed before comfortably moving out on your own. The key word for success is “management.” Management includes all areas: planning, branding, expenses, and marketing, as well as customer service.
In the earliest of stages, you should be writing a business plan. This will be the roadmap on how and when you get to that opening day. A well-developed business plan should project out 3-5 years, outlining where you’re going and how you plan to get there. By planning this far out, you should be up and running by the end of the plan.
In your business plan, be sure to write down what you want to achieve. Create a realistic timeline that will challenge you and reward you as you meet your goals. Most importantly, hold yourself accountable. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is by telling everyone what you are doing. Share your dreams openly and verbally. Once out into the open, you’ll find it easier to achieve your goals.
Think about the brands that you’re passionate about. What do these brands represent that sets them apart from their competitors? You’ll probably find that these brands are credible and compelling. Start thinking of yourself as a brand. Your hands, your modalities, and your style all become what your brand will stand for in the future. While logos and snappy sayings get attention, a true, authentic brand will withstand the test of time.
With the business plan started and groundwork for branding in play, it’s time to avoid unnecessary expenses. If you have excessive credit card debt, now may not be a good time to venture out on your own. Get your spending habits under control so that will be one less thing to worry about. An easy way to do this is to set up a budget. Just like with your business plan, your budget must be realistic. After all, you’ll need to live while your company takes flight, and if you have an unrealistic budget, you may come to resent the entire idea.
Advertising can become very expensive. One way to take advantage of advertising is through free advertising outlets. You don't have to look very hard to find great sources. Chances are you already have a network built through social media. Take advantage of free accounts, pages, and blogs offered through various social media outlets. Keep your name out there and in a positive light as much as possible. Don't be afraid to promote yourself!
By now, you’re full steam ahead. Time to put those excellent customer service skills to use. Be sure to service your clients with enthusiasm. While keeping that positive attitude, remain sincere to yourself. After all, your brand is at stake.
Really listen to your clients, and don't be afraid to ask for referrals. After all, they come to you for a good reason.
If you have some free time, look at your menu and your competitor's services. What can you do to set your business apart? Don't limit the enhancements to your menu.
Also, consider how can you fill a void in the community. Community service increases your presence and adds value to your brand and business. Being a part of a community is vital to growth, personally and professionally.
As you move from your dream of becoming a business owner to making it a reality, remember the key take-aways:
- Make smart financial decisions and focus on your plan.
- Keep control of your time and start seeing yourself as a world-class brand.
- Market yourself at every opportunity and never lose sight of the reason you’re in the industry.
- Lastly, don't be afraid to review yourself monthly; after all, each of us is a work in progress.
Whether you’re ready to start that new venture today or just dreaming of the day you hang that "open for business sign," know that you can do it with a little planning, a lot of hard work, and believing in yourself. Every company starts as a dream.
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