Utter the words “business plan” and watch a massage therapist’s eyes glaze over. After all, this profession is based on healing and health, not on something as mundane and boring as a business plan, right?
That’s where you’re mistaken.
Make a Plan
If you engage in an activity where you provide a service and get paid for it, you are running a business. And to make sure that business succeeds, you need to have a plan in place.
Carol Wiley, a 12-year veteran of the massage industry, provides some detailed information for therapists as they create a business plan. She asserts on her site, “…without a guide to building your business, you could become one of the many massage therapists who quit the profession in less than five years.”
Business Plan Basics
Wiley raises some pertinent questions that should be answered before putting your plan down on paper. By understanding some basics—how do you define your ideal client, will you accept insurance, will you be a solo practitioner or work for someone else—you have a good starting point.
Goals and Marketing
Massage therapists should also establish some distinct business and personal goals, according to Wiley. Her site also addresses the financial aspect of running a business, as well as the importance of marketing. “Take the time to find your own marketing style by reading available books about marketing massage and experimenting with marketing techniques to find what works best for you,” she said.
Allow for Changes
In time your massage business will change; so, too, should your business plan. Wiley advises revisiting your business plan every month or two and making any necessary changes.
Rely on Good Reference Books
Some massage therapists might find the book One Year to a Successful Massage Practice by Laura Allen informative when launching or revitalizing their business. Allen embraces some of the same business concepts as Wiley, and also addresses several marketing aspects that can be useful in creating a solid business plan, including promotional techniques.
Based on personal experience, Allen emphasizes that identifying your goals will help shape your business plan. In the book she writes, “Being successful in the massage business requires mental and physical effort.” Massage therapists who are serious about succeeding will find that the tips, advice and inspirational snippets within these pages form a foundation upon which they can build their own business.
The book features a journal that Allen anticipates will motivate the massage therapist to share her/his thoughts, remain focused on the goal and track progress. Personal stories sprinkled throughout the book will inspire readers and give them ideas to implement.
Not only does Allen share her expert advice on starting and building a successful massage business, but she also provides a wealth of resources, from contact information for state associations and online marketing resources to support services and a marketing calendar.
Once you’ve finished reading Allen’s book—and any others related to business—be sure to give them a place of honor on your bookshelf so you can use them as reference sources in the future.