In the past nine years of teaching aromatherapy and reflexology students I am always amazed when they turn up nearly at the end of the course and they have not really thought about how they are going to market their services or how they are going to set up their complementary therapy practice. A couple may have got their therapy business cards and leaflets printed and thought about putting up a card in their local newsagents, but that is it.
Before you set up in any business though, never mind a therapy business, you need to be very clear of the following:
1) Why are you going into business? Sometimes people say things like they want to make money. If that is the case there are a number of other businesses that re a lot less work but earn more money. For others it is because they are passionate about their therapy and just want to do it as much as possible. That is all very well but that is fantastic for a hobby but won’t make you a business. If you ask some of the most successful business people, although they like money their prime motivator is to make a contribution, to make a difference. For me as a business coach I am in business to help people to help themselves and really set up and grow their therapy business. Be clear about why you are in business and this will help you towards the next question……
2) What is your vision for the business? When you have a clear vision of where you are heading in your business you can make day to day decisions that take you towards your vision. My vision for my business is insight, integrity and inspiration. From there I have specific goals that lead to that vision. I was asked why you need a vision.. isn’t it just words? Well yes if you do not put it into action it is just a set of words… but words can inspire you into action. Obviously if you have a number of different people in the team ideally everyone is working towards that vision.
3) Who is the ideal customer? You need to have a very clear view of who your ideal customer is , what their issues are, what their interests are and how you can serve them best. When you do your marketing you need to bear in mind your ideal customer and talk to them individually… you win new customers one person at a time. Once you have that clear in your mind you can then work out perhaps the key to success at the early stages of a business…
4) How are you going to acquire new customers? You can ( and should!) do lots of market research and find out both the demand for your services and the existing supply in the form of your competitors and you need to be clear about:
a) where you are going to go to get your clients;
b) exactly which services you are going to provide and the amount you are going to charge and perhaps most critically
c) how you are going to convince them that your services will meet their needs.
With all of these you need to test, test , test: test the market, test which avenues result in the most leads, which package of services seems the most popular and the price point that maximises profit and test your marketing – the headlines, the approach, the copy. Test everything. When you have the knowledge and have a base that is working, use this as a control ( like science at school!) and test against the control, so you are always are looking to improve your marketing to appeal to your customers. Your aim is to maximise you cash flow, particularly in the early stage of a business.
5) Do you have the resilience to keep going when you face challenges and have the support of friends and family? When you are setting up your own business as a therapist you are most likely to set up as a sole trader… that means you are responsible for everything. It can be daunting, but will certainly help if you have the support of your family and friends and will certainly increase your chances of thriving if you also have the support of a mentor. If you are looking for a mentor to help you on set up and growing your therapy business contact me to discuss how I can help you.