A business plan can help create success as a massage therapist. The creation of a business plan will help you outline specific steps to take in order to reach personal and professional long- and short-term goals. Even if you choose to work as an employee in another massage therapy business the exercise of writing a business plan will help you solidify your long-term goals.
What Is a Business Plan?
A business plan is a working document that outlines your goals for the future. It sometimes includes both personal and professional ambitions. The purpose of a business plan is to outline the actions needed in order to achieve success. If you are trying to secure a business loan you will be asked to provide a business plan. The document is divided into sections to address topics such as three-year goals, five-year goals, marketing and mission. The key to a successful business plan is to remember that this document is flexible and subject to change. The business plan should be updated on a regular basis to accurately reflect your current business situation as well as potential business situation.
How Do I Start?
As a massage therapist there are many directions for your career. You may choose to work in a spa, private business, chiropractor's office, sports facility, hotel/resort or cruise ship. Prior to starting your business plan you need to determine your earning potential as well as factors contributing to profit loss. Some questions to ask include: Do you want to work as an employee or independent contractor? Massage therapy jobs as an employee are limited. Generally, you will be paid as an independent contractor even if you work for a spa. This means that you will have to pay your own employment taxes, Social Security and insurance. If you choose to work as an employee you will need to spend extra time job hunting. Where do you want to work? Some people prefer to work on their own in an office, while others like the stimulation of a resort environment. If you prefer to focus on medical massage you might consider working in a chiropractor's office. Think about where you will be most comfortable. If you choose to work with another massage therapist, chiropractor or health practitioner, you will need to negotiate the terms. Some offices pay massage therapists a percentage of the money earned from a massage, while others simply charge rent for using the space. Be certain you are clear about the terms, including responsibility for phone, scheduling, linen services, hours, client referrals and supplies. Do I have enough capital to start my own business? You should have a minimum of one year's salary saved prior to starting your business venture. You will also need several months' money for rent, supplies and advertising. Once you are clear about your career direction you can begin writing your plan.
Business Plan Sections
The business plan is divided into the following sections: • Table of Contents • Mission Statement -- This describes who you are and what you provide. Will you focus on pregnancy massage, myofascial, energy work or cranial sacral release? Be specific about your modalities as well as your target market. "Healing Hands provides healing touch through reflexology, energy balancing, cranial sacral therapy and Swedish massage to hospice patients in the greater New Haven area." • Marketing -- This section is divided into subsections, including marketing strategies and advertising, target markets and demographics of target market. Try to be realistic when assessing your target markets. If you are operating a business on the south side of your town, will people from the north side travel to you? You must be realistic about where you live and where people are most likely to spend money. Massage therapy is the first item that gets cut from a household budget during difficult financial times. If you set up your business in a town that is economically depressed you may have a difficult time convincing people to spend money on massage therapy. Be certain to carefully evaluate your location options as this will play a large role in your marketing strategy. Talk to other massage therapists in your area and check the phone book to see how many massage therapists are listed. • Financial -- This is the portion of the business plan that will most interest a lender. Investigate and be realistic about your expenses. Expenses will include: Rent Linens Oils/Lotions Furniture/Decorative items (for new spaces) Music Candles Business Cards Phone Advertising/Marketing Salary Include projected income, projected growth and financial forecast. • Goals -- List your current goals as well as three-year and five-year goals. Do you want to become certified as a Shiatsu practitioner? How will you achieve that goal while maintaining your current business? Be certain to detail the necessary steps to achieve your goals.
The Business of Massage Therapy
As with any business you need to nurture it and pay attention to details. When writing your business plan remember to include ideas for a detail-oriented business. For example, you might invest in a website where your clients can purchase and print gift tokens from the comfort of their own home, or a software program that will help you remember your clients' birthdays. Make follow-up phone calls to your clients the day after they receive a massage. Always reschedule a client before they leave your office. In business you should sweat the small stuff, as that is what will determine your success.