As a massage therapist, you may be toying with the idea of going into business on your own. Some therapists choose to work as an independent contractor, while others decide to open their own spa, massage parlor, or other company. Although it is a career that opens itself up to venturing out on your own, when you do so, you face many obstacles and barriers.
One of the largest barriers you will face is capital, but money is not the only factor in whether or not you can create a successful business. According to Massage Today, the best chance you will have to succeed on your own is to have proper business management, which includes finance, time, branding, marketing, and customer service. Whether you manage your new company on your own or hire others to do some of the work for you, you will want to be sure that you follow these eight tips.
Draw up a Detailed Business Plan
Before you do anything, you first want to draw up a detailed business plan. This should include your goals, as well as a timeline. Not only will this help you to determine the various actions you need to take, but many investors and banks will want to see your business plan before providing funding for your venture. If you are not sure about how to create a business plan, then work with someone who specializes in it.
Certification and License
Most likely, you already have the certification and license required in your state to practice massage therapy if you are considering venturing out on your own. However, if you are not fully qualified, then you will need to get your certifications before starting your business. Certification and licenses are not just required by law, they also help protect you and the business and ensure you have a professional reputation.
Join a Professional Organization
Joining a professional organization, such as the American Massage Therapy Association, will help you out in many different ways. First, it will impart a sense of professionalism and trust to your clients, helping you to attract more people to your business. Additionally, it will help you to build your professional network. You can also often find tips and help for successfully running your business while staying up to date on the latest trends in the business.
You also should apply to be approved by the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
File the Paperwork Properly
Before you begin your business, you will need to file the paperwork, including registering your business name. You also have to decide what type of business you will have, such as an individual proprietor, partnership, LLC, or corporation. To avoid headaches in the future, you should ensure that you fill everything out correctly. If you need to, hire a lawyer or a lawyer service for help on how to file business paperwork.
Register with Various Health Funds
Health funds, insurance plans, and other organizations that offer discounts to their clients are invaluable tools for helping you to attract more clients, especially at the beginning. Being on these lists will not only widen your reach, but it will also make you more attractive to clients because they can save money if their insurance, health fund, or other organization has a partnership with you.
Create a Relaxing Atmosphere
To succeed as a massage business, you want to create a relaxing atmosphere. However, you do not want to spend all your capital on the location alone. You do not need to have an elaborate shop front or be in an expensive neighborhood. Instead, look for affordable locations that are in areas that are easy to get to with ample parking, according to Sage Institute of Massage. Additionally, you can try to save money by buying second hand equipment and furniture.
Keep Track of Accounting
From the get go, you want to be sure to keep accurate books and save all your receipts. You should also create separate bank accounts for your business and your personal accounts, and be vigilant about keeping them separate. There are several online accounting programs that can help you keep track of everything. You can also hire someone to handle your books for you to ensure you remain in compliance.
Have Time and Budget for Marketing, Branding, Customer Service, and Networking
When working on the foundation for starting your business, you should always make time and room in your budget for marketing, branding, customer service, and networking. These four things are essential for helping your grow your customer pool, which in turn helps your business to grow. Having a strong online presence, especially a good webpage, is essential in today’s market. Additionally, you should become involved in local networking events in both the massage industry and general small business opportunities. Providing good customer service will help you to have a good repeat business, as well as a strong word of mouth.
It takes a lot to successfully start your massage therapy business. It may take you some time to be ready to venture out on your own. When you create your massage business, it is important that you take the time to build the foundation for a more successful outcome.
For help maintaining your massage therapist license, check out our continuing education courses that are available online for a cost-effective, hassle free solution.