By Carol Wiley
You want a successful massage practice. Your first step is to create a massage therapy business plan.
If you think business plans are tedious, look at a massage practitioner business plan as a living guide to get you from where you are to where you want to go. You can change your plan as your practice develops, but without a guide to building your business, you're more likely to become one of the many massage therapists who quit the profession in less than five years.
Here's a sample massage business plan template with suggested topics. Change or add to this template as needed to suit the type of massage practice your want. Links will take you to an article with more information on a topic.
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What’s your massage experience and education? If you have experience, how will you use it to build your business? If you have no experience, what type of massage practice do you want? Also ask yourself:
How do you want people to see your massage practice? Do you offer massage therapy to relieve stress and promote well-being and health? Do you help people who have been in accidents return to pain-free functioning? Do you offer comforting massage to people with serious illness?
What types of massage do you offer? Do you offer other services, such as spa treatments?
What’s your approach to massage? Why are you in this profession and what’s important about it? How do you interact with clients?
What’s Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP)?
What makes you different from other massage therapists? Differentiating your massage practice with a USP for massage makes it easier to market your services.
What do you want in your life and in your massage business? It’s a good idea to set both one-year goals and three- to five-year goals. You can always change them as your life changes, but it’s important to start by pointing yourself in a specific direction.
This sample is an excerpt from the one-year goals and priorities I set in one of my early massage therapy business plans:
1. I continue to set a strong foundation for my massage therapy career success and build a strong client base. I spend at least eight hours a week marketing my business.
2. I provide professional and superior massage therapy.
3. I continually improve my skills through reading and attending workshops, making use of available massage therapist business resources.
4. I earn sufficient income to meet my wants and needs.
5. I maintain the highest standards of integrity, professionalism, ethics, and compassion.
6. I actively educate people about massage.
7. I take care of myself, including receiving frequent massage, eating healthy, and exercising regularly.
8. I have an excellent marketing plan.
9. My office systems are efficient.
For the financial section of your massage therapy business plan, look at your startup costs and how you will pay for them. Startup costs are likely to include:
What are your ongoing expenses? For example, rent, supplies and phone, marketing costs, continuing education, and licensing.
How much money do you need to bring in each month to live
comfortably? Be realistic. Financial stress is one reason so many
massage therapists quit. Make sure you budget for taxes, including self-employment tax.
If you have trouble dealing with money and numbers, get help from someone who understands the massage business.
A detailed massage marketing plan is an essential part of your massage therapy business plan. Educate yourself about how to market massage, find what you are good at, and make it fun. Here are a few massage marketing tips to get you started:
Now that you have a massage therapy business plan, set aside time once every month or two to review it and assess where you are. Make changes as appropriate.
Treat your business like a client: Take the same approach to your business as you do to treating your clients and you’ll have a happy, healthy practice.