Here comes 2018—another New Year and another opportunity to establish goals and intentions for your massage practice.
These six suggestions from Patti Biro and Laura Parker are intended to help you forge a path to massage business success—and are a continuation of the article, “4 Ways to Take your Practice to the Next Level,” published in the December 2017 print issue of MASSAGE Magazine.
1. Know Your Numbers
Every practice, from solo practitioners to large clinics, cannot get to the next level of massage business success without knowing and managing key performance indicators (KPI). This is more than just the financial basics.
Other statistics critical to your success include frequency of visit, average service and retail sales, most popular services and your retention rate of new clients. These key numbers are what you will use to benchmark the success of your current practice and help you identify where you have opportunities for growth and improvement.
Most software programs have reports built into them. First start with a snapshot of where you are today and identify the top three areas that need improvement. You should also compare where you are today with last year’s numbers. Consistent monitoring of your progress will keep you moving ahead.
2. Plan Ahead for Your Massage Business
Growing your massage business or moving ahead in a business environment will only happen with planning. Now that you have taken stock of your key indicators you can begin to map out your business plan for the next three to six months.
Where do you want your business to be? Writing things down helps you to visualize and create a plan of action. Give yourself a deadline for completing the steps you need to do. Without a plan, retail success, new clients or business financial growth is just a wish.
If you need help to reach your goals, search out business coaches, courses or additional resources.
3. Build Your Brand
When we think of a brand we often think of a large corporation, but our personal massage business brand shouldn’t be minimalized. Our personal brand consists of everything we do, how we present ourselves and even the products we use.
It’s our professionalism, ethics, compassion and skills. It’s going the extra mile. Call that oncology client to see how they feel the next day. Send a client a link of a study they may be interested in. Set up a hypoallergenic room with no scents or noises if you have a client that requires it. The list goes on and on.
Branding is also about quality. Quality doesn’t have to be expensive, but you do have to notice the details. Little things such as stained sheets or a rushed assessment get noticed. Judgments are formed and first impressions are hard to undo.
Ninety-five percent of our brain activity is controlled by our subconscious, resulting in snap judgments, actions and decisions that we aren’t always aware of.
Your reputation, integrity and work ethic are just the cornerstone of your massage business brand. Consider adding to these core elements by creating unique experiences and products. Some ideas would include a signature scent, customized music, signature treatments or lesser-known modalities.
Be creative. Maybe a particular lighting or décor, or your choice of healthy spa snacks sets you apart. Think about the image you want to portray and then choose accordingly—do you want to give a feeling of luxury and warmth or do you want a more clinical yet inviting atmosphere? Perhaps you want to work with children and need to provide a space that’s more appealing to them.
Everything needs to reflect your particular brand, from your website and email address to your outgoing message to your online profile picture. Clients are more likely to book with you when they know what you look like or if you have a video highlighting your techniques on your website.
4. Build Your Community
Teaming up with other professionals can offer countless benefits for your massage business. Along with the obvious networking and marketing advantages this offers, it leads credibility and frees you to do more of what you love.
Teaming up with other professionals also expands your knowledge and opportunities. This community can reach beyond the massage field or even medical profession.
Do you work for yourself but aren’t sure how to promote your massage business? Maybe you are great at pitching proposals but are lost when it comes to building a website. Does it make sense to spend time on tasks you hate?
Ask any successful entrepreneur and they’ll tell you the key to success is surrounding yourself with good people who counterbalance your weaknesses. Why not swap—or even pay for—services if it frees you up to do what you enjoy?
Time really is money, whether we work for ourselves or others. Does it not make sense then to spend your time on projects and tasks you would reap the most benefit from?
5. Become a Resource
There are countless ways to share what you know from creating a blog or video channel, hosting a workshop, posting an article to social media, or simply educating your clients.
Studies show that informed patients recover faster, have less pain and in fatal diagnoses even have better survival rates. Educating our clients improves their physical and mental health by giving them control over their own well-being.
There’s no better marketing tool than word of mouth; especially by that client who feels listened to and treated as an educated individual. Give them literature on relevant topics. This can be anything from brochures you create to sharing magazine articles.
The more you educate your client, the more involved they are in their own care—which leads to happier, healthier clients.
6. Take Your Own Advice
Massage therapists make the worst clients, don’t we? How can we give our clients advice if we don’t do the same? There’s no better way to learn a new skill or technique than to experience it. I like to give my clients stretching exercises.
I know they work because I use them myself. Other suggestions could include Active Isolated Stretching, medical cupping, self-massage and yoga, to name a few. Following your own advice creates credibility as well as helping to prevent injuries and burnout.
About the Authors
Patti Biro is the owner of Patti Biro and Associates, a consulting firm specializing in special events, retail consulting, and education in the spa and wellness industry. She is an NCBTMB-approved CE provider, lecturer and consultant. She also wrote “How to Unlock the Secrets of Successful Retail Sales” for massagemag.com.
Laura Parker is an NCBTMB-approved CE instructor focusing on medical massage. She has practiced in various therapeutic settings giving her an integrated approach to wellness. Laura currently works for NovaCare Rehabilitation in a workplace wellness program. She also works as a Red Cross-approved instructor and maintains her own practice.
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