If this is your first opportunity with starting a business, chances are you may not be sure of all the tasks you need to complete before opening your door to the public.

Starting a business will require that you obtain and complete all supporting documents, have a business plan and budget, figure out your marketing strategy, and well as implement that strategy.  

To accomplish all of this, you need a checklist of things to do.

The best thing to do is to outline your needs and requirements in a business plan. By using a prebuilt business plan, one where you fill in the criteria, it will help walk your mind through all the different areas of your business that need addressing.

Some of the more general areas are:

• Business occupancy

• Advertising

• Licensing and legal needs

• Supplies

• Budgets

Included in this article are some basic guidelines for completing a few key questions. This is to assist you in getting a head start with your business plan and goals.

1. What is your mission statement going to be?

An example of a clear mission statement could be:

“I want to offer high-quality massage services to those who are wanting to improve their health and well-being. The client I most want to attract to my business is someone willing to take responsibility for their body, co-creating a better state of health with the therapy I offer them. I will do this by offering pain management, deep tissue, and stress reduction massage along with aromatherapy options.”

As opposed to an unclear mission statement:

“I want to offer and schedule a one-hour massage for any person who walks through my door.”

Putting together your mission statement helps to define what your business really is and who your ultimate customer will be. This will also help define your marketing strategy later on in your business plan.

2. What is your business name going to be?

You can use just your name and credentials (Jane Doe, LMT) or you can come up with a name that fits what you want your business to represent (All About You Massage Therapy).

If you are choosing a fictitious name for your business, you will need to do a state-wide search to make sure the name you have selected is not currently being used by someone else.

This information can be found by completing a business name search on your State’s government website.

You will then need to apply and possibly pay a small fee to register that name in your state for your business.

Other business requirements to consider are:

Costs for a business license and professional liability insurance. Depending on where you live, requirements for obtaining a business license will vary.

Always take the time to research and understand what you need to have before renting space or starting a business out of your home.

3. What services or products does your business offer?

Answer the following questions:

Are you only going to offer massage therapy in different time increments (half-hour, one hour, one-and-a-half-hour)?

Or are you going to be offering treatment add-on options such as spa, hot stone, cupping, or aromatherapy?

If you are going to be adding options, you will need to understand how much it will cost you to acquire the correct equipment and supplies to be able to offer these services.

You will also need to set your pricing for your massage rates and add on rates.

This may require you to do some market research in your area to know what the consumer is most likely willing to pay for massage and additional services, how frequently, and what services are most in demand.

Realistically there is a fine line with offering a massage service you really like and offering what the consumer will pay for. You also need to pay attention to what sells in your area.

4. Who is your target market or who are you selling you services to?

Your target clientele needs to match you and the therapy you want to offer.

This will typically include parts of your mission statement and parts of your service and product offerings. 

Outlining and understanding this question will also help you begin to define parts of your marketing strategy.

Massage therapists should be adaptable in their applications to a wide variety of bodies. However, most excel in business when they are doing something they really enjoy and have a natural passion for.

If you enjoy helping people to just check out for an hour and want them to feel refreshed when they leave your office, then your target market are people looking for that type of experience. Your marketing would include words and images that appeal to these individuals.

If you enjoy problem solving for sports related pain management, then your target market would be athletic individuals looking for someone to help their body meet specific goals and manage pain issues for performance. Your marketing would include works and images that also appeal to this specific client.

5. What is your marketing strategy?

All marketing is a combination of different available options put together in a way that works for you to build and maintain your business.

You will possibly need some or all of the following:

• Printed business cards and marketing materials

• Preprinted gift certificates

• A website, and/or scheduling site, and/or a social media business page.

In my opinion, the number-one way to build your business in massage therapy is still word-of-mouth referral along with some of the above listed services. Nothing I have ever found replaces one client handing a potential client your business card. You want people to talk about you and part of your marketing strategy needs to include how to get people talking about you.

Get Started

This list is only a start, but it’s a good start. Don’t get overwhelmed with the research, time and thought that goes into a business plan. Business planning is a new experience to get used to just like building a home. There are new things to learn about how the process works. Some you can plan for and some you will learn along the way.  

By walking through each of these steps and really thinking about what you what, your business will begin to unfold before your eyes. You will then have the goals to work towards that help transition your dreams into reality.

*You can download your commentary two-year business plan specifically for massage therapists here: https://www.ppsseminars.com/index.php/free-staff

About the Author:

Amy Bradley Radford

Amy Bradley Radford, LMT, BCTMB, has been a massage therapist and educator for more than 25 years. She is the owner and developer of Pain Patterns and Solutions Seminars CE courses. She is a National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork-approved CE provider, and has authored several books, including Massage Your Market: How to Define Your Client’s Expectations. Her articles for MASSAGE Magazine include “Are You Making This Huge Mistake with Your Product Sales?” and “Build Trust with Your Massage Therapy Intake Form.”

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