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How to Grow Your Business on a Budget

I thought we could talk a bit about growing your business even when money is tight. I know a lot of you would love to get more clients, would love to bring in more revenue, would love to expand to include ALL the thing – but then you look at your bank account and that’s a big fat NOPE. So let’s look at some ways you can grow your massage practice on a budget. 

Many business owners stress about money, right? I mean, there just never seems to be enough to go around and to invest in all that you want to at any given time, especially in those early days of business. And while it can be easy to look at all that you can’t do, all the financial limitations you may have at the present moment, those limitations do not mean you can’t grow; it only means you have to get a bit more creative and strategic with how you grow. 

So whether you’re starting out and on a very limited budget, or you’ve fallen on hard times and struggling to hold your head above water, let’s look at how you can make your budget last, no matter how little it is. 

You need to look at every dollar you spend for your business as an investment and determine a detailed strategy around every cent you want to spend. You can make any budget stretch if you’re creative enough. If every cent you spend is an investment, you need to get a reasonable return on that investment, right? You wouldn’t throw a bunch of money into the stock market with absolutely no chance of getting it back plus some, right? So why would you spend money in your business that doesn’t serve your mission and your bottom line?  

First, take a good hard look at your current finances and adjust. 

I know this is the part that no one wants to do. It can seem like a massive undertaking, and we’re forced to look at exactly how far off track we are from our goals. But this is also the most important thing you can do for your business. If you don’t know what’s happening within your business financially, there’s no way to ever get control of it. So set aside a few hours, grab a good strong cup of coffee, put on some great music, and start digging. 

Determine exactly how much money is coming in, as well as when and from where. 

Determine exactly how much money is going out, as well as when and to where. 

Then it’s time to adjust these numbers for the future. 

To adjust what’s coming in, start thinking of inexpensive ways to increase each existing client’s spending. That could be a simple $5 upgrade or add-on, a price increase, selling packages or memberships to incentivize regular sessions, or adding retail. Obviously you also want to start planning how to get more clients in the door, but that gets into step 2, and we’ll get to that in just a minute. 

To adjust what’s going out, you need to find ways to cut your expenses. Remember, if every expense is an investment, are you seeing a positive return on each of those? Take a good hard look at every expense and cut the unnecessary. Go back to some old CDs and cut out your music streaming service for a few months. That $10 every month could easily be put toward getting some nice business cards or some other marketing effort that would bring in clients. Most email providers charge based on your list size, so cut your email list to just those who have opened something in the last few months. It’s far more cost-effective and will boost your open and click rates, giving you the added confidence that your marketing is working. Check to see if you can find someone to repair a towel warmer or other piece of equipment instead of buying a new one. Lower your electric bill by getting some weather stripping and door sweeps to cut down on heat loss. Price shop certain regular expenses and find the best deal. The list of cuts goes on, but check every single expense that you have and see where you can make cuts and adjustments. 

Now, strategize every cent. 

Each and every dollar that you spend needs to not only be accounted for, but needs to have a strategy around it. That money you put into your email marketing needs to pay off by getting at least the occasional client to book based on what you sent. The “free” events you do need to deliver clients on your schedule or it’s an investment of your time and money you can’t afford to make. Every time you consider spending anything for your business, I want you to think realistically about what the payoff will be and how it will benefit your business both in the short term and in the long term. Are you going to see a good return from that investment? Is it where you money needs to go right this second, or can that wait? While I think it’s important to invest in your business, you need to invest wisely, not just throw money at this and that hoping something sticks. If you need to make a pros vs. cons list for each potential expense, then do it. Do what you need to do to work out the reality of the worth of that expense. 

Growing your business is possible, whether you have a $5,000 or a $50 monthly budget. You can make this happen. You just have to get serious, and get creative. 

Hey there! I'm a massage therapist, educator, writer, and business pro helping massage therapists around the world build successful businesses. My goal is to give you everything you need to start, run, and grow a profitable massage practice that supports a life you love, all without the headaches I went through learning how to do it myself.

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