As a small business owner, you may be like many others…starting out with big ideas and dreams, and not much else. But this can lead to making some big mistakes that completely interfere with those dreams. So, here’s 5 common business mistakes to avoid when starting your massage practice…
#1: Not Enough Capital
If you want to set your business up for success, you have to have the money to make sure that’ll happen. While starting with a large sum is not a guarantee that things will work out for you, it will help you survive the lean times, and leave you wiggle room for some unavoidable trial and error along the way. Now, are there successful businesses that have started with nothing? Absolutely. But they are the exception, not the rule. Sometimes all the other pieces were in place to set them up for success, sometimes they had outside support, sometimes they had a miserable life for a while during that lean building phase, and sometimes they just got lucky.
There is no specific amount I can tell you is best. Some people start with $500 and some start with $50,000. How much you need depends on your plans and strategies, but it’s generally a good rule of thumb that if you’re going to dive in headfirst, full-time, that you have at least 6 months to 1 year worth of expenses saved on top of your actual startup costs. That means business and personal expenses. So if you don’t make a single dollar in profit, you can still keep your doors open and your bills paid…personally and professionally. Hopefully you’ll be making at least a little here and there, but it’s also easy during that building phase to pour every last cent you make back into the business, leaving your personal bills overdue. I know that may seem like a lot, but having that sitting back in the bank will not only keep your head above water should times get tough, but will give you the confidence and ability to keep going during those times without panicking. That panic often leads to poor decisions and burnout. Never good!
#2: Not Having a Plan
Working hand-in-hand with that necessary capital, should be a solid business plan. You need to have a comprehensive business plan, with every little aspect of your massage practice thought out in detail. From the financing to design, services, pricing, marketing strategies, and beyond. Many therapists start a business with little to no plan in place, constantly swaying with the winds of the day-to-day, never really knowing what they’re working toward specifically. But if you’ll take the time to plan ahead and get detailed here, it will guide your day-to-day and larger activities in every aspect of your business, ensuring you’re reaching those short term and long term goals. We actually just wrapped up a class walking therapists through developing a business plan, so if you’d like to check that out, become a member with us! That class, along with all of our other business classes are available on-demand exclusively for our members.
#3: Not Understanding the Market
It’s one thing to understand your industry. You know the massage world intimately. You understand the nuances of the work, the modalities, and the benefits. But do you understand your market? There’s a very big difference here that many therapists don’t consider. They know their industry and they think that’s all that matters. If they know the details of the work and what it can do, they can market it. But not really. Because if the market, the people you’re trying to target, aren’t there to support it, then you don’t have a business. You have to do your research and determine if the market you need to support your business idea is even present in your area.
#4: Having the Wrong Advisers
Many therapists, and business owners in general, are getting advice and guidance from the wrong people. Now I’m not saying that you should ignore everyone else’s advice, by any means. You’ll need those outside opinions and insights throughout your business journey. They’re crucial in keeping you objective in your decision-making. However, know who you’re getting the advice from! Don’t run with every idea your friend, family member, or even your mentor has. Those people may not understand the nuances of the industry. They may not have any idea of what your market is like. They may have absolutely zero business sense. They may not even have your best interest at heart. Be mindful of who you’re listening to and the weight you give that advice.
#5: Having No Contingency Plans
We all dream big, and we dream of big success. But what if something in life or business happens and it doesn’t pan out quite the way you wanted; either in small or large ways? What if the economy shifts? What if your savings isn’t quite enough? What if you get injured and can’t see clients for a few months? What if you decide 6 months in to make some drastic changes? What if you have to unexpectedly change rental spaces? There are countless possibilities of problems that can arise in any business, and having some contingency plans to accommodate those problems can mean the difference between success and failure. This may mean saving more money or having a small line of credit available. It may mean making personal budget changes. It may mean having a more cost-effective, smaller business plan in place in case you need to cut back and shift in some big ways. It may mean having special insurance to cover your business expenses should you get hurt. Whatever the case may be, think of what can go wrong and go ahead and have some plans in place in case it’s needed. It’s better to have it available and never have to implement any of it, than to be stuck in the middle of a problem and have absolutely no idea how you’ll get out of it.
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