“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney
The decision is made. You are ready to set out on your own and become an entrepreneur. It’s a worthy goal and one that can lead to a successful and fulfilling career if you do it right. Here are 5 steps to ensure your massage therapy company starts off on the right foot and stays on track for the long term.
1. Get Certified
“In healing touch, we listen accurately to share the traveller’s pain. In response, we coordinate our hearts with our hand to share compassion through touch.” – Zach Thomas, The Church’s Forgotten Language.
Chances are, if you’re considering starting your own massage therapy business, you’re already certified. If so, great. If not, you need to get this done. Research the certification requirements in your area and then find a quality massage school that can teach you what you need to know. Certification is important not only for learning proper techniques, but it can also legally protect you and your business.
You will need to continue to meet requirements to keep your massage license valid. You may need to take an exam or class every few years to renew your certification depending on where you live.
Your education can continue even after earning your massage therapist certification. For example, you can pursue board certification. Board certification can help you advance past an entry-level position. It requires more hours of hands-on training, education, and a background check. In addition to board certification, you can also take courses in pain science, prenatal, movement, or exercise based classes. Ultimately, it’s important to know that there are opportunities to grow and progress in your career as a massage therapist.
2. Create A Business Plan
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery
The first step is to create a sound business plan. If you aren’t sure, there are free business plan templates out there for the taking. Part of creating a business plan is estimating your startup costs and your ongoing expenditures needed to keep the business profitable. How much will your equipment cost? Massage tables, fragrances, oils, massage stools, and sheets need to be taken into account as well.
Then, consider how your business will generate money. What types of massages will you offer? How much will you charge for each service? Look at other massage therapy businesses near you for ideas and to understand what competition you are up against.
The time for dreaming is over. When you are creating your business plan you want to stay conservative with your estimates. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.
3. Register Your Company
“The last 10% it takes to launch something takes as much energy as the first 90%.” – Rob Kalin, co-founder of Etsy
This isn’t the most fun part of launching a company, but it’s imperative. Once you have your business name picked out, you need to let the government know what you’re up to. Do your research and see what kind of registration will be best for your company: individual proprietor, partnership, LLC, or corporation. Having your business registered is an essential move for abiding by laws and protecting your rights.
You can get your Employer Identification Number on the IRS website.
4. Develop a Marketing Strategy
“Even when you are marketing to your entire audience or customer base, you are still simply speaking to a single human at any given time.” – Ann Handley
This is a big one. To have a successful business you need to attract customers. Here are a few things to consider when putting together your marketing strategy:
- Examine your business name. Does it convey the right message? Is it easy to spell and remember? Don’t let an ambiguous name concept obscure your business.
- Create a logo that is eye-catching and appropriate. If you don’t have the graphic design eye, hire a professional to do it for you.
- Build a basic website. It doesn’t have to be complex, but it does have to be professional and have the appropriate information. WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace all offer simple templates. Again, if you aren’t confident that you can do it well, hire someone. A bad website can sink a business.
- Learn about SEO or work with a consultancy that can help small businesses on a limited marketing budget. Having a website isn’t enough, potential customers need to be able to find your business online. Most often that starts with a Google search query.
- Get on social media and stay active there. Your customers are out there!
- Think about your retail space. Is it easy to find, visible, and affordable?
- Join local professional associations and networking groups.
- Think of creative ways to market your business locally.
5. Get Insured
“Think ahead. Don’t let day-to-day operations drive out planning.” – Donald Rumsfeld
You may not want to think about it, but a malpractice lawsuit or other types of claims are always a possibility. Get insured to cover yourself and your business!
Starting your own business can be a very rewarding endeavour. Don’t be afraid to go after your desire to own your own business. Put together a solid plan and then follow through. The time you spend planning and preparing for your business is nothing compared to a lifetime of living your dream.