When you first set up your complementary therapy business it is very easy to get distracted and be unsure where you should start, or where you should put most of your energies. Don’t be a rabbit in the headlights! I interviewed thirty successful therapists and asked them what tips they had to therapists just starting up your therapy business.
1. Set clear business goals and write them down.
Why are you in business? What do you plan to achieve ( see module on business planning). Write down your goals.Measure how you are doing against your goals on a
regular basis and make adjustments as necessary.
2. Do marketing consistently and for the long term
– and test it.
Spend sustained time and effort (possibly about a day a week) to market and promote yourself. Spend quality time establishing yourself in a community as a professional
3. Manage your costs, particularly when you first set up.
Be realistic about the income you can be generate and keep costs as low as
possible while maintaining standards and the right image. Review your cash flow on a regular basis, preferably weekly but at least monthly.
4 Cooperation and joint ventures.
Working with other therapists in joint ventures means that you can offer your clients a wider range of therapies. I have seen this work whereby the therapist who has had the referral pays a small commission to the referring therapist, and I have seen it done a lot less formally both of which can work depending on the personal (professional) relationship between the therapists.
Get a good supervisor and peer group for support, pooling ideas and possibly to share marketing costs ( for example if you have complementary skills or are based in different locations within a city). It is also important to be connected with other professionals so that you do not become isolated.
Being mentored by a separate business coach is a way of reducing the risk of going out of business and actually being held to account to achieve the goals you have set yourself. Do email me and ask about business coaching.
6. Use other professionals to cover your weaker areas.
Ensure that you are properly insured and that you can do more than just
therapy. You will need administrative skills, bookkeeping skills, selling skills etc. If you do not have those skills yourself you will need to use the services of
those who do. You can try doing it all yourself ( and many people do) but you need to think about whether that is best use of your time…obviously if you use a bookkeeper say you will need to make sure you cover her costs when you are setting fees.
7. Get experience at a busy successful practice first.
Use this to learn the ropes, find out what works, what doesn’t and after a couple of years set up your own business. I would advise some caution on this suggestion as some clinics will insert a non competition clause in the event that you leave them you cannot set up a competing practice within a certain area for a certain number of years ( sometimes these clauses can be quite onerous). You also need to think about whether you will be “poaching” your previous employer’s clients.
8. Be “hungry” for success.
Do whatever it takes, work word of mouth as much as possible, get referrals,
give out leaflets to hairdressers etc in exchange for a
9. Look after yourself physically and emotionally.
Do what you love, do everything with integrity and compassion, protect yourself and keep yourself grounded. Your key purpose is to serve others.
10. Seek referrals and additional appointments.
Encourage each client to make an appointment at the end of each session. Seek testimonials and referrals from your clients, particularly in the early days. If you are literally just starting out ask for testimonials from your cases studies and get them to recommend three people that would find your service s valuable. If you ask for three names you might get one. Follow up the referrals. I had one client who had someone referred to them but because their potential client had not called them they did not follow up. After some coaching she did call the potential client to find that they thought my client was not interested in the business so they had gone elsewhere.
For more on the steps to take when you set up in business check out my book, ” Set Up a Therapy Business: a Step By Step Guide” which is out now on Amazon.
Here is the short link where you can also search inside: