We started with a massage

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For some, the idea of owning a business is persuasive and powerful.

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It's easy to imagine what working for yourself will be like: setting your own hours, developing a schedule that allows for flexibility, keeping all the profits for yourself. When you first start thinking about opening a massage therapy practice, your natural inclination might be to focus primarily on the positive aspects of business ownership. And there's nothing wrong with letting the potential obstacles fade into the background—for a time.

But when you begin getting serious about this endeavor, you must be realistic about both the good that will come from opening your own massage therapy practice, as well as the challenges you might need to overcome. The best way to success is on a road paved not only with a passion for massage therapy, but also sound business skills. One of the simplest questions is also the one not many people ask themselves before jumping in and opening their own massage practice: Am I cut out to be a business owner? When you start thinking about opening your own practice, Schmitt suggests doing a thorough self-assessment that includes being honest about if you have some of the common characteristics of successful self employment.

Some people hesitate because the task is tedious, Schmitt posits, but pushing yourself to develop a thorough business plan can sometimes be the difference between success and failure. Schmitt also suggests that massage therapists need to be educated in business, as well as massage therapy.

Some things to think about from a business perspective include ensuring you have enough capital when starting your practice. Think carefully when you hire staff, Schmitt recommends, and be sure you act as you want your employees to behave.

Writing a business plan takes time, but the exercise should give you a very good idea of whether or not your business is set up for success. Following are some key aspects of a business plan you need to fully consider when developing your ideas for building a practice. Here, you might want to think of a mission statement for your practice. Think about what you want to achieve and then write a few lines that describe the practice you are hoping to build in concise, clear language.

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This statement can also encompass your philosophy of massage therapy. For example: [Name of Practice] provides therapeutic massage to help people maintain a healthy lifestyle and deal with low-back pain in an environment built on trust and professionalism. A good place to start is looking at what national averages are for massage therapy use. AMTA reports on this information annually. You need to think anecdotally, as well. Think about how many people you know in the community who might become your clients.

Do you have an idea of how receptive people in your local area are to complementary and alternative health approaches? You also need to be sure you for the of practicing massage therapists in your area. Knowing what opening a massage practice is going to cost is essential to understanding if your goal is realistic. Some common expense include: Occupancy : Are you going to rent space?

If so, how much can you afford monthly? Here, you might also include the smaller monthly expense, such as the cost of a phone line and any portion of the utilities you might have to pay. Also, be sure you find out if you need a businessand how much you can expect to pay for one if needed. Operating Costs : These expenses include anything you need to open and maintain your practice, from any outside professionals you hire to create promotional material to the oils and lotions you use during a massage session.

When thinking of these items, include everything that comes to mind, no matter how small. Don't forget to include a computer, printer and fax equipment, too. Marketing : The cost of getting the word out, not just when you first open your practice but in ongoing efforts, needs to be ed for when writing your business plan. Think seriously about what marketing initiatives you might want to pursue, and then get some estimates about what these efforts might cost.

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Are you going to advertise? De and print brochures? Calculate what you might expect to spend, from hiring a graphic deer to buying ad space to printing business cards. Cherkin, DC, Eisenberg, D. Preyde, M. Field T. Brattberg G. By Michelle Vallet, November 16, Think This Through One of the simplest questions is also the one not many people ask themselves before jumping in and opening their own massage practice: Am I cut out to be a business owner? Basic Goals and Objectives Here, you might want to think of a mission statement for your practice.

If you believe your area may mirror national averages, for example, use 22 percent. Multiply total a and total bgiving you the total of potential clients in your area. Multiplying the total of potential clients by the of visits each potential client might make in one year will give you the total demand by potential clients. Estimate Start-up Expenses Knowing what opening a massage practice is going to cost is essential to understanding if your goal is realistic.

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Related Resources. Continuing Education It's Your Business: Understanding Business Concepts Learn how to make informed choices for business issues often ignored by massage therapists. References 1.

We started with a massage

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