If you could take one step today to help your complementary therapy business be 10 times more successful than your competitors, would you do it?
If you answered "Yes", you might be surprised to learn you can set yourself apart from other small to medium-sized business owners simply by setting goals for your practice. Below is a look at the importance of goal-setting, along with five tips to help you establish and achieve relevant goals.
Why is goal setting so important?
People who set goals tend to be more successful than those who don't. Whether you own a massage therapy business, a yoga studio, or an art therapy practice, you will boost your chances of success by establishing goals. This statistic holds true for individuals and businesses alike, with researchers finding that goal-oriented work teams can boost profit margins by as much as 28 percent.
Are most people good at setting and achieving their goals?
No. Unfortunately, most people are not good at setting or achieving their goals. You might be surprised to learn that fewer than one-fifth of people set goals. Here are a few common reasons why people fail to set or achieve goals:
- Setting goals is not a top priority for many people
- Some complementary therapists do not know how to effectively set goals
- A fear of failure prevents some people from setting or working on goals
- Some business owners become overwhelmed because they set too many goals
How can you master the goal-setting process?
If you consider yourself a goal-setting novice, you are not alone. Most complementary therapy practice owners are not well-trained in the goal-setting process. But goals are not magically set and achieved on their own. The process requires your commitment and dedication. Fortunately, you can master the art of goal-setting by following the five tips below.
1. Put your goals in writing
Writing or typing your goals may sound like an insignificant part of the goal-setting process. In reality, people who write down their goals are 20 percent more likely to achieve them. Once you have a written summary of your goals, make a few hard copies and post them in locations you visit frequently. Examples may include the wall next to your desk, your refrigerator door, or the inside of your tablet or portfolio. Viewing your goals frequently will help you remained focused on attaining them.
2. Be realistic instead of idealistic when setting goals
- Idealistic and out of reach: Become the most famous hypnotherapist in Australia within a year
- Realistic and attainable: Become Alice Springs' most well-known hypnotherapist for paediatric learning disorders by 2023
While it would be an incredible accomplishment to become Australia's top hypnotherapist, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to achieve this idealistic goal anytime in the near future. And with over 500 professional hypnotherapists in Australia, the chances are miniscule that a newly trained hypnotherapist with little experience could become Australia's top hypnotherapy provider. On the other hand, aspiring to become Alice Springs' go-to hypnotherapist for learning disorders is a far more realistic and attainable goal.
3. Be specific rather than general
Goals that are overly general are not as effective as those that reference quantifiable milestones you can track and achieve. Specific goals typically involve numbers, percentages, and timeframes that allow you to monitor your progress. For instance, look at the difference between these two goals:
- General Goal: "Attract more customers to my massage therapy practice."
- Specific Goal: "Attract at least five new customers per month to my massage therapy practice."
Here is one more example:
- General Goal: "Reduce operating expenses."
- Specific Goal: "Reduce operating expenses by 10% in the next fiscal year."
By specifying how many new clients you would like to attract each month, you can check your customer roster regularly to see whether you are on or off target. And by striving to reduce your operating expenses by 10%, you can calculate your upper threshold and take specific measures to reduce costs related to energy consumption and printing.
4. Map out a plan
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, a famous French writer, is best known for proclaiming, "A goal without a plan is just a wish." This proclamation illustrates how vital it is to map out a plan to achieve your goals. Without a road map or framework for achieving your goals, your odds of attaining them decline.
You should have an action plan with initiatives for each goal so you can hit the ground running right away. For instance, if your goals is to attract at least five new customers per month to your massage therapy practice, you may outline a plan that includes the following initiatives:
- Schedule at least one social media promotion per month to entice new customers to schedule a massage therapy session
- Launch a customer referral program that offers existing clients a discount for referring new customers to your business
- Extend your hours on Wednesday evenings to attract customers who can only visit you after the work day is finished
5. Track your progress and make changes if necessary
The goal-setting process does not occur in a vacuum. It is an ongoing process that requires your sustained attention, and sometimes, you may find that your goals should be tweaked to reflect industry trends or events. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic made it difficult for many new therapists to attract new customers. Top therapists revisited their goals with many adjusting their goals to boost their number of online/virtual appointments.
What are three things to always remember about goal setting?
Clearly, there is much more to the goal-setting process than brainstorming about where you would like your business to be in the future. With so many factors to consider, it is helpful to keep these three key points in mind as you organise your goals:
- Goals should be realistic and specific
- Setting goals is an ongoing process
- Professional organisations can help you with goal-setting
The last point is especially important to remember, especially if you are preparing to start your own complementary therapy business. By joining a leading professional organisation such as IICT, you can boost your professional recognition, obtain affordable insurance, and increase your access to helpful articles, videos, and other industry resources.