With 2020 nearly in the books, it's time to focus on what's ahead for your natural therapy business in the coming months. This past year, businesses in all industries struggled to stay above water due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and many business owners realised they need a better way to future-proof their operations and prepare for unforeseen circumstances.
Your natural therapy business, like any business, can benefit from a well-thought-out plan of action. Here's an overview of the benefits of having a business plan in place and what you can do to get started.
Why You Need A Business Plan
Right now, for many businesses, the future seems unstable. It's hard to predict the path that the ongoing pandemic will take, and when the economy will get back on track. A business plan can help your business stay agile in the face of uncertainty and can help you recover quickly when problems arise.
At its core, a business plan is an outline of your goals for the year and how you can achieve them. By being realistic about the current state of your operations and setting achievable and actionable goals for the coming months, you can point yourself in the right direction for not just the next year, but the next five to ten years. If you're serious about getting your business on track, strategic planning and future-focused thinking can give you a leg up on your competition.
Business Plan Essentials
To put together an effective business plan, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, be sure to start planning at the right time. If you can, start your strategy early, and don't hesitate to revise your business plan throughout the year if you find that there are things that aren't working. Hash out your plan month by month, and get started on implementing it as soon as you're back from the holidays in January.
Next, be sure to keep any business partners and key employees or managers involved when you're mapping out your business plan. It can be helpful to have other people's input. Now is also a great time to ask for advice from a business coach who is experienced in creating plans and strategies to help businesses be successful.
Getting Started With A Business Plan for 2021
A business plan can help your natural therapy business prepare for 2021. If this past year was less-than-great for you, remember, you have the future at your fingertips, and having a realistic plan will make it easier for you to achieve your goals. Here is a quick step-by-step guide on how to get yourself ready for this year.
1. Think About SWOT
If you're unfamiliar with the term SWOT, it's an acronym for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. Taking a close look at all these elements within your business can lay the groundwork for a great plan. When looking at your strengths, think about what advantages you have over similar businesses in your industry, and how you can use these advantages to project you forward. Weaknesses aren't always a negative - they are simply areas where you can improve. Think about how resources can be shifted around to maximise your opportunities and successes while eliminating anything that drains your time or budget.
2. Set a Realistic Budget
With so many businesses closing their doors due to the pandemic, 2021 may not be a year to take extreme financial risks. Take a close look at trends within your market, whether you operate a yoga studio, an art therapy practice, or anything in between. Hash out your operations budget, keeping in mind building rent, marketing, insurance, supplies, and maybe most importantly, an emergency fund. This past year has proven, if anything, that businesses who are prepared for emergencies are the ones who end up on top.
3. New Products or Services?
Now that you have a good idea of your strengths and areas you need to improve, is there room in your budget to offer new products or services? Think about the problems and issues your customers or clients have. Is there are way that you can meet their needs better than you currently are? What can you offer that sets you apart from competitors?
4. Set Goals
This is the part of your plan where you can really delve into what you're trying to accomplish. Set realistic, actionable goals with a clear timeline. Make sure that your goals are clearly defined, so they can be accurately measured, and choose what metrics you're going to measure your goals with. Do you want to increase enrolment in one of your classes by 30% by next June? Notice how this goal is clearly stated - it includes numbers and a deadline by which you want to reach your goal. When your goals aren't clearly defined by key metrics, it can be tough to know when you're successful.
5. Stay Flexible
Chances are, you'll have to adapt to unexpected situations throughout the year. For example, if you don't already have a plan for conducting business remotely, this is a great time to talk about what works for you. Keep your business plan flexible and update or revise any goals that don't seem to be working out. After all, your business plan is a roadmap, and sometimes you have to change your route to get around obstacles. Know that this isn't necessarily a bad thing - businesses that are flexible are more future-proof.
2021 and Beyond
While your business plan should be based on proven strategies from the past year, don't forget to always look towards the future. What you do in the next few months will absolutely have an effect on you for years to come. It's impossible to predict the future, but its necessary to have the foresight to plan for multiple outcomes. Don't just think about next month, or even next year. Keeping your finger on the pulse of your industry and putting yourself in a growth mindset can prepare your business for long-term success.
Are you a natural therapist looking for professional membership and insurance? Feel supported with professional recognition, combined insurance cover for all your modalities, business community and support with IICT. Wherever you are on your journey, we're here to help.
Whether you’re a student just starting out, a qualified practitioner offering complementary therapies, or a training organisation educating the next generation of natural therapy providers, you can rely on IICT to provide the credibility and cover you’d expect from an international professional body.
Discover how to join IICT by clicking here or contact us on +61 2 5629 7777 Monday - Friday 10am - 4pm AEST to speak with one of our friendly and helpful Member Services team.