Looking to start your own natural therapy practice, here are 10 tips to set you on the path to success:
1. Have a Vision
Start by having a clear vision. Meditate on your goals. What do you want your perfect week to look like? Then talk to a friend or confidant about it. Write down your vision in a journal. You can further define your goals by selecting a name for the business. This can be a name that defines what you do or you can simply offer your services under your own name.
Define your goals clearly. These should be both short and long term goals. Think carefully whether you’d work full time or part time. Would this be your main business, or would you rather have something else along the side? Do you want to eventually grow and have people working for you?
2. Sort out Financial and Legal Matters Early On
It is important that you choose the legal structure of the business carefully from the start, whether you decide between limited liability, partnership or joint venture. If needed, consult with an accountant and an attorney to make the best possible legal and financial decisions for the new venture.
Create a solid business plan which clearly defines your business and your goals. List the skills and experience you bring to the business and discuss the advantages you have over your competitors. Decide how you plan on marketing the business in the plan.
3. Be very Careful how you Spend your Money, Especially in the First Year
In the first year of your business, cash flow is the biggest issue you’re likely to face. Yes, you will also make money mistakes but make sure you learn from them. Be very protective of your cash in the starting phase of the business. At the same time, don’t be undercapitalised. Ensure you have adequate capital as you build your customer base.
4. Create a USP
USP stands for Unique Selling Proposition (for example in the case of FedEx it is “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight!”). Do you have something you can sell that your competition does not? Can you back these claims? It is a competitive jungle out there, so you must identify your USP that differentiates you from your competitors - keeping your customers in mind. Once you have identified the USP, bring it to your customer’s notice through brochures, websites and social media.
5. Advance your Skills
The minute you think you know it all is the point your business becomes vulnerable. One of the key tips to startup success (in any business) is to continually seek ways of enhancing your skills. If needed, set aside some weekend time for distance/online learning or certifications.
6. Build a Reliable Team
Whether it is a business partner, employees, front desk staff or consultants, hire the best qualified personnel to help you out. In the beginning you might feel you can’t afford paying them, but do try to get reliable help, so you can stay focused on your building your business plan and long-term growth.
7. It’s all About the Location
The location of your practice can make a huge impact on the success of your business. Gain an understanding about the demographics and economic characteristics of the area you are planning to service. Find out the demand for your modality/service. If you plan on renting space, do not dive in too soon as it can become difficult to break the lease which is expensive. Instead wait, study the area and then ensure that it is indeed the right space for you.
8. Learn from your Mistakes
The first year will be the hardest but that is normal. Things will eventually settle down as you learn and grow. Yes, mistakes are likely in the beginning but you must learn from them and ensure you don’t repeat them. If you want to try and minimise the number of mistakes you'll inevitably make, then you need to start this process by putting together a strong business plan.
9. Find a Support Group
You cannot fight all your battles on your own. This is where a good mentor can come to your rescue. A confident mentor will have the skills and expertise you need and would have typically seen success himself/herself as an entrepreneur.
10. Enjoy Yourself
Finally, try and enjoy your business. A positive attitude will help you overcome all difficulties and also persuade people to work with you and want to do business with you.