Sometimes the best advice for a natural therapy business, as far as money matters go, begins with what NOT to do.
Whether you are just beginning your business, preparing for some changes or revamping your business plans; a review of the following money mistakes can help you strategise better and avoid non-effective approaches, especially when combined with a robust Business Plan.
Money Mistake No. 1: Not having a Marketing Budget
Even the smallest natural therapy business needs a marketing plan with a strict budget, even if that plan just includes the use of business cards or other simple forms of networking. So if you have fallen in this money pit: get out now! Develop a plan, set aside a budget and get marketing!
Money Mistake No.2: Overpaying Assistants from the Start
Do not overpay your assistants at the very beginning, especially if you are paying them commissions. Some business owners pay their staff as high as 70% of revenue and this can cause trouble later. You can get equally well-qualified assistants and therapists working at less, allowing you enough money to pay your rent, invest in marketing, purchase the right level of business insurance and also make a profit. So always ask yourself: what can I afford to pay long term?
Money Mistake No.3: Offering Discounts to Customers without a Strategy
If you do not fully define the outcome of a discount and not get something in return, it is best not to offer discounts at all. Instead, make sure you set aside time and resources to accurately measure the outcome of discounts. Run reports to see which services are profitable and regularly review your customer flow to determine off-peak discount offers.
Money Mistake No.4: Not using Communication Tools
By not using tools to record your customers’ information, you are making the deadliest of all money mistakes. It is essential for natural therapy businesses to realise that retaining customers costs a lot less than adding new customers. So make sure you use and integrate scheduling, emailing and social media tools to collect, store and utilise customer records and information.
Money Mistake No.5: Not Using E-commerce
Are you using your receptionist to do all the talking and selling? Remember: receptionists are costly and they also call in sick. Consider how you can use your website to sell your products and services 24/7. Today, there are many great business management tools specifically geared for small businesses that can turn ecommerce from a chore into a valuable additional source of income.
Money Mistake No.6: Not Living and Breathing Numbers
Most of you have heard the expression: “It’s all in the numbers”, but sometimes we fail to appreciate its value. Financial reporting tools not only help you see all areas of your business, they also help you see what customers like to spend on, making it easy for you to review and act on financial performance.
Money Mistake No.7: Resisting Online Bookings
It is essential that you allow your customers to book your services easily. Yet, many therapists tend to think of online bookings as ‘scary’ and ‘daunting’. In reality, you can easily set-up inexpensive web based software to test if online bookings work for you. Chances are they will!
Money Mistake No.8: Not Being Easy to Reach
How can someone book your services if they cannot reach you? Do you list your email, phone number, website and other contact details clearly on your business card, brochures and other marketing tools? And if you do not have a website, it is time to invest in one! If not a full-blown website, at least have a Facebook page that lists your contact details.
Money Mistake No.9: Not Using an Internal Marketing System
Your current customer base is your internal marketing system. They all have contacts, friends, family members, colleagues etc. All these people can become your potential clients. So make sure you spend your marketing efforts in retaining current customers and also putting in place a great client referral program. By rewarding your valuable customers, you'll end up making more customers.
Money Mistake No.10: Not Listening to Your Employees
Your employees are your biggest assets. If you are turning a deaf ear to their problems, the problems may increase. So make sure you make things easy and comfortable for your employees. Remember: if your employee leaves, they could take your clients with them. So do consider their needs and make it a win-win situation for all.