Why you may be struggling with your therapy business
You’ve got to work like a therapist but think like a boss. There’s no new magic. It’s investing in yourself, your business. Not more therapies, not having a huge long list of therapies. I was watching a program a couple of weeks ago. It was doing up a chateau DIY.
There were two chaps there who had this fantastic, amazing chateau that was running weddings. Somebody had gone there to advise them and to help them out because they were really, really struggling. And if they didn’t make their business work in that year, then they were going to give it up. Once she actually sat down and worked with them, she found they had a long list of what they offered. She found out that they didn’t actually own, they didn’t have their own tables, didn’t have their own chairs, didn’t have their own cutlery, dinner service, nothing like that because they were hiring it for the wedding. They were getting the people to have their choice of square tables, round tables, rectangle tables, pattern plates, plain plates, white plates, this cutlery, that cutlery, these different glasses, that different glasses. And the thing was, probably like our own clients, we get overwhelmed with what’s available, what to choose. She said, “Get your own tables. Get your own stuff and then they know that’s what they’ve got. They’ll either book with you or they’ll go elsewhere. Just make it available.
That’s why we say it’s a niche. That’s why we say to bring it down. Because putting the marketing message out to everyone, nobody is going to see it. You will work with everyone. You will still get out to other people and other people will do the recommendations and the referrals for you. So that’s where word of mouth comes in. But what you really need to do to get your marketing message to save you time, to save you effort and to make sure you are saying that you are visible, that’s when you niche down and make your marketing message much easier.
I’ve done exactly the same thing in my business. You get really passionate about all the therapies. You learn umpteen things and keep adding to it. So I’m qualified in Swedish massage, aromatherapy massage, hot stone, Thai herbal, sports, and I’ve done some Thai. I’m also qualified in reflexology, vertical reflexology and I’ve done foot reading. I’m also qualified in Indian head. I’ve done nutrition, stress management. I’ve done yoga. I’ve got a whole long list. Now, I can package that together and sell them as really good well-being packages, but as standalone therapies, people just see a long list and go, “Oh. What am I after?”
So what’s happened over the years, a bit as well with my marketing and what therapies I like and what therapies I don’t like doing, it’s this year that I’ve narrowed it down to I’m only offering a select few therapies. That’s what I will market on and it will be targeted at a niche market. So I’ve narrowed it right down. I’m not forgetting my other therapies, my long list of therapies is still there as a toolbox that I’ll dip into what I need for my client, or I’ll recommend to that client. But I’m not going to spend my time marketing on all of them. I might bring them out and market them at a special time of the year. I might make them a Spring offer or an Autumn offer or I might do something special for the Summer or I might do a special something for Mother’s Day.
This is why you work it and you niche it. It comes down to mindset and this is where I said work like a therapist, think like a boss. It’s having that mindset because we all love our therapies, we all want to train. But then we forget to invest in ourselves or we think we don’t need it. Investing in ourselves and learning about the business, because how do you market? How do you do social media? How do you sell? How do you network? How do you write your marketing message? How do you write the content for your newsletter? How do you run that promotion? How do you sell? You’ve got your features and your benefits. What’s the difference between the two? Why would the benefits be better than the features?
I see loads of lovely offers that therapists are putting out there on social media and they’re saying 10 pounds off. Come and see me for reflexology, blah blah blah. Why? Why should I book with you? Why should I come and see you? Just because I want that £10 off? Am I then going to come to you? Am I then going to be loyal to you? What’re the benefits that I’m going to get as a customer, as a client, when I come through the door? What are you going to do for me? How are you going to make me feel? That’s what we should be selling, not our reflexology, not our massage, not our hot stone whatever. We’re selling the sizzle. We’re selling how we’re going to make them feel, how we’re going to make their lives better, how we’re going to make their well-being better. You’ve got to believe in yourself and how you get your business out there. We are human. We will have our faults and we will have our doubts and we will have our, “oh, do I want to step out into my comfort zone?”
If there’s somebody who inspires you, or who you admire in the industry or there might be some woman or therapist or whatever that motivates you. If you come up to a dilemma or if you come up to a snag or a problem or something you’re trying to work out, just think what would they be doing. Just think how would they think. Put yourself in their shoes. What would they do?
Back 20 years ago, when I did the business side of my course, nothing about marketing. Oh, we developed a leaflet and we developed a business card. But nothing about how could I get my business out there. Now marketing 20 years ago is certainly different than what it is now. Marketing changes and it changes so quickly because you’ve got the internet, you’ve got social media. It changes so quickly. So that’s what you’ve got to do is to keep updating, even if you’ve trained in business for three, four years ago. Things will have changed since then because now also, we’re bringing out the GDPR. So that’s going to change how you market. You won’t be able to take, offer a freebie or offer a free draw or stuff now and automatically put people onto your database without getting their consent.
So that changes things on how you market to what you were doing last year, what you’ve been doing the last 18 years or whatever. So things are always changing. Another question I put to the people I work within the hub on Facebook. I put a question to them that when they’re looking at running their business, do they keep up to date with the business news? Because I was interested to find out how many of them knew about the GDPR and I knew some of them weren’t already because they were asking me questions. But I’ve been talking about GDPR since January. But I’ve been learning about it since last year. So, I’m still getting comments now from therapists that say, “Oh Allie. I’ve just found out about GDPR. Have you got any tips around my Facebook live in January? I run a webinar on it in February.”
How is it that organisations that are telling them in a later stage? Is it just purely through social media they’re picking things up? And it’s what I said, again, to therapists where I say work like a therapist, think like a boss. What else do you follow on social media? What newsletters do you get through? You don’t have to follow everybody. But are you looking at the Chamber of Commerce? Or are you looking at Federation of Small Business? Or are you looking at any other business experts on social media or in newsletters or whatever to follow, to keep up with the latest news? Yes, I read the daily mail on a Saturday. Yes, I know it’s called the Daily Hate. And you may hate me for that, but in there, it’s got a business section. [inaudible 00:17:59] flip through that just to see what’s going on. Some of it’s totally out of my league and I’ve got no interest in, but I just like to see because in there, it tells you what’s the latest trend in marketing, what’s the latest thing that you need to do. So it’s those type of things that you need to look at.
Marketing always gets outdated. It goes through changes so quickly. You’ve got to keep up to date. I see many, many students come out that they’re great with their qualifications, but they’re not then don’t know how to put the business out there. Don’t know how to be visible. Don’t know what to say or do to get the clients in. Some of them even come to leave with a belief that they’re just going to set up and people are going to come to them, they’re going to find them. Well, it’s not. It’s about being visible. What you want is the people that really need you and that want you. Also remember with running a business, and again, it’s one that we see often when I’m in the therapist groups and I’m chatting is that it does take time. I’m sorry, it’s not quick. It does take time to build a business out there, to get the word out there, to get people seeing you, to get people coming on.
That’s why the first 12 months, maybe even longer, it is a bit of a hard slog. It is networking. It is being at events. The initial 12 months, it is the legwork. It is the groundwork. Now there’s a mass market. We’re all clambering out for people. We’re all looking for people. But, there are enough people there for us. There are enough clients out there for all of us. But, it’s getting the word out there. It is enjoyment, but all this comes down to its implementation. It means taking action. You might have a very, very, very long to-do list. So every week, plan some things from that to do list, prioritise it and do it. Add to that list what really needs doing, what’s been an idea of your for months that really needs doing? Is there some marketing you really want to try and haven’t yet? Well, don’t keep putting it farther down your to-do list, pull it out and work on it. It always takes implementation and action. Small steps every day. I hear therapists say to me, oh I’m going to have a website. And they’re still saying it three years on. Well, when are you going to do it? If it comes down to money, all right, put a little bit beside each week, each month and save up to get that website built.
Or maybe your web developer, web person that you know will do a plan. My big academy site cost me thousands and I couldn’t pay that initially. So we had a payment plan in place so that I could pay it off before it actually all went out live. So we’ve just built bits and we did things as and when I could afford it. It might be the case for you with a website. Some people don’t have websites. They’ve got a Facebook page and that’s fine. That works for you, that’s great. But it’s sending them in the right direction. You’ve got to see what you need, who you’re looking for and what you’re doing, what you need to have in place, what you need to do with it.
It’s that working on your business, not in it with working with your therapies. You’ve also got to be working on your business every day. So that’s why you might be struggling is that you’re not being visible. You’re not putting your word out there. You haven’t got the mindset in place. You haven’t got the belief. It’s that prioritising. It’s that taking those steps. It’s being visible and putting the word out there. As I said, there’s no magic tool. There’s no magic wand. There’s nothing that you can do that will miraculously turn things around. It’s the same as what every business does. It’s just that we’ve got to do it in our own way. Like I said, work like a therapist, think like a boss. And it is. Try and find time every day to sit and work at your planner what needs to be done, what marketing have you done this week? Where have you put your business cards this week? Where have you put your flyers? Who have you spoken to? What posts have you shared? What blogging have you done? You might be going oh my God, that’s too much work. Well then, where’s your clients going to come from? Some people do Facebook ads. Some people do AdWords and have Google AdWords, the marketing and the ads on the side. I’ve never done that, but I know therapists who have and it really works for them. It’s finding what works for you. But it is, it’s all about the groundwork. It’s all about that foundation. It’s all about taking action, implementing, pulling up and prioritising, and putting it all in place.
Go on out for a walk today in the glorious sunshine might bring some new ideas, might give you the motivation and the energy to go yeah, I can do this. I’ll have another crack at it. I’m going to do this. I’m going to do that. I’m going to contact this girl. I’m going to contact that health shop. It might be the things you need to do. But that’s why you may be struggling is you’re just not putting that groundwork and putting that word out there.