Clarify the Problem within Your Business

Clarify the Problem within Your Business

Clarify the Problem

 

Before you can identify a solution, it’s important first to clarify the problem. Why is your business struggling in the first place? If you don’t have clarity on the specific challenge you’re facing, you won’t know what steps to take to save your business. Take some time to think about how you got to where you currently are. 

 

What happened that you didn’t anticipate? 

What things went wrong? 

Some common problems businesses face are: 

1. Market changes. Economic factors, new technology, emerging competition, and many other things can cause the market to change. Survival requires the ability to adapt to changes as they happen.

2. Failure to understand the target customer or market. If people aren’t interested in your product or service, there’s a good chance you don’t understand your customers or market. Dig deep to understand what people truly want and what motivates them to buy.

3. Poor pricing strategy. If your prices don’t match the customer demand, you won’t sell much. It’s crucial to understand what customers are willing to pay, as well as where your product sits in relation to your competitors.

4. Insufficient funds. Not having enough money on hand will quickly tank your business. You must pay close attention to cash flow, financing, sales, and more.

5. Too much growth. Growth is a good thing, except when there’s too much of it. If your business grows too fast, you might not be able to keep up with demand.

Massage Burnout

Identifying fundamental problems within your business can be a painful exercise. No one likes to be reminded of ways they’ve failed. But if you want your business to thrive during challenging times, you must be able to put your finger on the primary problems.

If you’re feeling sick and go to the doctor, what’s the first thing they try to do? Determine what is causing the illness. Only then can the doctor prescribe the proper treatment. If the doctor has you start taking random medications hoping that one will work, you won’t get any better.
The same principle is true in business. You must identify the cause of the problems before you can determine the proper solution. The sooner you identify the issues, the better.

As Jim Collins wrote in Too Mighty To Fall: 

 

I’ve come to see an institutional decline like a staged disease: harder to detect but easier to cure in the early stages, easier to detect but harder to heal in the later stages. An institution can look strong on the outside but already be sick on the inside… 

Jim Collins

Focus on Your Customers 

Before we get into details about specific actions to take, let’s look at the big picture. What is at the heart of every business, including yours? Customers. If you don’t have customers, you don’t have a business. 

 

When deciding what actions to take to strengthen your business, always keep your customers front and center. If you make changes that end up hurting your customers, you’re ultimately hurting yourself. You’ll lose the people who are at the very center of your business. 

 

Airlines are an example of what happens when you forget about your customers. Over the last decade, airlines have gone to great lengths to cut costs and increase profits. Service declined, and customers were hit with various fees they never had to pay in the past. The result? Customers are getting increasingly frustrated and fed up. It seems that everyone has an airline horror story. 

 

Flying, which was once seen as a luxury, is now often considered a necessary evil. The moral of the story is to always keep your customers at the top of the priority list. Before making changes:

  1. Consider how they will affect the customer experience.
  2. If customer experience is one of your key competitive advantages, be especially careful about changes. If you destroy one of your competitive advantages, you may end up dealing a death blow to your business.
  3. If you do make changes that will directly affect the customer, communicate those clearly.
  4. Explain to the customer why you have to make the changes and the outcomes you expect.
changes-ahead

The more transparent you are with your customers, the more understanding they’ll be.

Marketer Neil Patel is an excellent example of this kind of transparency. For several years, he made a particular software available for free. Eventually, however, the costs became too high, and he was forced to start charging for portions of the software. He sent a letter to his customers, clearly explaining what was happening. He detailed his costs, making it clear that he didn’t have the resources to continue making everything available for free. Then he laid out exactly what would happen moving forward. You would be wise to follow Neil’s example.

Explain why changes are happening, when they will take effect, and how they will affect customers. During times of global crisis, it is essential to keep the focus on customers. People will remember the actions you take. If you seek to serve your customers, you will build up a vast amount of goodwill even at the expense of profit. For example, during the coronavirus crisis, many companies sacrificed financial gain for the sake of their customers:

● Many educational companies made their resources free to parents who were suddenly forced to homeschool their children.
● Audible gave away free audiobooks for kids.
● Moz provided free courses on search engine optimization to help businesses strengthen their online presence.
● Loom offered significant discounts on their video recording platform so people could stay in touch with family and friends.
● Bill.com made its platform available for free for 90 days to anyone affected by the coronavirus.

All of these companies are losing out on potential profit by giving these things away for free. But customers will remember the actions taken by these businesses and will be much more likely to support them in the future. It’s about building your brand by doing good for others instead of focusing on the bottom line. Bottom line: If you keep the focus on customers, there’s a much greater chance that your business will weather the tough times.

It May Be Hard, Never Give Up

It May Be Hard, Never Give Up

Running a small business isn’t easy, even during the best of times. According to the United States Small Business Association:

● 30% of small businesses fail within two years
● 50% fail within five years
● Only 25% of companies last 15 years or longer.

Any small business owner will tell you that running a small business is challenging. You have to manage a thousand moving pieces, ensuring that you stay on top of cash flow, employee performance, sales, marketing, and many other factors. Many owners struggle to manage all the different elements and their business struggles as a result. When circumstances get tough, running a business becomes an even more significant challenge.

Throughout the years, many events have occurred that placed a squeeze on businesses:

● The Great Depression 

● World War I and World War II 

● The Cold War 

● The 2008 housing market collapse 

● The 2020 coronavirus pandemic 

corona

During these difficult times, many small businesses folded under pressure. They simply weren’t able to keep going. But many companies have survived these incredibly challenging circumstances. Some of them have even thrived. 

 

In the early 1920s, Prohibition prevented the sale of alcohol in the United States. As you can imagine, this made things difficult for producers of alcohol. But many companies adapted and came up with creative ways to save their businesses: 

 

● Yuengling made ice cream 

● Pabst made cheese 

● Coors produced dinnerware 

● Schlitz churned out chocolate 

● Stevens Point Brewery went into the soft drink business 

 

The point is that your business can make it through hard times. You’ll need to get creative. You’ll have to take decisive action. And you’ll need to make tough decisions. But you can do it! 

In his book How The Mighty Fall, Jim Collins wrote: The signature of the truly great versus the merely successful is not the absence of difficulty, but the ability to come back from setbacks, even cataclysmic catastrophes, stronger than before. Great nations can decline and recover. Significant companies can fall and recover. Great social institutions can fall and recover. And great individuals can fall and recover. As long as you never get entirely knocked out of the game, there remains always hope. 

 

Don’t give up. There is always hope! In this small business survival guide, you’ll discover practical steps to take that will help your business thrive amid difficult times. Doing these things won’t make things “easier,” but they could be the difference between your business surviving or dying. Ready? Let’s dive in. 

Manage Your Mindset

If your business is struggling, it’s essential to manage your mindset. When things get tough, it’s really easy to enter a downward mental spiral. You start thinking about all the circumstances that brought you to where you are. You second guess yourself, wondering whether you would be in a better place if you acted differently. You begin to doubt your abilities and whether you can ever succeed. The more you engage in these thoughts, the worse you’ll feel.

As you work to stabilize and turn around your business, it’s crucial to maintain a positive mindset. Now, to be clear, this doesn’t mean that you pretend everything is okay or bury your head in the sand. It means that you maintain faith in your ability to bring about positive outcomes. A positive mindset also means that you are resolved not to give up. Keep striving to improve things and bring your business to a place of health. If you’re struggling to maintain a positive mindset, remember that almost every great business leader has endured struggles similar to yours:

● Thomas Edison failed thousands of times before he was able to develop a fully functioning lightbulb. 

● Apple almost collapsed under bankruptcy when Steve Jobs was president. 

● Bill Gates’ first business was a complete and total failure. 

● Henry Ford’s first automobile business went bankrupt within a year. 

 

Despite all these difficulties, these individuals experienced great success. Why? Because they persevered and were incredibly resilient. Steve Jobs said: I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance. It is so hard, and you pour so much of your life into this thing; there are such rough moments in time that most people give up. And I don’t blame them; it’s really tough. If you want your business to succeed, you need mental toughness. You must be able to persevere in the face of difficulty and keep going even when things look bleak. 

 

Business Mastery Textbook

Follow these steps to overcome a negative mindset: 

 

1. Pay attention. It’s easy to let negative thoughts swirl in your mind without putting up a fight. If you’re going to overcome these thoughts, you must be aware of what you’re thinking. You need to be able to identify unhelpful mental patterns as they occur.  

 

2. Question. As negative thoughts arise, question them. Is what you’re thinking true? Most likely, it isn’t. Mentally push back. 

 

3. Silence. After you’ve questioned and answered your negative thoughts, begin to silence them. Avoid letting the same thoughts steal your mental energy. You know they’re not true, so shut them down at the start. Imagine that you have a remote and that you can mute your inner critic with the touch of a button. 

 

4. Replace. As you shut down your inner critic, fill the silence with positive, helpful dialogue. Regularly remind yourself that you are strong, overcome challenges, and grow amid difficulty. As you push through problems and challenges, remember why you got into business in the first place. What big problem were you passionate about solving? What motivated you to take the risk of starting a business instead of playing it safe and taking a corporate job? Seek to tap into the emotions and desires that initially pushed you to create your business. They can be the driving force that helps you make tough decisions and get things back on track.

 

Business Mastery can help you navigate these challenges and create the mindset of positivity and success!

Average Massage Therapist Income- Massage Academics

Average Massage Therapist Income- Massage Academics

This is the most common question I receive. What is the average Massage Therapist Income? There are many factors that involve the answer to this question. The basic answer I have found, for Canada and the US, is:

$12,000- $20,000+ per year part-time and

$30,000-$90,000+ per year full time.

So what determines the Salaries?

You and Your Education

The starting point to every profession. What has been the financial investment into your education? Time investment?

What modalities to you have training in?

You can charge different rates for different specialties. For example, I charge more for Hot Stone Therapy than I do Relaxation Massage. For each modality, and specific training, you can have a variety of rates.

How long have you been in the profession?

If you have just Graduated a Massage Program, chances are you will be making slightly less than someone who has been in practice for 10 years.

Demographic Region

Cost of living dictates rates all life factors. You have to make your pricing reasonable to your market. If you over price yourself, clients won’t be able to afford your services.

Salary Canada by Province

Salary US by State

Fee Strategy

  • Competitive pricing. What are other Therapists charging?
  • What is your market? Can you afford to charge $55 instead of $60 per hour? This is NOT a SALE price!
  • What do you offer? Ex: Do you offer third party billing?
  • What do you do different? Ex: Indian Head Massage, Hot Stone, or another specialty.

Remember the NEVER put yourself on Sale? Now here’s the ‘skirt around’ that issue.

Go that little extra mile: Go 5 mins more on the Massage. Add in a touch extra face, or head massage. That goes a long way with a client.

Pre-Paid Packages: Pay for X# of One Hour Massages, and receive the last one for free. This is not a sale price, this falls under ‘what do you offer’. I did these for a number of years, and the payoff was fantastic. (I still offer them, but only to my VIP clients now).

Do you have any ‘Specialty Equipment’ available to you? Like a Steamer or Sauna? If you do, offering a ‘Combo Package’ is a great way to add to the client experience. ( I added these links because, when I had a Full Service Spa, we had a Personal Steamer, and the clients LOVED it. InfraRed was still a fairly new, and expensive venture, and when I found these, I was super stoked! What a great add on!!

Canadian Link to InfraRed Sauna

USA Link to InfraRed Sauna

InfraRed Sauna For your Massage Clinic or Spa.  Great for Personal Use as well!!

 

SereneLife Portable InfraRed Sauna

Hours of Operation

What hours are you working? I’ve been fortunate, for many years, to be able to book according to my clients needs, and my schedule balance. Remember, when starting out, you shouldn’t be too choosy. Working evenings, and Saturdays can be quite beneficial to your income. Even after being in business for as long as I have been, I still work evenings, and some Saturdays. (Over the years, I have become picky about Saturdays. I reserve those spaces for my VIP clients only).

What are do you charge, and what region are you in? Let me Know! I’m Curious as to how accurate these charts are!

Have an AWESOME DAY

Shaunna

It May Be Hard, Never Give Up

Business of Massage Therapy- Client Incentive Programs- Massage Academics

As I’ve told you, recently, to not put yourself ‘on sale’, we’re going to change it up a bit. You’re probably asking: How do I get clients? Let’s play with a few ideas!! I took a look at my old Business Plan, and have reshaped it to fit for the Profession to reflect today’s economy. We will be using $60 per hour as our baseline rate.

Client Incentive Programs

This is NOT being ‘on sale’, this is to promote you, and your Business… a standing out above the crowd approach. Some ideas that I will mention here, maybe repeated from previous posts, but that’s because I think they are worthy of consideration.

Prepaid Packages

You have to look at these as a contract with your client. They are prepaying you for services that they are yet to receive. They are taking a risk, and so are you. Before we get into what a Prepaid Package can look like, let’s set up some rules for them. Depending on the size of the Package, I would recommend that they have a ‘stale date’. (Not an expiration date… that’s another entity altogether). Stale Dates, are dates where you can no longer guarantee the price point. If the package isn’t used in its entirety by said date, you cannot guarantee the same rate. Generally I consider this a guideline. So, why do I have a ‘stale date’? You could, quite reasonably, have a package that’s ‘Open’ for 2+ years! If you have raised your rates by that time, a ‘stale date’ gives you the option to charge the difference. So how long should a Package be ‘Open’ before it ‘stale dates’? Depends on the package. As we go through a few ideas, I will give you some guidelines for those dates. (In my examples, I will be using $60 per hour as regular price). These are just examples, play with your pricing, and comfort zones. 1. Purchase a 10 Session Massage Package, and receive the 11 Massage for FREE!! (This package I generally leave open for a year). 2. Purchase a 6 Session Massage Package for $330!! (This one varies from 6 months, to a year, for ‘open’ dates). 3. Add On: For every 60-Minute Massage booked in (Month), receive a FREE 10 Min. Steam!! (Or a gift).

Referral Program

You can advertise this, or make it a quiet Thank You. Client A sends 5 of their friends to you, as a Thank You, you could give them a gift (bath salts, candle, bath bomb), 1/2 off Massage, or even a free Massage. It is best to acknowledge EVERY referral sent to you. A simple thank you goes a long way!

Holiday Specials

One Special we ran at The Spa, was Couple Massages for Valentines Day. Book a 60-Minute Massage for both of you for $110.00! Book a 60-Minute Massage for Your (??? Cupid / Sweety??), and they will get a Steam/ gift!! In some cases, if your treatment Rooms are large enough, it’s great to do the Massages together! (There has to be enough room for both tables, and 2 Therapists). This one went like hotcakes! What are your ideas here? What have you done? Do you need help to plan an Incentive Program? Let me know in the Comments!! Have a Beautiful Day!! Shaunna
7 Years- Average Career Lifespan in Massage Therapy

7 Years- Average Career Lifespan in Massage Therapy

7 Years… the average career lifespan in the Massage Therapy Profession. Doesn’t seem that long does it? So why only 7? How did I manage to get 25+ years in?

Longevity Secrets

Balance. One would think that this is self-explanatory, and yet many of us struggle with it. I, personally, am guilty of the ‘gotta make hay while the sunshines’ regime. This attitude put me into ‘burnout’. The biggest curse of the Massage Therapist!

What is Burnout?

Massage Burnout

Massage Burnout

Burnout as defined in the dictionary is ‘the physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress’ or ‘fatigue, frustration, or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, overwork, or intense activity’. Not only is Massage a physically demanding profession, it can be mentally, and energetically grueling as well. We are physically using our body to release muscle tissue in another being. Hands, arms, legs, back… our whole body is involved, and if improperly cared for, physical breakdown/ injury can occur. Mentally and Energetically, we can become attached to our clients. While we do try to remain somewhat detached, it’s not always possible. This one person is our sole focus for 30-90(+) minutes! Even with boundaries in place this can, and will happen.

Avoiding Burnout

So what are the best ways to avoid this? In no particular order, here are a few key essentials: Self-Care. Get a massage, go to the Chiropractor, go to Physio. Do yoga, meditation. RELAX! Take time away from the treatment room. Eat Well. Eat healthy and often. Our bodies need food to survive, and the more we put out, the more we have to take in. Take the time to eat, or snack, and remember, protein is the bodies fuel!
Eat Healthy

Eat Healthy

Rest. Seems simple, but often we forget to rest. I’ve been known to even have a nap on certain days. To rejuvenate, the body need quiet time. A time of recovery, and the only way to do that is to rest. Get your Zzz’s in. Sleep!!
Rest and Recover

Rest and Recover

Keep up to Date. Keeping you Soap Notes, billing, and finances in order and up to date, will be a relief in the end. If your not, there’s a sense of panic when these items go out-of-date. We never see Burnout coming. It sneaks up, and catches us off guard, so best to circumvent it BEFORE it happens!

After Burnout

Can you recover from Burnout? Yes you can! I did, and I’ve seen others bounce back as well. How did we do it? I took 5 weeks off one summer. 2 weeks one month, back to work for 2-3 weeks, then 3 weeks off (I would’ve taken it all in one chunk, but I had other commitments as well). My clients completely understood. A colleague of mine, took 2 months off, and her clients were more than happy for her to go, recover, and come back. Neither one of us lost a single client over it. Many professionals take holidays, sick leave, maternity leave, and sabbaticals, so can you! Just use this wisely.
Vacation

VACATION!!!

What to tell Clients

Should you need to do something like this, you can tell them you are going on a Retreat, Course, or just taking some time away. Most will ask you if your OK, and in keeping within professional boundaries, the answer should be, “I’m great! Just time to get away for a bit”. (Or something along those lines). You don’t want your clients to know that your in ‘burnout mode’, this can lead people to making their own determination about your health, and stability professionally.

Giving Up

Many new Therapists give up too soon. Getting you name out can take time, and if your not working, your not earning. So many in our field leave it just as they’re about to ‘break through’ that first building block. Be prepared, even when going into an established clinic/spa. You will increase your clientele faster, and I personally, think it’s the best way to start, it will still take time though.
Pace and Plan

Pace and Plan

Pace Yourself

Work your way up. Make a plan. My original plan, way back, was: 1 Massage a day, then 2, and so on. And it worked! It took me a couple of years, but soon enough I was doing 3 a day, then 5 a day. (Marketing was very different, so this growth was amazing for the time). Decide how many a day/ week you want to do, and can do, avoiding Burnout. 3-4 per day 4 days a week is a pretty good income!   Here’s to a Long and Fulfilling Career!! Have an Awesome Day, Shaunna

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