Professionals from any fields must be able to recognize when their practice is declining in order to remain in business. While bodyworkers spend a great deal of energy studying preventative medicine, learning to prevent practitioner complacency is just as important. Settling too deeply into any routine typically leads to a reduction in business growth. Today’s competitive markets require even the most skilled professionals to regularly infuse their business plan with innovation and new tactics to reach new customers/clients. Below are seven common observations that can tip you off to an approaching slump:
- Feeling relief when you only have two massages to perform in a day; your hands have been aching and you were hoping to tackle your personal to-do list.
- Deciding to take a marketing hiatus and relying on word-of-mouth referrals as the only means of attracting new clients.
- You panic when a handful of regular clients cease making appointments because its impact on your bottom line.
- Your business costs are increasing with inflation, but your rates and income have not.
- Whether it’s a chiropractor, physician, physical therapist or other medical professional, your primary referral source has just moved, retired or is simply no longer suggesting your services to prospects.
- After each session, you feel more drained than before you began.
- While the modality you’ve relied on for years used to benefit everyone, your clients no longer seem to be improving.
Onward and upward
Whether you reach the depths of a professional slump, are aware that one is approaching, or wish to completely avoid a dip in revenue and satisfaction, you are capable of reviving/sustaining your business’s longevity. While every one of the following suggestions could benefit a massage therapist with these concerns, do not attempt to adopt each one all at once. Focus on one or two strategies that resonate with you and once you feel good about your progress, implement the next tip that would offer you the most benefit. Some of the following suggestions may be a review of valuable information you already know, while others could be brand new career-boosting ideas:
1. Take care of your body – A bodyworker who ignores their hands, posture or emotions can quickly experience job dissatisfaction and fatigue – otherwise known as burnout.
- Reference the following articles Help for Overworked Hands, The Epitome of ‘Practice What You Preach’ for Massage Therapists and The 4 Steps of Energetic Separation for Bodyworkers for massage therapist self-care.
2. Expand your repertoire – Learning new techniques or information about specific conditions can infuse your practice with enhanced value. Clients will appreciate your commitment to improving your therapeutic skills while you will find new concepts to excite the healer within.
3. Get business savvy – There are many ways to bolster the business side of your practice. Some suggestions include:
- Hire a consultant, business manager or marketing specialist to help you in areas you need the most help.
- Educate yourself by taking a course teaching business development. The Institute offers two such distance learning courses created specifically for massage therapists; Ethics: Practice Management and Developing a Wellness Center.
- If you prefer to read and reference books on the subject, consider Marketing Massage: How to Build Your Dream Practice or Hands Heal: Communication, Documentation and Insurance Billing.
- Visit your local community college and inquire about a small business development program.
Through renewed focus, any massage professional can experience the benefits of a successful practice. Recognizing professional burnout or a business slump is the best way to prevent it from happening. Experienced bodyworkers agree that mastering new therapeutic and business skills, combined with attention to physical and emotional health, is the formula to maintaining longevity in this constantly evolving field.