Deciding to open a new massage therapy clinic is very exciting, and especially for new grads, can become very daunting too. After years of training, maybe you’ve had a couple years of work experience too, it’s now time for you to branch out and create the business you’ve been envisioning.
Here are the 20 Tips for Opening and Managing a Massage Therapy Business
1. Make it easy for your clients find you. Location, Location, Location!
2. Offer services and hours that match the demographics. For example, if you service busy professionals, consider longer or earlier opening hours.
3. Make it easy for people to do business with you. Offer online booking and encourage people to use it. Inform your patients of the online booking option every time you see them until they start using it. And, inform them about online booking on your voicemail greeting.
Online booking makes their life easier: they can book anytime, even when you are closed which could increase the frequency of booking, reduces your admin overhead, increases your efficiency allowing you to concentrate on higher value items, and increases your revenue by filling last minute appointment slots.
PLUS it increases your online ranking. Every time your patients want to book you, they search for you online, that increases your online ranking! Your job is to make sure you get an online booking solution that gives you complete control over your schedule with the flexibility to let you do business the way you want to.
4. Use practice management software that allows you to see how your business is doing; provide key performance indicators (KPIs) that you can use to better manage your business and tools to manage your patients and their charts.
5. Go Green. Use practice management software that helps you save money by going green. Electronic invoices, patient charts, intake forms etc. Not only will it save you money but it also saves you admin time.
6. Invest in your online presence. You have to be found online! Have a professionally made website that highlights your staff and services, is easy on the eyes, and SEO optimized. Some online booking software solutions, like Yocale, give you additional SEO-friendly pages that increase your appearance in search engines like Google. They offer you a mini website with booking widgets that you can also use on your website or Facebook pages. They also have SEO optimized URLs, which help with your online ranking.
7. Your first priority should be to quickly fill the rooms with practitioners that pay you to rent so you can cover your costs and invest in marketing. Advertise in schools, online sites like craigslist, on your own website, etc.
8. Make sure you have good social media presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, and other local directories. Some online booking and practice management software like Yocale also provide you with the additional local directory listing benefits as well.
9. Make sure you train your admin staff to recommend follow-up appointments. This way you can keep your rooms filled. Again, some practice management software solutions (ie: Yocale) have recurring appointments or follow-on appointments, recalls, and reminders, which are a soft way of reminding patients to book again.
10. Seek reviews from your patients. This increases your online ranking. Look for a practice management software that automatically asks for reviews after every appointment to help increase your online reputation. These reviews and testimonials become an important part of your online profile that new, potential clients will use in determining to book with you.
11. Don’t forget to build a proper patient database. Make sure you have contact information (ie: their email address) so you can use marketing tools to keep in touch with your patients and keep your schedule busy. Email marketing tools are sometimes built directly in the practice management software, which makes it easy to run against your patient records. For example, you can set up an automatic email to reach out to patients that haven’t visited you for a while.
12. Your admin staff must be friendly. They make a lasting impression. You can even use variable bonus compensation schemes to have them help you with finding practitioners at the start or if someone leaves. Keep your social pages updated.
Many small clinics start without having a receptionist to minimize costs with the help of a practice management system that can automate most tasks like taking bookings, appointment reminders, cancellations, changes, billing, and reporting.
13. Network! Local business groups like BNI or other community groups are excellent to build a referral-based business. Listing marketplaces like Yocale, have some built in referral capabilities, they are community-based systems so you’ll have some automatic networking benefits. Getting to know nearby complementary providers such as Physiotherapists, Chiropractors, or medical doctors to take referrals from is a great way to build your network.
14. Create content online. Videos and blogs are a great way to increase your online presence. A short video blog on your specialty or blog on a treatment plan shows you are a thought leader and increases your online reputation.
15. Make sure you have enough cash flow to support the business for at least a year assuming minimal income from the operation or rent.
16. Create a relaxing ambiance. Good sound system, decorations, etc. to make people feel relaxed and encourage them to come back.
17. Ensure the people you hire are a good representation of your health and wellness center. Not all registered massage therapists (RMTs) are trained the same or have the same personality. Pick a system like diagnostic therapy and make sure everyone follows the same minimum standard.
18. Consider other complementary services. For example, acupuncture, chiropractic or naturopathic services in your clinic to offer a holistic care plan.
19. Attend community events. Be a part of your community.
20. Watch your online reputation and learn from it. Respond to people’s feedback.
Following the above can help you create a solid cash flow business while creating a great wellness center in the community. It’s important that you adopt a system and continue refining and fine tuning it as you move forward.
Good practice management software is an important part of it, but you have to make sure you use it properly and to its full potential. If you do this right, you’ll be ready to open your 2nd location!