How to Start a Successful Massage Business

When you first set out to start your own massage business, it probably feels like a leap of faith. This will happen whether you’ve recently graduated from a wonderful massage school and just got your licenses and certification or if you’ve been working for years at all kinds of places, from a doctor’s office to cruise ships.

Although you’re good at what you do, it’s only natural not to be sure about the business side of things. Will it be too much to handle? Will you find enough clients? Will you still find your work fulfilling? Will your practice be successful?

Here are 4 tips to help you get off to a good start.

  1. Invest in your clinic.

Regardless of what type of office space you can rent out, focus on aesthetics. As soon as someone steps in through the front door, they should feel the weight of the world drop from their shoulders. They should feel calm, soothed, relaxed by the subtle ambiance of your clinic. You want them to feel comfortable and at ease.

How do you work this magic?

Let’s start with the basics. Use a high-quality massage table, preferring established brands like Stronglite, Spirit, Infinity, and Avalon. Provide your clients with first-rate sheets, blankets, pillows, towels, and everything else that they need to feel comfortable. And use botanical or fractionated oils and advanced therapeutic massage creams.

In addition, make all the furnishings ergonomic, even the lounge chairs on the patio should you have your office at your home. And use décor that soothes: mini fountains, peaceful paintings, figurines of Chinese goddesses, and so on. Consider using air purifiers, low volume piped nature sounds, and aromatherapy candles.

In short, spend money on the front end of your business. Get the good stuff and buy things that will last so that you aren’t constantly replacing, restocking, or repairing. If necessary save up a few thousand dollars for equipment and décor and design elements before you start your private practice. Although clients may not say anything, they will notice the quality of the environment and respond to it in a visceral way.

  1. Develop a harmonious team culture.

Whether your staff consists of just you, you and a receptionist, or a few people, establish guidelines on how to create a positive vibe. Emotions are contagious and a friendly, warm, caring atmosphere will go a long way in helping clients begin their healing journey. Understand that when people walk into a massage clinic they are nervous. Will it be expensive? Will it work? Some may never have ever had a professional massage before and have no idea what to expect. This is why your team culture should place an emphasis on empathy, listening skills, commitment to caring, and professionalism. Hire people who have these qualities and build a culture around these values.

  1. Get organized.

Figure out all your processes so that things run smoothly. It’s hard for you and your staff to act and feel positive when things are chaotic. A few policy ideas to think about ahead of time include defining your ideal client, deciding how you will retain your ideal clients, and figuring out how you will deal with issues like late clients, no-shows, and other quirky things. Although these things are not pleasant to think about they do occur. The best way to be confident is to develop your responses before they occur. Work on developing scripts for yourself and your staff on how to confront awkward situations.

Another way to get organized is to use digital systems for everything from online booking to keeping track of records to ordering supplies. In other words, take advantage of some of small business software tools available to manage, coordinate, and collaborate.

  1. Commit to constant improvement.

Both your skills as a massage therapist and as a business owner will always be improving over time. While much of this growth happens organically, you can speed things up a little by making a commitment to continue to take classes to learn new therapeutic techniques. You should also devote some time to getting good at business. For instance, take classes in social media engagement or how to advertise a small business.

In closing, the best way to succeed in your private practice is to create the right environment, hire the right people, and put the right systems in place. And, of course, commit to continue to evolve as a therapist and as a business owner.