This week we’ve been attending the Liphook Well-Being Group’s fantastic community wellness days. This is a group of wellness experts and therapists based in the Liphook area (some come from Bordon which is one of the reasons it’s on our radar!) who have come together to showcase what they do, and in the process enrich the lives of local people in the area.
Even in rural towns like Liphook and Bordon there is significant demand for therapy treatments, wellbeing products and other wellness services. With projects like the Whitehill and Bordon regeneration scheme, which includes 2,400 new homes, alongside other developments in the area our local population is growing and many people want to access therapies and treatments.
As well as there being demand for therapies and wellness products, we’re also seeing a trend towards more people looking for opportunities to start their own therapy businesses. Many people are looking for a new way of working. Perhaps they’re fed up with their commute into work and would like to either quit the job or go part time and run their own business from home. People (particularly parents) want to achieve better work–life balance and becoming self-employed helps them manage family life and other commitments. Certainly at SiGNAL in Bordon we’re meeting a lot of people who want to start their own therapy business for these reasons.
If this sounds familiar, here are five steps to get started.
5 steps to get your therapy business off the ground
- Find your specialisation
Naturally you will have competition and often that is not only from other therapists practicing your discipline. For example, a reflexologist may have competition from other reflexologists, but also from therapists offering treatments such as Reiki.
One way to make your business stand out is to specialise further and find a niche. This could be offering treatments aimed at a particular group in the community such as pregnant women, new mothers and babies. With many young families living in Bordon, and new homes being built for more families, this could be a good market for you.
- Do lots of market research
It’s really important to research the market. If you’ve identified a potential customer group, now make sure you really understand them and that they really want your services. Look at a map and work out where your customers are. They might live in a residential area, or perhaps they are people who work in the business parks and trading estates around the town.
Pricing will also be critical. Can your target customers afford your services, are there enough potential customers to keep you busy, will they keep coming back for more and referring you to friends and colleagues?
- Decide where you will work from
Many therapists set up from home or offer home visits to their customers. However this is far from ideal unless you have a dedicated space to see customers (that doesn’t impact on your personal life). Distractions such as pets, children, and neighbours mowing the lawn – whether in your home or theirs – can ruin a therapy session. There are also safety implications too – is it safe for you to see customers alone, people you don’t really know?
An alternative is to hire a space in a group practice; therapy rooms are often available to rent on a weekly or monthly basis. The advantage of this is that you can work from a safe place, designed for your needs, in an environment that promotes health and wellbeing. You may need to commit to take the room on a regular basis, which can be difficult financially if you’re just starting up your business, but you could benefit from customers finding you through the wellness centre.
Alternatively, here at SiGNAL we have two dedicated wellness / therapy rooms available to hire on an ad hoc basis (or for regular bookings too). Our focus is on helping local people get their businesses off the ground so we’re offering really affordable room hire in the heart of Bordon. You can see our rooms here.
- Write a business plan
A business plan may sound like a scary proposition but it’s a really useful tool for you to map out what you need to do to build your therapy business. There’s no right or wrong way, it can run to many pages or fit on an A4 piece of paper. It’s a starting point that can be changed as many times as you like as you embark on your business journey, and will help you stay focused on your goals – whatever they may be!
We’ve created a useful Business Plan for Therapy Businesses template, which you can download here.
- Build your support network
Starting a business can be a lonely experience, especially if you’re working from home waiting for the phone to ring. Support groups like the Liphook Well-Being Group are great for providing emotional and practical support, helping everyone grow their businesses and support networks.
Here at SiGNAL we also host the Bordon Hub, which is a diverse group of local business people (freelancers, small biz owners, entrepreneurs, home workers, makers and therapists) who meet once a week to network, support each other and learn. Our weekly talks and workshops cover all sorts of subjects that sole traders and small business owners need to know about. Click here to see our next events (if you want to come along, your first visit is free!).
It’s an exciting time to be starting a business in Bordon with so much happening in the town and lots of opportunities for entrepreneurial people. We would love to hear about your plans for your therapy business so leave a message below or join the Bordon and Alton Business Hub Facebook Group and share what you’re doing there.