Simple Ideas for Taking Your Practice to the Next Level
As small business owners, it’s easy for us to wallow in the daily maintenance of running a business. Most of us spend all our time working in the business, but rarely do any ‘big picture’ thinking (working “on the business”) about where we want the business to be in 5 years, and how to get there.
I’m a fan of regularly looking at where my business is, and where I want it to go. But I realize that not everyone likes to geek out like me. So instead of giving you a long list of instructions about business plans and long-term planning, here are a few quick ideas that could give you, and your business, a boost in the next year.
If you’re a solo practitioner, then you’re probably doing everything. Your daily tasks likely include: answering phone calls and emails, booking appointments, marketing, ordering supplies, taking out the trash. And then there’s the actual the hands-on work. Yikes.
Knowing when to get help can be tricky. Here are a few reasons to consider if another set of hands is what you need to grow your business.
When should you hire or outsource?
- Your valuable time is spent on routine tasks (not related to the growth of your business)
- Costs of service are lower than what it would take in time or manpower in-house
- Tasks are temporary or come in cycles
- The activity isn’t generating profits or a competitive edge
- You’re afraid to give up control
Ok, so you’ve decided you need help. What are your options? Do you need an Employee or Independent Contractor (IC)? The key difference between an employee and an independent contractor is this: as an employee, a person works for someone else, but as an IC, a person works for her/himself. The other differences include; how you’re paid, tax filing, if you’re eligible for unemployment benefits, etc.
In the massage industry, it’s not uncommon to come across many gray areas. Do your homework though, because a misclassification of someone who is working for you can have costly consequences.
If you need more information about whether hiring an employee or independent contractor is right for you, check out SBA’s article for more details.
Productivity pushes your business forward.
Another way to bring your business to the next level is ramping up your productivity and daily efficiency.
Implement systems and schedules that work for your practice and work style. Having an organized schedule and processes in place will keep things systematic and will require less brainpower and energy - valuable things to have for harder tasks like brainstorming or problem-solving.
As a general rule, if you have to do a task more than twice you should create a system or a routine, for doing it. Making an actual checklist of the steps to that task is helpful, and will help you breeze through it efficiently without remembering the steps. (Or make it easy to delegate to someone else!)
Schedule these items and whatever else that needs to be done:
- Backing up your data.
- Setting limits for checking Facebook, emails, voicemails, filing, etc.
- De-cluttering your space, paperwork, and inbox.
- Create to-do lists (either the night before or first thing in the morning), so what you’re tackling that day is fresh in your mind, and organized.
Staying inspired keeps you fired up.
Read often. Watch videos. I can’t say this enough. Reading and following people who inspire you can lift you up. If they are in the field of massage and doing great things, even better. Cultivate friendships and network with people you admire and respect for their positive influence in your life and career.
Also, don’t underestimate the value of moving your body and getting plenty of rest and downtime. The best ideas and solutions appear when you’re physically distracted by something else. A good yoga session or run can trigger clarity about how things are going with your business and what you really need.
There is no right or wrong way to build a business.
Growth can look very different from one practice to another. The best thing you can do is take a good inventory of where you are presently. Make note of your strengths, your weaknesses, what you enjoy and what you don’t. Then implement changes that support your vision to take it to the next level.