Although you can start a massage therapy business writing a business plan, taking the time to thoroughly plan your new venture will make it more likely to be successful. You don't have to create a formal or fancy business plan, you only need to put a few basics on paper.
Unless you are starting your new massage therapy business in a rented space, it should be pretty easy to plan your budget for the first few years. You should calculate how much money you will need to not only start but operate your massage therapy business for the next three years.
While each massage therapy business is different, there are a few common expenses that they all share: licensing fees, equipment costs, advertising and marketing costs, and training and continuing education expenses. In the budget section of your business plan, you need to address how you will pay for all of these things, including whether you plan to take out a business loan.
The business structure most commonly used for massage therapy businesses is a sole proprietorship. This business structure is the easiest and least expensive to set up. Unless you have partners or a staff of more than three people, consider starting your massage therapy business as a sole proprietorship.
If you have a business partner, set up a limited liability partnership, or LLP. If you have a massage therapy franchise, plan to set up more than one location, or have a large staff, you should set your business up as a corporation or limited liability corporation (LLC).
Your massage therapy business will be mobile or set up in a specific location. In this section of your business plan, you will address where your business will be located as well as whether you plan to add new locations in the next three years.
If you are planning to start a mobile massage therapy business, you should plan how you will move all of your equipment to your client's locations, as well as your operating hours. Those who are starting a massage therapy business in a specific location will need to address how they will secure and pay for the building they plan to use, the costs for utilities, furnishings and operating hours.
Because most areas, whether they are large cities or small towns, have a practicing massage therapist you will need to analyze who your competitors will be. This section of your business plan will also address whether you plan to have a niche, such as sports massage therapy, deep tissue massage, or massage therapy for pregnant women and new mothers.
To analyze your competition, see what they're doing right and what areas they can improve on. For example, you may be able to source better lotions and oils than your competitors use, more comfortable equipment or simply give better customer service.
After starting a massage therapy business, you will need to market and promote it or else you will not gain many clients. The marketing section of your business plan needs to address what media outlets you will advertise your new business in, whether you will offer customers occasional discounts and special promotions, whether you plan to have a website as a marketing tool, whether they are any complementary businesses you can team up with to gain new clients and how you can use public relations strategies to gain media attention.
If you do not have much experience or knowledge in the areas of marketing or public relations, you should consider hiring a publicist or marketing expert. Although this will cost you money initially, it is well worth having a solid marketing and public relations plan set in place for your new massage therapy business.
Melinda Gaines has been a freelance writer since 2006, with work appearing online for YellowPages and other websites. Her areas of expertise include business, beauty, fashion and sports. Gaines attended the University of Houston where she earned a Bachelor of Science in sport administration.