Viability for a potential business. . .

PigasusPigasus Posts: 1subscriber
edited October 2006 in Business Planning
Let me preface this by saying that I am brand spankin` new to this forum and that I am totally stoked by all the potential out there.  I have done the life plan and need to start working on the bussines plan which I have roughly outlined here.
My thought is this: Traveling Massage Therapist (not too original, but hey the start up cost are as close to nill as you could probably find anywhere, and the market is growing)
I do have to go to school still, but it will be free (GI Bill will cover 99.99% of my cost in that area), and it will give some time to work out my business plan.  I already own a vehicle and a computer (with a enough microsoft software to at least get me off the ground).  My out of pocket expenses will be gas, oils, lotions, music, advertising and a table.   I can spread most of the costs out over the course of the year that I`ll going to school, so I don`t have to dump 1,000 dollars into the business at the zero hr.
Target Market: Middle to upper class, sporting events, businesses (from home to global corporations) and enrichment classes
Target Area: South Bay (California)
Advertising: Myspace.com, Linkedin.com, Vehicle Magnets, Charity Events (example: free 15 minute sports massage at a breast cancer walkathon), Bussiness Cards and Word of Mouth.Soooooooooo, what are your thoughts? Am I moving in the right direction?  Does it seem like a solid outline/plan and can you recomend any books to help me develop my BP?  What would you change or add, keeping in mind this is a very rough plan.Pigasus2006-10-15 14:23:33

Comments

  • jennn721jennn721 Posts: 2subscriber
    I think it`s a great idea - it`s low cost, flexible, and convenient to your client! If you want to be really successful at it though, you`ll have to focus a lot of attention on sales and marketing, especially at first and especially considering massage therapist are a dime a dozen. Perhaps you could find a niche in targeting only businesses? You could possibly gain 5 or 6 new clients with just one meeting. It might require a bit more cold calling, but it would also allow you to more directly tailor your advertising thus hopefully creating a more direct response. That`s just my two cents though...
    Good Luck!!!
  • PigasusPigasus Posts: 1subscriber
    I think being licensed will be important, but you may want to consider working for someone already doing this, just to get some hands-on experience with how they handle customer issues, legal protection, and things like that.
    Yeah, the crazy thing is that in California massage therapy is generally unregulated.  Local governments set standards as far as hrs of training goes, but there is no certification standard which, considering its leagal proximity to a medical field, there definitely should be.  To stand out and make myself somewhat more legitimate I plan on testing for the national certification.  I guess I want to make quality my forte. . .
    One of the great things about this particular set up is the flexibility.  I can actually work steadily at a spa until I`ve got a foothold in the market so working for someone else whle I try to establish myself has actually been my part of my plan from the get go.  Thank you guys for the encouragement it`s helpful.
    As I don`t have a benjamin to shell out for software at the moment does anyone have any suggestions for a good guide to writing a business plan?
  • PigasusPigasus Posts: 1subscriber

    . . .  you`ll have to focus a lot of attention on sales and marketing, especially at first and especially considering massage therapist are a dime a dozen. Perhaps you could find a niche in targeting only businesses? ...
    Good Luck!!!

    Any thoughts that I haven`t come up as far as advertising goes. There are plenty of huge software companies out here that are just ripe for the picking.  How can I target them specifically?  Is there a way I can get my name and number in the door without soliciting them directly?
  • keyconkeycon Posts: 34subscriber
    Pigasus,
    Welcome and best wishes as you pursue your dreams. A few thoughts.
    I know a few massage therapists. Are your plans to be one that does more of the relaxing type massages or are you going to focus on deep tissue massage? The deep tissue therapists I know make the better money - at least here in ATL. Most work in partnerships or arrangements with chiropractors. Some actually share/rent office space with them. They never run out of clients because the chiropractors feed them business.
    I can understand your desire to be a traveling therapists and performing services at home can bring a premium price, sometimes. You need to be sure to factor into your business plan traveling time, extra fuel expense, vehicle maintenance, etc., that you would not have in an office environment. I would do some serious comparisons.
    All of the therapists I know also have gym/workout memberships because they need to keep their own bodies in shape for the continuous strain on their own muscles. Example: arm strength. From what they tell me, especially in deep tissue massage, you`d be surprised how much your own arms will hurt after doing sessions all day. Planning time to take care of your own body needs to be factored into your plan and how many sessions you think you can realistically do a day. I`m sure you will discover these answers as you train and work with a mentor on down the road.
    Just some thoughts to think about.
    [email protected]
  • PigasusPigasus Posts: 1subscriber
    Richard, good thing to know. . .  I was thinking about doing a real general approach, but maybe specializing is a the way to go, after all I can still be flexible while trying to cater to a specific market.
    Craig, I`m looking for an opportunity to grow a business so I would pounce on a chance like that.  If I were able to help market, bring in revenue and be a partner in a business it would motivate me all the more.  HMMMMM, more things to think about.
    All I really know is I`m tired of just collecting a paycheck after the money`s been filtered through someone else`s pocket, I want fair market value for my skills. 
    You guys are giving me great feedback and really giving me an understanding of the potential that is out there. . .   Thanks for fueliong the fire
  • keyconkeycon Posts: 34subscriber
    Pigasus,
    As luck would have it (actually, it`s the LOA at work), my NFIB newsletter today had an article in it about Perks Without Pay and this is a suggestion you can tuck away for when you get your massage business up and running:
    For the stressed-out office Schedule on-site massage therapists who will bring their equipment to your office. Some employers pay for the massages themselves, but plenty let employees pay for their own. (Standard cost is about $1 per minute.) Employees love the pampering, and employers report boosts in productivity.
    "People said aches and pains they`d had for an extended period of time were - if not eliminated entirely - much less of a problem," says Lane Seliger, president of Lake Steel in Amarillo, Texas. "Our use of Tylenol has dropped by half. Plus, it gives everybody something to look forward to. No one is out sick on massage day."
    [email protected] 16:6:28
  • PigasusPigasus Posts: 1subscriber
    Thanks Richard, you know when my wife and I 1st started talking about this idea, she really started pushing the thought that I could target the huge network/software businesses in the area and probably make a lot of money that way.  I was skeptical, and in a sense I still am (but this article gives me hope).  She seems to think that if I really go after the bigger companies around here there`s no reason to believe that I can`t work every day. 
    I think it`s a thing where I could really supplement my work/ income by doing this, but in no way would it be able to support me.  I know that most of these companies are extravegant to a fault but I find it hard to believe that I could fill up my day planner exclusively with these companies.
    Anyone have a take on this or insight?  I`m off to start digging for productivity #`s, and local trade magazines.
  • keyconkeycon Posts: 34subscriber
    I think the takeaway from doing corporate events is the large exposure you would get to build off word-of-mouth advertising, etc. - especially if the company is paying for a 5-10 minute massage for all employees - you can`t buy that kind of exposure. Of course, you need to plan these kind of events properly to take advantage of the exposure. Some ideas off the top of my head:
    You could offer first time discounts. Coupons. Referral incentives. Don`t forget T-shirt giveaways - they are cheap and everybody loves a good t-shirt - just don`t go too cheap. Come up with a catchy phrase for your business for the shirt - something memorable.
    There is lots you can do when in front of large audiences like this. Put on your thinking cap or we`ll continue the thought process here.
    Hope this helps.
    [email protected]
  • PigasusPigasus Posts: 1subscriber
    Wow Kregg that is some great insight stuff that would have taken me several years of experience to find out on my own.   Thank you so much! 
    I`m experiencing some negative/pessimisitic reactions from some family members lately about this idea, would you say that the market is saturated in this area, from what you know at any rate.  The schools that I`ve visited have hyped the field up, they`re trying to sell me something so I feel like I have to take it with a grain of salt.  I know that there is always room for quality services but I want a fair assesment of the market.  What `s the best way to find these things out?  I can`t even find a place that rates massage therapy schools on the net. 
    Again thanks for everything.
  • PigasusPigasus Posts: 1subscriber
    Kregg,
    Ok that is good because NHI recently opened up a facility here in SJ, it was actaully the only school that I was seriously considering.  I was doing a little research last night and ran across trinity school as well, but appearently they shut down shop here in SJ.  
     I`ve actually been considering the feild for several years and I`ve toured campuses here and there, but every one of them had a meat market fly by night feel.  The only reason I regained interest in the feild is I just decided to google m. t. schools on a whim and took a tour of the year old camp NHI campus here.  After that tour I got really excited because it didn`t have that cheap/ cold feel to it.  It`s good to see my suspicions confirmed.
    Thanks, Jonathan
  • MabelineMabeline Posts: 0subscriber
    The one thing that I would add to this thread, and agree to disagree with Kregg, is that you need a business plan. Business plans are written for two reasons:
    1. One is to present to others.
    But the most important reason
    2. Is for the business owner.
    And with the area you are addressing, massage therapy, the various questions that have cropped up in such a short period of time points to needing a pathway to your goals. This is what a plan will provide you also, the associated budget. "just doing it" could be detrimental to your families finances if you don`t know how much things are going to cost, how much business you need to bring in, how much you need to charge, what kind of discounts you can give, etc.
    So, write the plan and create the budget for yourself and your wife. Let the appropriate path reveal itself as you think through the various elements of hoe you want to approach this great idea. I think, too, the notion of approaching the HR departments and presenting them with a massage day idea - is a good one.
    Dream BIG and work SMART.
  • JoyVAJoyVA Posts: 0subscriber
    Jonathan,Yes, I would agree that a business plan is a must.IMO, if you do not start out thinking AND acting as an entrepreneur from the get-go, you will fail. I work with and talk to a lot of massage therapists and have seen it first hand.To inspire and find the entrepreneur in you, I highly recommend Michael Gerber`s "The E-Myth Revisited". Can`t say enough about it.Another suggestion I have is to join an online group of MT`s. One that I know of that is very active and sharing is MassageMarketingRebellionOh, and DEFINITELY have a niche market/specialty and a web site and talk to your target market. Every market and industry has it`s own language. If you don`t identify WHO then it`s more difficult to be specific about the solutions you are offering them. Once you have identified that, the whole picture becomes SO much clearer.Finally, at this stage, I would ask "Will you absolutely LOVE what you do?"To me, if you don`t love what you do - why bother? I think you`ve gotten some great advice here and I hope you keep us posted!Take care!
    JoyVA2006-10-22 7:39:40
  • PigasusPigasus Posts: 1subscriber
    I can`t say without a doubt that it`s what I want to do.  There are many aspects that I find appealing, and I believe that I will enjoy it for the most part.  I still have a questionaire that I`m working on so I can interview some males in the profession so I can get a better idea if it`s really how I want to spend my life. . . 
    There are some modalities that have definitely piqued my interest, so until I know more about them as a whole I will go with the mindset that I will be focusing on those modalities (fwiw, I want to focus on sports massage and deep tissue massage, I- as I stated before- am really interested in the idea that there may be a market for enrichment classes. . . ).  I am still planning on doing a business plan just so I have a real basic outline.  I am a firm believer in the old adage that no one plans to fail, they just fail to plan.
     
    Thankyou all for your support it means a lot to me that a group of strangers has the capacity to be so helpful and selfless.
    Jonathan
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