Complementary health is first and foremost a business. Many make the mistake of treating this profession as a passion for which they get paid. It must instead be a profession for which you have passion. The difference is small but critical and it often draws the difference between success and failure.
1 – Be professional
- Do not work from home. Working from home underlines a lack of professionalism and lack of commitment toward your profession. It is like saying “I cannot be bothered/commit to take an office as this is really something that I do in my spare time”. Even if you only practice on a part-time basis, working from an office tells that you work part-time, working from home tells that you work on your spare time; not the same thing!
- Specialise. Jack of all trades masters of none belong to the past. Today people look for specialised knowledge. At first you may think that specialising in one area, whether that is weight loss, phobias, sport, back pain, or whatever you may specialise in, will reduce the number of enquiries you receive. In reality this is really not an issue. On the contrary you will get more business; there may only be 20,000 people suffering from a phobia in your county against the 5,000,000 seeking help in all areas. 20,000 people is still a lot of people and even if you only got 5% of this, you will need to see 1 client per day for 4 years before you have worked with your 5%. And that is working 5 days a week for 52 weeks of the year – eg no holiday! There are enough clients in any niche.
- Do your homework. Make sure that you know your stuff. Don’t improvise and ask for advice from people who have done what you do for longer than you. Ask the question and you may look stupid once, don’t ask and you will always remain stupid.
2 – Be seen
Marketing is important and it is important to get your marketing right. The way you market yourself depends pretty much on what you do. In complementary health however there are a few things that are proven to work. These are:
- Networking needs no elaboration other than getting out there and talking to people. Let everybody know that you are the expert in whatever it is that you are an expert in. Collect business cards and send them follow up emails after you met. Do not be pushy, something light like: “Hi Greg, it was good to meet you earlier today. Just a quick line to say hi and make sure that you have my contact details. I would like to be included in your newsletter and I would like to include you in mine which I hope you can find useful.”
You can also go the extra mile and actually ask some of the people you meet at networking events to meet again on a one to one basis to understand more about each other businesses and requirements. There is enough to say about networking for a book to be written; for now, make sure you follow the steps above and a large part of the rest will come naturally.
- Flyers are one of those things that some people believe in and some others don’t. The truth is simple: those who believe in flyers understand how to create and use flyers, those who do not believe in them do not know this. Flyers must:
- Include a head line, sub-headline, photo, call to action, urgency factor, benefit for the client
- Be delivered to your neighbourhood at least 3 times (eg 3000 flyers to 1000 houses)
- Be small and essential (not too many words and printed on A6 or A5)
- Be monitored in terms of results
- Here is an example of a good flyer
- Competitions are the best way known to me to generate traffic to your website and get free press coverage. The way this works is elementary: write to the local press offering to give away a series of treatments to their readers through a competition. The competition will involve that the readers fill out a coupon or enter their details on a webpage and the winner will be given the prize. All those people who did not win can be contacted with an offer such as: “Sorry you did not win! As consolation prize here is a 50% off discount voucher”. This is an excellent way to get targeted traffic and free press coverage.
3 – Business is Business
Business is business and so treat it as such. Here are the 3 main pointers:
- Be profitable. Make sure that you are making a profit with every client you see. If you lose 1p every client and you increase the number of clients you see, you will lose more pennies. Analyse your costs including marketing, rent, disposables, taxes, transport and all your other expenses related to the business and make sure that the fees you charge can generate the desired profit for you.
- Pricing. Charge what you are worth plus a little more! People associate the fees of a service to the quality of the same. Increasing your prices to the higher end of the scale will not only give you more profits but also more clients and more people will associate more value to your services. Investigate and see what your competitors charge and put yourself at the higher end of that scale.
- Plan and forecast. Make sure that you have a business plan so that you have a precise goal and an action plan that backs it up. In short, make sure that you know what you want and what you need to do in order to get it.
This article gives you a good idea of the main points that you must pay attention to when running a complementary health business (or any other small business for that matter). I recommend that you elaborate on every single point and apply these notions to your business as soon as you can.
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