Do you have a strategic plan?
For many of you, that question alone will make you want to stop reading this article. So many MTs shudder at the thought of doing business-y stuff. Since most of the Continuing Education I teach is business, I have heard almost every reason in the book. “I just want to focus on massage.” “I am an artist, not a business person.” “I work for someone else.” “I am not good at paperwork.” “I thought business plans were only for getting loans.”
EXCUSES BE GONE! Even if all of the above is true, you STILL need a strategic plan. Some of the most talented massage therapists I have ever met are not as successful as they could be simply because they lack a written vision.
I challenge you- yes, YOU the MT without a strategic plan, to write one. Make it a New Year’s Resolution. Now is the time. If you are not sure where to start, read on.
We are starting a Young Thumbs Strategic Planning Series. Each week for the next four weeks, I will give you an assignment towards your own vision. By the end of the four weeks, you should have a nice solid strategic outlook for moving forward.
Let’s get started by defining “strategic plan”. First, this is different than a business plan. I do think a business plan is very beneficial and is also necessary, but for a person that has nothing in writing at this point, a strategic plan often helps to get the mental juices flowing. Also, it can easily dovetail into a business plan. What we will have at the end of this series is a document that contains your Vision, Mission Statement, Goals and Objectives. We will not be addressing how to do your financial projections (we will be tackling that further down the road). That does not mean we are not going to talk numbers and money here. We will. Because, whether you like it or not, all business comes down to the numbers.
Why is all this important? If you don’t know where you are going, you cannot measure how far you have come. Many MTs complain about not making enough money or not having as many clients as they want but they have not spent the time analyzing why this is the case. With a strategic plan linked to measurable outcomes, you can evaluate how far you have come, what is working and how to adjust to meet your goals.
Your first assignment happens now. Go get your calendar- I’ll wait.
What day and time do you have set aside for a business meeting? Wait, what? You don’t have a formal business meeting?
“Why do I need to have a formal business meeting, it is just me.”
Guess what- YOU are your business. It is time to make your business a priority and that starts with weekly meetings. Since you have your calendar in front of you, let’s pick a date. Pick some time, each week, to meet with yourself to evaluate your strategic plan. Make this time sacred and non-negotiable.
Now that we have a time set for a business meeting, here is your assignment for your first meeting. Write a vision statement.
A vision statement is just that- a statement of what you envision for your business. There are some basic components:
- What do we do?
- Who do we do it for?
- In what ways do we do it well?
(I prefer the use of “we” when considering a business, even if there is only you. This is because YOU wear many hats and do many different jobs. All of those jobs create a “we”. Use “I” if it feels more authentic to you)
This is the beginning of selling yourself. If that is something that is difficult for you, pretend you are describing a friend’s business that you really like and respect. Also, get over it. You have to sell yourself!
Don’t worry about your vision statement being perfect. Get it on paper. Finished is better than perfect (someone really smart told me that once). Speak from your heart. We will refine this later and add in details as we get further down the line. Shoot for three-four sentences per question. If you need to write more, write more. If you can say everything in less words, great. Just get it on paper.
Here is a bonus incentive to you, The Young Thumb. Email me your draft to firstname.lastname@example.org. I will give you my feedback on it. This is an awesome freebie that is only available to the faithful readers of this blog!
Start writing. I’ll be looking for those emails. Then, check back on Wednesday, December 19th, for your next assignment.