What comes to mind when you think of the term ‘business plan’? Banks, huge multinational companies, financial advisors and spreadsheets? It’s easy to believe that your small wellness business doesn’t fall into the category of needing a business plan. But we beg to differ.
Business planning is the foundation of business success. It’s the time you take to plan out your passion and give yourself the best possible chance of turning it into a logical, sustainable reality. It is really digging into your market, your competition, your growth and – crucially – your ability to pay the bills. All of these things form the basis of success for any kind of business; even side hustles need planning to succeed. In this blog post, we are going to guide you through the formula for a small business plan.
So even if you have already been working on your passion project without a business plan, or if you are just starting out and trying to figure out which steps you need to take first, this article is for you.
The first step here is to understand that anything that you are trying to make money doing, is a business. We might call it our side hustle, a hobby, or our passion but if you are hoping to make it into something that earns, it is a business. And businesses need insight.
Sit down with your notebook or laptop and start to write down your ideas for this business. Where would you like it to go over the next five years? How much growth would you like to see – perhaps it would become your part-time job, maybe even your full-time job? Who do you want to serve? Do you want to carve out a niche (to learn more about how to find your niche, see this article)? These initial thoughts on how to develop your business don’t have to be specific, they might even look like the ramblings of an unconscious mind, and this is fine! Exploring ideas in writing helps to formulate and solidify them. It still forms your business basis.
Set A Realistic Timeline
Often, we want to get out there and just start working in our field, and this can also be a great step to take. Jumping right on the horse and riding means building up your client base and your reputation, and this is a great idea.
Even so, it is never too late to take time to plan out the future of your business and to add it to a timeline. Setting this out from the start can be really helpful when you have slow days, or at times when you feel like your business is failing – reminding yourself that it takes time, and having a timeline to reflect on and see how far you have come, provides a touchstone and reduces stress and also limits unrealistic expectations.
Do The Research
The importance of researching your local market can never be underestimated. It is crucial to look around and understand what other similar providers are charging and offering, and to understand what you like/dislike about their business and offerings.
Forming your opinions helps you look more deeply into what you want to offer. And staying ahead of local developments, trends and needs can only enhance your business offering. We wrote an article on how to perform market research here – take a break to read that and join us back here for the next step!
Offering Your Services
So you have completed some healthy market research, now you can allow that to influence what you are going to offer, as well as when and where. Spotting the gaps in the local market will give you a chance to blossom quickly and establish your business.
If you need to offer your services in a brick-and-mortar space, figure out the type of space you want and the ideal times you want to offer your services, then find the right place. Depending on your speciality, you might be able to rent space from another business (if you are a hairstylist renting a chair, for example, or a massage therapist renting a treatment room) or perhaps get hired to offer your services in a yoga or dance studio.
If you are offering your service online, you still need a space to work from. Choosing and perfecting a space to work from within your home is a big step; check out our article on 5 Ways to Perfect Your Online Class, with Kristi Adams finding the perfect online space here.
Setting A Price
Once you have figured out the what and how the next step is setting the price. How much are your services worth – both to you and to your client? What is realistic, and what is possible? If you are working for an employer/studio owner, you can look at this from the perspective of how much they are going to pay you – is it enough? Is there room for negotiation, either now or in the future? You are the only person that can advocate for your own needs and expectations, don’t shy away from speaking up, even if you feel like you are new to the business!
If you are charging for your own services, then your market research will guide you on what is a fair price for your local area. We wrote more about this in how to price your group classes. Beware of undercharging because setting a low price for the outset might be a mistake in the long run!
Even the smallest business stands a much better chance of success with a marketing strategy. Even if the strategy is small – such as making sure to promote your offerings before they begin – this is still a plan toward boosting your business. And you do not need a marketing consultant or to be a marketing expert, in order to define your marketing strategy. Just ask our friend Amanda McKinney (and definitely listen to her podcast on Marketing With Confidence too!) This is a big consideration in how to get your message out to your audience, build a client base and in return, how to fill your services right up. Just like a business plan, sketching out some rough ideas or needs in this area first is a good idea. Some things you might want to consider are:
- Choosing a business name and some branding
- Setting up social media accounts
- Building a website
- Collecting email addresses
- Who to market to – and where they are hanging out
- Networking with potential clients and other businesses that could support you
Even if you are an independent contractor and work within other businesses, one thing the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us is that building your own client base and having contact information for them all, is hugely important in the event of a shutdown of services.
Managing the Money
Financial management feels like a HUGE task and it really does not have to be. Managing your income – no matter how small – is absolutely, completely and utterly crucial to business stability and success. Having an eye on what is coming in and what is going out doest have to be an arduous, scary task. There is so much software available now (Quickbooks is a great platform) that can take care of all of this for you, all you need to do is add in numbers and invoices occasionally and you are good to go.
Watching the money pour or drip in (and out) is crucial for setting your own expectations of when – and if – you can make your side hustle into your full time business. It is also incredibly important for annual tax returns. There is a lot that you can consider business expenses for a small business – travel costs, equipment, software costs to name a few. Learn more about taxes for your wellness business in this article.
Quarterly Reality Check
The easiest part of pulling together a business plan is putting it on the shelf once it’s nicely finished, and forgetting all about it. We’re going to encourage you to resist that urge!
Revisiting your business plan is a crucial component of all the things we have detailed above – keeping the business on track, ensuring your expectations are realistic, tracking progress, regular financial analysis – it’s your reality check. Setting a reminder every 3 months to revisit, update and review your business plan is a great practice. As you revisit it, you can tie this into other tasks such as:
- Refreshing your website
- Planning your marketing content for the next quarter
- Checking in on your intentions – is it moving in the right direction?
- Scheduling classes and workshops for the upcoming quarter
- Reviewing your market research
- Congratulating yourself on your success!
OfferingTree is here to help you run your wellness business with ease. Our all-in-one software includes the ability to set up appointments and scheduling, manage your email marketing, sell your on-demand content, run a membership, write a blog, integrate with Zoom and so much more. Find out more at OfferingTree.com.