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Massage Today
July, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 07

The Difference Between You and an Expert

By Stephanie Beck

Imagine if you had an opportunity to sit in a room for four days with the most successful massage business owners who gave you all their secrets to their business: the steps to take; what tools they used and how they built their successful practices.

One of the biggest challenges after these events is how to process all the information and go back to your business plan to figure out how best to incorporate the new ideas without creating chaos.

We each have to invest in our profession and continue to expand our knowledge so that we can continue to grow. We both can appreciate the value gained by spending time with experts. It is one of the things that inspires us to achieve results for hundreds of clients each year.

Sometimes we get so busy focusing on the tasks, scheduling appointments, customer service issues, and the daily grind of the business that we forget to give ourselves permission to be creatively planning our next growth cycle for our business. Even if you have no idea where to start or if you tried marketing plans in the past with no results, that is why it is helpful to interact with experts and make the time to engage with others in our field and share our ideas, problems and experiences, so that your massage practice doesn't become stagnate. Have you ever fallen into the state of working in your practice instead of on your practice? Or become so discouraged that you feel like quitting?

One of the many things I have learned from my mentor and coach, Jack Mize, is "every millionaire marketer I've ever met was just a newbie that didn't quit." Although Jack was referring to a different profession, I think the same can be applied to our massage profession. Those experts who you visualize as the leaders of the profession, wrote the textbooks you used to learn massage or created modalities you love to use or built massage franchises and successful massage practices. What makes them different from you? It's not that they had special powers. They had the same opportunities, struggles, challenges, wins and losses; the difference was that they didn't quit.

There are many reasons why small businesses fail each year, competition, money issues, or poor management to list few. The biggest concern I hear when interviewing potential clients is not having enough consistent clients on the tables. We've helped healthcare practitioners in a variety of situations, some with social marketing, others with online marketing, and certain others with marketing planning and mindset. Today I'm sharing questions to use for your own massage practice to help you if you are stuck or perhaps looking for a way to organize your marketing or change your mindset.

Start by writing on a piece of paper or your computer for your planning strategies. First, list where your massage practice is today: how many clients you have, where you work, how many hours a week, etc. Second, list where you want to be and be specific about it. Marketing expert Ted McGrath breaks them into sections: personal, professional and financial, which I like and use as well. Obviously, you had aspirations when you started in massage and perhaps those have changed. Give yourself permission to think outside the box. Be as creative as you can and where you want to be one year from now.

Third, imagine it is one year from today you and I are having this conversation, and it has been the best year ever. Please list out what must have happened personally, professionally and financially to have made this the best year ever. Again, feel free to be as specific as possible. Then, answer this next question: How would you feel to complete just one of these goals? You can continue listing out for each of the goals how you would feel to complete them. What it means to you to achieve them.

Fourth, ask yourself, what is the main challenge keeping me from achieving the goal? If you have more than one challenge, continue listing out the challenges until you have them all in front of you. Finally, review the list of challenges and identify the possible solutions for these challenges. Start to separate them into categories identifying them as things you can do, things you should be doing, and things for someone else to do. Evaluate each challenge and solution against achieving your goal. In other words, there may be solutions that you "can" do yourself, however, you need to evaluate if that is the best use of your time management or money and how quickly you want to achieve you goal.

Ask yourself if the solution could be performed quicker by someone else who knows and understands it better? If you find you have everything on the list as items you should do, you probably are going to run into time management issues. Look for ways to automate some of the solutions. Or perhaps you don't know what some of the solutions are for the challenges. You might need training or consulting to help you find solutions. Start by making a plan of action to solve just one challenge and to achieve the solution you listed. If you don't know the solution, what steps are going to take to find the solution and remember to always give yourself a deadline. We are all human and although some are better than others at getting things done, every one of us needs a deadline to finish a project, otherwise life has a tendency to get in the way.

Continue to address each challenge until you have a plan of action for each one. Now, prioritize them by way of how each will help you make next year the best year ever. Which items do you need to do first in order to achieve you goal? When you have completed this you should have a great plan in front of you. You know where you are and where you want to be, the challenges you are facing that keep you from achieving your goal(s), solutions for each of the challenges, listed in priority and deadlines of when you are going to achieve them. You can now repeat this process, but this time imagine it is three years from now.

This should give you a clear plan of action for your massage practice. Success is not by accident. Each expert whether it be in the massage profession, Internet marketing, or any other business had to have a clear plan with goals and deadlines. I'm sure you are familiar with the saying, "When you fail to plan you plan to fail." I would be surprised if the experts you admire and follow have completed something similar to this.

Here is a little nugget of what to do after attending live seminars, online trainings, conferences, etc., and you get new ideas and inspirations that you want to incorporate. As inspiring as they might be, it is important you stay focused because there is such a thing I call "shiny object syndrome" where the next new item can distract you from achieving your goals. When you attend functions go with an agenda and purpose. Keep in mind what you are working towards and what your end result will be for your massage practice.

After the event, when you are filled with excitement and new ideas, go to your action plan and see if this new item (tool, modality, class, service, product, etc.) can be incorporated into your current plan. If it does, then figure out the best way to implement it, but if it doesn't, give yourself permission to set the idea aside for now. You aren't saying no to the opportunity, you are simply completing one project before starting another. You have every intension of implementing once you have met your goal. This can keep you from spreading yourself too thin and sometimes that can make you feel like quitting. Remember, the only difference between and the expert are they were a newbie that never quit!

Click here for previous articles by Stephanie Beck.


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