Massage Therapy Canada

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Practice Management:December 2005

Imagine you’re planning a very important and lengthy journey. Would you imagine going without a sense of destination? Would you leave without a map and a compass?


September 28, 2009
By Donald quinn dillon MT

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Imagine you’re planning a very important and lengthy journey. Would you imagine going without a sense of destination? Would you leave without a map and a compass?

Of course not, yet many therapists make the mistake of venturing into business without the proper tools to succeed. I believe creating a business, or associating in one, is akin to the journey metaphor. You have the
destination you wish to arrive at, you know the reasons why you are going, you have a starting point, and you need a compass and a map to get you there safely and effectively.

Some people have the right idea by preparing a business plan, and may go through the exercise for the one-time purpose such as applying for a business start-up loan. Unfortunately, after this process is complete, the business plan is often filed away, never to be looked at again.

I feel that a business plan needs to be practical … a reference point for the business that is ever evolving, ever changing as the experience and vision of the plan-creator evolves and changes. The plan needs to be practical, easy to read, and like a map keeps the planner on the path towards her/his destination.

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I recognized the need some time ago to keep my plans ever in front of me. That is why I created a model I call the MTCoach Business Map. The Business Map has eight integrated parts – each with critical questions causing the planner to reflect deeply on her/his business. In this article, I invite you to consider your journey and examine the first three parts – Purpose, Passion and Position in the Marketplace.

Our first part is our Purpose. In our journey metaphor, our purpose is akin to our destination, or where we wish to go. It’s the “What” … What does my business do? What does my business challenge me to be? In what way can my business serve the world and make it a better place?

What do I want my business to provide for me? Perhaps for you it is more free time, a sustainable living, personal fulfillment for work well done, the ability to take more workshops or acquire more education, recreation and healthcare for you and your family. Your Purpose must forever be in your sight so you can arrive at your desired experience.

Our second guiding light along the Business Map is our Passion.

This is metaphoric to a compass.

Just as a compass always points to true north, your values as recorded in your Business Map ensure your business stays on track. It’s the “Why” … Why did I become a therapist? Why must I toil everyday to breathe life into this business?

These are critical questions, and need to be asked regularly to delve into the essence of your motives.
“I like to help people” does not describe the depth of why. I implore you to dig deeper.

Take a moment now to reflect on your values, self-reliance, integrity, wellness, freedom from pain, longevity, vitality, compassion.

Values are what you’re willing to fight and toil away at to preserve and protect. Whenever you’re feeling discouraged or disappointed, your Passion keeps you moving towards your destination.

Our third point along the Business Map is our Position in the Marketplace. In our journey metaphor, this represents our Starting Point. It’s the “Who” … Who can use my services or products? What are their needs or problems that I have effective solutions to? Do they understand the benefits of my services or products? Who else provides products/services to this market?

One of the most common mistakes entrepreneurial therapists can make is to not know their market. Worse, many think they know their market or that everyone and anyone is their market. No wonder four out
of five business start-ups fail within the first five years.

Demographics, such as gender, age, residence, occupation, and psychographics such as values and beliefs, interests, buying behaviour and motivation are very important in the creation and provision of products/services that will be welcomed by your market. Your market – the people in your community who can most benefit from your business provisions – expect you to know and understand how to fix their problems. The more you learn about your market, the better you will serve them.

I personally take out and review a section of my Business Map every week to assess my current situation, refocus my efforts, and keep me on track to my destination.

If you make the investment and create a Business Map, I think you’ll find that it is one of the best things you can do for your business. Once created, resolve to keep your map in front of you to ensure your arrival at your desired destination.

Mapping Your Success

Purpose
• What does my business do?
• What does my business challenge me to be?
• In what ways do I want my business to provide for me?
• What will my life be like when I realize my goals?

Passion
• Why did I really become a therapist?
• What do I value most and wish to preserve?
• Why do I work hard day after day at my vocation?
• What compels me to succeed?

Position in the Marketplace
• Who is served by my business?
• What are their problems/needs?
• What benefits does my business provide? Does
my market understand these benefits?
• Who else serves the needs of my market?


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