One of the biggest mistakes you can make as an RMT is to assume that your massages will be the only defining factor in your success. If only this were true. Unfortunately a large aspect of your practice relies on business smarts and customer service and not all RMTs are prepared with the knowledge to do well in these two areas. Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you be better prepared to handle the business side of your soon to be thriving practice.
Do Avoid Cancelling on Patients
Make sure you do not cancel appointments unless absolutely necessary. There are a few reasons this is important. First of all you are providing a health care service and when you cancel you could be making an impact on someone’s health and well-being. This is not only unprofessional it is also careless. Your care may not be considered life or death treatment, but it does play a role in your patient’s pain management as well as with their peace of mind. Cancelling undermines the importance of your treatment and sends the message not even you consider it an important aspect of their health care.
Don’t Run Late
When it comes to your time you have to remember lateness has a domino effect. When you run late your reputation for keeping people waiting will soon have an effect on your revenue. You have to be certain you are not taking advantage of client’s time and they are not taking advantage of yours. In most cases running late is a result of not watching the clock or providing full service to late clients. Keep a clock in your massage room or have an alarm in your pocket that vibrates to let you know it is time to start wrapping things up. This will keep you on track and will avoid making client’s wait. To avoid issues with late clients have a clear policy about cancellations and lateness outlined in the paperwork client’s sign prior to treatment. Let clients know if late, they will receive treatment for the remaining allotted time only. This will show them the value of your time and the commitment to your clients. If you have a receptionist make sure she lets clients know of the policy when they book their first appointment.
Do Have a Business Plan
You have to determine how many clients you need to see to earn enough revenue to cover your overhead. Remember this includes your salary and all expenses including phone bills, rent (if not practicing at home), staff (if your have junior partners or administrative staff) and supplies. Make sure the amount of patients you need to see is realistic for you to handle without burning out or sustaining injury. Set rules to keep your practice profitable and stick to them. This includes a hard nosed approach to late patients, insisting on payment at time of service (you might consider payment prior to service) and considering having a cancellation fee. You have to be comfortable making these decisions and being consistent in how you run your practice. Without a business plan and policies that are followed religiously you will be placing your practice in jeopardy.
Don’t Overlook Marketing
Whether you have a Facebook or Twitter page, a website or an ad you run each week in the local paper do not underestimate the importance of marketing your business. Consider your audience, the message you want to send them and how you will get your message out. Although word of mouth can help you generate new patients, letting people know who you are and how to contact you will keep you competitive.