It’s thrilling living in a time where there are such low barriers to start a business.
It used to be that you’d need a significant injection of working capital or a major stroke of luck (by being discovered) to get the ball rolling. Now, all you need is basically a social media account and a website.
Yeah, it’s not the same as a brick-and-mortar store but times have changed.
We’re in the era of the pop-up shop.
Where people can set up, sell their goods and/or services, and break it all down (to move elsewhere) in a day – and that’s completely normal!
A massage therapy business is one of these types of pop-up businesses. The business model is completely mobile if you decide to use a quality portable massage chair and plan for mobility from the get-go.
How do you do it?
First off, you need to research your target audience and competition.
It’s about asking yourself what you would want from a mobile massage business – which probably includes:
- Friendly people
- Professional appearance
- Great experience and service
You see it like a spa but they’re bringing it to you: become your own customer.
The concept stage will have you examining the market and competition. The process will help you find a unique selling point. This is what sets you apart from others that may be doing it in your area. It will also let you identify your likely candidates based on aligning your goals to the needs of your community.
Likewise, you can set a baseline with the experience people have with your future competition.
- What value do they provide?
- How could I make the experience better?
Two important questions that will help define your brand identity and offer selection.
The concept stage is easy because it’s playing with hyped ideas so of course you’ll feel compelled to write endless ideas and notes about your “guaranteed success”. This is the time that many start to hit a wall because they realize they’ve got to do the work.
Know yourself and how to stay motivated.
This means setting deadlines for when you’ll make business investments into the critical assets such as the massage chair, ambiance-setting items (e.g. tapestries and music), and the vehicle.
The chair will be your centerpiece – allowing you to perform your services – while an eye-catching, design wrapped vehicle will create a brand presence.
It’s time to launch:
- Build excitement by telling your immediate friends and family (and ask them to do the same)
- Distribute business cards to relevant businesses in your area and see if you can leave a stack
- Set up a website where you can capture emails, book appointments, and complete transactions
- Attend local meetups and street fairs to build brand awareness and gather lead information
- Take out small ads in your local paper(s), news, and radio affiliates to spread the word
Obviously, there’s more to launching than what’s in this short list. But, if you have the right tools (chair and vehicle) and can spread the word (ads and face-to-face), then you’re off in the right direction.
And if the business picks up steam?
That’s when you’ll want to double-down on your marketing, value proposition, and customer satisfaction. It will require reinvesting into the business to spread the brand awareness and increase its value so you’re constantly receiving praise and referrals.
- Blog harder (while including SEO tactics) to drive more organic local searches
- Partner with businesses that offer complementary services to refer customers
- Use a referral program with your customers to turn them into business advocates
- Interview influencers to learn their secrets and build your brand by association
BLS.gov puts the number of massage therapist jobs (as of 2016) at just over 160k with a job outlook that’s “faster than average”. The demand is there and barriers to entry are low. Meaning – now’s the time to get in on this growing industry.
Do you think this is the type of business for you?