How to Write An Effective Business Plan

There's something to be said for taking the time to outline where you are now and where you want to be—and how exactly you plan to get from point A to point B. In other words: writing a business plan.

Anatomy of a Business Plan

Though many massage therapists may not need to create an in-depth standard business plan, knowing what this document comprises is a good idea. You also might find that at least some of these elements will be included in your own business plan, no matter how simple.

Executive summaryHere, you’ll summarize the key points of the rest of the plan. “It lets you highlight the exciting parts,” says Kelly Bowers, a licensed massage therapist in Washington, D.C.

Company descriptionThis description tells people what kind of practice you’re creating. You can detail the legal structure of the company, for example, as well as how management will work, if you’ll have a management team in place. “This is also a summary of things you’ll get into in greater detail later in the plan,” explains Bowers.

Product/serviceObvious, perhaps, but in this section you’ll detail what products or services your practice will offer.

Target marketWhen thinking of who your target market will be, Bowers suggests thinking of these questions: Who is going to buy your products or services, and why would they buy your products and services?

Competitive analysisNo matter how simple you make your business plan, you should have a good idea of who in your area may serve as competition for business and clients. “Who is already selling your product or service?” Bowers asks. “How are you going to be able to compete with them?”

Marketing and sales planHere, you are going to outline how you’ll reach potential clients and get them to buy your product or service. In today’s world, there are a lot of different ways you might choose to market your practice, so take some time to think about what might work best for you.

Operations planHow does your company run? Where is your practice located? What equipment do you need? All of these are questions you’ll answer in this section, Bowers says.

Management teamIf you plan on setting up business with other people, or going into business with a fellow massage therapist or someone from a complementary profession, you’ll need to outline leadership roles. Who will be in charge, for example?


Excerpted from mtj® (Massage Therapy Journal®) Spring 2013.

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