Your massage therapy business may seem more like a way of life than a real business—a collection of assets and liabilities that must produce a profit. However, to be successful it’s OK to recognize that your business (or your way of life) must be profitable in order to be able to continue in service. How you launch your business is fundamental to how soon you will be making a profit.
To Buy vs. Create
As you make the determination whether to build your practice from scratch or buy an existing business, you need to consider the following:
- Buying an existing business may help you more quickly generate a profit, but you need to be realistic about whether all or most of existing clients will remain.
- Though it would take longer for you to establish a new practice, would the long-term result be worth it to you?
- Consider whether buying just the physical assets of another business (such as massage tables, shelving, office equipment and furniture) is a possibility if you decide not to purchase the business in its entirety.
Ask Before You Buy
You should consider the following questions when evaluating the pros and cons of purchasing an existing business:
- Does the practice generate enough earnings every month to meet your financial goals? If not, do you have a plan that would change that?
- How many massage sessions does the practice generate each month, and how many of those are repeat customers?
- Has the practice been operating according to all applicable laws and regulations?
- Will you be committed to existing contracts, such as an office lease?
- If you had set the office up yourself, would you have done it the same way?
- Will making changes to the practice be more difficult or more costly than setting it up your way in the first place?
- Are the practice’s standards, goals and philosophy compatible with yours?
- If there are employees, are they planning on staying?
- Is the seller willing to sign a noncompete agreement if he or she plans to continue practicing massage in the same vicinity?
Legal and Business Counsel
Buying a business is a major investment, and it requires the expertise of legal and financial specialists who have experience in business acquisitions. You should seek legal counsel before having any business discussions with a prospective seller.