I asked 30 successful therapists, who have been in business an average of fourteen years each, for the secrets of their success. Their responses are fascinating and surprising. I also asked them the biggest challenges they have had on setting up and sustaining a successful 1인샵 (therapy shop) and this is what they said:
Building a sustainable client base, This was by far the most common issue that they raised. As one very well renowned acupuncturist said to me, "it was only after I had been struggling in business for a couple of years that I realized I wasn't in business to do acupuncture, my business was marketing myself and selling myself". The key learning then is that you must set up a proper marketing strategy, which must cover more than just putting an advert in the local paper or newsagent. Before you start saying "I can't afford to do lots of different sorts of marketing", the solution is to try a small sample in the market and measure the results. By measuring different strategies you can see which ones work best and take those further. This way you don't spend a fortune on marketing that does not generate leads.
Advertising Costs getting out of hand, This is related to the response above. It is so easy to just do as your competitors do and advertise in the same magazines or newspapers. Do you know how effective those adverts are? Again use different strategies and be creative with your marketing and ALWAYS test the results. In other words, you need to ask every client who comes through the door how they heard about you. You can then find out how many leads were generated by your advertising and will have a much better idea of what is working and what is not. Change the marketing that is not working (for example a headline on an advert ) and test that against the previous best. Always try and improve the leads and conversions ( I.e sales) that you get.
Ignorance of the therapies by the clients and public perception of how professional the therapy is A couple of therapists said how useful they found it to go to trade shows and alternative health exhibitions for the general public, giving free short demonstrations. I confess I have found this less useful as people only came if they were converted - but maybe life coaching isn't so "alternative" anymore, so the public had a better idea of what they were getting. We found when we were running the therapy shop that writing articles were a good way of explaining the different therapies on offer. Where you have a few clients who are more receptive to "new" things it is worth asking them to try it out saying how you think it will help them. Again if you sell them the benefits of what the therapy can do (without claiming a "cure" of course which is unethical and in a lot of countries, illegal) your clients are more likely to want to try out something new.
How to start up the therapy shop and figure out the administration. It is recommended that you read books and attend courses.
To look after yourself as well as the client. The nature of a therapy shop is that it can be emotionally or physically draining (or both!) and if you do not protect yourself you can find yourself absorbing all your clients' negative energy. To avoid this make sure you can cleanse yourself energetically. If you are a massage bodyworker be conscious of your posture throughout your sessions. Also ensure you have a good supervisor, especially for the "talking" therapies and maybe other therapists you can discuss particular issues with - especially if you are confronted with a new condition you have not come across before.
6. Asking for money/ charging a proper fee, particularly when you first set up a complementary therapy shop. Do lots of market research beforehand to ascertain the going rate and the demand for the service( I will cover this in a later article)