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What to include in a massage therapy business plan

Massage therapy business plan: masseuse taking notes from a customer

Key takeaways 

  • Massage therapy is a fast-growing field that helps people both physically and mentally
  • Writing a business plan lays out the core strategic elements to launch your company 
  • Narrow in on the who, what, when, and where to bring your vision to life 

People are always looking for ways to improve their overall sense of well-being. As a massage therapist, you can help others achieve this while working for yourself. The massage therapy industry is expected to grow by 32% between now and 2030, which is much faster than other industries.

If you’re a massage therapist who’s ready to start your own business, use this guide to learn how to create a massage therapy business plan and gain an advantage over the competition.

Why massage therapists need a business plan 

Massage therapy business plan: massage therapist standing in her spa

Even if you don’t have formal business training, creating a business plan for your massage business will increase your odds of success. Furthermore, it increases your chances of funding from potential lenders or investors, as it provides a detailed look at your plans for success. 

The Associated Bodywork and Massage Professionals reports that there are more than 330,000 massage therapists in the United States. While this means you might be starting your new business in a saturated market, the demand and opportunity are highAmericans spend more than $140,000 on “treat yourself” services like massages over their lifetime. 

Your massage therapy business plan is your roadmap for running your company successfully. It provides proof of concept and transitions your fledgling idea to open a massage therapy practice in a refined vision of what you want your company to look like and how it will grow. 

As a startup entrepreneur, you’ll need to outline your target market, the need or demand for your services in your geographic area, how you’ll stand out from the competition, and the marketing strategies you’ll use to differentiate yourself. 

7 sections to include in a massage therapy business plan

Massage therapist working on someone's back

Putting your business plan on paper brings your idea to life so you can flesh out important aspects of your business concept and identify how you will stand out and reach your goals in the real world. Here are the primary sections to include in your new business plan.

Executive summary 

Think of the executive summary as a one-page overview of your massage business plan. It’s the first impression you make on the reader, such as a potential lender. It should highlight the most engaging or impressive elements about your business idea, whether it’s a unique service you’ll be offering or an innovative approach to reaching your potential clients

Although the executive summary is the first part of your business plan, it’s best to write it last, after you’ve thoroughly researched and outlined all other aspects of your plan.

Business description 

Also called a company description, this section details what your company does and its key differentiators. Include basic information like your founding date, structure (e.g., sole proprietorship, limited liability company, or corporation), business name, location (or service area if you plan to offer mobile massage services), mission statement, and target market

Identifying your ideal clients is essential. If you’re marketing to everyone, you’re marketing to no one. Narrowing in on a niche is vital. For example, maybe you want to target athletes, seniors, or pregnant individuals. You’ll need to identify which marketing channels are effective for each demographic and how to appeal to them on a personal level.

Here are some questions to consider as you define your target market:

  • Where do they live?
  • How much do they earn? 
  • What are their reasons for seeking massage therapy?
  • What massage specialties might they be looking for? 

Operations and management team

Think of your operations plan as your logistics strategy for the “what and who” of your company. This section should include details about how you’ll operate and any equipment you’ll need to obtain, such as massage tables, lotions, essential oils, blankets, and towels. 

If applicable, you’ll also want to list your management team and any other licensed massage therapists working with you. Include whether they’ll be full-time or part-time and how you intend to recruit them. 

Products and services 

You’re providing therapeutic massage services, but what does that mean to your clients? Break down your services into options and packages to ensure clarity and identify gaps in your offerings. 

Many massage therapy businesses, whether run entirely by a single licensed massage therapist or with a larger team, include the following services: 

  • Hot stone massage 
  • Deep tissue massage 
  • Reflexology 
  • Sports massage 
  • Aromatherapy 

Ultimately, your services will depend on your skill level, what you find to be most effective for clients, and the preferences, abilities, and certifications of other members of your team. 

Marketing analysis 

Understanding your competition is key to profitability. This is done in the marketing analysis section of your massage therapy business plan. The marketing analysis contains competitor research, such as their history, revenue, and pricing. Even if there’s not another physical location for massage therapy services in your geographic area, your potential clients might be willing to travel further to your competitors for the services they want.

To achieve the highest profitability, consider what gaps you could close in the market. For example, offering retail services or a rewards program distinguishes you from your competitors. Or perhaps other companies in the area require a membership and you will allow people to purchase one-off sessions as needed.

Marketing plan 

Think of your marketing strategy or plan as your answer to this question: Where will you find clients, and why will they be compelled to use your services? 

In your marketing plan, list methods you’ll use to reach your target audience, including paid advertisements on the web or social media, ads in local publications, or radio spots.

Once you start your own massage therapy business, word-of-mouth referrals from friends, family, and happy customers could help bring in repeat business. However, it can take some time to get things off the ground, and you can’t rely on word of mouth alone. 

As part of your marketing plan, also outline some small business goals to define your early marketing strategy. For example, mention that you’ll create a website, set up social media profiles, and claim your Yelp Business Page, where you can add contact information, photos, and respond to reviews to help spread word-of-mouth about your new venture.

Your marketing plan is one of the most fluid aspects of your business plan, and you’ll adjust it as you learn more about your most successful ways to attract new customers. 

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Financial strategy 

Your financial strategy or plan is crucial to explain how you’ll get the necessary funds to launch. 

  1. Get funded. You might turn to grants, savings, or loans to cover your startup expenses. Map out anticipated costs and explain how you can cover them. Bear in mind that most new businesses typically need two to three years to turn a profit, so your startup expenses should take this into consideration. 
  2. Evaluate risks. Liability insurance policies should be evaluated and purchased at this stage. 
  3. Determine total investment costs. Along with one-time launch expenses, include ongoing operational costs like rent, utilities, and supplies. 

Remember to explain how customers will pay for your services as part of your financial strategy. Will you accept payments from healthcare insurance companies or stick with cash and credit card payments? Outlining these details will ensure you stay on track financially. 

Get started on your massage therapy business plan 

If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and a passion for helping people with massage therapy, creating a business plan should be the first step in starting your new business

When drafting your business plan, include the most important aspects: an executive summary, business description, operations and team management, products and service details, marketing plans, and financial strategy.

Your business plan is the cornerstone of your new company, but it’s just one piece of how to start your own massage business. As you continue the process, learn more about pricing strategies that can help you meet your business goals.

The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.