“When I reflect on my biggest lessons since opening my clinic, the first thing that comes to mind is to avoid the trap of reducing your prices heavily to bring clients through the door. It is a strategy that can certainly work in the short term, however I’ve found it generally doesn’t attract long-term clients as it can undervalue your practice. I would advise practitioners to stand by the value they deliver for the prices they charge.
“I have found letterbox drops in my local area to be an effective way to attract new clients, however the right content is so important. I have tried a 20% discount offer and received quite a low response. However, for my next flyer I wrote an article about a specific posture problem and simply included my contact details at the end. I sent out 30 flyers and five new customers called me as a result. It taught me giving people something useful as opposed to a hard sell is so much more effective in advertising for our business.
“Building friendships with the right local businesses has been an extremely helpful way of building our client base. As an example, I got to know our local café and hairdressers and started to treat their staff through offering them a corporate rate. As a result, they regularly refer clients to us. I always make a point of asking new clients who referred them to us and make sure I take the time to look after those people. Little things like giving them some extra session time and a simple thank you can make a big difference.
“Another lesson has been around having realistic expectations that there will be times where you will have drops in clientele. During these periods, use your time wisely to get more involved in your local area. It can be as simple as visiting your local coffee shop to chat with the owners. Don’t be surprised if they introduce you and your business to a few customers while you are there and more often than not your phone will start ringing.
“For those in the manual therapies industry, becoming involved with sporting communities can also be very beneficial. I’m lucky because as a ballet teacher I’ve become the port of call to many dancers requiring treatment. I know other therapists have attracted new clients through becoming involved with local pilates and yoga classes.
“As a new business owner it is so important to keep a sense of balance as burn out is so common. You need to set very strong boundaries with your work hours and be committed to the rules you set. I’ve personally found it helpful not to treat people too late into the evening. If you choose to work Saturdays, which can be a high clientele day for our industry, take two half-days off during the week to make sure you are having enough down time. This is so important for manual therapists as the work is physically tiring, and your clients will feel it if you are feeling lethargic. Keeping fit and healthy is equally important for the same reasons.
“Retaining existing clients is so important. I believe a lot of the reasons people lose clients is because they deliver unrealistic expectations. Be honest and frank about what the issue is, what you can deliver and what you can’t. This alone will help clients build trust in you which can go a long way”.
When Troy Randall injured his shoulder in his early teens, an appointment with a myotherapist got him back on the courts and led to a fascination with manual therapies as he committed to make a difference to people in the same boat.