5 Challenges You Will Face When You Start Your Wellness Business

The wellness industry is experiencing a period of high growth. While this means that large companies are cashing in on a growing set of customers who are looking to focus on their health, this also means that there are more opportunities in small business.

Getting started as a wellness entrepreneur can be exciting and empowering. It can also be challenging. 

Here are the top 5 challenges you will face when you are getting started, and how to face them with confidence.

1. Finding New Patient Leads

Many small business resources will name this as your number one challenge while starting off as an entrepreneur.

Sure, you may be able to get your business off the ground by depending on friends, family, and acquaintances. But once you need to start entering the online advertising game (and in many cases, traditional methods like newspaper, television, or billboard ads), it becomes difficult knowing where to spend your hard earned money. 

There are two main reasons why this is challenging:

  1. Expertise: Understanding the benefits, and how to use each of these marketing methods takes time, which will already be in short supply for a small business owner like yourself. 
  2. Outsourcing: You can find many marketing agencies willing to take the job of finding new leads. This can lead to significant costs, without the added benefit of learning how to manage your own marketing. 

There is never a silver bullet solution to the challenge of marketing your small business. You will learn over time by adopting a learning mentality and learning from failure throughout the process.

Here are some introductions to some of the most effective small wellness business marketing methods out there.

Online Advertising

Wellness businesses are well suited to Facebook/Instagram advertising (Paid Social) and Google Ads (Paid Search). 

Facebook Ads allow you to market directly to people in your area who have a much better chance of showing interest in wellness, and Google Ads show up for people who are already searching for your service.

So these advertisements should bring in immediate business right? Especially if you are paying several hundred dollars a month?

Don’t fall for this marketing trap. You should still consider these methods as similar to a traditional billboard. The online advertising space is exceptionally crowded and increasingly expensive.

You are paying to make locals aware of your business (which is often referred to as “top of the funnel” advertising). 

If you go out chasing new leads immediately, you may find your advertising budget flushed away in short order.

Local SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, which means showing up higher on Google when someone in your city types in “massage therapist” or “reiki healing near me.”

As a small business owner, you likely have a small 1-5 page website and a Google My Business listing). There are several free or low cost strategies you can use to optimize your
“Local” SEO, whether you live in a small town or a community within a larger city.

Make sure your Google My Business page is up-to-date. Upload high-quality photos to show off your space, and post your hours of operation.

Most importantly, manage your Google Reviews. This means asking your favorite customers to leave reviews, and responding to any negative reviews promptly and professionally. 

Many people are using Google Maps to search for things like “coffee shops” and “exercise class,” especially when they are visiting a new city

A well-cared for Google My Business account will show up prominently in these results. 

Social Media & Content Marketing

Social media is probably the most effective marketing for small wellness businesses. Instagram and TikTok allow you to share information about your service in beautiful, engaging ways.

Facebook is a great tool for older age demographics and connecting with local wellness community groups.

And content marketing, where you tell stories through blogs and longer-format video allow you to go deeper about your craft. Blogs also have the added benefit of improving your search rankings if done correctly. 

Follow other small wellness businesses, and find out what your competitors are doing. Platforms like Instagram and TikTok are designed for anyone to pick them up quickly – and the only limit is your creativity.

Blog posts have the added benefit of paying off over time. Consider hiring a local freelance writer to produce several blog posts, but make sure they are unique and deal with topics your clientele are interested in reading about – then be sure to promote using your social media.

2. Operations and Other Processes

After discussing all the ways you can grow your business through marketing, talking about keeping your books in order can sound like a drag. 

And that’s because it is. There’s no way to get around it.

However, nothing can sap your energy more than worrying about keeping the money rolling in when you have already spent the day marketing, managing, and practicing your craft. 

Here’s how to approach processes like invoicing, email management, and website management.

Document Everything

Start off with recording everything you do for your business in a given week while you are going through the motions. Then record any monthly or annual tasks.

This activity is best done when you have some spare time on your hands, like during your “slow season” or even a specially-booked “planning period”.

Once you have a list of all your business activities, go one step further and write down the processes, or step-by-step sequences that you take. 

Deciding How to Improve Your Systems

You will only need to transform a process if it will give you a strategic advantage, like providing more direct value to your clients, reducing costs, and making things easier for YOU – the business owner. 

Next, determine where you're starting from (your baseline) and where you hope to end up.

Most repetitive tasks can be automated or outsourced, especially in an age where there is so much software available for small business owners. 

This may seem like oversimplified advice, but a surprisingly high number of business owners don’t log their activities, or conduct periodic audits of whether their systems are actually working for them.

3. Missed Appointments and No-Shows / Booking Systems

Thanks to online booking systems, getting your clients scheduled in to see you has become much easier than it used to be. You no longer have to worry about having someone to answer the phone during business hours, and online booking systems will remind your clients in the days and hours leading up to their appointments.

But unfortunately, people will inevitably miss appointments. Tracking down no-shows can take up valuable time and energy. In the interest of avoiding burnout, it can be best to just leave them be.

There are a few things you can control about the situation of a no-show.

  • Prepare simple, low-energy business tasks you can do when you have unexpected free time due to a no show.
  • In times of stress, use no-show periods to meditate or any other stress-relieving activity.

Use fees to prevent no-shows as a last resort, and only if it occurs enough to severely impact your bottom line. 

4. Building a Team of More Than One

Many wellness businesses start with a single practitioner who wants the freedom of establishing their own practice and not having to work by another business owner’s rules.

This can often look like a massage therapist who travels to customers’ homes with a portable massage table, or a bodyworker who sees clients in a rented office. 

But eventually, individual business owners hit a crucial point of diminishing returns where it is no longer possible to grow without the help of another employee. This employee could handle the “books,” or could be another practitioner who will practice to allow for more customers.

In any case, there are two key decisions for wellness business owners to make.

  1. When is the right time to bring someone else onto the team.
  2. Who is your ideal first employee.

Adding a Business Partner to Your Team

When deciding whether to add a business partner, consider all possibilities further down the road. Choosing someone who you enjoy spending time and have good communication with is important – but these won’t make or break your business.

Clear division of workload and aligned value of success and failure is especially important. Take the time to make sure you are on the same page before you get started in business together.

5. Sticking to Your Mission

Your mission, vision, and values are all specific concepts that take time to determine. But at the root, they are all about finding your why.

In the book Start With Why, author Simon Sinek says that “people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”

The wellness industry knows this well. The space is filled with ambitious statements about improving people’s wellbeing, but this can be difficult to translate to action. As a business owner, ensure your long term success by making promises you can keep.

Avoid offering quick fixes to your client’s problems. Instead of helping a client have their healthiest year ever, you are trying to put them on a sustainable wellness journey that will last for the rest of their life.

Learning and Growing at Symmetry Collective

So many of the challenges we discussed today can be taken on as a part of a community – which we are offering as a part of Symmetry Collective. 

We offer shared spaces for wellness small business owners in the Denver metropolitan area, with the added benefit of amenities, professional growth opportunities, and a thriving community of wellness practitioners. 

Interested in learning more? Book a tour of our space today!