Ready for Change?

Do This First

By Kristin Coverly
[Business Side]

Starting a new year can inspire us to dream about change and growth, which makes it the perfect time to jump on the goal-setting bandwagon with all the other hopeful resolution setters. Chances are you’ve already set some personal goals around eating less, moving more, stressing less, and laughing more. But what about your practice? Let’s create some growth strategies for your business too. And let’s do it right.
First things first. Before you can effectively set goals for how you want to change and enhance your practice, you need to analyze it to see what’s working and what needs to be tweaked, overhauled, let go of, etc.
I created the Business Assessment Wheel (BAW)—adapted from popular life wheels—to help us take a balanced look at all aspects of owning and operating a practice so we can determine which areas of our business need the most attention. Why use the BAW? Because what I find often happens is that therapists only want to evaluate and put time into the aspects of running a business they’re comfortable with. Customer service? Sure, let’s take a deep look at that and set some goals! Finances? Hold on, I think I hear someone calling me, I’ll be right back. This creates imbalance and has a negative impact on our practice’s overall success.

How to Use the Wheel
Rank where your business currently stands in each of the wheel segments from 0–10. Zero signifies you do absolutely nothing in that aspect of your business, or what you’re doing isn’t effective or has negative results. A score of 10 means you’re knocking it out of the park in this zone and don’t see any area for improvement. Create your own definitions for numbers one through nine so you’re using a consistent rating scale throughout the BAW. Pull out the colored pencils you got with your adult coloring book last year and shade in each area of the wheel to the appropriate score using the numbered guidelines.
You’ll end up with a visual guide to help you prioritize your goal-setting process; it will be easy to see the areas of your practice that need immediate change. And remember, this is a judgment-free activity. No business is performing perfectly in all areas at all times. If yours is, please contact me immediately; I want to know your secret!
Determine how you want to utilize this analysis. For example, if your overall goal is to score between 8 and 10 on each segment, you have a few different options to get there. You might jump in and set goals and growth strategies within every segment right up front so you have a blueprint for how to create change on a larger scale and in several different areas at once. Or you might choose a more methodical approach and take it one segment at a time, analyzing and setting goals for one segment a month, working your way through the wheel over eight months. This approach may allow you to take a more thorough look at each area of your business.
Ultimately, you want to have a to-do list of items for each segment that will take it, say, from a three to an eight. Choose the strategy that works best for you to create that list and implement the changes.
wheel Segments
• Client Experience—this includes all aspects of customer service, from appointment scheduling to payment and rebooking. Are there any areas where you can improve communication or efficiency?
• Marketing—examine both your marketing efforts to gain new clients, as well as your marketing to current clients to maximize retention.
• Business Management—this includes all aspects of running your practice, from client file management to ordering supplies.
• Physical Space—examine safety issues (from cords to candles), client comfort, reception area, parking, etc.
• Continuing Education—have you done research to see which modalities might be interesting to you and helpful for your clients? Do you save money for course or conference registration fees?
• Finances/Accounting—this covers everything from bill paying and income/expense tracking to tax prep and payment.
• Self-Care—do you take care of yourself as well as you take care of others?
• Other—personalize the wheel for your own practice and add your own category here or break a larger topic—like marketing—into two segments.

I truly hope the BAW is an effective tool for you to evaluate your practice and that it helps you identify areas that are ready for improvement. Please don’t just focus on the areas that need work, though—also use the wheel as a reminder to celebrate your successes!

Kristin Coverly, LMT, is the manager of professional education at ABMP and creates resources and teaches workshops for therapists across the country. She’s a massage therapist with a business degree who cares about you and your practice. Contact her at