Sustainability of a Massage Practice
“Sustainability, in general terms, is the ability to maintain balance of a certain process or state in any system.” (Wikipedia, 2009)
In today’s economic environment we have several factors we need to take into account to have a viable and sustainable massage Practice. The economic, environmental & social sustainabilty are some of the key fundaments to making a business work. Will my business survive, is my business impacting on the environment and what sort of social impact will it have? All key questions to be considered before starting a practice of my own.
With the economy in a recession at the present moment, one would be hesitant to start up their own business without first doing a business plan to work out the overall running costs from day to day. “Small businesses often face a variety of problems related to their size. A frequent cause of bankruptcy is under capitalization. This is often a result of poor planning rather than economic conditions” (Wikipedia, 2009). We have to make sure that we are pricing our services according to the market. To do this we need to work out what others are charging, what costs are involved in running the business for example; power, rates, insurance and so on. What costs are involved for each activity we do within the business for example; Massage oils, washing, uniforms and other hidden costs. If we don’t make enough money to cover our costs, or our through put is not large enough due to poor location or want, this will impact on other parts of our business. If we plan well we will have enough clients to cover costs and start making a profit at which time, we can then start contributing to the economy of where we are by supporting local business and using them to buy the products and services we need to grow and expand our practice.
The Environment has become more and more a focus of our everyday lives and the choices we make. Many people now will by Eco friendly products or support environmentally sustainable business to help do their bit to reduce the carbon footprint we leave. Massage practices needs to be aware of what impact we have on the environment. We need to make sure we are looking at all the possible ways of looking after our environment, but at the same time not putting unrealistic expectations on our business. We need to look at the most efficient ways to heat our premise, the lighting we use, the amount of washing we do and how we dry that washing.
There are several Eco friendly options on the market when it comes to lighting, detergents, linen and heating. If we plan our practice well, all these can be implement over time. By using energy efficient light-bulbs and the best power rated way to heat our rooms, and how we dry our linen, we can reduce our power consumption. Using cold water and biodegradable detergents for the majority of our washes we reduce the effects on our storm water. Some of these can be quite pricey to start with, but in the long term they will benefit our business and our environmental sustainability.
“Social sustainability is related to the more basic needs of happiness, safety, freedom, dignity and affection. These conditions cannot be met without a healthy and sustainable natural environment and economy.” (Ministry of the Environment, 2009)
We have to be aware of the diverse range of cultures and beliefs that exist today. We need to have a good rapport with all our clients and business we deal with, as well as those that work around us. To make our practice more socially sustainable we need to have a wide variety of networks we can use and refer to. If we do this, we build upon our own business by providing other avenues to our clients. This can create a flow on effect within the network, which can have benefits for all those involved. The social networks and rapports we build can help other areas of our business sustainability.
I have already started thinking about what things i would do to make my practice sustainable. Things include door to door advertising. This not only reduces the cost of advertising in newspapers and the likes, it will also keep me fit and aware of my community. I already used Eco friendly washing powder to do my laundry and hang my linen outside when i can. I only heat my massage room on days when it is being used and use a sheet and towel to drape my clients as to not increase my power consumption. I have started on my network of business people including a Physio and Midwife who will be able to refer clients to me in the future. While we are still training it is hard to implement all the things i would like to keep my business sustainable as we are not currently charging for our services. Once this happens i will be able to work more on making my massage practice a sustainable one.
To make our business work we need to do a lot of planning and market research to devise our best methods of becoming a sustainable Massage Practice. The economy, environment and our social networks will always change. We have to factor this into our business to make sure we stay in business. Our sustainability will always be in our hands, and we need to be aware of the ebb and flow of the modern world. I don’t think we have all the best answers right now, but with time and planning I am sure we can all contribute to the sustainability of our Massage Practices.
Sustainability (2009) retrieved on 31 May 2009
Small Business (2009) retrieved on 31 May 2009
Social Sustainability in Government (2009) retrieved on 31 May 2009