4 skills to run any wellness business

4 minutes reading time

Operations (Organisation). Marketing. Numbers. Leadership.

These are the four foundation skills by which every successful business, wellness or otherwise, is run. You may see different labels for them, but they are always present, in one form or another. If this were a blockbuster film, they’d each have their own horse (and dedicated range of merchandising).

If you’re already well versed in business fundamentals, this post is probably a little basic for you, and we wouldn’t be offended if you were to move swiftly on to something more advanced in Pro Resources.

For anyone looking for an intro or refresher, then you’ve come to just the right place!


The first step to enlightenment, dear padawan, is awareness of what the important outcomes and processes are in each of the 4 skill areas. From this foundation, you have a framework against which to devise a plan to deliver your objectives.

Shall we?

1. Organisation

Admin, operations, logistics. There are lots of names for this type of function, but it’s essentially the practical details that keep the cogs turning in your setup:

  • issuing a receipt with every booking, whether online or in person
  • sending reminder texts to minimise no-shows
  • updating your transaction records with every booking, cancellation or payment
  • logging business related receipts, in order to claim them back against your taxes
  • updating your diary with every booking, reschedule or cancellation
  • adding new clients to your client list, then keeping each record updated with new appointments and relevant details as they come to light (allergies, preferences etc)
  • making sure bills are paid on time so essential services don’t get cut off
  • ensuring any required insurance, licenses, registrations, and association memberships are up to date – if not, you could be breaking the law.

The outcome you’re looking for throughout your organisation:

Things happen on time, accurately

Little room for errors

  • Double booking, because of not keeping your diary up to date, or through a misunderstanding
  • Sending something late, or not at all e.g. a client their receipt
  • Getting details wrong e.g. the amount or address on a receipt
  • Not renewing an insurance policy in time
  • Inaccurate details on your profile or documentation e.g. filing an incorrect tax return or expense claim

These are all mistakes that are irksome enough when you make them in your personal life.

Repeat them enough times in your professional life and your business will struggle to survive.

But so many opportunities for them

Unfortunately, the nature of business is that much of it is routine and regular. That means many, many more opportunities for things to go wrong.

Invest in good people – find an A-Player to be your #2

If you run a team, the quality of your staff who deal with organisational matters is paramount. Indeed for most small business owners, it’s their number 2, their right hand person.

If you have to interview twice as many people and/or pay a little more than you’d like to, for someone who is reliable, has an eye for detail, and shows common sense, this could be one of the best investments you ever make.

Invest in a good system

Your setup / system can help by automating as much of what is routine as possible. Work smart, not just hard, and the opportunities for costly mistakes will be reduced accordingly.

Smoothly does it

Like good customer service, when your organisation is running smoothly, you often forget it’s even there.

When there’s an issue… you’ll soon know about it – especially from irate clients, with the plethora of review sites available for them to vent their displeasure on.

For useful tips on how to ensure your organisation is as effective as it can be, for the least effort, please see Organisation 101.

2. Marketing

If organisation is about getting your house in order, marketing is about attracting and retaining the right clients.

You could be the finest acupuncturist your neighbourhood has ever known, or graduate your counselling course with the highest marks ever seen by your tutors. But without bookings in your diary, your skill set in itself won’t pay the bills.

However, this is about much more than just client acquisition…

There are at least 72 working definitions of marketing, amongst which we’re rather fond of:

Satisfying customers at a profit

and

Getting the right product/service
to the right people
at the right time, for the right price

For a more indepth intro to the 4 P’s of marketing, please see Marketing 101.

3. Numbers

Not everyone is fond of numbers, but if you’re intent on setting up a business, or making a living from something, then your end goal is to make money (if only to keep doors open whilst you fulfil whatever inspired you to start). Which means there is no getting away from some numbers.

That said, when it’s a matter of your livelihood, your main source of income, for which you’ve trained hard all these years, you’d be surprised at how the numbers take on an entirely new allure for many people.

Nonetheless, we’ve tried to keep it to a minimum, and in the event, there are just three concepts you need to get a handle on, in order to run a business with confidence and precision:

  1. Profit & Loss
  2. Cashflow
  3. Key Performance Indicators

That’s the standard list in any case, for those going full time, or starting a small business.

If you’re only going part time, then not being in touch with KPI’s, matters less.

Whereas if you’re intent on taking your business as far as possible, on levelling up, then ideally you’d be comfortable with all three and also get to grips with the ‘balance sheet‘.

For more detailed guidance on understanding the numbers around your wellness practise, please see Numbers 101.

4. Leadership

Less relevant on day 1 of your solo career, but should you find yourself building a team, the intricate and many challenges of leadership swiftly present themselves.

What is good leadership to you?

Vision, courage, integrity, humility, focus, strategic planning, co-operation

according to this excellent analysis by Brian Tracy.

We couldn’t agree more. On a practical level, it’s also the smooth handling of all the less cheery things that in a large company would be delegated to the HR department:

  • employment law
  • payroll matters including income tax and pension deductions
  • performance reviews
  • disciplinaries
  • grievances

And also, for many people:

The most motivating and uplifting parts of business leadership

  • identifying talented employees
  • developing talented employees
  • watching said talented employees blossom

Not just the team

On a final but no less significant note, whilst it’s obviously a different dynamic to your team, as a business owner, you also need to effectively lead your business partners and your clients…

For a deeper discussion of what makes effective leadership that could take your business to the next level, please see Leadership 101.

4 + a bit. The Planning Principle

Fantastic as the Fab Four are in their own right, their consistent and coordinated use needs to be held together by the planning principle a.k.a the strategic approach.

This is less a skill than a mindset, and for a breakdown of why we think it could make a huge contribution to your progress as a wellness professional, please see here.


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