In the online world of business marketing it can quickly feel like the big-boys are sucking up all the digital air in the room. As a sole proprietor, micro-entrepreneur, or small business it can feel like the Andre-the-Giants (think The Princess Bride) of Wellness Services are overshadowing all of your efforts and drawing away all of your clients or students. But that is not true, even if it feels like it is.
There are amazing benefits to being an individually-run business that can make you more of an online powerhouse than larger brands. With over 10 000 massage therapists, over 26 000 physiotherapists, and over 30 000 certified personal trainers in Canada, the Health & Wellness industry is clearly built by sole-proprietors and small businesses.1,2,3 This is not taking into account the number of Yoga teachers, alternative bodyworkers, studios, gyms, and counselors that serve Canadians and International clients. Being small does not mean you aren’t good at marketing or running your business, it can actually be a great business model, and here is why:
Your Direct Line to Clients and Students
Having a clear and direct line to your clients and students is the superpower of a smaller business. This intimate connection with your audience helps you better know who your clients are, and what your students need. Many larger businesses rely strictly on data collected through social media platforms, email apps and their website to glean this valuable information. You can actually have the important conversations directly with the people you want to serve. Building your business on a genuine connection that you can foster with your customers will lay a strong foundation for your growth as a leader in your field.
You Bootstrap Marketing
In the Digital Marketing world there are two camps when it comes to how to spread the word and get the most bang for your efforts. The first group champions PPC (“Pay-Per-click”) and advertisement-based marketing. This approach can garner a sudden upswing in your online activities but requires a financial outlay that some micro-entrepreneurs just can’t swing. The second group sings the praises of organic search and growth. This approach takes the longer road to growth but can create a more sustainable community from little to no financial output. Website SEO (“Search Engine Optimization”), hashtags, active engagement on social media, and personal connections with clients are all aspects of organic marketing.
As a small business bootstrapping is not only thrifty it is a necessity, especially in the first few years of operations. One key tenet to bootstrapping is “why pay for it when you can do it for free.” Now before we all jump onto the organic marketing bandwagon know that advertising and the PPC approach has its place and at a certain point in a business’ journey this marketing perspective can truly help to improve and expand your customer base. The challenge for many new service providers is that they have a lot of passion and very little financial capital. That may seem like an ineffective business model, but not having a lot of money to throw at marketing is not necessarily a bad thing. You may need to put more of your own elbow-grease into it but choosing the path of organic online marketing can actually prove to be a more sustainable long-term growth plan than the quick growth from paid marketing.
You Are More Agile
As an emerging service provider, there are many paths to establish and grow your business. Do you niche down to one service or do you expand to offer several different skills? Do you become a part of a wellness centre, gym, or studio, or do you create your own space? The abundant choices, though often overwhelming, give you a chance to exercise one of your greatest gifts as a small business; your agility. Larger, more established businesses can be challenged to respond to a changing market or to growing client needs. As a micro-entrepreneur or small business, you have an opportunity to make changes as you see the need. This agility is invaluable in the modern world. Longevity requires roots and a growing trunk that can sway and bend in the wind. The diminutive size of your business keeps you limber and able to respond to the changing needs of your clients and students.
Your Message is Your Motivation
Many Health & Wellness Service providers began from a desire to help, to serve a certain group of people, to make people’s lives just a little bit better. As you evolve your offerings, this initial motivation can be maintained through the messaging you put out into the world as you are the one writing and sharing that message. Your website, your social media content, and the ways in which you engage with your audience can be infused with this message, injecting your original enthusiasm into everything you offer. Remaining aligned with your initial motivation can be challenging when a business grows past a certain point. Other aspects of running a business can influence the brand messaging, perhaps creating distance from your original impulse. This is not necessarily bad as it can bring your services to a larger audience. But, while you are in the position of being the sole pillar of the brand, embrace the impact you have on what you put into the world. Shape it from the spark that fuelled you to start this path in the first place.
The path of a service-based business is as unique as the person who founded it. It is because of the ingenuity, passion, and commitment of business owners like you that Canada’s Health & Wellness industry has grown into a $2.4 billion economic contributor.4 With your close client relationships, bootstrapping approach, nimbleness, and passion for service, you are in a fantastic position to bring your skills to the people who need them most.
If you want more guidance or are looking for support in managing your digital marketing, book a Discovery Call now. We can help you bring your services to those who need them most.
- Report on Research. Massage Therapy Canada. (2009, September 16). Retrieved April 30, 2022, from https://www.massagetherapycanada.com/report-on-research-1244/#:~:text=There%20are%20an%20estimated%2010%2C000,for%20its%20massage%20therapy%20practitioners
- Physiotherapists. Canadian Institute for Health Information. (2021, August 19). Retrieved April 30, 2022, from https://www.cihi.ca/en/physiotherapists#:~:text=Key%20findings,%2Dterm%20care%20(2%25)
- Jamshidi, H. (2020, July 8). Some facts about the personal trainers in Canada. DUR1 HEALTH. Retrieved April 30, 2022, from https://www.dur1health.com/post/2017/11/05/some-facts-about-the-personal-trainers-in-canada#:~:text=As%20mentioned%2C%20there%20is%20no,certified%22%20personal%20trainers%20across%20Canada
- Canada Corporate Wellness Market Report, 2030. (2020, April). Retrieved April 30, 2022, from https://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/canada-corporate-wellness-market#:~:text=How%20big%20is%20Canada%20corporate,USD%202.5%20billion%20in%202022