The Three Stages of Health & Wellness Business Growth: Unique Challenges & Priorities

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Health and wellness businesses grow up just like people do — in three stages. Anticipate the needs of each stage to grow a healthy business and keep your wellness business growth on track.

1. Toddler: Launching A New Health & Wellness Business

Starting a new business is an exciting time. To get off to a good start, check these key points:

First, estimate your revenues and costs for Year 1.

Customers usually are slower to find your business than you expect. Make sure that you can survive a worst-case scenario. Build in a contingency fund of at least 10%. And include a a detailed Year 1 marketing project plan, with specific costs for specific activities plus (and this is important) your expected results – how many customers or dollars of revenue do you expect in exchange for investing in these activities?

Second, remember that lack of execution kills more businesses than lack of planning does.

Yes, you need a big-picture business plan with financial projections. But it’s usually not helpful to spend lots of time and energy on topics like complicated market segmentation or national health trends. Your time is better spent actually promoting and operating your business than sitting at your computer inventing elaborate business plans. Focus your plan on the specific details of YOUR business – then get on with it.

Your top priority in Year 1: getting the word out.

No matter how fabulous your business idea or product is, you’ve got to market it – because if folks don’t know your business exists, your business concept and service will fail.

Last, stay true to your vision.

Sure, you’ll find that you need to make mid-course corrections as you go along. But you can’t be everything to everybody, either. Play to your strengths: remember what you’re passionate about and focus on that.

2. Teenager: Overcoming Challenges As Your Wellness Business Matures

Does it feel like your wellness business got off to a good start – and then stalled? That’s not unusual. As a business matures, it often needs different resources, not just more of the same.

Let’s talk about turning that vision into a successful and personally rewarding reality:

Sometimes the issue is the team around you.

Are you surrounded by people who can move the ball forward? If you’re missing key skills, or constantly losing good people, you may need to revisit your human resources strategy.

Is your business successfully establishing lasting and loyal customer relationships?

You should be seeing a continual flow of referrals, word-of-mouth and repeat business, with abundant client testimonials, case studies, success stories and the like. A pattern of one-and-done customer relationships is a red flag.

How closely are your costs aligned with your revenues?

Sometimes you’ve got a great customer base, but your expenses aren’t in line with the cash coming in from customers. It’s usually overly simplistic to just whack away at costs. A better strategy is usually finding a way to capitalize on what you’ve got.

Missing a unique identity that makes your business stand out.

Sometimes it’s hard for potential customers to discern what’s different and special about your programs and services. Why should they choose your business?

3. Thriving Adulthood: Taking Your Wellness Business to the Next Level

Your wellness business has survived the early years. You’ve got customers who love you, and you’re hearing from potential investors.

What’s got to happen to take your business to the next level?

First, ask yourself if you’ve got the right team in place.

Can your people keep the existing business on track without your constant oversight while you focus on creating the plan for expansion? Will you have the help you need to hire the right people for your larger business?

Next, what new resources will you need?

Will your expansion build on your existing customer base, or will you need a plan to attract business in new locations from scratch? Are your back-office systems like your computer network and accounting and billing sophisticated enough to grow with your business?

Then, develop a plan to fund your expansion plan.

Smaller businesses may be able to self-fund expansion, or count on investments and loans from friends and family. Larger businesses will need to develop a business plan that’s appealing to professional investors.