Health and wellness

How to Start a Wellness Business: A Step-By-Step Guide

A woman meditating on the beach

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on people’s mindsets. Whether it’s the fear, the restlessness, or the sheer will to improve, even those who previously seemed to disregard their own health for comfort, are trying to better look after themselves.

It’s no wonder that the health and wellness industry has been performing so well. The trillion-dollar industry is bigger than it has ever been, providing ample opportunities as the days go by. 

If you practice any sort of wellness and love what you do, knowing how to start a wellness business might just be exactly what you need to earn money doing what you love while making a positive impact on your society.

“If you’re passionate about something, you’re going to feel worse if you don’t do it.”

Craig Dubitsky, founder of Hello Products.

If you have no experience with starting your own business, the process might seem overwhelming, but I can assure you that you have nothing to worry about. With this blog, you will have a clear sense of what to expect in your journey. 

Here, we have put together a list of steps to help you get started with your wellness business, and we’ll look at them one by one:

  1. Your initial requirements
  2. Create the perfect business plan
  3. Choose a name that fits
  4. Set up your wellness business
  5. Choose an appropriate business location
  6. Build a strong team
  7. Capture your audience’s attention
  8. Mistakes to steer clear of
  9. Parting thoughts

1) Your initial requirements

Before getting into the details of how to start your own wellness business, there is some back-work you will have to do to give yourself a better understanding of what you are getting into.

This includes getting to know your business inside out, deciding where you will stand, and making sure you have a strong reason for people to come to you. Let me explain:

Know your industry segmentation 

The first step is to understand the environment you are getting into so that you have a clear perception of who your customers are and who you are competing against.

The health and wellness industry has started to split itself in so many directions that it is hard to pinpoint the exact segment you might belong to. 

It can, however, be looked at from several perspectives. A few of these include:

  • Personal care 
    This space looks at services and products that help with self-care, relaxation, or maintaining personal wellness like massage therapists and chiropractors.

  • Nutrition and healthy eating
    If you look to spend your time helping people take the steps they need to lead a healthier lifestyle in terms of what they consume and what their body requires, your services would belong to this category. This could include being a wellness coach like a dietician or general physician, a nutritional therapist, a personal chef, etc.

  • Wellness tourism
    This is a space that looks at helping tourists find healthy options to have fun during their vacation. This could also mean incorporating eco-friendly travel options, healthy dining, etc. 

    This space also pertains to helping those who require international medical treatment or assistance by smoothening their travel procedures. 

  • Fitness
    This space is arguably one of the largest ones and includes physical as well as mental fitness. This could include yoga studios, personal instructors, psychologists, and so on.

Choose a niche

Even within each segment, it is important for you to choose and cater to a specific niche. It is much better to focus on a specific audience and provide them with the best service you can instead of spreading yourself too thin and being seen as someone mediocre in the space. 

Let me explain this with an example: If you are a speech therapist, looking to help people who have trouble communicating, advertising yourself as a speech therapist might not be enough. Specify the kind of therapy you provide or to whom you provide it. This could simply mean specifying the particular age group you provide therapy for. If you specialize in treating children, restricting yourself to that audience might reduce your number of customers, but will ensure you provide the best service you can. This in turn will not only bring the right customers to you but will also let people know that you are well versed in what you do.

Gauge your qualifications

To provide the best service you can, what you share with the world must be something you are passionate about and practice on a regular basis. Moreover, in this industry, where you deal with the minds and/or bodies of your customers, people will only come to you if you have something to show them in terms of why they should put their faith in what you provide.

It is for these reasons that having a credential to your name is a must. 

For example, if you are a yoga instructor looking to improve your customer’s overall wellness, you are required to have a “Yoga trainer certification” and a certain number of hours under your name. Only then will people be willing to entrust you with their time and money.

2) Create the perfect business plan

Once you know exactly what you are getting into, and are sure you have the necessary qualifications, the first step in starting a wellness business is creating a business plan. 

Your business plan acts like a map that shows you a clear path to take in your business journey. It will help you define your goals and establish timelines for each of these goals.

It also acts as a brochure for your investors to know exactly what they are getting into. The stronger your plan looks, the more trust your investors will have in its success.

Your business plan should include:

  • Business description
    You can use this section to describe, in detail, who your consumers are, the problems that your business can solve, and how you plan to solve them. 

  • Market analysis
    This section should paint a clear picture of your industry, who your competitors are, and trends that you plan to capitalize on.

  • Target audience
    Specify the audience you are choosing to cater to. This could mean specifying their age group, sex, income situation, or anything else that affects your service.

  • Financial projections
    Talk about how much you hope to earn and how you hope to do so by setting goals to reach within certain time periods. Your reader must be convinced that you have a strong plan and that your business will be financially successful.

As time passes and you begin to achieve your goals, you can always come back and edit your plan accordingly.

Silhouette of a woman standing in the beach during sunset

3) Choose a name that fits

Choosing your business name is an important step in the process of starting a wellness business because it is a huge part of your brand’s identity. Reading your business name should give the customer a perfect understanding of what you do, which in turn makes it easier for people to find you.

However, you can always add your own twist to make your business stand out from your competitors.

If you are finding it difficult to find inspiration for a unique name or are simply looking for more options, there are always tools on the internet like “online business name generators”. Do not rely on these tools to give you exactly what you’re looking for but you can always look to them for ideas.

These tools factor in the input you provide in terms of keywords, your domain, location, etc, and provide you with a list of names to choose from. Some of these include:-

The next step is to make sure that the name you have chosen is unique. For this, you will need to do your homework and conduct a name search to find out if your name is already trademarked or is pending trademark application approval. 

Once you have found your unique name consider trademarking it yourself along with your logos, designs, and anything else which is unique to your business. 

4) Set up your wellness business

While starting a health and wellness business, you need to factor in how you plan to gather the money required, register your company, and make sure you have all the legal requirements worked out.

Finance your business

Before finding sources to fund your business, you have to figure out the kind of money you will need to start your venture. This cost will vary depending on :

  • Cost to set up the business
  • Insurance
  • Permit and license fees
  • Rent
  • Payroll costs
  • Certifications
  • Advertising and marketing, and so on.

Once you have taken into consideration all the required factors, you should be able to come up with an approximate amount you will need. The next step is to decide on how you plan to raise the money you require. People usually tend to:-

1. Self-finance and/or take loans from friends and family

Exactly as it sounds, this method includes using your own savings or borrowing money from your loved ones to fund your venture. Although this can be a scary and uncomfortable process, depending on your situation, asking people who trust you to help out with your journey can be the simplest way to start.

Friendly tip:- If you choose this method do not hesitate to ask for and collect the whole amount in bulk. Choosing to ask them in installments tends to affect your relationship with your loved ones.

2. Look for a small business loan

If you are unable to gather this money on your own or are uncomfortable asking your loved ones for money, consider taking a business loan from a bank. Keeping the required amount in mind, you can decide how much of it you will need to borrow and how much you can contribute yourself.

Incorporate your business

Registering your wellness company will establish a little more credibility to your business’s name, in turn making consumers comfortable with purchasing what you provide. You can incorporate your business as a:

  1. Proprietorship 
    Choosing to be a proprietorship has several advantages and disadvantages, but the overall gist of it is that even though it is much easier to set up, the consequences of how your company performs will affect your personal life and belongings as well. Your business is not considered a separate entity.

  2. General partnership
    This is very similar to a proprietorship, however, in this case, you will not be the only person who owns and carries the responsibility of the company’s performance. You may have a partner or more who share ownership along with you.

  3. Limited liability
    Here your company exists separately and so you are not personally responsible for debts or liabilities, instead, the business is.

  4. Corporation 
    This can be done as a C-corp or an S-corp. Either way, setting yourself up as a corporation can be an expensive procedure. It is usually recommended for medium to high-risk businesses looking to raise funds in order to go public or finally be sold. It does, however, provide the strongest protection to its owners.

Once your company is registered, make sure to create a business bank account. This will allow you to separate your business finances from your personal finances, making it much easier to manage your money.

Check your legal requirements

Legally setting up your business comes with acquiring licenses and permits. They act as a legal designation and must be obtained in proper time. This procedure might vary from state to state, so make sure you have a proper understanding of what you require and follow up accordingly.

It is also important to file for your State and Federal Tax ID number. It acts as a unique identification for your business, allowing you to register and pay your taxes.  It is a completely free but essential process. You do not need to do so as a proprietorship. 

5) Choose an appropriate business location

woman meditating on the floor with overlooking view of trees

To start a wellness business, the next step is choosing a location to provide your services. While doing so you need to consider the kind of money you can spend, the environment around you, and the kind of people you will be attracting. 

Here are a few things you should keep in mind while choosing your location:

  1. Foot traffic around you
    Are there a lot of people walking past your center?
    The main reason this question holds so much weight is because it directly relates to the number of people who notice you. Potential customers could walk into your wellness store to ask you about your services, or even purchase them, without having had any knowledge of you until then!

  2. Your surroundings
    Does your environment attract the kind of customers you want? For example, if you were to set up a massage center, it would probably be best to do so near an apartment complex or a college hostel block.

    Placing your services near the people who need them will only get them to you quicker.

  3. Your distance from competitors
    If you are starting from scratch you should open your wellness business away from competitors who have already established themselves to a certain degree as they will only reduce the number of people availing of your service.

  4. Zoning
    Make sure you are allowed to set up your business in this place you have started to consider. For example, some towns or cities might allow you to set up your business in residential areas while others might not. Research zoning maps to make sure your choice is viable.

  5. Your budget
    Can you afford this place? To answer that question you will have to factor in details more than just rent and maintenance costs. Also think about your taxes, minimum wage requirements, renovations, and so on.

    You need to understand that some desirable locations to start a wellness store like cities and urban areas will be expensive. You will have to put a finger down on what you are willing to sacrifice in order to succeed.

  6. Parking spaces
    Does your location have a convenient parking space?
    As your business grows this factor will start to make a big difference. It will not only help your customers but also your employees who are traveling to work with you.

6) Build a strong team

“Bringing great people into your team is about demonstrating that size really doesn’t matter – people do” 

Jess Campbell

When it comes to building a team, hiring is not the only aspect to look at. The responsibility of creating a comfortable environment, where your employees feel heard and respected, falls on your shoulders. Here are a few things to consider while building your team.

  • Know who you are hiring
    Make sure that your hiring process is thorough and precise. Conduct your own research to understand the exact positions you need to fill.
    Only once you have a clear understanding of the responsibilities you are looking to provide within each role, should you go ahead and conduct your recruitments.

    Diversify as much as you can in terms of background and experience so that the problems you face are looked at from different perspectives. This will make sure that every decision you make is well informed.

  • Set a clear agenda along with your expectations
    Once you have assembled your team, make sure everyone is aligned in terms of the values you stand by and the understanding of how you intend to go forward with your business.

    Set clear goals and timeframes for your business as a whole so that even smaller divisions can make decisions keeping the ultimate goal in mind.

  • Listen and brainstorm
    Optimize your decision-making process by taking in the opinions of your employees. They must not be afraid to voice their thoughts on how to handle situations. Including them in your brainstorming sessions will help you move past the hurdles your business encounters efficiently. 

  • Reward good work
    Make sure you let your employees know when they do good work. You can show them your appreciation by providing financial bonuses or simply with opportunities to make big decisions.

    One certain way to gain the trust of your employees is by putting your trust in them.

7) Capture your audience’s attention

Once you have your business up and running, how you plan to get yourself in front of a new pair of eyes, will not only define your success but also where you stand with respect to your competition. Getting your customers’ attention, however, takes work. Here are a few ways to get the people you want to look at you:

Market your business

Marketing is all about bringing more attention to your products and services. Although you might not have too much money to spend on marketing, it is always advisable to start doing so at a basic level

Here are a few simple ways you can start marketing yourself without having to worry about a budget:-

1. Social media:

Set up accounts on all kinds of social media platforms so you have more options to get yourself noticed. You can, however, choose which platforms to put more effort into. You can make this decision once you have studied your audience and have a basic understanding of the kind of content that works well on each platform.

For example, acupuncture centers would probably find Instagram a good platform to advertise themselves whereas psychologists might prefer Linkedin. This is taking into account a more formal setting a psychologist would take when compared to an acupuncture center.

2. Multimedia:

Consider putting out content related to your practices or services on websites like Youtube, Flickr, or even Spotify as a podcast. This can act as a great way to lay down your thoughts and morals in order to set yourself apart from the crowd.

3. SEO:

Search engine optimization is a method to bring more attention to your website by molding your content around what the market is looking for. You can do so simply by studying and catering to what your audience is searching for in order to reach them.

Once you have a team and have some money to spend, you can start looking at paid options like PPC ads or paid advertising on social media. Consider hosting “Open door” events and free lessons.

Offer loyalty bonuses to regular buyers so they shop for more products. Web scraping, giveaways, and interactive content are also ways to get yourself in front of a new pair of eyes.

Make sure you have your own website so you can establish yourself in the business. Your website should include all the information about the products or services you provide, along with easy access to them. 

Build your brand image

This is again a process that need not be followed through in too much depth when you just start out but do consider starting at an elementary level. 

Make your brand stand out by showing your authentic self and putting your story out there. Making yourself more relatable will bring your customers closer to you. You can do so by focusing more on the niche population you want to serve.

You must be willing to provide the utmost value. Be well versed in what you do and emphasize its regular practice, with every session.

Keep in contact with your customers as much as possible and follow up with texts, calls, emails, etc, to show them you care. All this will establish trust in your brand, which will in turn bring more people to notice you.

Close up of a man getting a massage

Mistakes to steer clear of 

While learning how to start a health and wellness business, here are some things you should keep in mind that have proven to have caused problems to people in the past:-

  1. Starting with a big facility
    Considering that you are in your initial stages, start with a decent-sized facility only if you are absolutely certain that you have the clients to use up the space. Otherwise, the rent or simple maintenance of the facility will leave you with too much overhead cost.

  2. Outdated techniques
    The huge increase in knowledge has caused a lot of older techniques to be invalidated. But these techniques are still being preached at various centers. People tend to forget how important it is to keep track of what is going on around them. This is not only bad for your customers, but also your business as it will lower the trust they have in you.
  3. Not having a booking system in place
    Along with providing services, starting your business will obviously involve a lot of admin work. Tools like scheduling software will help make this process a hundred times easier, as you will no longer have to worry about manually scheduling appointments with your customers.

    This software should be able to help set appointments, easily integrate with your website, automate messaging to your customers, save customer information so you can personalize your service, and anything else to help you stand out as a service provider.

    Appointy’s health & wellness scheduling software can help you achieve all this and more. Try it for free for 14 days if you don’t believe us!

Parting thoughts

Now that you have an overall understanding of all the steps you need to take, the only thing left to do is begin! Even though the whole process of starting your business from scratch may seem long and time-consuming, it is something that everyone must go through to set up an unshakable business. 

Hopefully, this blog has given you a better understanding of how to start a wellness business. 

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About Appointy

We at Appointy, help business owners grow and run their businesses with our online scheduling software. This blog was a part of our ‘Manage your Business’ category, where we provide expert tips, and resources, or simply talk about the challenges that small and medium businesses face every day. 

If you have any thoughts on this blog or would like to chat about your business struggles and achievements, let us know in the comments below. 

We love a good talk!