10 Health and Wellness Business Practices Essential for Growth
The health and wellness industry has enjoyed sharp growth over the last few years despite the phenomenal changes that have been shaking the world. As measured by Global Wellness Institute (GWI), during the pre-Pandemic phase, the wellness industry grew to a massive high of $4.9 trillion in 2019 before descending to $4.4 trillion in 2020.
However, the good news is that now people are more mindful of their health and wellness than ever before. The old saying ‘health is wealth’ is literally true for many now, and that resounds in consumer spending around wellness as observed. A recent McKinsey’s Future of Wellness Survey conducted with consumers in six countries revealed how 79% of respondents believed that wellness is important while 42% consider wellness a top priority.
Undoubtedly, this means that the health and wellness industry - with its exceptional comeback - is still a big winner among the pandemic-affected industries and will survive against the backdrop of a mutating virus, rising chronic diseases, and an exploding middle class. In fact, the wellness economy is expected to reach $7 trillion in 2025, if it continues to grow at a rate of 10% annually through 2025.
No wonder then, that fitness and wellness activities have been sharply integrated into the lives of people not just as “something to do at a certain time for a few hours”, but as a conscious lifestyle choice for a healthier life that includes multiple dimensions such as health, fitness, nutrition, sleep, beauty, and mental health.
With such strong forecasts in mind, and a numerical surge of wellness businesses be it online wellness providers, boutique fitness studios, big-box gyms, or health and wellness retreats, keeping up with the wellness industry trends and staying ahead of the game would be crucial for health, fitness, and wellness businesses now to better hone into their target markets.
This article will guide you through each step in building and growing your fitness and wellness business. Keep reading.
How to start a Health and Wellness Business?
- Get your qualifications
- Develop your business plan
- Analyze your key competitors
- Segment your target market
- Sort out legal and insurance requirements
- Plan your budget well
- Hire wellness professionals
- Design your marketing strategy
- Streamline operations with technology
- Create Memberships and Discounts to build a community
Scroll down to deep dive into each one of these in greater detail-
1. Get your qualifications
Before starting your own wellness business, build your foundation by completing relevant fitness and wellness certification programs. Now it may be a striking question to most -
“Do I really need a degree to become a health or wellness coach?”
Well, it depends! Although a degree or certificate is not technically required for most roles, remember that in most places, clients would look for credibility and authority in some form before trying out a provider. Be it through technical qualification or years of experience. Similarly, if anyone is looking to hire a wellness professional or health coach, they also look for someone with a foundation backed by a certificate or degree to start with.
It is undoubtedly a competitive world out there in the health and wellness market. With fitness professionals and health and wellness coaches on the rise each year, having a certificate would surely be more than just an add-on.
However, one of the most crucial things about getting a certification is to get one from recognized and respected bodies such as the National Board of Fitness Examiners (NBFE), the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), etc.
Apart from that, there are a few popular organizations recognized by these bodies, such as the American Council of Exercise (ACE), American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), Yoga Alliance Teacher Training, among others that offer education and certification around personal training, health coaching, fitness, and wellness categories.
Today certifications have become all the more important because of the integrative nature of healthcare. Fitness professionals and wellness coaches work as the missing link between core healthcare services and complementary therapies. Hence certified health and wellness professionals have wider avenues open today to work alongside medical practitioners.
2. Develop your Business Plan
Developing a business plan for your wellness business venture may feel like a mammoth task, but it is fundamental to execute your business goals effectively. A well-thought-out and solid business plan is an ideal blueprint for your wellness business.
Here are a few of the essential elements to put together while devising a business plan for your wellness business.
- An executive summary entails the primary objectives, mission, and vision of your business.
- A detailed description of your business encompassing the types of services that you offer and the skill set of you and your staff (instructors)
These elements will help you identify the nature of the target audience that your wellness business or studio is likely to attract. It would also help in segmenting your niche more effectively, help you decide on your branding and marketing strategies, and analyze financial plans and sources better.
3. Analyze your key competitors
Industry analysis and competitor study are vital to position your business uniquely. With more and more businesses competing in the wellness sector, it is more important than ever for any budding wellness business to try and create unique services and memorable experiences not just to meet, but exceed customer expectations. As the marketplace is already saturated, fitness and wellness experts today should package their services in a way that helps push their USP (Unique Selling Proposition) and get a significant competitive advantage over their fellow competitors.
Competitor analysis is crucial to understanding the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities of your competitors and to knowing how you could perform in this context. As a budding wellness professional/entrepreneur, identify the following steps -
- Strengths - Analyze why you decided to offer a particular type of wellness service. Consider your best resources: your skills, experiences, niche services that you are offering, studio location, multi-skilled staff, studio space and ambiance, state-of-the-art equipment, your target market, and lack of competition in your niche offerings, and so on.
- Weaknesses - Identifying your shortcomings is even more important than knowing your strengths. Consider all the factors that you feel might hinder growing your health and wellness business. Carefully evaluate the location of your studio, the availability of slots, not enough staff back-up, low budget for marketing your services, expected nature of services as provided by a competitor in the same locality, booking issues by clients, unavailability of online consultations, competitive pricing when selling similar services and likewise.
- Opportunities - Your opportunities consist of the direct bond you develop with your clients and the local community. The health, fitness, and wellness business is the utmost consumer-facing industry. Hence, more than any other factor, the people and the close-knit community you are involved with are most decisive in determining the rise and fall of your studio. Having a dedicated community depends increasingly on creating a customer-centric experience. It is rewarding, constructive, and builds loyalty for a long-term member engagement strategy.
4. Segment your target audience
The market segmentation of health and wellness-oriented businesses is core to identifying people within the population that your business may serve best. Segmentation of the target market helps extract more information from your ideal clientele so that you can define and brand your business in the best possible way.
Depending on the type of health and wellness offerings you provide, you will find various target personas. Take a few elements such as demographics, geographic location, interests, challenges, health concerns, income brackets, age groups, career choices, lifestyles, milestones, level of self-efficacy, and so on into consideration to understand your prospects better. In the long run, it incredibly contributes to your fitness business venture and business growth.
Segmenting the target market helps wellness business entrepreneurs in gaining clarity around the following-
- It gives a sense of direction in sketching branding and marketing strategies better and in advance.
- Wellness professionals get a clear understanding of the type of classes or appointments to create, whether solo appointments, small group activities or extensive group sessions, etc.
- Kind of interaction preferred by your audience- online, phone, or in-studio.
- Time slots your audiences may prefer- early morning sessions, afternoon slots, other flexible slots in the evening for tight work schedules, etc.
5. Sort out Legal and Insurance requirements
Like all other businesses, starting a health and wellness business requires entrepreneurs to abide by specific rules and regulations, specifically legal and insurance-related guidelines to follow.
All the more, for a wellness business provider, it is crucial to be mindful of all the things that you are allowed to do and not do that have the potential to affect your clients’ health directly.
- Business Registration:
As a preliminary step, a wellness provider will have to register their company legally to effectively manage any legal actions in the future and build credibility for the business.
- Zoning and Building Permits:
Apart from registering your business, a couple of things to strike off from the checklist are obtaining a few required licenses and permits, including standard business licenses and operation licenses to conduct business depending on the specific city or state that your wellness business will be operating from.
In addition, zoning and building permits are essential when opening in-person fitness and wellness studio spaces, massage permits for wellness retreats and spas, and similar high-touch services.
- Music Licenses
Other licenses for a wellness center include music licensing. Depending on the type of wellness service you provide, owners certainly look towards creating a soothing and relaxing environment for a dedicated spa or meditation space for your clients. This is mostly a common practice, but many do not realize that they might require a special license to play certain types of music in public, especially for commercial consumption.
Based on United States copyright laws, the penalties for playing music without licenses are exorbitant and typically range from $750 to $150,000.
Therefore to avoid any copyright infringement and related financial consequences, it is best to obtain necessary licenses or pay for business-focussed streaming services.
- Malpractice Insurance:
One of the most critical insurances that a health and wellness center should have is malpractice insurance. It is best to consult a lawyer or insurance to understand the intricacies of this professional liability insurance.
For a broad overview, malpractice insurance is defined as one that -
“Protects healthcare providers against patients who file suits against them under the complaint that they were harmed by the professional's negligence or intentionally harmful treatment decisions.”
A few other business insurances vary from one city to another and depend on the local authorities. Always check with your local Secretary of State or rely on legal professionals to find out what permits and licenses are mandatory for the smooth functioning of your business.
Note: The information provided in this section is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional legal advice.
6. Plan your Budget well
Financial planning and a budgetary blueprint pave the way for transforming your business plans into action. As a wellness business owner, how you manage your spending and make your business sustainable depends a lot on your financial forecasts.
This includes everything from securing funding options and sources, financial planning, balance sheets, cash flow projections, etc. Whether running a full-fledged spa center with an extensive array of services or focussing on a niche service or specialized treatment, working on a smart budget will enable your business goals to take shape and help attract potential investors to fund your venture as well.
Suppose you plan your budget well in advance. In that case, it automatically betters your chances of an enhanced cash flow, a good return on investment, stable revenues, achieving sales targets, reducing unnecessary operational and marketing costs, and the ability to make quick and effective business decisions.
From a wellness business standpoint, a well-planned budget is likely to give the following information -
- Studio Infrastructure Expenses
- Business Registration Fees
- Marketing Expenses
- Staff Salaries
- Business Management Software costs
With a financial projection of these fundamental costs in place, a wellness business owner will have clarity on the types of classes to offer, determine class fees and working hours, a number of professionals to hire, and additional costs on infrastructure and pieces of equipment to incur, the extent of branding and marketing expenditures, membership plans, and avoidance of any unnecessary spending.
For more information on budgetary planning and Financial Strategies Worksheets for your studio, Download this FREE GUIDE.
7. Hire Wellness Professionals
As a wellness center is designed to provide the best health and well-being for its clients, hiring the best wellness practitioners, health coaches and other supporting staff is vital to the success of a business.
It is expected that wellness center employees display professionalism, empathy, and enthusiasm while providing their services. It is true that how health and wellness professionals and other staff members treat your clients reflects the brand of your wellness studio as well.
Therefore, hiring a team that works in the best interest of your business goals is very crucial. In terms of performing one’s duties well, leadership and organizational skills should be a priority in putting together a wellness team.
A typical wellness center requires certain wellness positions to be filled in, such as Massage therapists, nutritionists, yoga gurus, herbalists, osteopathic doctors, physiotherapists, chiropractors, acupuncture specialists, and so on. Apart from that, there might be the need to hire a few operational staff members such as front desk management, account management, security, and other volunteer positions depending on the size and type of a wellness center.
8. Optimize with your Marketing Strategy
Everything you learned and built until now goes nowhere without creating the right buzz in the market. This is why your wellness studio needs a well-sorted marketing strategy as a powerful way to demonstrate yourself as the best wellness brand out there.
These are a few ways to help wellness businesses plan marketing goals.
- Brand Positioning
Brand positioning is crucial in defining your wellness business in the best way possible to connect with your target audience and build your reputation within the extensive wellness industry. Therefore branding exercise should be strategized at the initial stage of setting up your business. Depending on the health and wellness business type, your brand attributes should ultimately reflect that. Visual identity plays a significant role in appropriating your business’s mission and vision and conveying the same message to your audience.
Similarly, the message should be uniform throughout your brand's elements, such as Logo, web page layout, thematic colors and fonts, studio ambiance, business cards, and any other customizable detailings.
- Augment Content Distribution
After you have duly figured out the brand positioning part, it is time to focus on the distribution plan. To help your target audience and prospective clients feel the emotional connection with your brand, you have to rely on expressing through content distribution and multiple media channels. A health and wellness blog page, a health and wellness podcast series, social media, newsletters, and emails are a few organic forms of distributing your content to your audience. Additionally, you could also explore paid marketing channels such as Google Ads, sponsored content, paid social media campaigns, influencer marketing, publication mentions, and so on to convert leads into prospects.
- Customer Testimonials
The best way to tell your brand’s story is by humanizing it. Happy customer accounts or testimonials help with honest feedback on your services. Therefore, one way in which a wellness center could up the marketing game is by sharing the success stories of their existing clients and making their journey of healing or transformation even more relatable to the rest.
Testimonials also help business owners understand the strong points of their services and where the loopholes lie in working upon those. This alternately redirects one’s attention toward charting a better and more practical marketing strategy focusing on the pain points of the clients as well.
9. Streamline operations with technology.
As a wellness provider, you have dedicated all your energy to putting client wellness at the heart of your business goals. Similarly, with the wellness industry booming and newer spas and wellness centers opening everywhere, it is only an improved customer experience that will help one stand out.
For a wellness studio especially, it is not just about how fulfilling a wellness program could be but the entire experience that a prospective customer goes through from the time they tried to browse your services and book the same. After all, it is nothing but being mindful of opening the doors of wellness to everyone and making the services easily accessible for a wellness business.
With the right wellness studio software in place, your health, fitness, and wellness studio can ensure an impeccable feel for your clients. A smooth member experience also helps to form deeper connections with your clients. At the same time, your backend business operations run smoothly like never before.
Whether you have multiple trainers, various fitness and wellness activities, or a growing number of members to manage, the right fitness and wellness studio software with comprehensive features can help you better organize your bookings, scheduling, payments, and memberships.
At the least, a wellness studio software helps in easy store access and online sales. Simply integrating an online booking system into your business website would attract more people to your website and increase your conversions at the same time!
10. Create Memberships and Discounts to build a community
A fitness and wellness business flourishes in the long run only because of its loyal members. Undoubtedly, memberships form the backbone of recurring revenues for a business, and wellness is no exception. If your infrastructure, services, brand positioning, and client experience are on point, it is now time to build a close-knit community.
Wellness is a lifelong process. Ideate your member benefits along the same lines. Try creating a community of members to improve their lifetime value. Upgrade your membership offers with exciting discounts and personalized packages they can’t deny! Maybe provide them an ease of access to any fitness or wellness class of their choice upon availing of full-time membership, or even a free class as a loyalty reward!
Introduce appealing offers around personalized fitness training sessions and maybe give a dietary or physiotherapy consultation for free! Just in case any of your members miss a fitness class, make a virtual appointment available to them.
With all of these factors combined, it becomes pretty easy for a health and wellness business to sell health and wellness to the community that they cater to.
As you build and run your fitness and wellness business, keep looking out for the recent trends and the industry best practices so your services never go out of vogue. You might find yourself stretched thin at times with the array of business operations, but make sure that your wellness studio is always backed by the right support and tools to deliver the highest standards of service. Keep an eye out on this space for more information on the essentials of building an online wellness business and build an online community.
Omnify offers health, fitness, and wellness centers an all-in-one booking and management solution that eliminates all the unnecessary hassles of business operations and lets you be mindful of getting the best out of your members. Schedule a Demo to find out how Omnify would work for you or sign up for a FREE TRIAL today!