Nutrition Therapy

Building a Successful Nutrition Therapy Practice

Jessica Reader Blog

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So, You Want to Build a Successful Nutrition Therapy Practice…

You know what you want to do with your time and how you want to make money, you’ve gotten the nutrition education and training you will need to be successful and you’ve started building your network. You may have even set up a space to work out of that most fits you or begun working on the content for your website. You may have read all the advice you could find about how to be a successful entrepreneur, possibly even in your field of specialty. And with all of that, you may feel entirely unprepared to launch yourself into the next stage of getting your nutrition practice off the ground. 

First Steps

Let’s start with your passion around starting your practice, because that’s what your clients and customers are going to connect with. Set down your goals, both long-term and short-term for your business, no matter how unlikely they seem. You can decide what you want to keep and what doesn’t work further on in the process. Anything that has a spark for you is important here. When people ask you what you do or want to know more about you or your practice, this is the information they are looking for. 

Once you really know what you’re passionate about, you can begin to write your mission statement and hone your vision for your practice. Finding your “Why”. You may need some help with this. Use a friend or mentor to listen to your vision and mission so you get plenty of practice at saying it in a way that feels good to you. Let them tell you what resonates with them and what was clumsy so you can improve it. You might want to try this with several people to get a better understanding of how it lands with different groups of people. When you know what your statement is, write it down, post it on social media, put it on your website, send it out to represent yourself and what you are moving into. 

Identify the How

 Now that you know what you’re doing, you need to figure out how you’re going to do it. Think about the business models you’ve seen around you and what you liked and didn’t like about them. That’s the best place to start to form what you want your business to be. This is a great place to bring in the skills you already use every day, such as your creativity, your ability to stick to a budget, your organizational skills, and your unwavering optimism. It’s important first to decide how you’re going to structure your business. This may include setting up a bank account and registering your business with your state. It may involve getting a good website or office space suited to your needs and deciding if you’re going to work with other people or go it alone. You may need an expert to help you with this, a business lawyer or a financial consultant or someone who has set up their own business in the past, or it may be a mentor or friend who has been supporting your ideas and wants to help you make them happen. 

Next decide how you’re going to do some of the nuts and bolts of running a business days to day, including tracking your referrals and how a referral becomes an ongoing client, what you want your fee structure to look like, who your niche or target audience is going to be, if you’re going to be selling products and services or simply services, who you think your best referral sources will be and how to work with them, and what type of hours you want to work. Many of these things can change and develop over time, but it’s best to start with something so you know what to change when the time comes. You may need to do a certain amount of research here – what others in your area charge for a similar service or product and how you are doing it differently than they are so you can set yourself apart. Look into both what you like that you’ve experienced or seen other people doing and what turns you off so you can build the practice that works best for you.

Consider a Team Approach

It’s always best to play to your strengths. Do what you know, and then see if you can recruit others to do some of the rest. Any entrepreneur needs a group of experts to support them, everyone from financial gurus to proofreaders to people who just know how to pick you up and encourage you to go on when you’ve had a difficult day. You might even be able to trade some of your skills with friends who have different skills than you do. This is also a great way to have an accountability partner to help you accomplish your goals towards building your business. 

Another way to find the people who can help you build your business and support you as you grow is to join a networking group. There are a lot of different groups out there, each with their own purpose and flavor, so it may take a little time to find the one that is best for you and the practice you are trying to build. Networking tips. Try out groups that you hear of through friends or do some online research to find the one that is best for you. Don’t be discouraged if the first one you investigate isn’t for you. And networking groups are great places to get insight into new material you’re creating and the types of goods and services people may want from you. 

You Can’t Help Others Without Taking Care of Yourself

Now that you’re well on your way to starting your practice, take some time to do the self-care you need to keep you going. Building a business is hard, and it’s essential to take the time to do good things for yourself so you’re available to your clients, family, and all the other people in your life. Setting up a good system for self-care will serve you well throughout the life of your business and allow you to run the practice you’ll be proud to be associated with. 

Author information: Becky Bringewatt is a business coach and psychotherapist in Denver, Colorado. She works with entrepreneurs and small business owners. You can learn more about her and how to contact her at  www.mantiscounselingandcoaching.com

Image:  Workspace (October 2010) by Danijel Grabovac is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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