I'm constantly amazed at emerging technology and how it continues to speed up communication between people. Today, we can tweet, IM, e-mail and more to people all around the world. The ease and accessibility of technology has allowed us to be in a million places at once, which is so empowering.
We must not forget, however, to pack our basic project management skills. Business professionals know how important it is to have the right tools and a clear communication plan in place to properly establish a strong foundation before moving forward. This is the same for massage therapists running a practice.
As you continue to find yourself adapting to this ever-changing landscape of communication, it's best to establish ground rules. These rules can help increase your productivity and have you reap the rewards of having a successful business and massage practice.
1. Build trust in person and grow that trust with clear expectations. There needs to be trust between you and your massage clients, as well as between you and your staff if you manage employees. Trust doesn't happen magically. It is built when you bring your team together for training or team building, and then continues to grow with clear expectations consistently set by leaders and met by the team.
2. Manage results, not activity. Sometimes "busy work" can get mistaken for real work. The key is to manage results. Set expectations and monitor the results, in addition to maintaining necessary daily activities.
3. Schedule regular communication. It's important to communicate regularly; this keeps everyone on track. If you can't make time to ensure everyone is on target and understands the goal of each massage session, then you could find yourself with an unpleasant surprise when the time is up.
4. Communication should save time, not kill it. Does your team spend hours trying to solve an issue with an e-mail conversation that could have been easily resolved with a phone call? With e-mail being a critical tool in our work environments, it's important to create a new culture of effectiveness around it. Ask yourself: How can you make your e-mail communication even more productive?
5. Create standards that build a cohesive culture. What are your standards of quality? How do you define excellence? What does your brand mean to you? Making sure everyone knows the answers to those questions is important. You need to create cohesion with excellence and a sense of pride in what your business stands for.
6. Rules of responsiveness. When you working remotely, it's important to define what your rules of responsiveness are for your culture. How quickly should people expect you to return an e-mail or a phone call? What is your protocol when employees are out of the office or on vacation? My general rule of thumb is to return phone calls within that business day and e-mails within 24-hours.
Practice the steps and fold in some news ones. It comes down to the tools you have at your disposal, the way you manage your time and the communication plans you have in place that will all contribute to your success as a massage business owner.