Thursday 02 Oct 2014
The Industry's No.1 Business Guide

advice

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It isn’t always easy to design a suitable logo for your company. The ideal design may become apparent straight away, or it may take extensive time and resources to create the perfect one.

One thing’s for sure – for those that order letterheads online alongside the wide range of other forms of print marketing, the right logo is essential. It effectively sets the stage for your brand, and is one of the things that your clients and customers will best remember you by.

Here are a few tips to ensure you get your logo right first time out.

Make it timeless

An effective logo should barely need to be changed for decades. Swerve clear of designs that are simply ‘trendy’ or unlikely to retain their relevance over time. Good examples of ‘no no’ design features include gradients, drop shadows and overly stylized fonts.

Make it distinctive

It isn’t always easy to deviate from the norm, and you may be wary of an overly bold design that differs from what is usual in your industry. Indeed, certain industries may not often use a logo at all on their letterheads – instead just the company name in a stylized font. However, a unique logo can imprint a very powerful ‘stamp’ on clients’ minds.

Make it simple

Just think of the logos of some of the world’s most renowned brands: McDonald’s, Target, Nike. They’re all simple and instantly identifiable with their parent companies. Given how much people are bombarded by images every day, it’s often those profound, simple motifs that make the biggest impact and are the easiest to recall.

Make it versatile

There are so many areas where you could place your logo. It’ll obviously be on your website, business cards and letterheads, of course, but it could also show up on branded stationery or clothing. If you decide to sponsor a major event any time soon, you will want to make sure that everyone remembers your logo.

…but don’t overthink it

With all of the above, it might seem that there’s so much to think about when designing a business logo. You don’t necessarily need to incite an overpowering emotion with your logo, and if the design is being revised 10 times or more, you might just be overthinking the process a bit.

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stuart russell

Marketing consultant and founder of FindNetworkingEvents.com, Stuart Russell, shares the importance of networking as a marketing tool

Running your own therapy business doing the thing you love can be a great way to way to earn a living, but as with any business it still requires promotion to ensure a steady stream of customers. Unfortunately, for many of you this can be seen as a chore and is often neglected.

However, there is a way that marketing can be fun. Over the past few years more and more holistic therapists are discovering the benefits that attending regular face to face networking events can bring.

Why should I network? Many people have the perception that networking events are all about selling, but the truth is they also offer many less tangible benefits.

If you work on your own for much of the time, networking can provide a useful support network enabling you to bounce ideas off others or perhaps spark new ideas. It may open up collaboration possibilities or enable to you to meet a local designer who can produce you some leaflets.

Thinking creatively, why not offer taster sessions through a networking group? At a recent event I attended, a local Tai Chi Teacher ran a short meditation session for the group. For many of the people present it was their first experience of meditation and their response was very positive.

Over time regular networking will lead to more and more people getting to know you and hopefully becoming clients or potentially referring you on to others.

What types of events are out there? Typically, most events take place at breakfast, lunchtime or early evening so you should be able find something that fits around your client base.

Formats of events vary widely. Some may involve giving a short pitch about your business, others just a meet up and a chat over coffee. It is worth trying out a few and finding out what you enjoy.

Generally organisers are getting more creative and coming up with new ideas for business events. As well as the traditional offerings, some recent events have involved trips to theme parks and boat trips on the Thames!

Have a Plan!

If you are tempted to dip your toe into the networking world then it is important to do some planning beforehand. Make sure you are clear about what you want to achieve from your networking. There are obviously financial and time implications involved so it is important to know how much it is costing you and what kind of return you are getting.

Tips for Attending Events:

  1. Always remember to present yourself and your business in a positive manner and make sure you know how to talk about what you do in an easily understood way.
  2. It is worth spending a bit extra on good quality, well-designed business cards. Add your social-networking details as well as your main contact details.
  3. It is important that you follow up with people once you get back home. If there is someone you hit it off with at an event then drop those people a quick email or connect on LinkedIn.

 

Finally…  The important thing to realise about networking, is that it is all about building relationships with people over the long term, don’t expect results over night. And remember, networking should be fun, so get out there and enjoy it!

Case Study:

Bowen Technique practitioner Mary Macfarlane, who works in and around Edinburgh, shares her networking experience:

Networking has become the main stay of my business and I go to a meeting every two weeks or so. I have connected with some wonderful people who have supported me during the embryonic stage of developing my client list and business. It’s not all about getting new clients though and it’s vitally important to remember that it’s also about building relationships with people, developing trust. It’s a great way to meet people who inspire and motivate you; it’s about gaining confidence in yourself to run a business, learning from more experienced people you can use as role models, get advice from or discuss new ideas with.

 

lizzie face the world

So we have chosen five free business apps on a previous blog, and now it’s time to share five free apps for a balanced, healthy lifestyle. So here they are:

  1. Kindle: This means you can download Kindle books on any device and read your fav books, or even business books. The Kindle app is optimized for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, giving users the ability to read Kindle books, newspapers, magazines, textbooks and PDFs on a beautiful, easy-to-use interface. You’ll have access to over 1,000,000* books in the Kindle Store plus hundreds* of newspapers and magazines.
  2. Daily Yoga Quotes: Yoga is a powerful natural state that can inspire you in many ways. YogaQuote is a simple app for yoga enthusiasts who also like inspirational quotes. It is filled with quotes and beautiful background images that are presented one day at a time. Perhaps one line or even just one word can awaken your insights and deepen your yoga practice.
  3. Health tip of the Day: An app that helps you to maintain your healthy lifestyle.
  4. Raw Food Diet: Raw Food Diet Free provides healthy raw food recipes to help you detox and live a healthier, more organic life.
  5. Holistic Skin Care: Ageless Skin Oil & Salves are made with unrefined oils and organic herbs. All of our products are made with Hemp Oil. Cannabidiol (CBD) is the herbal constituent of hemp that protects & nourishes skin and cells. The products are designed to rejuvenate, balance, soothe and nourish the skin in a natural and wholesome way… So enjoy more from the Holistic application.

So get Appy, with these applications that are sure to make you Happy.

    business and family

    A great article reading for HTM by Louise Jensen… mother, practitioner and businesswoman:

    Background

    The decision to return to work after an enforced break following a car accident was easy.  Dealing with the practical issues of this choice though has at times, left me feeling so frazzled I need a therapist, oh wait, I am a therapist!

    Prior to my accident I really had been following my dreams.  Years training in therapies I had absolute conviction in, allowed me to practice confidently from a local clinic.  I built up a loyal client base and lived in a beautiful village with my partner and three children.  I really did have the perfect life, or did I?

    Finding Freedom

    Becoming wheelchair bound meant stopping work, which was heartbreaking. It also meant I began questioning everything about myself; who I was, and what I really wanted. I realised the joy I previously experienced had come from my job and my children, not my personal live.  It was massively scary to follow my heart; I had three children to support, no income, constant physical pain and a lack of mobility… but I decided to leave my partner.  The timing was terrible, but being so limited physically made me strive to find freedom within my mind and I knew that that wouldn’t happen without change.

    Fast Forward

    Fast forward to now, and I have found love and relocated to a new town.  I am able to stand unaided, and potter around a bit. Naturally and happily it felt the right time to re-launch Balancing Health.  Whilst this was exciting, it also posed me with many business decisions.

    Location Location Location

    The first dilemma was where to work from.  Corby has no dedicated holistic centres, but there are salons renting rooms out.  I previously liked working from a clinic as they advertised me and I felt supported and part of a team. Being able to disassociate from my working life at the end of each day when I returned home allowed me to slip back easily into ‘mum mode’.

    After visiting numerous premises I began to feel frustrated, because I couldn’t find one I felt I would fit in to.  I didn’t feel comfortable slotting in amongst spray tans and Botox, and realistically I had to weigh up the possible business I could gain being salon based, against the outlay of paying for a room whether I had clients booked in or not. Many of the salons shut at six o’clock and I wanted to offer a late night option for after work appointments. I began to explore the idea of working from home.

    A major obstacle in being home based was compromising space, as two of the children would have to agree to share a room to allow one room to be converted into a therapy space.  We had a family discussion and the benefits; both financially and practically, outweighed the negatives.  I would ultimately have more time with my family as there is no traveling time, no rental or travelling costs and although I try to book appointments in school time if they do overran, my eldest son is happy to keep an eye on his younger brothers, for a price (hey holistic house or not, a teenager is a teenager!).

    Of course there is the hassle of checking the house is tidy before sessions, especially the bathroom, (with a house full of boys who knows what delights may lie there) I am more mindful of health and safety issues than I would be in a clinic.  I’m not sure if my insurance would cover a client stepping barefoot on Lego whilst going to the toilet halfway through a treatment.

    Village V Town

    Launching initially in a village I found that word traveled quickly.  People talked whilst out walking and word of mouth quickly spread.  I felt this would happen on a larger scale in a town but I have found people get in the cars and go with little interaction on a day-to-day basis.  In the village I could leaflet drop the whole village and advertise, often for free, in rural publications.  When I was living in a town, I had to carefully decide where to target, as it is unfeasible to reach everyone.

    One distinct advantage of a town is people do appear more reserved and don’t just pop round on the off chance so I can look at their shoulder, their dog, or the shoulder of their dog, (yes, this really did happen!).

    Overall I feel a balance with my re-launch, but being a working parent is always a question of balance…  I hope I have found the right one for my family.

     

    watch healthy video

    We came across this video on YouTube… and whilst as the guy quite openly admits, his advice is obvious (probably to those of the holistic world), that it is good to hear them. We at HTM think it is a great that a seemingly ordinary chap is sharing such valuable advice and is clearly making steps to improving his own life… The more individuals that take these paths the better for everybody.

    Have a listen, do you have experience of any of these areas of life improvements? Would you agree with the benefits of his suggestions?

    back to school

    As a child the six weeks school holiday seemed to be a long time – trips away, fun at home, visits to see family, playing games; indoor and out, enjoying the sunshine, enjoying the rain… and then school starts again, back to the routine and the homework… but after those six weeks children seem ready for it… maybe they have a different relationship with time than adults do – because as an adult those six weeks whizz by, and before you know it, it is time to buy new uniforms, stationary, equipment, sports kits, lunch-boxes… and that is just the shopping order, what about all the other prep?

    Back to school time can be hectic for parents, but also they are often ready for their little cherubs to start or return to school. Like anything it is best to be prepared – so here are some tips for parents:

    1. Give plenty of time to buy the ‘back to school’ things your child/ren may need for the new academic year. Do remember though, whilst it is great grabbing items in the sale – avoid getting the uniform or shoes as children can often seem to grow over night, and whilst you would have saved in the store initially, you don’t want to have to buy again because your son or daughter has a growth spurt a few days before they return to school. You can get around it by buying a bigger size in some items – but just be mindful.
    2. Avoid getting caught up in your what your child/ren want, as opposed to what they need – you do not need added financial outgoing as well as more stress because they want a certain brand or the same colour lunch-box as their best friend.
    3. The six weeks can certainly feel like a long time for children, especially the young ones, or even the ones starting out at school for the first time – prepare them by talking to them throughout the holidays about their new school, or teacher, so that it is not a shock when the day arrives. You can also do a countdown wall chart, or read specific school starting books. It is important that your child/ren is emotionally prepared for the new school year no matter what age they are.
    4. If your child/ren is of the age where the year ahead involves academic choices or even exams, it maybe worth talking to them about an out of school activity they may wish to start, so that they have balance in their schedule as well as something else to look forward to other than exams.
    5. School lunches or school dinners? There are benefits to both! The lunches mean you can choose what your child/ren eat and then you can opt for health foods – but always include a treat – they need it! School dinners can mean a nice warm meal in the day especially during the colder months, as long as you know that your child/ren will eat it.
    6. Some parents can get emotional when there child/ren start or return to school, and so maybe it is a good time to increase your client base, so you can focus on work when your child/ren are at school, and then spend time with them after school hours. Also, try not to let your child/ren see you get upset – they have their own apprehensions, or they may feel absolutely fine about school – so it is best not to influence them indirectly.
    7. If you child/ren are having trouble settling during the first few weeks – this is normal, no matter what the age… just make sure you are there for them, and maybe talk to them about your school days – even show them old photographs. If this persists then it is worth talking to the teacher, as well as to your child/ren.
    8. Depending on your modality, you may wish to treat your child to a session perhaps of yoga, reiki, to a massage or some sound therapy – you know better than anybody that the benefits of the therapy you offer can help in so many areas of people’s lives, including anxiety and stress.
    9. Keep your own stress levels down also by having a treatment yourself. Use the opportunity when your child/ren are at school to get some ‘me time’ too.
    10. A top tip for any parent leaving their child/ren at school, is to always depart on happy terms – even if the morning has been hectic or challenging, and even if you have had a small falling out with your child/ren, ensure that as they leave the house, or walk through the school gates, or when you leave the classroom that they know without a single doubt that you love them, that you are there for them and that no matter what may come up in their day that you are their to support them.

     

     

    summer skin

    As I’m writing this on a sunny summer day, many of our clients are still heading for the “beach body”/beauty needs of spray tans, manicures, pedicures and waxing – but it’s easy to forget that this is also the time of year to take extra care of your skin for the duration of summer – especially your face!

    Exfoliation and rehydration are key in the summer. Keep pores unblocked from sun cream, sweat, tanning products and allergens such as pollen, dust and pollution – and replenish moisture lost from spending more time outdoors and exposed to the sun.

    Often when we talk of a good, toned skin, we (mostly unknowingly) are referring to skin with ‘closed’ or non-visible pores. Enlarged/’open’ pores are frowned upon in the quest for perfection. However, we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves – as our pores don’t actually open or close and the size of them is predominantly genetic! An enlarged or open pore is just doing its’ job for you. It means it’s working to release sebum and dead skin cells from out of the hair follicle it is a part of.

    What can happen though is skin debris, sebum and introduced/topical products get clogged around the pore like leaves and litter clog around a drain. This leads to the pore getting blocked and enlarged, bacterial build up may occur and ultimately a blackhead or spot can result – even acne in more severe cases.

    Regular exfoliation is vital for the maintenance of healthy pores – and so healthy skin. Ideally choose a natural, gentle exfoliator that combines both physical and chemical exfoliation. That way, you get the best of both worlds in a system that won’t aggravate your skin. Physical exfoliation can be in the form of ground fruit seeds or drupes such as rosehips or almonds. These will help to physically remove or pluck out debris. The best chemical exfoliators are the AHAs – or alpha hydroxy acids – as they can be naturally found in fruits and some vegetables. These enzymes will directly break down dead skin cells, making them easier to wash away and expose new skin. Some are milder than others, so less irritating for sensitive skins – choose fruit or pumpkin AHAs.

    Ok – so what next? We have our clean, unblocked pores and know we need to do this regularly for healthy summer skin…

    We all here know that our skin is actually our largest biochemical organ, working 24 hours a day without fail – so it goes without saying that it needs constant replenishing. Most if not all of the nutrients it needs are provided by our diet (exception vitamin D from sunlight) – so it’s really true that you are what you eat – and one of the first places it shows is in your skin!

    Our modern, busy lives with convenience/processed foods, coffee pick-me-ups, booze at weekends, stress at work and family demands (I think you know what I mean!) can sometimes make it hard to religiously follow a pure, natural diet. Most of us are tired or dehydrated most of the time. Add to that the effects of sun exposure and summer holidays! D’oh! So what’s the single most important ingredient you can help your skin with? Water! It’s not rocket science.

    With over 70% of our body being water, when we are so often in short supply of it what we do have in our bodies supports our vital organs, blood and lymph streams – so our poor skin plays second fiddle. Drinking lots of water and/or (healthy!) fluids is of course paramount, but luckily for us we can apply water topically too in the form of a good moisturiser.

    What makes a moisturiser ‘good’? Well, you want a gentle one that works in harmony with your skin – again, look for natural brands that are suitable for all skin types. What, not prescriptive for my skin type? Nope. (Head on the block here). Your skin can largely self-regulate itself – and all skin, whatever its’ age, gender, colour, oily, dry or mature, blah de blah has exactly the same fundamental biochemistry and physiology – with its structure based on elastin and collagen – and water.

    You want ingredients that bind water into the deeper layers and hold it there i.e. ‘humectant’ – many seaweed extracts will do this – also hyaluronic acid and (ethically-sourced) glycerin. You want to also look out for lighter lotions and milks that don’t sit heavy or greasy on the skin so can soak straight in. In the summer, vitamin E (‘tocopherol’) can also aid against environmental damage.

    Hope you found this useful, folks! Until next time, Lizzie xxx

    Liz Badger, Face The World Ltd

    brand yourself

    People are often scared by change, especially in business, but it is important to refresh and move with trends and technology. Re-branding your business may come out of expansion or necessity, perhaps you’ve moved location or maybe you’ve qualified in a new treatment and your current branding doesn’t fit with the range of services you now offer, or maybe you have decided to join the whirlwind offered by the world wide web; joining FaceBook, Twitter, getting a web site or a blog, and need your online and offline branding to match.

    If you feel pushed into a re-brand because what worked years ago, no longer does, it is important not to get caught up in the past. Think ‘fresh’, think ‘now’, and look forward. It is often easy to attribute business problems to the ‘brand’, but before going head first into re-branding, ensure this is exactly where your business problem lies – check aspects such as employees, integrity, quality and overall service, and if all appears fine in these areas, then start to plan you re-brand.

    All re-brands do not necessarily mean a name change, but if you do feel this is needed ensure it is a clear choice; a name that is suited to your services, and that is likeable by you, but more importantly by your clients. It is fine to ask some of your regulars their thoughts on your new name options; perhaps you could give them a market research form and as a thank you for taking part award them with a discounted treatment.  When it comes to choosing a name, less is often more effective. Use convenient spellings and straightforward words or phrases, as when it comes to online searches or typing in web address, it is more likely you will be found.  Also, think about how the name may sound over the telephone too, you can always test this by mocking a call with a colleague or friend.

    It certainly is worthwhile putting yourself in your customers’ shoes; you can do this by arranging a secret client, similar to a mystery shopper and see how their experiences are with your employees.  If you do not have any staff then a feedback box is a great way to know how your clients feel and provides them with an anonymous way of highlighting problem areas.

    Take the time to research other similar successful businesses – how do they brand their company? What can you learn from their strategies? Obviously, this is just for inspiration, there is no benefit in trying to copy or emulate another brand, especially if they are deemed as competition.

    Planning your rebrand isn’t just about aesthetics, such as logo, colours, décor and promotional material; it is also about execution.  How do you plan to re-brand? What strategy do you have in place for telling your existing clients and potential clients about your re-brand?

    If you do decide to take the plunge and re-brand, don’t do it by halves – recycle old business cards, do not give them out if they do not carry the same new message as your re-branding – it looks unprofessional, slack and confuses your customers.  Talking of customers, ensure they are aware that you are rebranding but are still the same business/company run by the same team – customers like to know where they stand. If you are open that you want to refresh they will welcome the change and see it as investment in them too, especially if your rebranding includes a refurbishment of the therapy room, or a lick of fresh paint – the effort will make them feel valued and included. So keep them in the know.

    Whatever your reasoning for re-branding, it is so important that all of your branding is consistent, so when it comes to your business activity you are using the same colours, logo and ethos on marketing material, online, in store/therapy room, and uniforms. Ensure you allocate a sensible budget from the offset, this gives you an idea of how much you may need to spend on elements such as a website or a front of house sign, or business cards.

    Re-brand for the right reasons, and think it through carefully, don’t just do it out of boredom, or just because you need a change – remember if it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it.

    business clinic

    Holistic Therapist Magazine has been a platform and source of advice for therapist since January 2012 now, and our most important purpose is to make business subjects easily understood and accessible to you – the practitionerour reader – so that you can continue working your magic in the Holistic industry.

    We have always supported the camexpo, and are proud to announce that we have partnered up with them this year to bring to you the brand new Business Clinic.

    These small, focused sessions (10 practitioners per session) will look at the latest challenges affecting businesses within the natural and integrative health sector. They are an opportunity for you to ask questions directly to the session leader and get feedback from fellow practitioners.

    These intimate Business Clinic sessions at camexpo are free to attend and are not bookable so if you’d like to be part of one, then please visit the area when you arrive at the show and let the host know that you would like to attend… It is as simply as that!

    Head to the camexpo website for more information on this year’s event and to register: camexpo.co.uk

    Event info: Saturday 4th October: 10am-6pm Sunday 5th October: 10am-5pm at Olympia, London

     

    faqs

    Thinking about accounts can certainly be daunting, and the actual process of sorting out your papers, receipts, invoices and keeping your books is far from fun for the most of us.  A question many of us ask as we are tiptoeing gingerly into the world of self-employment is, is there any point in having an accountant? Even if you are competent with your numbers, if your business grows as no doubt you want it to, then you will have less time and more accounts to juggle. Doing your own accounts can be quite straight forward initially, however just like any profession there are tricks of the trade that only fully qualified and experienced accountants would know about.  It’s just like all of the people that would attempt to give a friend or partner a back massage, whilst it may be pleasant or relax the person, it is certainly not a long term fix for somebody suffering with more serious problems, it is a job for a professional massage practitioner. The fact is, you probably do not need an accountant, as you are fully capable of doing a decent job, just like the massage example, however it is not just about doing okay, it is about doing a good job, so getting a good accountant that can save your business more money than what they cost you to hire is a sensible business choice for most.

    Here are some answers to frequently asked questions that will help you with deciding to commit to getting an accountant as a sole-trader:

    How much will an accountant cost me? Just like prices of treatments vary from one therapist to the next, so does the cost of an accountant, but some accountants are happy for you to pay your fee as a standing order per month.

    What does my accountant need? Your accountant will need all receipts, as proof of payment for any item or service that you have paid out for in order to facilitate your business. It is worth putting this in an envelope at the end of each month, so that you can help your accountant organise your papers. They will require bank statements and any other paperwork relating to your earnings.

    Does my accountant need to be qualified? It is advised to use a fully qualified accountant, as they have undertaken the relevant study, passed numerous examinations and had extensive practical work experience before qualifying.  They also undertake compulsory continuous professional development (CPD) to ensure their knowledge is up-to-date, and their skills are maintained. They adhere to rules relating to ethical and professional conduct, and they monitored by their professional body.

    How do I know the accountant I choose is qualified? Qualified chartered accountants will have ACA or FCA after their name or as part of their business information; and chartered certified accountants are identifiable with the letters ACCA or FCCA.

    How do I find a qualified accountant? Go by personal recommendation or you can also visit Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) icaewfirms.co.uk.

    What’s the difference between a bookkeeper and an accountant? The job of a bookkeeper is to make sure all the financial transactions are properly logged and recorded.  An accountant can then review your financial position and make appropriate recommendations on how to run your business more profitably. You can keep your own books, employ a bookkeeper or your accountant can do it for you.

    What else can an accountant do for me? An accountant will use their skills and knowledge to enable you to conduct your business smoothly and efficiently.  They can provide advice prior to your setting up your business, offering continual financial advice, including advice on managing your business; planning and managing growth; preparing your VAT returns (if you’re registered for VAT); taking care of your year-end accounts and calculating how much tax and National Insurance you owe HMRC; giving you advice on minimising business tax by making full and proper use of your allowable expenses; and handling any enquiries with HMRC over your tax or VAT on your behalf.

    Ultimately, it is a great idea to have a grasp of all aspects of your business and what is now expected of you as a self-employed business person, but by employing an expert to do your accounts, means that you can free up space in your mind and in your diary to concentrate on bringing in new clients and encouraging existing ones back… it’s a case of let the accountants do their job, to help you do yours.