How To Write A Sports Massage Business Plan

guide to Sports massage therapy business

If you want to know how to set up a sports massage business in the UK, the first thing you’ll need is a good sports massage business plan.

Whether you’re looking to go self-employed or even open up your very own SMT clinic, we’re about to explain everything that you need to think about when writing up a business plan.

Stick with us for a 5 step guide covering: 

    1. Market Research
    2. Choosing Your Products & Services
    3. Finding The Right Location
    4. Creating a Brand & Business Name
    5. How to Write A Sports Massage Business Plan

But before we get started, the best way to have a successful SMT business is by having plenty of specialist knowledge. Our Level 4 Sports Massage Course is ideal for helping you develop this knowledge and keep clients using your service.

Download our free course prospectus and learn about the range of fitness and nutrition qualifications that we offer here at OriGym.

Sports Massage Business Plan: What Is It?

Sports massage business plan guide

Before we discuss how you can increase your sports massage therapist career opportunities by developing a business plan, we'll start with what actually is a business plan and why do you need one?

To keep things straightforward, here’s a simple definition from the business planning guide:

“In its simplest form, a business plan is a guide—a roadmap for your business that outlines goals and details how you plan to achieve those goals.”

Typically, you might write a business plan with the purpose of presenting details of your business to a bank or investor as means of obtaining a loan.

However, there are numerous benefits of writing a business plan which make it an essential task for everybody looking to find out how to start a sports massage business in the UK.

Step 1- Carry Out Market Research

How to set up a sports massage business graphic copy

Before we go on to explain how to structure a sports massage business plan, and what to include in each section, there are a couple of other things to consider first.

Regardless of whether you're going freelance for the first time, or you want to open up your own SMT clinic, the first step is performing market research!

This involves a number of things from taking a look at businesses that are similar to the one that you want to set up, to identifying who your target market (clients) will be, and researching who your competitors are and what they are currently doing.

The purpose of doing this research is to get an understanding of who your target market will be, who your competitors are, and how you can set yourself apart from those competitors to make your business a success.


Advance Your Career as a Sports Massage Therapist

Develop your SMT business with our Level 4 Sports Massage Course!

Who Is Your Target Audience?

Starting a sports massage business graphic

You might already have an idea of who you would like your target audience to be, but if there isn’t a lot of demand in the area, or that target audience is too specific, then that might not be a realistic option for your business.

At the same time, a broad target market can be off putting for clients who are looking for a specialised service - it really is a fine line!

This is why you need to do your research and find out what kind of demand there is in the area and what that audience wants from your business.

It’s a good idea to start with a general idea of your preferred client and then research exactly what age group, gender, and even level of affluence, exists in your area. 

From there, you can look into what this target market wants from your kind of business that your competitors don’t currently offer, or something that they offer but don’t do well!

This is what we call looking for ‘gaps in the market’, where your aim is to find an upcoming trend that you will be the first to offer, or find a way that you can do what your competitors do, but do it better or even cheaper!

So, how are you going to identify the gaps in the market? Below are the best kinds of market research to do when setting up a sports massage business in the UK!


Advance Your Career as a Sports Massage Therapist

Develop your SMT business with our Level 4 Sports Massage Course!

#1 - Carry Out Mystery Shops 

How to set up a sports massage business image

The best way to understand what a business is like and how it runs is to see it for yourself.

Once you have identified who your competitors are, book a session with a local therapist or enquire at a clinic to get their customer experience for yourself. 

Before your mystery shop, create a list or form of questions covering everything that you want to research about that business.

This could be anything from how they handle their enquiries or what bookings system they use, to how much they charge, and what additional products they sell.

Want to know about what being a sports massage therapist involves? Our covers everything you need to know about the role of a sports massage therapist.

#2 - Check Out Online Reviews! 

How to start sports massage business uk

When you’re starting your own sports massage business, it's a good idea to do some secondary research, too.

Thanks to platforms like TrustPilot, Google Reviews, and Facebook, there are tons of customer reviews for every business, all available at the click of the button. 

See what your competitors' customers (your future clients) have to say about their services and business overall, and use those reviews to benefit your own business.

Negative reviews are a really easy way to see what your competitors are missing so that you can identify problems or gaps in the market that your own business can solve.

You can take inspiration from the positive reviews, too, take note of what works well for them and use this to decide how you can do the same, but make your services even better.

#3 - Focus Groups & Surveys 

Starting a sports massage business

Before starting a sports massage business, one great way of carrying out market research is to talk to your target market directly.

Typically, holding a focus group would involve inviting a group of 6-10 members of your target market to discuss their feedback and opinions on your business or services.

With the current social distancing measures, it might be a better option to take your market research online and ask individuals for the same feedback via an online survey.

Although you can’t necessarily have a dialogue with the group through a survey, this is still a great way of conducting market research.

Platforms like Google Surveys are a great option as they are free and easy to use, they also allow you to distribute your questions to a larger group of individuals quickly, making this more time and cost-effective than holding a focus group, too.

#4 - Perform A SWOT Analysis 

Sports massage business plan graphic

Finally, you can’t go wrong with carrying out a SWOT analysis.

This is something that every business owner or self-employed person should absolutely do, whether they’re starting up a sports massage business, or any other type of business for that matter.

SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, and so a SWOT Analysis is a technique for assessing these four aspects of your business.” 

This is a really simple but effective tool that takes into account any internal and external factors that could affect your business.

Rather than just focusing on the current strengths and weakness of your own business, you can look for ways that you can improve or grow in the future so that you can maximise your sports massage salary, and also identify any potential threats that you need to be aware of.

Step 2 – What Products & Services Will You Offer?

guide to Sports massage therapy business

So, you’re starting your own sports massage business offering sports massage therapy, but what type of service will you be offering and will you sell any other additional products?

Deciding on what products and services you will offer is really important at this stage as this will influence what equipment and products you will need to buy, and it will affect your financial summary when it comes to writing up your sports massage therapy business plan.

Once you have determined your target market, it should be easier to decide what kinds of massage services you will offer your clients.

But should you sell other products alongside these services? The answer to this question is a huge yes!

Whether you want to sell directly relevant products like foam rollers, and maybe even more generic products that your clients will want, such as water bottles or sweat towels, selling relevant products is a great way to generate an additional income for your business.

Not only that, products like foam rollers will assist your clients and add to the benefits of your services, so it's a win win! 

If you’re interested in expanding your business beyond sports massage alone, you could even study a Level 4 sports nutrition qualification and get familiar with the principles of nutrition. 

This would open up a pathway for an additional service and give you the knowledge to sell nutrition supplements and similar products to increase your income.

Step 3 – How to Start a Sports Massage Business: Choose A Location!

How to start your own sports massage business

By now, you should know whether you want to open up your own clinic or start your own sports massage business as a freelancer. Either way, the next thing you need to do is think about where you want your business to be based.

This is something that will affect your finances, management, the kind of client you attract, and your marketing strategy, so it’s important to really think about the best place to get set up.

If you have made your mind up on going mobile with your freelance business, you can skip to the next step. 

But if you’re wanting to open up your very open SMT clinic, work as a freelancer within another business, or you’re unsure, here’s what you need to know!

When it comes to deciding where you want your business to be based, there are a couple of things to consider.

It’s a good idea to decide on a location before finalising your business plan as the costs associated with renting a venue or space will have an impact on your business plan when it comes to writing your financial summary.

But, choosing the right location isn’t all about your finances. As well as rent prices, you’ll need to ask yourself these questions:

  • Where are your competitors based?
  • Is this an area that your target market is familiar with?
  • Is the venue accessible, either with parking or near good public transport links? 
  • Is it in a visible location? Good visibility in a location where plenty of people pass by gets your brand name out there, benefiting your marketing strategy! 
  • Is there space to expand your business in the future?

And finally, one really important step to consider is council permission and landlord authorisation!

There are tons of great spaces to rent, but a lot of available locations only have planning permission for offices or retail businesses.

To set up a sports massage clinic, you will need D1 planning permission. Plus, you will need to discuss your plans with the landlord, especially if you will need to change the layout of the space or add any permanent fixtures.


Advance Your Career as a Sports Massage Therapist

Develop your SMT business with our Level 4 Sports Massage Course!

Step 4 – Pick A Brand & A Name!

Sports massage business plan graphic copy

Finally, you can’t start building a sports massage business and writing a business plan without branding and a good business name! 

If you haven’t already decided on a name or what your branding will look like, it's time to get creative! 

The OriGym guide to Fitness Business Names is the perfect resource to help you choose a business name that truly reflects what you and your business are all about.

In terms of a brand image, you’ll need to decide on brand colours, and maybe even develop an idea of what your logo might look like.

When making this decision, you should bear in mind that people often associate colours and symbols with certain sports, feelings, and even quality of service.

So, the colours you choose should seriously consider the kind of image and brand message that you want to portray.

As a general example of how you could apply this to your sports massage business plan, say your target market are ameaur boxers, then you might choose the colour red, as this is often associated with the sport.

Unsure of where to start with choosing brand colours and a fitness logo? Our article on the best fitness logos includes tons of design tools and real life examples!

Step 5 – Write Your Sports Massage Business Plan!

Setting up a sports massage business graphic

Now that we have covered the essential steps to take before setting up a sports massage business, how are you going to write your business plan?

Below we have explained how to structure your sports massage business plan and exactly what to include in each section, let's get stuck in!

How To Structure Your Sports Massage Business Plan

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Summary
  • Products & Services
  • Market Research
  • Sales & Marketing Strategy
  • Financial Summary

Executive Summary

The executive summary acts as an introduction to your sports massage business plan.

Within this section, you should outline exactly what your business is about, including your aims and objectives, and other important information like your location, marketing strategy, and target market.

You’ll need to be clear about the type of business you want to set up, for example whether you will be starting up a sports massage business as a sole trader or a limited company, and whether you will be a mobile therapist or have a fixed location.

If you are writing your business plan for the purpose of funding, you should briefly include how much funding you require, too.

It might seem like there are a lot of things to include in this section but it still needs to be clear and concise.

Aim to include just enough detail for an investor or banker to get a good understanding of your business and your key objectives at a glance.

Company Summary 

How to set up a sports massage business graphic

Following your executive summary, the next section is a company summary, in which you should go into more detail about your plans for your business, discussing the products and services that you will sell, and why you have decided on these particular products and services. 

You should also talk a little bit about the proposed location of your business, explaining why this is the best location for you and your clients in terms or costs, facilities, and any other benefits of running your business in that specific area.

Within this section, you should also highlight what is going to make your business a success.

Talk about trends that are untapped by business in your area, or how you can use your expertise to target a specific niche that your competitors don’t currently cater to.

For example, if you study a Level 4 lower back pain management qualification with us here at OriGym, you could explain that you will be the only lower back pain specialist in the area with a level 4 qualification.

You should talk about yourself as the business owner, explaining your relevant experience and qualifications. 

If you plan on hiring any employees, talk about the calibre of qualifications that they will hold, too.

This is where you’ll need to make sure that you have studied the right qualifications to become a certified sports massage therapist. 

If you aren’t yet qualified, then you can read all about the process of becoming a sports massage therapist on our recent blog post!

Having this qualification will show investors that you are a professional in your field, and that you have the right knowledge to run a sports massage business and offer brilliant services, too.

Not only that, having a recognised qualification will also aid your marketing strategy.

If your clients see that you have an impressive range of qualifications, they will view you as an expert, they will trust your business, and be more willing to pay premium prices for your products and services.

Products & Services

Speaking of products and services, your sports massage business plan should also include a short section detailing the products and services that your business will offer.

Tip: Use the findings from your market research to explain why you have chosen to offer these specific products and services.

For every product or service, you should briefly explain why you have come to the conclusion that this is appropriate for your business. 

Say you have decided to centre your services around the benefits of SMT for boxers and you want to sell boxing accessories or appropriate nutritional supplements as part of that, talk about what made you come to this decision.

Is boxing popular in this area, or perhaps your business will be set up close to a boxing gym? Whatever your reasoning, explain yourself here!

Use evidence from focus groups and information on the services that your competitors do (or don’t offer) to show that there is a demand for these products and services within your chosen location.

Sales & Marketing Strategy

Now that you answered how to start your own sports massage business in terms of determining what products and services you are going to offer, who you are going to offer them to, and where you will set up this business, there are still two questions to ask:

      1. How are you going to get the word out there about your business?
      2. How do you plan on getting people to buy your products and services?


how to write a Sports massage business plan

It’s all well and good having a brilliant idea for your sports massage therapy business, but you need people to know about your business if you want it to be a success. 

If you followed the steps above, you should already have a great business name, a vision for your band image, and a great location- all of which will get your brand out there you’re your business recognised, but what else can you do?

Think about the different marketing channels available and figure out which will work best for your business.

There are tons of options from building an online presence with tons of followers, to utilising more traditional ways of marketing like networking, print materials, and positive word of mouth.

Whichever marketing channels you choose, you should use this section of your sports massage business plan to explain exactly how you plan on getting the word out there about your business and why you have chosen this particular strategy.

For example, if you choose to predominantly use social media within your marketing strategy, you might explain that social media is a great marketing tool as it is really easy to use, and if you stick to an organic marketing strategy, the platform is completely free.

Plus, if you utilise the right fitness hashtags for Instagram and Twitter, your posts can reach 1000s of potential customers.

Know how to start a sports massage business in the UK but unsure on which marketing channels are best? We have explained how to develop a great social media strategy, as well as some other brilliant marketing tips in this sports massage marketing guide.

Setting up a Sports Massage Business? You'll Need a Sales Strategy

How to start a sports massage business uk graphic

Once you’ve determined what marketing strategy you are going to use to get the word out there about your business, how are you going to sell your services to these potential customers? This is where a good sales strategy is necessary!

Not only should this strategy outline how you are going to sell your services initially, it should also take into account exactly how you are going to turn your target market into repeat customers.

This is also known as a customer sales journey, and is an especially important part of a sports massage business plan if you will be sharing your plan with a bank or investor! 

A well-detailed customer sales journey should include:

  • How clients find out about your business (for example, paid social ads)
  • How clients can enquire about your services
  • How clients book a session or purchase a product
  • How you will ensure client retention

Having this sales journey planned out will also benefit your business when it comes to hiring and training new members of staff within your business as it will ensure that all employees are following the same plan to secure sales!


Advance Your Career as a Sports Massage Therapist

Develop your SMT business with our Level 4 Sports Massage Course!

Financial Summary

Any good sports massage therapy business plan should end with a full financial summary covering every aspect of your funding and finances, complete with a full sales forecast and cost projections.

In order to complete this section, you will need to calculate and completely map out you’re expected income and expenditure.

This is a vital part of starting a sports massage business as it will allow you to predict how much income your business will generate over a certain period of time.

Predicting Your Income 

Setting up a sports massage business uk

In order to get an accurate prediction of your income before starting up a sports massage business, you’ll need to do some calculations.

A good place to start is to pick a set time frame for which you want to predict your income. When you are first building a sports massage business or you are in your first year of business, it’s a good idea to start with month to month projections.

From there, it’s a good idea to begin your calculations by splitting your income into various sections.

For example, one section might be massage sessions, and another might be an accessories section, including any foam rollers or other equipment that you are thinking of selling.

In order to calculate how much income you expect each section to generate, it’s a good idea to label each source in terms of units.

This will be easy for physical products, but it can work for services where you essentially sell your time, too. For example, 1 sports massage session would be 1 unit.

You can include these predictions within your sports massage business plan in a table, a line graph, or bar chart, basically whatever you believe is easiest for yourself and anybody else reading the business plan to understand. 

For this particular calculation, we would recommend a line graph as this makes it really easy to visual your expected income!


Advance Your Career as a Sports Massage Therapist

Develop your SMT business with our Level 4 Sports Massage Course!


Once you’ve decided on the appropriate pricing for your products and services, the next thing to do is to calculate that into your month on month projections.

Your pricing should be based on a number of factors, including what your competition charge, who your target market is, and where in the market you want to position your business.

For example, if you want to position your business as a high end service, your prices should be above average to reflect that fact that yours is a premium service.

Unsure how to calculate your month on month projections? It’s actually a pretty simple process!

Simply take the price of each product and service, and multiply it by the number of those products and services that you forecast you will ‘sell’ within that particular month.

Starting up a Sports Massage Business: Calculating Expenditure  

How to set up a sports massage business uk

To finish this section of your sports massage business plan, you should cover a list of your expected outgoings and expenditures.

This should cover an outline of your expected start-up costs and details the cost of buying or renting any equipment, including everything from your massage table to your work laptop. 

If you're planning on hiring staff, you should also include their wages as part of your outgoings, as well as including how much you plan on paying yourself, too!

If you have a general idea of how much your rent and bills will cost, then those details should definitely be included here alongside smaller one-off expenditures such as sports massage insurance, business insurance, and branding things like developing a fitness logo for your business!

Before You Go!

So, there you go! Everything you need to know about how to start a sports massage business in the UK and write a great business plan.

You can continue developing your skills and knowledge to have a successful SMT business with our Level 4 Sports Massage Therapy CourseFind out how you can enrol on this course and other by enquiring today and downloading the OriGym course prospectus for more information!

Written by Abbie Watkins

Fitness Content Manager, OriGym

Join Abbie on Facebook at the OriGym Facebook Group

Holding an MA Marketing Communications and Branding as well as a BSc Psychology from the University of Liverpool, Abbie’s experience encompasses the retail, hospitality and fitness industries. Since joining OriGym, she has become a qualified Personal Trainer and gone on to complete a specialist qualification in advanced Sports Nutrition. Abbie’s main focuses cover staying up to speed with YouTube fitness influencers, identifying successful and innovative content formats. She has contributed to various publications, including the Daily Express. Beyond OriGym, she enjoys going on scenic runs and upbeat exercise classes, and often found on the front row of a Saturday morning spin class. 

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