Have you felt that there's a need to start doing ergonomics assessments in your community? Maybe no one else is doing it in your area, or perhaps there’s only a few of them. If you compare our profession to other professions out there, you’ll realize that there’s a huge opportunity in establishing your own ergonomics business and making it profitable. The good thing about this is that it's not rocket science to run a profitable ergonomics business. In this post, I want to share with you the 4 steps to starting it out.
The way that work is being done right now has totally changed. A lot of businesses have most of their staff working from home. Many home-based remote employees are starting to realize that using their kitchen counter or couch as their workstation is not sustainable. I was actually listening to a radio program the other day saying most people are going to stay working remotely for the next few years. And this is going to have a huge impact on the way people design their offices. You’ve probably noticed that there's a tendency for a shift to the office layout from that open concept that’s so popular in the past 5 to 10 years to a closed office. And I've already seen many companies start making this shift. This shift happening in workplaces only means one thing: that many people need our ergonomic services now. Whether you’re just planning to start an ergonomics business as a service you offer in addition to your normal job requirements or you’re considering to do this as a full-time business, this post is for you.
Before I get to the goods of this article, there are a couple of things I wanted to address first. I know there are some Ergonomic Consultants who would say, “I want to outsource the business side of my business so I can only focus on executing my ergonomic services.” But I want to give you the cold hard truth regarding this: it will cost you a lot of money to get really good marketing and sales help. This is because the really talented people in marketing and sales know that they bring results and we'll have to pay a lot for that. In fact, people usually end up paying a lot for every sale. For instance, some effective marketers might cost you up to 70% of all profit for a particular campaign. So if you don't have the essential foundation of business and marketing, you’ll have to rely on these people. If you do so, it will greatly affect the amount of money that you’ll earn at the end of the day.
So to help you set up your foundation, I’m going to share a 4-step system: choosing your services, figuring out your clients, pricing principles, and marketing strategies. These steps are actually the same principles that I share in my program called Accelerate. This is where I teach Ergonomics Consultants how to lay the foundation for their own profitable business. I'm going to give you more details about it at the bottom of this post.
The first thing you want to do is to choose your services. I want you to assess your current skills, experience, what you like to do, and then decide on what services you’d like to provide your clients. The thing is that you don't need to do everything. You only need to choose the services that you think you can provide a lot of value to your clients. The 3 main areas that we can offer value are training, consultations, and assessments. Aside from those, your services will depend on whether you're going to be focusing on the office environment, industrial environment, or a mix of both. Healthcare professionals specializing in ergonomics also have to consider their profession, skills, and knowledge when deciding what services they want to provide their clients. Make sure that your services are identified first.
Another thing I want to talk about is that it often starts with building a relationship. The goal of any ergonomics business is not just to provide value for that flash in the pan situation, but also building a relationship that’ll last for years. It starts with serving our clients and providing excellent help to them. As Ergonomics Consultants, we have a wide range of services that we can offer more than just one-on-one office ergonomics assessments. You need to do what you know first, then grow from there as you find where the market is taking you and where the need is. So for step one, your goal is to make a list of all the possible services that you can offer your clients right now. It should be something that won’t take any research and that you can get started right away. After you do that, you can move on to step two.
The next thing I want you to do is to define your ideal customers. Why? Well, my friends, not everyone is your ideal customer. And it's going to feel uncomfortable at the beginning. Maybe you're going to be turning away customers when you’re first getting started in this. Or perhaps you feel it’s irresistible not to take on jobs that you wouldn't normally take up just so people would want to work with you. Many of us have to learn this lesson the hard way. I certainly did. But what you need to do is to design your services and your businesses around helping a specific type of client and focus on helping them.
You can choose to focus on helping an individual worker, entrepreneur, or corporate. There's a lot of different angles here. How we deliver our message is dependent on who our ideal client is because our services simply won't be a good fit for everyone who wants ergonomics help. Some customers just want the lowest prices, or maybe they can't afford to pay a professional rate. Other customers don't mind paying higher rates as long as you provide good service. Some clients just want the job done so they can go on with their lives. They just need something and don't want to waste their time searching for solutions.
Of course, there's profit to be made with all of these customers, but deciding on the kind of service you want to offer is essential. And I can't stress this enough, but targeting the right customers will have a dramatic impact on both your enjoyment and profits. If you’re targeting clients that you actually enjoy working with and they’re willing to pay decent rates for your services, you'll both feel satisfied in the end. You can also get testimonials, case studies and referrals. And that’s how we build a profitable ergonomics consulting business.
The third important aspect you need to do to start a profitable ergonomic business is to set your pricing. And with this, we all know that we need to have a sustainable business. I noticed that some Ergonomics Professionals feel the need to cut their prices to attract their ideal client. However, lowering your rate makes it difficult to manage a profitable business because we're on this treadmill of constantly looking for work just to pay our bills. And this is where I see many people make mistakes: having that frame of mind of lowering their rate just to land a client and get paid rather than focusing on each client, building that relationship, and actually being profitable paying our expenses.
Let's take a step back here and look at the value that our services bring to our clients. From this value perspective, we provide help to clients by keeping employees focused on the task, handling accommodation, stopping expensive workers’ compensation claims, etc. If I were to list all the positive attributes of having an effective ergonomics approach in a company, there would be a lot. Keeping those traits in mind when we're thinking about pricing is essential because we're not offering a commodity here, we're providing a highly skilled service that can positively impact that company’s bottom line. We're not talking about wellness or morale—although those are obviously secondary gains of having a really effective ergonomics approach, we’re talking about profit. To do so, it's going to change how you represent what you do.
The second thing I want to talk about is that we, as Ergonomics Consultants, have to run the numbers of our own business. It can be profitable if we establish this correctly from the get-go. It’s vital to have a good grasp on the financial side of all this, especially when it comes to setting up your rates. Generally, there's two ways Ergonomics Consultants set up the rates: per hour and per job. I recommend that you look at each option to see which one is in line with how you run your business. Personally, I prefer charging per job because I can get efficient on looking at the assessment and writing the reports. But if you're just starting out, you may want to charge per hour.
Deciding how much you want to charge is one of the hardest parts of setting up the business because of our pre-existing limiting beliefs and what money means to us as service providers. You want to include aspects like your experience level, efficiency of your work, the ability to sell your reputation, and your professionalism. However, you also need to understand what you must charge to actually turn a profit. Then, you have to be confident enough to actually charge that much.
The last step is developing a marketing strategy. This means putting our content for our services in front of the audience who are eventually going to invest in our services. And this is where our marketing plan comes into play. As I mentioned in the beginning, if you leave your marketing to the experts, it’ll cost you a lot. Skilled marketers charge a lot of money for them to help you. I think that it's in our best interest to develop this by ourselves, because marketing doesn't stop. The good news is that there's people in your community right now that are looking for ergonomics help. They really are. However, most people providing ergonomics services are doing a poor job at marketing it. I know I may have ruffled a few feathers with that. Of course, not everyone knows how to market. However, getting started with marketing is a very low-hanging fruit. Putting a bit of effort into it will yield big results because not many people are doing this.
The goal in this step is to peel away the layers of the onion to know the best ways to market to your clients, who they are, and learn about their struggles. So if you want to work with those people who are in corporate, or remote workers, or self-employed, or entrepreneurs, make a list of their behaviors, desires, frustrations. Each of their pain points are going to be drastically different. This will help you determine the best ways to find out where they're hanging out, and then deliver our message that's in line with the issues they're experiencing.
Those are the first 4 steps to starting a profitable ergonomics business. Which one of those steps do you think you need to pay more attention to? Which one do you think is going to drive your business forward? I think they all work together and you really can't have one without the other.
If you’re interested to know more about what I discuss in this post, join my program, Accelerate. It will be open for enrollment at the end of March 2021. This is your go-to system to get started with marketing your ergonomics services and get to where you want to be. Sign up to my email list and subscribe to my podcast to be always updated.
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