Clean Up Your Business – with S.O.A.P!
Is your wellness business messy or clean? We’re not talking about your housekeeping here. It’s about your business and marketing practices. In other words, are your work space and all of your business practices organized and effective? Is your marketing systemized and scheduled? Is your schedule filled with Ideal Clients? Do your clients return for repeat business? Do you leverage your resources for maximum results? Is your income enough to support your business needs and your lifestyle?
If you answered “Yes” to all of these questions, read no further!
But if your business is lacking or struggling in any of these areas, it’s time to clean it up – using SOAP!
One day many years back, while designing a new form for my treatment notes, I realized that the same system I used to assess my clients’ needs could be applied to the health of my struggling new business! You may already know about this process.
Are you familiar with SOAP notes – a method of recording your patient’s condition, treatment and progress? Not only is it a system for documenting client treatments, it’s also a clever way to assess and treat your business needs:
Treat your ailing business like a patient by applying the SOAP method to your business!
Let’s look at this way of documenting patient care, and then we’ll “rinse and repeat” the same process for your business!
SOAP is an acronym – each letter in the title stands for a different part of the process. To start the assessment of your business challenges, get a sheet of paper and horizontally divide it into 4 sections. Write one of these words as a heading on each section: Subjective, Objective, Assessment, Plan – S – O – A – P!
S: Subjective – What the Patient Reports
Starting with the letter S, this section contains subjective information. This is the client/patient’s version of their problem; everything they tell you about their condition – how it started, when it started, how often it happens, what makes it better and worse. It’s their personal – or subjective – view of their situation.
Correlate this with an ailing business. The subjective information represented by the letter S would include problems in the business – everything that is not working well. Visualize your business as a patient and imagine a conversation between you and your business, like your interview with a new patient. What questions would you ask to elicit this information? What would it tell you about its health problems? What are its symptoms? For example: Suppose your problem is not enough income. What improves it: More clients. What aggravates it: Clients don’t return.
As you can see, the SOAP Method is a simple way to get clarity on the challenges and solutions of your wellness practice!
O: Objective – Practitioner’s Findings, Measurable Data
The letter O stands for Objective – all impartial, unbiased information relating to the patient’s condition: all measurable data and rating scales, such as the 0-10 Analog Pain Scale; test results and treatment outcomes. It also includes the practitioner’s objective findings of the patient’s condition, based on commonly-accepted evaluation criteria, such as observation and palpation.
Applying this process to your business, ask your business how much “pain” it feels, using the analog 0-10 Pain Scale. What number is it – how badly does it hurt? If the pain is 0-3, you’re doing most things right – just keep doing what’s working, while exploring new approaches. If the pain is 4-7, change the treatment (try something else) or adjust the dosage (do more of what works and less of what doesn’t). If the pain is 8-10, if you’re thinking about pulling the plug, call the doctor! It’s time for a major intervention!
Make a list of things that improve your practice, what helps it thrive, as well as things that sabotage growth and keep your business in a poor or mediocre state. List all of these objective findings in the O section of your Soap Notes.
A: Assessment: Practitioner’s impressions, response to treatment
The letter A in SOAP represents Assessment. Here a physician would diagnose the patient’s condition, based on the subjective and objective findings – the patient’s complaints integrated with measurable data. Since diagnosis is beyond my scope of practice as a massage therapist, this is where I record my impressions of what is going on with the client, as well as results of the massage – how the client responds to treatment.
The Assessment portion of your business SOAP notes might look like this: Unhealthy Money Mindset of limiting beliefs, low self-esteem, lack of self-confidence and fear of change; weak, painful marketing muscles from repetitive cycles of intense use and benign neglect; loss of financial strength from ineffective marketing; unproductive use of time due to disorganization and overwhelm; vertigo/loss of balance from erratic income; stunted growth due to improper marketing nutrition.
P: Plan: Recommendations for Further Treatment/Follow-Up
P for Plan contains your recommended treatment for the patient’s complaints and problems. This is where a medical doctor would prescribe a medication, order a test, refer to a specialist, or recommend adjunct treatment, like massage or acupuncture.
Ask questions like: “How can I help the patient get from where they are to where they want to be? How can I help this patient – my business – achieve short and long-term goals?”
In treating a client the healing process involves more than a few techniques for an hour or so. You explain that their condition probably developed over time and will take time to reverse. You follow a plan to help them get better over time.
Likewise, growing your practice involves more than a one-time quick fix or occasional shot in the arm! You need a strategic, ongoing process that you repeat on a regularly-scheduled basis – like taking a prescription medication every 4 hours, or massage 2x/week for 4 weeks. For your business, this would be a dose of marketing for 2 hours per day or once a week for 5 hours, for example.
Again, the strategic problem-solving approach to treatment involves the four distinct steps of the SOAP Method: Subjective + Objective + Assessment + Plan = S.O.A.P – a process to help you create a Treatment Plan for your wellness business with strategies that will bring you a steady stream of Ideal Clients and abundant income for the business and lifestyle that you need, want and deserve!