How we got to this point

After successfully developing at-home techniques for my clients in a one-on-one setting to get them out of my office faster — a four-year process, I came up with the notion I could convey these techniques in a group environment to help people stay out of my office altogether. In 2004 my sole intention was to find a way to help more people than I could just doing it in a one-on-one environment. I didn’t set out to develop a brand or a “method” but that’s what happened, 10 years later.

When I started developing MELT the struggle was finding suitable products to test the techniques and create some baseline to work with. At the time, there were no soft rollers, no tools that I could find that had no latex or toxins that would perhaps be harmful to people. Nor did I know of a U.S. manufacturer to help me obtain such tools.

I managed to get a company to develop a soft roller so at least I could put my idea to the test and work with moves that I just couldn’t do safely on a hard roller for a number of years before really taking the leap to produce my own roller and other treatment tools to my exacting standards at a quality and price point I could accept and the regular Joe could afford.

This is no easy task — especially for someone with no schooling in business. However, I did have two entrepreneurial parents so I’m not surprised that I now, 10 years later, have a thriving business of my own.

A wise man once said, don’t worry about starting a company. If your product is great, the rest falls into place.

I saved all of my money and took all of it, with a leap of faith, utter belief of this pursuit that I could help people, and a deep breath and did the unthinkable. I started a company and ultimately… a brand.

melt class

If you are thinking of operating a business or you have an idea that you could help others live a better life, I hope these tips below make you slow down for a moment and really learn that the first thing you need is a PLAN (and passion for your product or service).

 1.) P - Preparation: You have to build a TEAM to run a business. It is hard, if not impossible, to really grow a business without multiple people helping you out, each person concentrating on a specific area of the business. This is the hardest step because people don’t work for free. Though I’ve managed to keep 100 percent of my business, it took slow growth for nearly eight years to do so. If you want hyper growth and are in a hurry you won’t be able to do this. Only if you really have a strategy and a plan that looks beyond the next three years can you do it this way. My focus was always on a five-year plan. OK, so it took me an extra few years, but today, I can honestly say, the extra time was well worth it!

2.       2.) L – Liability and Protection: If you want to build a brand, protect your assets. Learn about trademarks, patents, defined benefit plans, 401K options, and how to invest your money. I didn’t really take a paycheck until this past year. I put every penny I made back into growing the business. It wasn’t important to me to buy lavish things so it wasn’t hard to live slightly below my means to grow a business. Time well worth the investment.

3.      3.) A – Actions and Projections: Setting goals, both short term (two to three years) and long term (five to 10 years) is a key element in setting your benchmarks so you can evaluate your growth. This was always tough for me. Sometimes I say, “Gee, with how hard I work I feel like I didn’t get anywhere…” and have others that can help me see and understand the growth. I’m so wrapped in the daily minutia sometimes I don’t see just how far I’ve gotten. You have to be willing to work harder initially and then learn how to delegate others who have tenacity, mad skills that are in areas yours are not, and monitor how they are doing. This can only be done by valuing projections and setting deadlines. Then you can see if your goals are being met and if the team you are building can be reliable and grow with you.

Budgets, Finances: You have to have great accountants, a brilliant CFO, and quarterly reviews to really grow a brand. I’m good with my personal finances and came from a family that told me to watch my money always. But knowing how to allocate your finances takes some serious strategy and know-how. If you don’t spend the money, you will pay a LOT of taxes and never get to the place where your ability to have employees is even possible. The government doesn’t make it easy to own or operate a small business and in fact, I think it caters to huge companies.

4.       4.) N - Network Building: This is a key element in my business for sure. It’s the team for my company and the network upon which I am a part of that makes the business grow far beyond my reach. The educators, researchers, team leaders, and everyone in between count! So keep your connections tight and continue to build bridges! I believe competition is good. In fact, competition at all means you are in a good, growing niche! Find your niche and cultivate your network and you will go further faster!

Mind you here, I’m a movement educator trained in neuromuscular intervention and hands-on therapeutic intervention and assessment. So learning to run and operate a business wasn’t close to my second nature.

Because I know how hard it was to learn how to operate a business and get things up and running, in my business model there is a “backend” for my instructors. This element of my website offers additional tools, support, and networking that I think any company should have.

It’s important if you have a method that you are sharing with others by way of training that you give them additional support. Otherwise you get a lot of people who learn from you but once they learn what they learn, they don’t come back to learn any more because they can’t figure out how to market what they have learned. And that’s a really key point in education – to keep learning, pause to think, then stop thinking and take action on your intuition!

What’s been really interesting is that nearly 95 percent of those trained in my method are women. So I really love the fact that I’m helping women of all ages with their own businesses and branding. Though I’d love to find more men wanting to help people stay out of pain and obtain an understanding of mind-body awareness but most seem hung up in the “I’ve got to make pain, sweat, and push people to their limits” mentality to slow down and recognize that we – women that is want them to also live long lives WITH us. If only women realize pro-active education is necessary to live well longer, well, women are going to be taking care of old, sick men when we are 80. Or we will be the last people on the planet in the end.

But I digress from the point of this blog entry. Let’s make a final point here:

If you are thinking about owning or operating a business, don’t be hung up in making a name for yourself or a ton of money. If ego and cash are what drive you, you’ll be bummed to recognize neither grows a successful business in the long run. Remember, make a plan, take action with a sound strategy, and find your team. They are the three biggest elements of any business to grow a solid foundation on. Here’s to growing your brand and business in 2014!

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