Home Page.Marketing Yourself with Nutrition Software
Compare Articles History Versions Demo PDFs Contact Update Why Buy? Prices Buy On-Line Help More
Search the NutriBase Web Site.
A word from the author:
This article first appeared on this web site in the year 2000. Back then, it contained references to 3.5" diskettes and it explained there was this thing called the "World Wide Web." While things like this tend to date an article, I believed that most of the material presented is as relevant today as it was in 2000. I've updated the article to refer to newer technologies and to include features that were not available 15 years ago - and some that just became available on January 1, 2016.

While this article takes the position that you are a dietitian interested in starting a private practice, its topics can also apply to established businesses that want to grow (very large and very rapidly) and to cooperative groups of dietitians who want to form a business to tackle large enterprise projects. I hope your find aspects of this article useful for your goals. - Ed Prestwood, CEO, CyberSoft Inc.

Marketing Yourself with Nutrition Software
More nutrition and fitness professionals have the option to work in private practice than ever before. Sophisticated high-end nutrition software and the Web are two of the factors making this feasible. Today's modern nutrition software makes it possible for you to handle more clients, service them more quickly, do more for them, and charge them less that ever before. If you aren't using nutrition software, you're wasting your time, charging too much, doing too little for your client, working too hard, and not making as much as you should.

If the idea of working for yourself as a nutrition and/or fitness professional thrills you... If it's something you've been thinking of doing for a long time... If you smile when you think about it, now may be a great time for you to research this option... and a good place to start is here and now.

"America wasn't founded so that we could all be better. America was
founded so we could all be anything we damn well pleased." - P. J. Rourke

The following is a Table of Contents for the various topics in this article. Many of you know more about some of these subjects than I do, so please save time and jump to the topics that interest you.

Pros and Cons
Your Professional Image
Your Office
Getting Ready to Work for Yourself
Your Web Presence
Promoting Yourself
Selecting Software
NutriBase Pro Edition
Habits and Attitudes

Pros and Cons

The first thing you need to consider when you think about going into business for yourself is whether it makes sense for you. Does giving up what you are doing now this make sense for you? Do you have the qualifications? Will it be worth it to you? This may be too radical a change for you to consider now. On the other hand, if you aren't doing anything now, now may be the perfect time to take that step. Also, if you are working as a nutrition or fitness professional now, you may be able to work your own business part time for now. (This makes particularly good sense if you are considering a web-based business.) There are good reasons for and against going into private practice and your final decision depends on your qualifications, your needs, your situation, and your goals. Here are a few things you might want to look at before making a choice:

The Pros
Being your own boss is terrific for some and terrible for others. Here are a few of the positive aspects of being in business for yourself:

Builds Self-Esteem - If you succeed, you did it because of your decisions and your efforts.
Choice - Want a raise? No problem. Don't want to work this Friday? No problem - take the day off!
Commute - Commute? What commute? You can choose to work from home. (This is especially easy to do if you're a web-based company.)
Control - You decide which jobs you will pursue and take... no one will assign you tasks, deadlines, etc.
Flex Hours - You set your own hours.
Flexibility - Exercise greater childcare options. Work in your underwear. Set up your office in your backyard tree house.
Freedom - You're the boss - what do you want to do today?
Limitless income opportunity - Creativity and hard work can reap large rewards.
Lower Overhead - You needed to run that air conditioner or heater anyway, but part of it is now a legitimate business expense.
No Incompetent Boss - That is, unless, you're incompetent.
Quit a job you hate. - Boss driving you crazy? Tell him to take this job and shove it... you ain't working here no more.
Retire When You Want - No golden watch unless you want one.
Satisfaction - It is a deeply satisfying feeling to hold the reins to your own enterprise.
Tax Advantages - Check with your financial advisor to learn what you need to know up to take advantage of every legitimate deduction.
Technology - Today's software can help you do more, do it quicker, and do it better so you can deliver more, deliver it faster, and deliver it better.
You can start part-time. - The beauty of this particular business is that it is very conducive to starting part-time. This is particularly true if you are thinking of starting a web-based nutrition or fitness business.

The Cons
If working for yourself had no down side, everyone would be doing it. Here are some of the negatives related to working self-employed:

Long Hours - You traded your boss for dozens or even hundreds or thousands of bosses.... your clients.
No Regular Salary - Could be feast or famine. But much of this will depend on you.
No Paid Sick Leave - You'll have to spring for your own insurance too.
No Paid Vacations - Take off for as long as you like. Go anywhere you want. Do anything you like. As long as you can afford it.
Paperwork - Not everyone likes paperwork, but as the owner of a small business, the responsibility for getting it done rests with you.
Responsibility - You'll be held responsible for every failure or shortcoming in your business. Customer complaints almost always end up on your desk.
Uncertainty - Successful entrepreneurs are always focused on keeping the money coming in. Fortunately, this is more a matter of smart thinking and hard work than it is a matter of luck.

Since you're still reading, you may be interested in running a private practice. If this is a long-held aspiration, get all the information and tools you'll need to make this a reality. It won't be the easiest thing you've ever done, but it may be the most exciting thing you've undertaken recently.

"Golf without bunkers and hazards would be tame
and monotonous. So would life." - B. C. Forbes

This is a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of working for yourself. If you're still interested, it may be a good time for you to look at some of the things you'll want to have under control before you start. If you're undecided now, you may form a more concrete opinion as you think about the various facets of what lies ahead in running your own business. One area you'll want to have well under control is the image you cast to your associates, competitors, and most importantly... your customers. What we're discussing is - of course - your professional image.

Your Professional Image
Your image is always important, but when you go into business for yourself, your image is a valuable asset that you should nurture and work to improve at all times. Your professional image affects your reputation. Your reputation affects the number of clients you'll be able to attract. The number and the quality of the clients you attract will affect your success as a nutrition and fitness professional.

The image you project on the phone, in your advertising, on your web site, and in your transactions with clients will directly influence the success of your practice. While your practice will always retain your personal touch, there are a few general guidelines and suggestions you can observe to help project a positive and respectable image to your clients and other business associates.

Make a good first impression. Anyone you meet is a potential client. You never know when you're going to gain another clients. So keep your antenna up. Make sure everyone you meet is favorably impressed with you. This means you need to make sure you are personable, helpful, attentive, and concerned about your prospect's needs or problems. Dress for success. Pay attention to your voice. Make sure you get some honest reviews of your web site from several colleagues before you launch your site.

Strive for excellence. Be punctual. Deliver when you say you will. Deliver more than you promised. Charge what you said you'd charge. Don't cut corners on quality. Spell-check everything. Constantly strive to improve your product. Innovate. Look for new ways to do things better and/or faster. Package your products professionally. Use the NutriBase Pro Edition to differentiate yourself with a high-quality product and unsurpassed service. These are the foundation for the growth of a sterling reputation.

Be courteous and professional on the phone. Project confidence, sincerity, honesty, and fairness to all who call. Your voice mail should also project confidence, sincerity, honesty, and fairness. Pay attention to your voice and make sure it is controlled and comfortable. Consider having a professional record your message for you - it makes a better impression if a caller doesn't recognize your voice as the one that also recorded your voice message.

Get a logo or a great photo. A professional logo represents you in the minds of your clients. Use your logo on your web site and in your stationery. If you prefer, get a great photograph of yourself and use that as the tool that you use to advertise yourself. One advantage of a professional logo is that it will look the same twenty years from now.

Set up your stationery. Present a professional image by using professional stationery. Have your business cards, letterhead, envelopes, etc. designed at the same time. Use your logo or photo to help your clients identify with your quality services. You might consider using special paper printed with your logo and other information for use in printing your reports, invoices, statements, etc. Make sure you include contact information on your stationery so your clients can contact you when they need to.

Set your working hours. Indicate your hours of operation on your web site and advertising (for sure) on and on your stationery (maybe). Letting people know when you're "open" makes them far more understanding when they get your voice mail during your non-business hours. Be available during your working hours or have phone coverage when you're in session or otherwise unavailable. You may well have to work more than your posted work hours... there are lots of rules for success, but none of them work unless you do.

Set up your voice mail. Strongly consider using a voice other than your own on your voice mail. The message (and voice) your clients and prospects hear should represent you as professionally as possible. Consider indicating your hours of operation in your message. Returns calls promptly. Leave a different message to indicate extended unavailability such as holidays or vacations.

Set up your advertising. Work with a professional to design a professional "look and feel" for your advertisements. Advertising need not be expensive or lavish. Start out with free or low-cost ads and work your way up as you see them bringing you results. Include your logo or your photo.

Set up your professional web presence. If you're running a nutrition-related business, you should have a web presence. There's really no good excuse anymore. The technologies you need (an image editor and the HTML markup language) are simple. The cost of a hosted site starts at under $10 a month. And consider this: your competitors are working night and day to take your existing customers away. And to make matters even worse, your own customers are actively surfing the Web and looking for these new services. Setting up a Web presence is vitally important.

Most people who are confident enough to go into business for themselves already have a good handle on their image. Make yourself a checklist of initial start up things you must do. Then do them! :-)

Your Office

If you're going into business, you're going to need an office. It doesn't need be elaborate or big, but you will need certain necessities in place before you open for business. Many entrepreneurs start out working from an office in their homes. Working from home can save you money. If you're just starting out, working part time, or just plain broke, this might be the most practical beginning. And even if you don't have to work from the home, it may be your desire to work from home... many small businesspeople see working from home as a major benefit of being their own boss.

"Do what you can with what you have, where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

Set your hours and secure your family's cooperation. A child crying in the background while you are talking to a client says something very negative about your business. Instruct your family to leave you undisturbed during your work hours. Lunch and breaks give you the opportunity to meet briefly with family members. What you want to avoid is people walking in and out as they please while you're trying to concentrate and work productively.

Get a phone line for your business. The last thing you want is for your four-year-old to answer your phone for you. If you have to use a single line, consider getting a distinctive ring to avoid confusion. ("Distinctive ring" is a feature you can get from your phone company for less than the cost of a new line.) A distinctive ring is also a good idea for testing advertising... if that particular line rings, you know where it came from. Whether you use voice mail or not, you must devise a way to have your phones answered professionally when you're away. (One thing that irritates a client more than hearing an answering machine is having your number ring and ring unanswered.)

Situate your office away from noise. Your professional image dissipates rapidly when your customer hears a screaming child or the family dog barking in the background. These nuisances do more than embarrass you - they can cost you business. Do what you can to control the extraneous noises in your household. A door with a lock is a good starting point.

Avoid moving distractions into your office. Radios and televisions might seem like nice perks, but if they have you singing or laughing instead of calling clients, generating reports, or planning your marketing strategy, they'll need to go. On the other hand, if you can play soft instrumentals or other low-distraction music (no Black Sabbath or Twisted Sister), you may be able to create a relaxing work atmosphere and mask some of those household noises you don't want your customers to listen in on. Dogs and screaming children are extremely distracting and unprofessional.

Get a window in your office. Make it one of the perks you bestow on your best worker - you! Work should be as enjoyable as you can make it. Decorate, add plants, waterfalls, pictures, etc. to make your workspace as pleasant as possible. Remove junk. Streamline.

Get a good chair. - Make sure it's comfortable and ergonomic. You may spend a good deal of your day in it, so make sure it's good for you. Arms are nice if they don't keep you away from your desk. A height adjustment is very nice and comes pretty much standard in modern office chairs. Some offer a lever that will let you recline when you need a short break or when you're on the phone and want to relax for a moment.

Get your equipment in order. Everyone's needs will vary, but your equipment needs may include such things as a filing cabinet, desk, work table, shelves, storage cabinet, binding machine (for making notebooks, manuals, and other client handouts), scales, body fat calipers, power strips, etc.

Get your computer(s) in order. If you're going to be doing a lot of work outside the office, a notebook PC may be required. If this is the case, make sure your nutrition analysis software supports the ability to keep your nutrition software information (client information, Recipes, Meals, Meal Plans, etc.) perfectly synchronized across multiple computers. The last thing you want to do is double your work by re-keystroking data to update your desktop PC at the end of each day. This function is best handled with a backup and restore function.

Get wired. If the Web doesn't fit into your business plan or business needs, ask yourself why not? If you're in business, there are very few valid excuses nowadays for not having a web presence. Make your decisions, then make the calls you need to make to get yourself connected.

Make yourself fit... into your office. If you find yourself in cramped quarters, there are a few good tricks you can pull. A multi-purpose device that combines fax, scanner, printer, copier, and phone can save you a lot of space compared to the space required by bringing all of these individual components into you office. This approach is also less expensive. Move things you don't need in your office on a daily basis out to make working space for yourself.

Once your office is in place, you have a place from which to operate. Next, you'll want to get yourself and your materials ready for show time. It's time to get ready to open for business.

Getting Ready to Work for Yourself

Before you hang out your shingle, it's a good idea to be prepared. There's a lot of preparation involved in launching any professional practice. And it's important that you cover as many of the predictable bases as possible before you start. You'll have plenty of things to do "by the seat of your pants" after you open your doors.

"The beginning is the most important part of the work." - Plato

Here are some things you should consider having ready before you talk to your first client:

Prepare a List of Services. Post these on your web site. Don't make your professional services a secret... let everybody know what you can do for them. Consider making a "Services Provided" sheet that you can hand to prospective clients. Include the name of the service, a brief description, the benefit, and how you determine your fees. Position your logo and contact information on the form.

Know the answer to every question your client may ask before they ask. Make sure you know the answers to your client's questions before they are asked and attempt to answer them before they have to ask you. This communicates to the client that you've done this before. It also shows that you're interested in educating the client. Your preparation and confidence help you pass every little test with flying colors. It helps you earn the client's confidence. You wouldn't do business with someone you didn't have faith in and your clients won't either. Take at tip from the Boy Scouts... be prepared.

"The will to win is not nearly as important as the will to prepare to win." - Bobby Knight

Have your credentials and qualifications ready. Some of your potential clients are going to want to be convinced you're qualified to provide the services you're offering. It's normally best to start off explaining to your clients what your qualifications are. Consider a one-page summary of your qualifications that you can hand to the client. Include years of experience, education levels, proficiencies in software and the tools of the trade, seminars, professional memberships and affiliations, etc. Become a NutriBase Certified Coach and hang your certificate next to your other diplomas and awards.

Instill confidence - not caution. Know how long it takes you to perform any of your services. Don't hem and haw in front of a client and guess at how long it will take for you to do any straight-forward task... doing so will make you look like you've never done it before.

"You've got to take the initiative and play your game.
In a decisive set, confidence is the difference." - Chris Evert

Have all your handouts ready and provide them as needed. Having professionally prepared handouts ready let's your client know that you're a well-prepared and organized professional. If she asks you your qualifications, hand her your qualifications sheet. (Make sure you use high quality stationery and include your logo and contact information.) If she asks you what services you provide, hand her a Services Provided sheet. If she asks you how you want her dietary recall formatted, hand her an Intake Diary sheet (your software should be able to print this for you). Do this just a few times and your client will never doubt your readiness again.

Have Client Questionnaires ready in case you need them. Although it is generally desirable to collect client information during an interview and measurement consultation, there may be a time when the client simply doesn't have the time. No problem. Just hand her a professionally prepared Client Questionnaire that collects everything you need. Your software should be able to generate these for you.

Have Intake Diaries ready for your clients. Don't make your clients record their intakes on a napkin. Give them a form that they can simply fill in. This increases the probability that you'll get the information you're looking for. Look for a software package that will generate these for you (and allow you to edit them and save them in case you don't like the format provided).

Have a sample Initial Assessment Report handy. The beauty of a software-created Assessment Report is that it looks like you gave up your evening to produce it.... but in actuality, it takes only two clicks: one to select the client's name and another to generate the report. If your client is hesitant about having you prepare one for her, show her a sample report prepared for a fictitious client. When they see your in-depth multi-page report, they'll want one too.

Have a sample Exercise Calorie Expenditures Report handy. This software-generated report indicates the client's name and body weight at the top. (Actually, at the very top of this report is your logo, your contact information, and possibly your face.) It then shows a chart that shows how many calories your client will burn in performing any of over 80 exercises and activities for 30 minutes. When you tell a client she needs to burn 300 calories a day Monday through Friday, 500 calories on Saturday, and to rest on Sunday, the normal response is "Okay, when do I start?" But immediately afterwards, they ask "What do I have to do to burn 300 calories?" This report shows them eighty-five ways to reach their daily goal. And the variety will help your client stay interested in the program. Variety... spice of life... all that good stuff.

Explain how you work. With local clients, you will probably meet with the client and gather information from her. This could be her body fat measurement, her body weight history for the last two weeks, her intake record for the past three days, her Client Questionnaire, etc. After this first meeting, the client leaves. You will process the information she left for you and prepare a report and perhaps some verbal recommendations. To deliver the report, you may have her return to your office. Explain this to your client so she is clear on how you work. Position this type of professional service as two consultations plus the service performed. This helps the client see that they are getting more from you than just a report.... they also get one-on-one advise and encouragement.

Consider using an "Agreement" (Contract). If your work is going to be long term, consider having an agreement for you and your client to sign. This agreement can set forth the term of your services, pricing, and acknowledgments of expectations for both parties.

Consider setting up to take credit cards. Hitting your client's credit card is far easier than billing them and collecting periodically. Therefore, if your work is going to be performed over several weeks or months, it's a good idea to have an agreement that acknowledges your right to charge the client's credit card for services as they are rendered. Information you will include in our agreement would include the card number, expiration, a description of the fees to be expected, the date the charges will be made, how the agreement can be terminated, etc..If you don't want to accept these types of payments, consider offering an up-front cash discount for, say, six months of your services. In the long run, however, if you intend to grow your business to dealing with hundreds or thousands of clients, the ability to accept credit cards may be critical to your long-term success.

Make sure all of the reports and printouts your clients need are available on your web site. Make it easy for people to do business with you. If your client needs to print a new Intake Diary page, she should be able to go to your web site and simply print one on demand. Consider posting an Adobe PDF (Portable Document File) file for your form - that way, your client will print exactly what you would print for them. (Using a PDF file requires the user to have the free Acrobat reader, but it is a free download from Adobe.com.) If she wants to save money by submitting her Assessment Report information on-line, she should be able to surf your site and do it. Doing an assessment report on-line saves both of you and your client time... you may consider offering a discount for work submitted on-line. Your time is valuable enough to not spend it asking questions and writing down answers. And besides, this gives your clients additional reasons for visiting your web site.

One of the biggest growth areas for nutrition and fitness professionals is a professional presence on the Web. And for many, it's the perfect way to start a home-based business. The expenses are relatively low. You can project as large an image as you are capable of. You are advertising 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And you have the opportunity to form associations (links) with thousands of other web-based companies. These are but a few of the reasons you should consider a web presence.

Your Web Presence

The Web is a great place to work. No one has seen the limits of what you can do here. You can reach customers that you never could have reached in any other way. The world may not be your oyster yet, but the Web can bring you one step closer. If you're in business, there's really no good excuse for not having a Web presence. It just takes a simple text editor and an account. (This entire web site was written from the ground up with a great little text editor called EditPad that cost a total of one postcard to the author (www.jgsoft.com). Here are some suggestions for setting up your web presence:

When you set up your web site, do it professionally. You're better off to not put up a web site if it's going to make you look like you don't know what you're doing. If your site looks stupid, your visitors will assume you are stupid too. You can run your web site on your computer and tweak it until it is looking very good. Then upload it to your server (most likely to a company who will host your site for you).

Rule number one about your web presence is: If you're going to do it, do it right. Doing it wrong will harm you more than help you.

Obtain a domain name. A domain name allows you to use a web address like "www.superduperdietitian.com" instead of "www.networkhost.com/nutrition/superduperdietitian/index.htm." Yes, it's a long web address, but all the short ones seem to have been taken. The easier your web address is to remember, the better.

Be logical. If you're providing services over the Internet, make sure you implement them smoothly and logically. If you confuse the surfer, they'll disappear faster than you can say "Click on this here button for a lengthy explanation of what I think you should have done."

Use navigation aids. These aids are images (like Buttons or Bars) or words placed on every page for the convenience of the surfer. These navigation aids make it easier for anyone on your web site to jump immediately to other pages on your web site. Implemented properly, navigation aids make finding information easy and yes... even fun. An even more important reason for putting navigation links on every page is that sooner or later, the search engines will analyze your site. You could have a link on every major search engine pointing to a very popular page on your web site that concerns, say, weight loss. And if you have no navigation links on that page, your visitors will have no way to see the other pages on your web site! Oh no! This is a simple and guaranteed way to lose business.

Provide useful information. This is the component that makes you different from the hundreds of other web sites that your competitors are going to construct. Make it bigger, or better, or funnier, or flashier. Graft your own personality into it. Make if worth visiting and surfing.

Select your niche. If you want to be everything to everyone, you may have bitten off more than you can chew. If this is your goal, you'll throw yourself into the thrust and cut of competition with some of the biggest and best-funded nutrition-related organizations on the Web. A better bet might be to specialize in a specific area or to tackle each new area one-at-a-time and build. If you focus on things your customers want, you should be able to deliver a class act.

Avoid "Me Too Syndrome." Whether you choose to specialize or not, make sure you're offering something that isn't exactly like the stuff your visitors can get from a thousand other web sites. If the nature of what you're offering is in large part redundant by its very nature, package it differently. Package it better. Make it easier to access. Make it more objective. Bring in other experts. Include photographs and other images. Make your site a joy to visit.

Provide incentives for visitors to return to your site. Calculators (BMI, "desirable" weight, training heart rate, etc.) can add interest to your web site. Other incentives may include your presentation of a Recipe-of-the-day (or week), a Recipe makeover section, or dieting tip of the day. Nutrition software may be helpful on these topics. You can also write articles regarding nutrition, promote contests, and provide links to other sites of interest to your visitors (be careful with this one). If you're going to post a Recipe every other day, consider publishing the collection as a book when it reaches critical mass. (If you're going to do all this work anyway, why not use it every way you can?)

Provide contact information. A potential customer may be two questions away from doing business with you. But if she can't contact you, she'll remain, unfortunately... two questions away from doing business with you. Don't make visitors work too hard to contact you. Do everything you can to make it easy for them to talk to you. Have an email link on your site - they should be able to just click on your email icon to send you a message. And when they do, their email client should open with it's address line already addressed to you. You can even determine the subject line of each email depending on which page it comes from if you like.

Be able to collect required information. Almost always, your "deliverable" is some sort of report. But to prepare the report, you must obtain some information from the client. Determine how this is going to be accomplished and implement it on your web site. Paying for a phone call may be convenient, but it will be expensive (unless you're able to close a sale with every call). Using email will work, but you may have to go back and forth a few times to get everything straight. Using a web-based form will work well if you configure it to email you the results of questionnaires that you post on your site.

Be able to accept credit cards. If you're going to do business on the Web, you're going to have to be able to accept your customer's credit card. Checks and money orders are okay, but they are very, very, slow. An out-of-town check can take a few days to get to you and then take a week or more to clear the bank. Most clients are going to want their reports delivered to them within 24 hours if not sooner. If you already have a merchant account and can accept credit cards, you can make a simple form on a secure page on your server to store the credit card information. But the easiest way to get this going quickly may be to find a web host who provides these services and takes a percentage of each transaction.

Provide free Assessment Reports in exchange for personal information. Offer to provide a seven-page Assessment Report to visitors who fill out your Assessment Questionnaire. Your questionnaire will collect contact information (name, email, phone, address, etc.) and log-on information (age, gender, height, weight, etc.). Your nutrition software should read this information, then add the contact information to its client contact manager, then log the visitor onto your nutrition software package as a new user. From here, it should be a matter of clicking on the client's name, then clicking on a button to produce a multi-page Assessment Report. Your software should let you create a customized "template" that controls the content and layout of your Assessment report. And you should be able to deliver this report back to the visitor as a text file (in the body of an email, perhaps), as a word processor document (as an attachment to an email), or as a web page (that you can post on your web site for say, 48 hours). If you get your customer from the Web, you should be able to deliver it to her via the Web. With a 100 hits a day, that's 700 hits a week, 3,000 hits a month...

Offer an email newsletter. As you collect names and email addresses, you will build a pool of possible customers on which you can target your marketing efforts. If you used the Assessment Report approach to gathering prospect, you can target them with extreme precision because you know whether the client is a runner, a bodybuilder, or a five foot tall person who weighs 418 pounds. Each of these prospects should get a different newsletter form you. Tailor your messages to your diverse audience. Use the email newsletter to generate interest, then provide links back to your web site to finish each article. This keeps your emails small and encourages traffic to your web site. And while they're there, hit 'em with something new.

Choose a "web-friendly" nutrition software package. Since most of your work will be processed through a high-end nutrition software package, make sure your software will integrate smoothly with your on-line efforts. Make certain you select a nutrition software package that will output any report into text (for email delivery), as a word processor file (for delivery as an email attachment), or as a web page (for posting directly to your web site). Some nutrition packages can produce very fancy (but rigidly formatted) reports that are pretty, but unsuitable for electronic transmission via email or as a new page on your web site.

Sign up to receive free email newsletters. Get on-line and subscribe to your choice of a multitude of free email newsletters. You can get free newsletters that give you advise on marketing your web site, improve your search engine positioning, increase traffic, improve the appearance and functionality of your web site, etc. You can sign up for newsletters that give you nutritional advise, tell you how to lose weight, how to eat better, or how cope with diabetes, hypertension, or any other ailment you can conceive of. When you sign up, use a unique email address like "news@mycomany.com." Then set a filter on your email client to put all such email into a mailbox called "newsletters." This keeps all your newsletter in one place for you to look at when time allows. Get newsletters from your competitors to see what they are doing to market themselves. Emulate the best of the best. It isn't difficult to locate newsletters. Go to a search engine (like Google ). Type in something like "free newsletter." Hit search. Then get ready to search through 1.5 million hits. (Actually, you're be better off to conduct multiple searches on more narrowly focused topics like "free hypertension newsletter.") There's a lot of information and ideas out there if you have the time to sift through it.

Learning to work the Web is an ongoing, seat-of-the-pants experience. But it's a whole lot of fun and it has a way of keeping you excited. You'll constantly see new ways to improve or add on to your site. Every time you surf the web, you'll see ideas you may want to incorporate in your own site. You will get ideas for things you'll want to do. The Web is a wonderful way to promote your business, but it's certainly not the only way to promote your business.

Promoting Yourself

Let your imagination be your limit to the number of ways you promote your business. This list is just a starter to get you thinking. Improve on these ideas. Embellish them. Use them in completely different ways. Use the same idea in different venues. Be creative and have a lot of fun!

Ads - Smart, well-placed advertising works. But be judicious. Test your advertising in less expensive or free locations first. If they pull for you, continue them. It makes sense to support any advertising that brings you a profit. Offer to trade your professional services in exchange for advertising. Use your web site as your billboard... but don't get carried away. Building confidence will build your customer base. Hype and hyperbole makes you look desperate.

Affiliations - Join professional and special interest groups and get known. If you offer services for people with diabetes, attend the monthly meetings for users of infusion pumps. Offer to speak at no charge. Experts are in constant demand. Offer professional services (lectures, reports, assessments, etc.) in exchange for links, the right to leave business cards, to post ads, etc.

Articles - Write articles for your local newspapers. Write for newsletters. Write for company newspapers. Write for magazines. Build your credibility. The more you're published, the more credible you appear. If people start remembering your name, you know you're efforts are paying off. A lot of publications may not pay you, but my offer some compensation in the form of advertising.

Bulletin Boards - Usually free, but you may be able to negotiate better placement or a larger space by offering reports, analyses, Recipe analysis, assessments, lectures, etc.

Business Cards - Get a logo. Cast your image. Put in on everything your fliers, along with contact information. Stick in on your web site.

Cold Calls - Calling strangers is tough but doable for all of us. Sometimes the best way to find work is to ask for it. Look for opportunities to speak. You may be able to offer a 20-minute talk on an appropriate topic to get your foot in the door. Once you've done the prospect a favor, he should be open to hearing you out.

"The sign on the Door of Opportunity says 'Push'."

Email Newsletters - If you've provided an assessment report to your visitors, you know everything you need to know to target your email newsletter squarely on their interests and needs. Write a compelling title and first paragraph for a topic of interest, then place a link they can click to read the rest of the article (on your web site). Once you have your reader on your web site, you have the opportunity to offer your professional services. Make sure your navigation bars (which should adorn your every web page) beacon the visitor.

Fliers - Fliers are inexpensive one-page ads that you can use in a wide variety of ways. Take them to your speaking engagements. Hand them to your clients. Mail them to your clients and prospects. Post them on bulletin boards. Leave them on counters in selected locations (with permission, of course). And never, ever, forget to include your logo and your contact information. A picture wouldn't hurt either - some people remember faces much better than names.

Networking - Join your chamber of commerce and every other professional organization related to your profession. Meet people. Learn what they want. Offer to scratch their backs if they'll scratch yours. People you meet this way can offer referrals. They can tell you about opportunities that they can't capitalize on themselves but maybe you can. The more people you know, the more likely you will succeed... you can never have too many friends. And of course, remember to return the favors with referrals you can't capitalize on yourself.

"Don't make friends who are comfortable to be with.
Make friends who will force you to lever yourself up." - Thomas J. Watson, Sr.

Newsletter - If you don't work the Web, you can publish your newsletter in paper form. It's more expensive and requires more work, but people will often tell you they prefer a hard copy newsletter to an electronic one. Use your logo. Include your contact information. Consider adding your picture as the editor. Build credibility. Let people know who you are.

Professional Portfolio - For most clients, seeing is believing. Begin building your professional portfolio. Nothing will help you sell yourself and your services to clients better than a professional presentation of the work you've done for other clients (or created for a fictitious client). A very good place to start is to use your nutrition software to create every report it is capable of. Save the report in word processor format (if your software is capable of such a thing). Pull it into a desktop publishing package to add embellishments, color, and photographic images. Print them on high-quality stationery and preserve them for all your future clients to look at.

Promotions and Specials - Once you have a large body of prospects (old customers, people who've taken free assessment reports from you, the mailing list from the diabetes support group, etc.), send them special offers for new or additional services. Everyone likes a bargain. If you find you can do something quickly with your software that gives the impression that you spent a long time with it, offer it at a "deep discount." Once you've done something for a client, doing additional work is easier to do. You don't go to a different barber every time you need a trim... you go to the one you're comfortable with.

Press Announcements - If you introduce a new service or product, announce it! Create a section on your web site for your press announcements. These announcements give you the opportunity to look like a pro. Local newspapers will often run announcements of interest to the community they serve.

Referrals - As you network with other professionals, look for opportunities to exchange referrals. Set a goal to get acquainted with a new professional every week. That's 50 new opportunities for referrals a year. Improve your odds by going out and meeting new people. You'll never know when or where that great lead or suggestion or referral will come from, but knowing hundreds of people will vastly improve your odds. Make sure you find creative ways to stay in contact with these people. If you manage to stay fresh in their minds, they'll remember you when they learn of someone who should talk to someone like you.

Speaking Engagements - You're an expert on certain topics. The people you will speak to won't be. Meet the right people and offer to speak to their members at no charge. A 30-minute talk about sports nutrition the local high school's cross country team could result in your providing Meal Planning and counseling for several of the athletes. A 20-minute talk about using nutrition to help combat hypertension at a support group could result in private counseling sessions with a good percentage of the listeners. Look for opportunities to speak. Build your repertoire of talks. Hand out information sheets (With your logo, your contact information, and your face printed on them.) Offer your services to every athletic team, to every special needs group, to every health club, etc. Doing so will improve your speaking abilities, improve your talks (as you add the humor, insight, and wit your audience injects into each new presentation), and build your reputation. Who knows? You might even be able to charge for your talks one day. But for now, use them to open doors and to let listeners know that you're there to help them. And don't forget your business cards, fliers, and handouts (all of which contain your name and contact information).

All these methods can be used to help you generate business. And once you get the clients in, you need to provide them with your professional services. In most cases, this takes the form of some sort of a report.


Nutrition software packages for dietitians offer a variety of reports that you can generate and make available to your clients. If you're going to deliver these reports electronically (as would be the case via the Internet), make sure your software will allow you to save your reports in text, word processor, or web page formats.

Power and Flexibility. Formatted Reports should be professional, include graphics, and offer a high degree of customizability. The software should allow you to control a wide variety of parameters, such as borders, dividers, charts, colors, shading, which nutrients are included in the report, and permit control over the actual components of the reports such as bylines, credentials, contact information, comments and recommendations, etc.

Headers. One thing you should insist on from your nutrition software package is the ability to automatically add a logo, contact information, and even a picture of yourself, if desired, at the top of every report you generate. This type of information is called a "header" and as strange as it may sound, not every nutrition software package provides this capability.

Here's an overview of some of the documents and reports you can generate, edit, save, print, transmit, post, or simply hand to your clients:

Nutrition Facts Label - This is a US Nutrition Facts Label. NutriBase provides this support in the NutriBase Pro+ Edition. Competing products require you to purchase either an additional "module" (i.e., Nutritionist Pro by Axxya Systems) or a different and far more expensive product (i.e., Genesis R&D by Esha) to produce publication quality labels.

Nutrition Facts Table - This is a Canadian Nutrition Facts Table. It should support English labels, French labels, English and French labels,and French and English labels. NutriBase provides this support in the NutriBase Pro Edition. Competing products require you to purchase either an additional "module" (i.e., Nutritionist Pro by Axxya Systems) or a different and more expensive product (i.e., Genesis R&D by Esha) to produce publication quality labels.

Forms - Some nutrition software packages allow you to print documents for your clients to complete and return to you. You should be able to edit these forms as desired to meet your particular requirements. They include:

Client Questionnaire - This form contains all the questions you need answered to log the client on to your nutrition software package. Look for the ability to edit your questionnaire in case you want to collect additional information. You should be able to simply click a button to print a new Client Questionnaire whenever you wish.

Intake Diary - This form allows your client to record a day's Food Log. As with the Client Questionnaire, you should be able to edit this form to satisfy your requirements. Clicking a button will print a new Intake Diary for you on demand.

Documents you can generate, edit, save, and/or print for your clients - You can never have too many handouts for your clients. Have a few of each document handy at all times keeps you prepared at all times. Imagine the impact when your client asks you what a good substitute for oil in a cake Recipe and you hand her a list of Food Substitutions that tell her about a large number of common substitutions. Handing her a handout like this shows you're good at what you do, that you do it thoroughly, and that you're prepared for any question. And make sure your logo and contact information appears in the header of that report.

Food Substitution Lists - This document, which you should be able to print from your software, provides healthier food substitutions for use in your client's Recipes and normal daily intakes. Look for the ability to edit this list as needed.

Measurement Conversion Charts - A handy printout that summarizes common conversions - metric and English - for your client.

Food Claim Terminology Overview - A document that explains the actual meaning of food label terms like "low fat," "light." and "good source." As with all forms, you should be able to edit this document to account for additions and changes.

"Ideal" Body Weight and Fat Charts - These documents - for men and women - can be printed and used as handouts for your clients to use in determining how they fare compared to the body weight and body fat percentages published by several different sources.

Motivational Quotations for Dieters - Tips like "Cut out those intimate little dinners for two unless there's someone with you." or "Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow you diet." can be printed standalone or inserted into some or all of your reports to make them more interesting and helpful to your client. You should be able to choose from hundreds of these quotations and have the ability to add to your master list if you wish.

Dieting Tips - Give your weight loss clients a different "Dieting Tips Sheet" with each visit. Hundreds of tips are available and include such things as "If, during the course of your Meal, you should find that you're no longer hungry, put your fork on the table and stop putting food into your mouth." You should be able to cut and paste these dieting tips into any report or document you produce for your client.

Toll Free Numbers for Food Makers - Does your client want to contact a food manufacturer for nutrient information, store locations, or for any other reason? Then print her a listing of several hundred food makers and their toll free phone numbers. Your name and contact information at the top of this handout remind her of your kindness.

Glossary of Foods - Need to explain a cooking term or food term to a client? Just print any of over 1,000 terms for her. If you prefer, just pick the definition you want and paste it into a report you have prepared for her. A glossary of foods and cooking terms is included on this web site.

Target Heart Rate Training - Are you going to put your client on an aerobic program? Print this document to provide a good understanding of what she's getting into and why. Of course, you may edit this essay to include additional information if you wish.

Daily Values - This brief article can be printed to explain the concept of Daily Values to your clients.

Reports you can produce for your clients - These are some of the types of reports you can produce with your nutrition software package. By listening to your client and by evaluating her needs, you can produce a package of forms, documents, and reports that thoroughly meet her ongoing and changing needs. (And that's what she hired you for in the first place, isn't it?)

Basic Intake Analysis Report - This type of report provides an overview of the basic nutrients in a client's intake. It is "quick and dirty" and can be produced on the spot as needed. Your software should be capable of producing extremely detailed in-depth reports too.

Basic Recipe Report - This report provides a quick overview of the basic nutrients in a Recipe. You should be able to save this Recipe report in text, RTF, or HTML (web page) format. The HTML format makes it convenient to support a "Recipe of the Day" column on your web page. And of course, your software should be capable of producing far more detailed in-depth reports too... in fact you should be able to generate Recipe reports in which you can select the nutrients analyzed and obtain numbers for the entire Recipe, a single serving of the Recipe, and for every ingredient in the Recipe if desired. Body Chemistry Report - A Body Chemistry report provides information regarding your client's body chemistry information (white blood cell count, uric acid, etc.)

Calorie Expenditures Report - This report shows how many calories a selected client will expend in performing any of several dozen exercises for 30 minutes. The calorie expenditures are based on the client's body weight. Use this report to help clients determine what they need to do to burn the calories you prescribe to them. A list of over 80 activities provides variety and entertainment compared to having them do the same thing over and over every day.

Client-Specific Information Report - This type of report provides a custom document containing personal information, nutrient and exercise goals, estimated calorie requirements, etc. It shows the client where she is now.

Compact Recipe Report - This type of report provides a quick "Recipe card" report that omits the nutrient overview. This compact report is suitable for use in the preparation phase of your Recipes.

Custom Initial Assessment Report - Your software should be able to produce a custom, multi-page Initial Assessment Report for you.... instantly. You can customize your final report by editing a "template file" for the desired report. This template uses "macros" (a fancy name for "placeholders") in place of the client-related variables you want to include in your final report. The results give the impression that you spent hours in creating a custom report for that client.

Exercise History Report - This report shows what activities she's engaged in and how many calories she's expended on a day-by-day basis.

Frequent Activity List Report - This report provides a listing of frequently performed (popular) exercises your client can choose from. Their associated data (like the activity's "calorie per pound per hour" factor) is included.

Infrequent Exercise Report - This report provides a listing of infrequently performed exercises your client can choose from. Their associated data (like the activity's "calorie per pound per hour" factor) is included.

Intake Report - An intake report provides a nutrient analysis for a client's intake and includes basic nutrient information for the entire day's intake, plus every individual Meal and snack. Look for the ability to select days by cherry picking them from a calendar or by selecting a range of dates. Look for total control over which nutrients you analyze, which Meals, snacks, or totals you to include, and which factors, percentages, averages, etc. you what to analyze for.

Meal Plan Summary Report - This report provides a "road map" for your clients to follow by organizing every food item they will eat by Meal and snack, then by day, for up to four weeks. Look for the ability to insert page breaks between days and the ability to use a checklist format that permits the client to mark off the foods as they are eaten.

Measurements Report - This type of report provides information regarding your client's measurements (waist, blood pressure, resting heart rate, bicep, etc.).

Miscellaneous Information Report - This type of report provides information regarding your client's miscellaneous information (alcohol, cigarettes, ovulation, periods, etc.).

Personal Food Item Listing - This report provides a simple listing of all the food items you have added to the nutrient database.

Personal Food Item Report - This report provides a nutrient analysis of the selected new food item that you've added to the database.

Recipe Nutrient Report - This report provides a nutrient analysis for the selected Recipe.

Recipe Listing Report - This is a simple listing of the Recipes you have at your disposal.

Single Food Item Report - This type of report gives you a complete nutrient profile for any food item in the nutrient database.

Weight History Report - This provides you with a formatted weight and body history report for your client. A graphical presentation is also desirable.

Analysis Reports- Your software should be able to produce virtually any type of customized report you may want to produce for your clients. Modern, customized analysis reports at a minimum should let you determine:

  1. The report format (word processor or spreadsheet)...
  2. which nutrients you want to analyze...
  3. which Meals and/or snacks you want to analyze...
  4. which goals you wish to compare nutrient intakes to....
  5. which percentages and/or averages you want to have calculated...
  6. which dates the report will cover...
  7. which totals you want to have calculated (entire Recipe, single serving, every ingredient, etc.)

The following are samples of the type of reporting capabilities you should expect with today's nutrition software:

  1. The ability to generate a report that is a single page or hundreds of pages in length.
  2. Able to analyze intakes, Recipes, exercise, Meals, and Meal Plans.
  3. Able to analyze intakes for individuals or for groups of individuals. You should be able to analyze and produce reports for clients or for client groups or for client groups and all the individual clients within the client group.
  4. Able to produce reports formatted for word processors, spreadsheets, or databases.
  5. Able to analyze nutrient intakes (daily intake, total intake, average daily intake, intake for every food item).
  6. Able to analyze caloric intake ratios (daily, weekly, monthly, total).
  7. Able to analyze percent of nutrient goals (daily, weekly, monthly, total).
  8. Able to analyze any combination or number of nutrients supported your software.
  9. Able to analyze for any number or combination of variables.
  10. Able to analyze any number of combination of Meals (All Foods, All Foods plus each individual Meal and snack, All Foods plus selected Meals and snacks, or just selected Meal and snacks).
  11. Able to analyze any dates (by cherry picking dates or by selecting a range of dates).
  12. Able to include any number or combination of client information factors (which the software is smart enough to offer depending on the type of analysis you selected to perform).
  13. Able to produce analysis reports containing any logical combination of the items listed above.

Report Types Reports come in two basic types and it's important you understand the differences. One type of report is very fancy to look at but inflexible in its format. The other type is very flexible in it's construction but isn't as fancy. One is also the clear choice for electronic delivery... very important if you want to deliver your reports to your clients via email, as an email attachment, or as a web page.

Report Generator Reports - These reports are precisely laid out. Each report is planned out well in advance and the appropriate data appears where the designer originally specified. These types of reports often have borders, columns, and boxes within the report. Fonts and point sized are pre-selected. Shadows may be used around selected boxes. These report generator reports are often nice to look at. But they have a major drawback... what you see is what you get. They are almost impossible to edit. Sometimes, you have the option to tweak reports by tweaking the template files that create the reports, but this is often excruciatingly complicated to do. Report generators are used to produce strictly formatted reports like Nutrition Facts Labels. They are nice for handing to clients in hard copy form.

Word Processor reports - Reports generated in word processing format are often not as pretty - they normally lack borders, boxes, drop shadows, and some of the other formatting features you can get with report generator-style reports - but they compensate by being more flexible. You can select which nutrients will be included in the report, which Meals are included, which days you wish to analyze, etc. You can specify all the components of the report before having the software generate the report. Look for the ability to save these reports as a text file (handy for inclusion in an email to a client), a rich text formatted file (which can be opened with any word processor), or as a web page (for posting information to your web site). The ability to save a report in RTF format means you can save it, then open it any time later with a commercial word processor like Microsoft Word.

Other Software Features that will Help You Serve Your Clients

Backup and Restore - If your software is available in consumer versions, and if you can export and import Meal Plans, Recipes, etc. between these versions, you can provide your clients with a customized Meal Plan to import, copy as an intake, and then follow electronically in their own software package. After following your four-week Meal Plan for say three weeks, they can select File | Backup to backup their data to a 3.5" diskette and bring the diskette to you for deep nutrient analysis with your professional level software.

Client Contact Manager - If your software supports a client database, you can record contact information (address, phone, email, fax, etc.) for each of your clients. Use the resulting database to create a mailing list for sending targeted newsletters, monthly specials, etc. Since you know your client's situation, you can target your mailings to suite their interests. For instance, you would send your 5 foot tall, 400 lb. client a vastly different newsletter than your client whose primary objective is peak athletic performance. By the way, email newsletters are much more economical to deliver compared to professionally prepared hard copy newsletters.

Meal Plans - After you create a basic Meal Plan, edit them to suit your client's needs. Meal Plans lay out a specific, Meal-by-Meal course of action for your clients.

Meal Plans tell your client exactly what to eat for every Meal and very snack for every day for up to four weeks. It's a good idea to review your Meal Plan recommendation with your client and tweak it as needed. Getting your client's endorsement for the plan will greatly increase her commitment to the plan that the two of you created.

Your software should be able to generate a Meal Plan Summary that you can print and give to your clients. A Meal Plan Summary should contain a day-by-day report that tells the client what to eat and when.

The software should provide a page break option (after each page) so you can produce a Meal Plan Summary suitable for posting (one day at a time) to the bulletin board in an institution. A page break after each page also makes it easier for your clients to carry one day of their Meal Plan with them as they go through their day.

Use the checklist format option, if available, so that the client can check off the foods as she eats them. The software should also offer to provide a comment field if desired so that your client can note any deviations from the foods or servings sizes you've recommended in the Meal Plan. At the end of some agreed-upon period of time (three weeks, perhaps), the client can return her annotated Meal Plan Summary sheets to you. Tracking and reporting to you encourages your client to be accountable for her intake.

Record the Meal Plan (in the software) to the client's intake on the day she started the custom Meal Plan. This ability saves you literally Edit the days that she reported deviating from the agreed-upon plan (on her hard copy of the Meal Plan). The analysis of this intake, plus the client's results (weight loss or gain, body fat change, inches lost or gained) and her comments ("I almost starved to death," or "You gave me too much to eat") will help you fine tune the next four week's Meal Plan for her.

Rankings - This function lets you make recommendations to your clients. For instance, you might want to know which fruit is contains the most Potassium. Or which breakfast cereal contains the most Total Dietary Fiber?

Queries - Use this function to answer client questions like: "Which of the five restaurants in my neighborhood serve foods with no more than 500 mg of Sodium, at least 2 grams of dietary fiber, and no more than 2.5 grams of Saturated Fat per serving?" Or "What is the world's richest food source of Potassium?"

Recipes - It's a good idea to print Recipe reports for every Recipe you include in your Meal Plan. You should be able to select the depth of information you wish to include.

Documents - Your software should provide a wide range of editable and printable documents that your clients will likely find useful. They can include: Motivational Quotations, Food Substitutions, Food Glossaries, Dieting and Nutrition Tips, an explanation of Food Claim Terminology ("low fat," "low sodium," etc.), and a number of other nutrition-related documents. If you edit these and wish to save them, use the Save As Button. You should be able to save your reports and documents in text format, word processor format, or as a web page.

Compare Intakes to the DRI - Depending on where you work, what you believe, and what your client wants, your software should be able to compare your client's intake to the appropriate DRI. These reports can be printed in text form (indicating the actual amount, the nutrient goal amount, and the percentage of goal number) or in graphical form. You should be able to edit the nutrient goals in the DRI's if desired.

Compare Intakes to 1/3, 2/3, or full DRI - This is handy if you're client is a Meals on Wheels or if you're only analyzing a single Meal for your client.

All of these are reports that you can use to service your clients. The more of these your software package will help you produce, the better. Use these reports - individually and in combination - to provide a wide range of services for your clients. Emailing them on a regular schedule gives you the opportunity to maintain your contact and your relationship.


It's difficult to run a nutrition and/or fitness business without providing services. Here is a rundown of many of the types of services you can make available for your clients. The actual mix of services you end up providing for your clients will depend largely on the customers you attract. An athlete has different nutrition and fitness goals from that person who needs to lose 50 pounds to save their life. Here are a few of the types of services you can target.

Weight loss. Two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese and this ratio is increasing every year. This condition is the cause of a multitude of health woes. Fix the weight and you can often fix the woe. The NutriBase Pro Edition addresses this issue by letting you look over your clients' shoulders 24/7 no matter where on earth they happen to be.

People with diabetes. Diabetes has reached epidemic proportions. The NutriBase Pro Edition addresses this issue by providing tools to help people with diabetes manage their condition. This includes tracking their medications taken with Meals and editing them later to get the medications "dialed in" after the software reminds them to check their BG level two hours after the Meal. This allows your clients to create a library of Meals and the appropriate amount of medication for their personal make ups.

Food labels. Create food labels for restaurants and food makers. NutriBase will help you create U.S. food labels and for Canadian food labels (in French, English, or both). The previous version of NutriBase was $800 (twice the price of the current new version). The current version offers the features of the previous edition (include food label support) plus access to the nutrient information for an additional 550,000+ foods, support for UPC Bar Codes, and the ability to monitor your clients though their smartphones in real time. And we cut the price in half. There is no greater value in nutrition software on the market.

Bodybuilders. Many of these athletes compete in weight classes - they are inspired to be as strong and light as possible. They need your help. Contact school athletic departments, health clubs, and other training facilities and offer free 30-minute presentation of nutrition for strength and body weight control. These athletes are very serious about nutrition. Be prepared to handle the questions you can predict will be asked. Don't attempt to provide details... give the big picture and stress the importance of getting professional counseling tailored to the athlete's specific needs.

Catering Services, Company Cafeterias, Restaurants. Analyze Recipes and Meals. Create menus with nutrition information printed on it to help catering clients make selections. Help these companies improve their Recipes or create a "Light Line" for their customers by providing composition analyses for their existing Recipes. Suggest substitutions and other modifications. If you're capable of producing a sample week's Meal Plan in color with graphics, do it. :Let the client imagine a similar Meal Plan she can use in her catering service or cafeteria.

Cyclists. Reach cyclists through cycling clubs, bicycle stores, and cycling events. Offer each cycling club a free 30-minute lecture on nutrition for endurance at their regular meeting. Make friends, offer your services, hand out your cards, pass out fliers, build your business. Consider making a flier with cycling graphics and bullets for aspects of their sport that you can have a positive impact on.

Outdoor Sports. Contact outdoors clubs and provide free 30-minute lecture, then offer your services, hand out information, network. Create a special handout using graphics representing the major interests of the group you're addressing. Include pertinent "big picture" nutrition and fitness information - enough to persuade prospects that you can help them with their specialized dietary and fitness needs.

Health Clubs. Meet the owner and offer a free six-page Initial Assessment Reports and an Exercise Calorie Expenditure Reports to every new member. This gives the health club owner a professional eight-page evaluation report delivered with a free consult by a dietary professional - and it cost her or him nothing. It gives you the opportunity to get acquainted with each and every club member. You can offer customized weight loss, endurance, and body building Meal Plans and counseling. Do body fat analyses. Hanging around the health club (or better yet, giving a free presentation to the personnel) give you the chance to meet the personal trainers, massage therapists, and other employees. This type of PR helps to make you the person that all of these people will refer nutrition related questions to. Be available. Be willing to provide trainers with your Client Questionnaires and/or Intake Diaries (your software should be able to print both of these for you). Then collect them, generate the reports, and deliver them back to the trainers. (Some trainers prefer to maintain control and share the fee with you.) This may be okay, since you can then focus on preparing the report and not worry about making a presentation to the client. Besides, if you're doing this for 20 trainers, chances are you'll be happy with the situation.

Health Clubs. With the NutriBase Pro Edition, you can handle the needs of an entire health club using your software to monitor your clients 24/7 via their smartphones.

Health Food Stores. Create Recipes and Meal Plans that incorporate the store's sale items. Provide them in exchange for access to customers. Conduct a tour of the store's shelves for customers. Set up an information booth. Create and distribute pamphlets or fliers that supply information about the owner's products and compare them, perhaps to more commonly eaten foods. Take credit on the fliers and include contact information. Promote your practice. Network with these health food store owners - they know a lot of people you'd probably like to meet.

Hospitals. Your skills can bring you part time or even full time work with hospitals. Services include health education for patients and staff. Support cardiac and diabetes rehabilitation work. Develop Recipes and Meal Plans for patients and the food service department. Use your nutrition software to generate Meal Plans for a wide variety of special needs. Generate handouts on enteral and parenteral products (should be able to get this from your nutrition software). In addition to providing general guidelines, you can hand them a sample Meal Plan for someone with their condition.

Long-Term Care Facilities. Reach clients by contacting long-term care residences or through programs that deliver such as Meals on Wheels. (If you're only developing one Meal a day for particular clients, make sure your software can compare your Meal to 1/3 DRI, 2/3 DRI, or full DRI goals levels.) Provide nutritional analysis, Meal Plans, and counseling. Give free presentation to get in the door. In your talk, stress the importance of matters of importance to your audience. Pass out a you created especially for this audience. Make sure your name and contact information is printed on the flier: "Got a nutrition question? Call List at..." Presenting yourself as an expert on the facility's nutrition and fitness problems puts you at the top of the list when it comes time to enlist the services of a nutrition professional.

Publishing. Write (or start) the food column for your local newspapers to generate publicity and to build your reputation. Small newspapers are always looking for features to include in their publication. A Recipe of the week section is another opportunity to market yourself. Include your picture if you can. Work with magazines and provide services for their food, cuisine, food production, lifestyle, travel, and family sections. Create Recipes and Meal Plans for special needs (people with diabetes, the elderly, weight-loss, renal). Do sidebars on specific nutrition topics. Generate food lists (foods rich in potassium, low in sodium, etc.) Write and submit articles... if published, put reprints on your office walls and on your web site to add to your credibility.

Recipe Development. Provide Recipes for food manufacturer's product packages, restaurants, resorts, or for Recipe booklet offers. Include the nutrient analysis of the Recipe. Do Recipe makeovers. Use your software to generate two Recipe reports: before and after. Your nutrition software should be able to "compose" your Recipe - that is, it should be able to perform a composition analysis of your Recipe. For instance, if you wanted to know where all that fat in the Recipe was coming from, you should be able to open the Recipe, select "Fat" from a listing of all your Recipes, then rank all your ingredients from high-to-low (or low-to-high, if you wish) and list them in a report. This report should list the highest fat content ingredient first, the second highest second, etc. It should also show how much fat (in grams) is contained in each ingredient, and it should show the percentage contribution to the entire fat content in the Recipe for each ingredient. Having this capability lets you see where all that fat, cholesterol, or sodium is coming from. Your Recipe makeover will often show remarkable improvement over the original Recipe.

Runners. Locate runners through their running clubs or athletic teams, through runners' publications, at 5K's and 10K's, fun runs, clinics, and camps, or through stores that specialize in running equipment. Offer each cycling club a free 30-minute lecture at their regular meeting. Make friends, offer your services, hand out your cards, pass out fliers, build your business.

Swimmers. Reach swimmers at facilities that field club teams, such as the YMCA or municipal pools. Offer lectures, offer to train the trainers, offer one-on-one counseling services for individual athletes.

Medical Practices. With the NutriBase Pro Edition, you can now handle the needs of an entire medical practice. Gather data on your smaller accounts to prove a good return on investment for your client. Use this ROI data to win new business. Get letters of endorsement for your services. Use them to get the next client. Build your reputation to build your business.

Corporate Wellness. With the NutriBase Pro Edition, it is possible for you to handle the needs of an entire corporate wellness program. Depending on the size of the company, you may need to add additional dietitians. With NutriBase, ten dietitians can form a group and work on a project from ten different states or ten different countries. All data is shared amongst the group. If one dietitian is off duty, the others can cover for her. The show goes on. Use the information gathered from your previous clients to help you sell to new clients.

HMO's. With the NutriBase Pro Edition, you can now form a group with other dietitians and handle the needs of an entire HMO (or a subset if they want to do a trial before going company-wide). With NutriBase, ten dietitians can form a group and work on a project as a team. The sales pitch is that your services will reduce the HMO's cost of delivering healthcare to their members.

Insurance companies. With the NutriBase Pro Edition, you can form a group and handle the needs of insurance companies. With NutriBase, you are in a position to offer significant cost savings due to the extreme efficiencies due to the software assist. Show a good ROI and then deliver.

Substantiate claims. Offer nutrient analysis services to advertisers and restaurants. Your help can help them substantiate their food and health claims.

Reports and services are vital to your business. Nutrition software is vital to your ability to provide reports and services to your clients in a time-efficient manner. The next topic discusses nutrition and fitness software that will be critical to your success.

Selecting Software

When you went to school to learn addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, they taught you a step-by-step procedure called "longhand." Most literate people know this process, but few use it to reconcile their checkbooks. This is because a calculator can do this job faster more accurately. Using paper and pencil to do something a calculator can do is a waste of your time. Most of us are far more interested in the objective than the details of a familiar process that gets us there.

No successful accountant would run an accounting business by using paper and pencil to perform all those necessary arithmetic operations. Accounting is far more math intensive than reconciling a checkbook. But the math required to do professional nutrient analysis is far more intensive than business accounting. With nutrient analysis, you're not manipulating one or two columns of information you're manipulating dozens of columns. Then you're dividing, averaging, and calculating percentages on a large number of totals and subtotals.

As a provider of nutrient analysis services, you're likely to analyze intakes, Recipes, Meals, Meal Plans, and exercises. While it's possible to do all of this by long hand, it's far faster and more accurate to use a tool especially designed to handle all this math for you.

Improved accuracy preserves your reputation. Reduced production time means you can do more for your client, charge less, and earn more per unit of time. Rather than concentrating on a familiar process, you can focus on the results. If your business relies on nutrient analysis, and you attempt to do this without nutrition software, you will most likely fail.

If you plan to manage your clients when they are not in your office or at the end of a phone, you will need nutrition software that can monitor and help you manage clients remotely. As of this writing, only one package can do this - The NutriBase Pro Edition.

Your choice of nutrition software may well be your most important decision regarding your small business. Next to yourself, your professional nutrition software package will be your single greatest asset or liability. It will determine the limits on what services you can provide for your client in a reasonable amount of time. Because your software can make or break you, you need to make a sound business decision. To do this, do your research, ask the right questions, decide which features you must have, and determine which features you can live without (if you have to). The truth is, you don't have to compromise or do without features. You can have it all (or at least all there is for now). But you should arrive at this conclusion on your own.

"Man's best friend is a doggone computer."

Investment precedes dividends. Sad as this may be, this fact is something you've suspected all your adult life. And when it comes to nutrition software, any compromises you make can cost you. The bitterness of poor quality, a cumbersome interface, and inadequate capability far outlasts the sweetness of low price or the prestige of choosing what your colleagues have chosen. If you shove rational thinking aside and purchase a product based solely on your familiarity with its name, you may learn that investment sometimes precedes losses. There is some good news - CyberSoft is offering the NutriBase Pro Edition at half the cost of its immediate predecessor.

Get more capability that you think you need. Let's face it - you can't be too rich, too thin, or have too much nutrition software capability. You may not know all the capabilities you'll need before you begin working with clients. Don't put yourself into the position of having to apologize for your software's inadequacies. To your client, they don't see your software's inadequacies - they see your inadequacies. Look for capabilities you may not have considered in early on... you'll never know when one of those features will win you a new client or make an old one happy.

Evaluate objectively. Don't be unduly influenced by vague claims and hype. Remove the fluff and see if there's anything of substance left. The most objective way to compare the top programs is to compare them, feature-by-feature. And wouldn't you know it? We just happen to have a objective feature-by-feature Comparison Chart of 180 features and capabilities of the NutriBase 2016 Cloud Edition and its two closest competitors.

Email of call the company and ask a few questions. For a comprehensive listing of questions that any salesperson or tech support person should be able to answer, read the Today's Dietitian Magazine article Nutrition Software: 101 Questions to ask Before you Buy. Can they answer your questions quickly and concisely? Does what they say make sense? Do they disparage their competition based on groundless claims? Do they have to "get back to you?" And if so, how long does it take for them to get back to you? When that person gets back to you, can they answer your additional questions? Go ahead, test them... you may be surprised to see how unknowledgeable support personnel - even from some of the biggest names in nutrition software - can be. It's an awful feeling you get when you realize that you know more about the software than the "expert" you're talking to.

Find out if you have to pay an annual fee for continued product support.

Read the reprinted article from the Today's Dietitian Magazine titled Shopping For Nutrition Software It is reprinted in its entirety on this web site.

Your software may be the most profitable investment you can make in your business, but it will only take you so far. After all, as sophisticated as it may be, it's still only a tool. The rest of your success will depend primarily on your business acumen, your perseverance, your habits,.your attitudes, your ability to learn, and your willingness to go after what you need to go after to succeed.

Habits and Attitudes

A habit is something that you create by repeating a particular behavior. Do something over and over and it will become a habit. An attitude is a habitual way of thinking. You can develop an attitude by taking conscious control of your way of thinking. By constantly reinforcing your way of thinking, you develop an attitude. Habits and attitudes can make you or break you. Many a hapless business has been broken by the habits and attitudes of its owners. Here is a compilation of the common habits and attitudes of successful entrepreneurs.

"We first make our habits, and then our habits make us." - John Dryden

Focus. Successful entrepreneurs have the ability to focus their attention on important projects and see them through. This is the secret to getting things done. Once their priorities are set, successful businesspeople refuse to switch from task to task randomly.

"If you chase two rabbits, both will escape."

Think! Successful businesspeople don't fall apart when faced with crises. They take a moment and think about their situation. They evaluate their options, weight them against their means, discuss it with others who can offer insight and then decide on the best course of action from a list of possible solutions. People aren't compensated for having brains... they are compensated for using them.

"The happiest people are not the people without problems,
but the people who know how to solve their problems." - Robert Seashore

See the opportunities. Opportunities are everywhere. They really are. It's just that most people can't see them. But you must. Most of us expect opportunity to beacon to us with flashers and sirens, but that isn't how it normally works. If opportunities were that easy to see, everyone would flock to them.

"Opportunity's favorite disguise is trouble." - Frank Tyger

Develop good work habits and attitudes. There are far more people who can start a business than there are who can run a business and prosper over the long haul. You've heard the statistics - most small businesses fail. Develop your procedures and policies regarding how you get your work done, how you treat your customers, how you make decisions, etc. Do this consistently and over time, you'll find that you've established the patterns for keeping your self-made juggernaut rolling.

"Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going." - Jim Ryun

Don't let criticism crush you. Everyone is an expert on your problems. Realize that you're probably the best person to evaluation your own problems. Listen and give consideration to the inputs you receive, but remember, you're the person who will rise or fall on your decisions, policies, and habits.

"Critics are like eunuchs in a harem: they know how it's done, they've seen
it done every day, but they're unable to do it themselves." - Brendan Behan

Don't overcharge. Customers are quick to recognize value and quick to go elsewhere if they feel they are being overcharged. You're goal should be to make them customers for the long term. If the software makes it quick and easy to perform a particular service (and it should), don't charge too much for it. Consider using it as a promotional service. For instance, if you software makes it easy to generate a custom report based on the client's current body weight that shows your client how many calories she or he will burn in performing any of dozens of exercises for 30 minutes, provide it as a freebie for an initial consult. Or offer to provide these for the new members of all your local health clubs... the owner gets to provide a professional report as an incentive for joining and you get to meet every new club member when you present them with their report and explain it to them. This gives you the opportunity to get acquainted with the new member, win her or his confidence, and to leave the door open for any questions they may have. Leave them with your card. Trade a report with high perceived value for the opportunity to meet a new prospective client.

Don't make the mistake of figuring out how to do something after you get a customer who wants the service. Allot enough time to learn everything your software can do for your clients. By performing the operation with your software, you'll learn how much work is involved and how long it will take you. This information will determine how much you must charge for each service. BTW, studying for our NutriBase Certification Test can bring you up to speed with NutriBase in just a few days.

"Don't learn the tricks of the trade... learn the trade."

Never forget why you're doing this. Sometimes, we lose sight of what we are working for. We get sucked into the day-to-day activities that we have to master to keep the show going and forget why we're doing all of this rather than something else.

"He who has a why to live can bear almost any how." - Friedrich Nietzsche

Be willing to take calculated risks. Evaluate the benefits of doing something and compare it to the benefits of not doing it. If you can afford the consequences of failing, then do it. Wayne Dyer wrote that there were two things you needed to consider when making an important decision: One, think about how long you were going to be alive... 30... 40... another 50 years? Then think about how long you're going to be dead. There is never a better time than now to do anything... in fact "now" is the only time you can do anything!

"Don't be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated. You
can't cross a chasm in two small jumps." - David Lloyd George

Start even when you don't have complete information. You will never know everything you wished you knew before undertaking anything. You won't know how that ad will work until you try it. You won't know how people will react to your web page message until you try it. We just can't know these things, so don't make knowing all the answers a criteria for taking action.

"If all difficulties were known at the outset of a long journey,
most of us would never start out at all." - Dan Rather with Peter Wyden

Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses. Most of us aren't good at everything we try to do. Learn what you're good at and let others do the rest. Focusing on the things you do well is the best use of your time. As a small business, you have certain inherent advantages over big businesses. You are more flexible. You can respond to specialized requests more quickly. You may be small, but you can think big.

"Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." - John Wooden

Ask for business. So many things are lost to us for want of asking. Don't make the mistake of thinking that you can succeed in business without asking for it. Let everyone know what you do. Give everyone a card. Let everyone know that they can call you for a free initial consultation that may include a Calorie Expenditures Report custom-tailored to their body weight. Or offer a free six-page Initial Assessment Report. After you've done so much for the prospect up-front and without charge, they will feel somewhat obligated to work with you to some degree. Spending time with prospects is a good avenue for acquiring new business... but don't forget to ask them for it!

"Ask and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find;
knock and it shall be opened unto you." - Bible, Matthew 7:7

Don't be afraid to make mistakes. You will learn more from your mistakes than you do from your successes. Try not to keep making the same mistakes over and over. View every disaster for what it is: an opportunity to learn and improve.

"Good judgment comes from experience and...
experience comes from bad judgment."

If you discover you've been wrong, stop the damage immediately. It's never too late to cut your losses and change the way you're doing things. If something isn't working, change it... you're the CEO - it's your job. Letting inertia run your business is suicide.

"No matter how far you have gone on a wrong road, turn back." - Turkish Proverb

Persist. It's been said a thousand times and a thousand ways... persistence pays. Some scholars even assert that it is a facet of intelligence (one that is almost impossible to measure on a written IQ test). This could explain how some people of lower intelligence have time after time - far exceeded the accomplishments of others who were acknowledged as smarter.

"A chicken doesn't stop scratching just because worms are scarce."

Be open to changing the way you work. The way it's always been done isn't necessarily the best way to do things today, here, and now - especially when you consider the impact of today's modern technologies and, in particular, modern nutrition and fitness software. As the boss, you need to keep your antenna up and be ready to change the way you do things if you see, hear, or think of a better way.

"If you do the things you've always done,
you'll get the results you've always gotten."

Keep pushing, even in good items. Just because you got a nice contract or had a good week is no reason to sit back and relax. Business is an up and down affair: you can have a good week followed by three not-so-good weeks. It's okay to pray for a crop, but meanwhile, keep on hoeing.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." - Will Rogers

Determine your goal, then systematically overcome your obstacles. The tragedy of life isn't failing to reach your goal. It's in not having one to reach. No one has the time to make a career out of seeing to it that you fail. Therefore, no one is standing in our way. Don't forget that. The only thing standing between you and your goal are those little things called obstacles. Make a list of each and every one of them. Break each one down into its basic components. Then make your plan to overcome each and every one of them.

"Decide what you want, decide what you're willing to
exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work." - H. L. Hunt

Starting your own private practice doesn't mean you won't have to work as hard as you do when you're an employee... it probably means you're probably going to work harder than you ever worked before. This won't be the easiest thing you've ever done. But it may be the bravest thing you've ever done. And win or lose, it will be something you remember doing for the rest of your life.

"Whenever things sound easy, it turns out
there's one part you didn't hear." - Donald E. Westlake

On the positive side, entrepreneurs consistently rate their satisfaction with their work as higher than the satisfaction ratings of most employees. Each new day brings new challenges. You have work to do in many areas: marketing, learning your software, scheduling your work days, public relations, resolving complaints, negotiating agreements, preparing your advertising, updating your web site, composing your next presentation, writing that next article, and oh yes... you'll also have to squeeze some time in there for working with your customers! But the knowledge that you will reap the rewards of your efforts makes your efforts so much easier. Most entrepreneurs say they'll never work for anyone else again.

"The City of Happiness is found the in the State of Mind." - Anonymous

If you feel you want to devote your time, talents, and abilities to building a business you can be proud of, this may be what you've needed. But keep in mind there will be a price to pay. It won't be easy and it won't be free. And only you can determine if it's worth it.

"Decide what you want, decide what you're willing to
exchange for it. Establish your priorities and go to work." - H. L. Hunt

Every journey, they say, begins with the first step. And taking that step can be a liberating experience. If running your own private practice is what you're going to do, you'd better stop reading and get started... you've got a lot of work ahead of you.

"What great thing would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?" - Robert H. Schuller

Copyright 1986 - 2020 by CyberSoft, Inc., an Arizona Corporation. All rights reserved.