Can I complain a little?
Posted on 01:45, May 7th, 2012 by Kimberly Thompson, L.Ac.
There are some things in life that I am EXCELLENT at—but there are other things that are not my specialty. This relates to my personal life and also to my business.
My expertise is in Chinese medicine. Like you, I’ve spent lots of time developing my skills and talents as a TCM practitioner. That’s why patients are willing to PAY for my services, right?
Everyone has their area of expertise. When I need something printed for my business, I call my printer and graphics design person. When I need bookkeeping, I call my bookkeeper. Why? Because I HATE bookkeeping and I’m terrible at it. Why would I want to spend weeks trying to become an effective bookkeeper when I could call someone else who is already an expert?
Okay, are you ready for me to rant a little???? Here it comes…
I regularly follow several blogs and conversations about acupuncture on social networking sites. Recently, a few conversation strings have REALLY bothered me. The topics were primarily acupuncturists complaining about how they gained an education in acupuncture, but they were not prepared to run a business when they graduated. Some even quit practicing because they can’t make a living in acupuncture.
Frankly, this isn’t news, but it also isn’t necessary. What bothers me most is that these same failing practitioners are not willing to invest in tools or professional services that will provide the help they need.
To illustrate my point, let’s look at a real world example. Have you ever known a “wanna be” photographer–who buys a nice camera and suddenly thinks he is a pro? Of course it takes a lot more than owning a nice camera to make someone a good photographer.
How about bookkeepers? Does owning QuickBooks make you a good bookkeeper? Nope. We all know this and I’m pretty sure I’m not offending anyone by saying it out loud. I’m also pretty sure that when a professional photographer has special needs, like questions about taxes, they’re likely not opening up TurboTax to hunt for the answer. When the local CPA needs professional photography shots for their wedding, they’re likely not asking some kid just because he or she has a decent camera.
So why is an Acupuncture Practice any different? Why is it that time after time acupuncturists “go it alone” as they try to create and build an acupuncture practice? It frustrates me to no end to hear these solo acupuncturists lecture other acupuncturists about how acupuncture is so unique that no other professional can possibly help in their practice.
I hear one practitioner ask about applying professional tools or services to their practice, followed by a flurry of messages from other practitioners (probably struggling in practice themselves) lecturing about how they dare not introduce “Western” ways into the pure practice of Acupuncture. Anything not discovered 3000 years ago is useless!
They say things like “acupuncture is different, so unless your photographer, or accountant, or practice consultant is also an acupuncturist, they can’t help.” I don’t know about you, but that sounds foolish to me. Another hot-button is about whether modern tools can actually help in practice. They say something like “Oh, modern tools can be nice toys that may impress patients, but they can’t actually help you as a practitioner.” In my experience, this is absolutely wrong. It sounds like these practitioners either haven’t tried getting help or they’re the ones asking the neighbor kid to be the wedding photographer.
Can you tell it bothers me?!?
Recently, I talked to a chiropractor who is EXCELLENT with patients, but he doesn’t like running the business side of his practice. This isn’t surprising. His degree is in chiropractic and not “business,” and he knows that. So you know what he did? He didn’t QUIT practicing chiropractic because he wasn’t good at managing his clinic. Instead, he paid someone to come in and help him with the business—someone who is EXCELLENT in business and marketing. He pays a Practice Management Consultant $2000 a month to teach him tried-and-proven business strategies to help him bring in new patients.
That sounds like a lot of money, doesn’t it? If you ask him about it, he says “That’s the value to me of one new patient.” He knows that if the one-on-one coaching from his consultant brings in just one more new patient every month, it pays for the consulting service. Of course, thanks to his expert, he’s getting far more than just one new patient per month! Oh, and he gets to focus on just the part he loves: treating patients.
The take home message from my little rant is this:
To be a successful acupuncturist, you don’t HAVE to be excellent in every aspect of your business. But you MUST be willing to surround yourself with excellent people and tools that fill in the gaps.
I’m throwing this little complaining session because it BOTHERS me when acupuncturists will spend so much money on their education, but they close their minds to experts who can really help them, just because they are not a “Licensed Acupuncturist.”
One of my experts is not a licensed acupuncturist, but he’s got great advice for helping me attract new patients. Oh, you should also know that my expert is available to you, at no charge!!! Yes, you read that right. Here at Miridia Technology we hired a full-time “Practice Management Consultant.” He is available for you to utilize AND you don’t have to pay him. WE do that for you!
He posts articles on the blog most weeks, and even though he’s not an acupuncturist by training, he has worked with many types of healthcare businesses and he knows how to help you improve your practice. I know because he has helped me! Alan Gifford, our Practice Management Consultant, has a whole series of posts on the blog that you can read right here.
When you own AcuGraph, it’s easy to go to a health fair and set up the system and show it to patients. The hard part is knowing the steps that need to happen before, during, and after the event to bring in and keep patients. Alan knows how to do that. His EXPERTISE is in sales, trade shows, follow through, and building successful practices. If you need a little help (don’t we all?) don’t hesitate to call him and ask for it. He’s here for you.
Okay, I’m done throwing my fit…
As you know, I’m really passionate about Chinese Medicine. I’m saddened when colleagues get their education and then quit because they ‘think’ they don’t have what it takes to build a successful practice. The tools are available. AcuGraph is amazing.
The staff at Miridia Technology has been hand picked to help practitioners succeed. I want to see more successful practitioners. Success for the individual practitioner means success for the entire field of our medicine.
Thanks for letting me vent.
I want to know how you feel about this subject. Do you do everything yourself in your clinic, or do you get help from other experts? What has your experience been?
Have a beautiful week!
Kimberly Thompson, L.Ac.