I just got back yesterday from the Pacific Symposium in San Diego. If you haven’t been before, this is a tremendously good symposium and trade show for acupuncture, sponsored by Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM). I’ve been going every year for quite a few years now, and this year, like all others, was GREAT.
Of course, as a vendor, I mostly spend my time in the vendor area, with all the other booth dwellers. It’s great fun to meet all kinds of practitioners and talk about our products. Our booth is always one of the busiest at the show, as AcuGraph attracts a lot of attention.
This year, as I looked around at all the other vendors, I noticed something interesting. Nearly every vendor there sold what I would consider “Practice Supplies.” This means herbs and needles, mostly, with a few other items mixed in. Of course there were vendors selling various supplements, nutritional products, tools, etc., but again these are all items you either use or sell in the normal course of practice. You use them to treat patients.
What was missing?
The tools you need to actually OPERATE a practice. The BUSINESS stuff.
In past years, I’ve always seen companies offering practice management software, website services, newsletter services, patient education materials, and so on. All the tools you need to actually run your business. But I really didn’t see much this year. Many of the “usual” companies simply weren’t there, with the exception of insurance providers. It made me wonder.
Is it that the companies who provide these services find little success in attending a big show like PCOM? Or maybe it’s the opposite–they have plenty of business and no need to attend? Is travel becoming so expensive and cumbersome that it’s not worth going to shows anymore? Do acupuncturists simply not need normal business services?
I really wonder.
Got any ideas? I’d like to hear from you!
How’s business been? Do you use practice management tools like software, educational materials, web services, marketing services, etc? How much energy do you spend working ON your business, rather than AT your business? Are these services necessary? Too expensive? What are you using? What do you need that you don’t have? I want to take the pulse of the acupuncture industry and see how everyone is doing. Please leave me a comment–I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
Thank you, and thanks to the great staff at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine for another great Symposium!