THE ‘TRUE’ HOLISTIC PRACTICE APPROACH
What we’re about to say may sound radical: If you are going to do four professional development courses this year, consider making three of them on business and marketing. Why do we say this? Not because we run business courses for practitioners but because we have seen too many excellent massage therapists struggle – and even close their practice entirely – because of too much focus on modality development and not enough on understanding business and marketing. The learning is out of balance.
Where are you at right now?
Have you been a massage therapist for decades or are you a new graduate? No matter what stage of practice you are in, there’s nothing like taking a fresh look at what you are doing – and why you are doing it. You may be busy, but are you attracting your ideal clients? Are you renting a room in an established clinic, but the clinic isn’t bringing you enough clients? Or do you have plenty of clients coming through the door, but only a few coming back? Perhaps your practice feels like a treadmill and would love to feel the practice love again? Maybe something’s not quite right…but you’re not sure what it is.
“But I hate business and marketing”
You are not alone. The words ‘business’ and ‘marketing’ can sound cold and uninspiring to many of us. So think of ‘business development’ as ‘practice development’. And ‘marketing’ as ‘education’. Because that is essentially what we’re talking about. Modality development, practice development and education make up a ‘holy trinity’. They are the three legs that hold up your practice and allow it to breathe.
So what do you do?
The following six points are basic. But they will help guide you holistically in true ‘practice love’.
- Go back to the beginning
Take a breath and remember what you are doing this for: to serve others as best you can. Centre your thoughts, your being, on this premise.
- Who are the clients that light you up?
Interestingly, it’s not always the easy ones. Often the challenging clients can help us to feel ‘more alive’. Pay attention to the clients that really float your boat.
- Have a plan
Every practice needs a plan. It doesn’t mean that it’s set in stone – plans can change. But a plan gives you focus. This plan includes (but not limited to) a budget, and development strategies/approaches for:
– clients: the ones that float your boat
– education: aka marketing
– professional development: not just your modality!
– community relationships: including other practitioners
– practice systems: ensure they are smooth and work for your particular needs
– support: be aware of who’s in your corner [and how], and who else you may need
Ensure that you dedicate at least a whole day per month for practice planning.
- Schedule regular actions
Taking into account all the elements of your Practice Plan, have an Action Plan and integrate specific actions into your diary. Ensure that you dedicate at least half a day a week to practice development.
- Be answerable to someone
You may work with another practitioner or staff member in your clinic. Or you might have a practitioner buddy elsewhere (or just someone else with goals they want to reach). Meet with them at least once a month – make it somewhere appealing , like your favourite café. Why? To verbally commit to the actions you want to take and get a slap on the back for every step taken. Knowing that someone else is expecting you to perform can really help with motivation.
- Notice the progress – and the blocks
This follows from the last point. Ensure that you are aware of how far you have come. Also notice if you have blocks. If progress hasn’t happened, take time to understand why. If the blocks persist, source a professional business coach to help you through them.
Whatever you do in your practice spend time learning about your practice as a business. ‘Business’ doesn’t have to be cold. Business and marketing courses don’t have to be filled with sales hype. You can be in business with integrity.
Need some help with this?
At Ethical Practice, we offer one-on-one/group coaching link to: http://www.ethicalpractice.net/healthpractitionercoaching/individual-coaching/ and on-stage presentations. But we also have a Blue Mountains Retreat in August called ‘Love Your Practice’ – 3.5 Days of Practice Love’ link to: http://www.ethicalpractice.net/events/love-your-practice-blue-mountains-2017/, where you can learn from us, four global speakers and a room full over other natural health practitioners. It’ll be fun.
Written by Jeff Shearer link to: http://www.ethicalpractice.net/jeff-shearer/about-jeff-shearer-practice-development/ & Megan Hills link to: http://www.ethicalpractice.net/about/about-megan-hills-holistic-marketing/, Ethical Practice
10+ years helping natural medicine practitioners to greater practice success
(whatever ‘success’ is to them)