resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
The Truth About Herbs
I appreciate the effort and research put into the article written in the June issue of Acupuncture Today regarding pesticides and Chinese herbs.
The Spirit of the Point
After receiving a large amount of positive feedback on my San Zhen Protocols series, I have decided to focus this article on some relevant clinical aspects of acupuncture therapy prior to moving on to San Zhen Protocols III.
The Science Behind Happiness
Are you happy right now? Whether yes or no, there are a myriad of reasons why you feel that way. A whole academic discipline has developed to find out what causes or obstructs happiness, and how to amplify it.
A Healthy Dose of Failure is Vital to Your Success
As an acupuncturist I tend to see people after they have already suffered for years and "tried everything." They are so desperate for some relief that they want to know everything about how to get better, right now.
When Big Pharma Meets Chinese Medicine
Earlier this year, Bayer made a media splash with their decision to buy the Dihon Pharmaceutical Group Co., a Chinese TCM manufacturer.
Help Secure Our Future by Sharing It
The National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (NBCE) conducts one of the most comprehensive surveys of the U.S. chiropractic profession every 4-5 years.
Thoracolumbar Syndrome: The Great Mimic
The thoracolumbar junction is a common area of joint dysfunction. The most obvious cause is dysfunctional breathing or lack of diaphragmatic breathing. Treating this breathing problem will ultimately be the long-term cure for the syndrome.
News in Brief
NBCE Launches Computer-Based Testing Era; California Chiropractors Get Expanded DOT Exam Privileges; New Jeff Hays Documentary.
Uncle Sam Needs You
Scrutiny into the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) continues to grow after efforts to reform the DVA by the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Eric Shinseki, were deemed "a stunning period of dysfunction" by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
MPA Media Wins Seven Publishing Awards
MPA Media, publisher of Acupuncture Today, among other titles, has been recognized for editorial and design excellence with an unprecendented seven publishing awards by the ASBPE, the nation's largest organization for business-to-business publications.
Let the Patient Tell Their Story
Often when a patient presents with an injury, they want to tell their story. People by nature like to talk about themselves, particularly when they're worried about their health.
Healing Community Trauma in Israel and Palestine
It's the beginning of August and Israel and Hamas have just agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire after a month of brutal fighting. In the last four weeks, 1,830 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have been killed.
Improving Our Political Effectiveness
The November 2014 elections are right around the corner; members of Congress, governors and state legislators are all running. Now is a good time to talk frankly about our overall political involvement.
The Problem With Prolonged Sitting
We need to constantly talk to our patients about spending less time sitting and about what can go wrong with poor sitting postures. The fact is we sit too long in repetitive malpositions.
Get Ready For AOM Day
This year, AOM Day 2014 falls on Friday, (October 24th). This is a great opportunity to make your AOM Day celebration or event even bigger by extending it throughout the weekend!
Medicalization and Mindfulness
The past several years have seen a veritable explosion of research on mindfulness. Research abstracts we've published in each issue of Health Insights Today under the heading "Mind-Body News" have increasingly reported on studies about mindfulness interventions.
Rethinking GMO: Less Panic, More Context
Some of you may have noticed that after writing parts 1 and 2 of “Genetic Modification of Organisms for Human Consumption” a while back [Nov. 15, 2013 and Jan. 1, 2014 issues], part 3 never appeared.
A Commonly Missed Spinal Fixation: The Upper Lumbar Spine (Part 1)
When we think of lower back pain, we tend to think in terms of the lower lumbar spine and the SI joint. These joints and their discs are obviously important. However, we tend to miss fixations that occur just above – in the upper lumbar spine. Three questions come to mind: 1) Why is the upper lumbar spine so important? 2) Why do we miss the fixations here? 3) How can we adjust them?
History of Animal Acupuncture: Part II
In Part I of this article, I had gone back to 1969 and tried to describe the atmosphere and events of that year that engulfed many of the younger generation, some who were all the core members of the National Acupuncture Association.
Thoughts to Live By
When speaking to your patients about their health make sure to ponder the following points and have them assess if they are making themselves even more sick by the thoughts they have about life. Are these some of the traits and thoughts that your patients might have?
If You Get a Request for Records, Respond!
In our previous two articles, we discussed two of the main reasons for denial when chiropractic records are reviewed by Medicare contractors.
A Glimpse Into China's Top Brain Hospital
The sounds of the city pass through the open window are overwhelming the microphone - car horns, construction machinery - and then there's the family at the adjacent bed talking loudly on cell phones, yet you can still hear the faint beep of our patients monitoring equipment.
December, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 12
Adding Vision, Momentum and Growth: Working Beyond the Day-to-Day Business
By Ann Brown, LMT
As a spa director, I try to do my very best to not only manage my business day-to-day, but also steer it with some vision. It's a challenging task to take care of the present and look into the future at the same time, trying to see the forest through the trees when you are taking care of all the day-to-day operations that need your attention. It's hard to be the visionary and the operations manager as well.
To make sure I don't lose sight of the goals and mission, I try to spend a portion of my day thinking about the big picture. For me, reading articles about leadership, management and entrepreneurism really help me get excited and ready for the future. I don't want to stand still. I realize that no one really stands still in the spa/massage business because it is very physical work and sometimes very emotional as well. But we can end up standing still in where we are going personally and professionally when we just do the work and don't think about why and where we want it to take us.
Trying to just handle daily operational tasks can take up a lot of time, especially if you are a hands-on performer in your business. Oftentimes, the financial, management and leadership things are left until the end of each business day. I know many of you reading this article are hands-on and it may be very challenging for you to find the time to do the daily, weekly or monthly financials or set out a marketing plan for your business's future – the end-of-the-day tasks that can often get lost to dinner, family, kids or other obligations or to some simply much needed downtime.
I recently read a really good article, "Is your company willing to be challenged?" by Baron Christopher Hansen. I happened upon the editorial on Twitter and don't know Hansen besides reading his brief biography, but I really enjoyed what he had to say. I recommend you read it. It does have a big company/corporation feel, but I often look to the bigger fish for ways to grow and develop. Even if you are a small business – a one-man shop or managing only a few employees, you can incorporate big ideas into your personal and professional world.
In Baron's article, he said, "Some owners and CEOs are unwilling to be challenged or to implement improvements ‘under the hood.'" Some are fearful or insecure, in a complex conundrum or just plain stubborn. However, if your company plans to face today's economy and the future, being open to challenges as a leader and as a business may be the difference between your organization prospering or fading away. He goes on to talk about a competitor either "nearby or upstream."
I know that when the economy took a nose dive, it hit us hard in the third quarter of 2007. I decided to ask our entire team (40 at the time) to come to a strategic planning session to do a SWOT analysis to look at our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This was not a mandatory meeting, but we had more than 20 staff members show up to help in this process and I thought 50% was a pretty good number. I know I was "fearful and insecure" because up to this point, it had been mostly smooth sailing for our spa. Since we had opened in 2000, our revenues had climbed each year. More and more LMT's were looking at our company to be a part of our team and we were seeing more and more referrals from clients that had already been with us.
I went into that SWOT analysis feeling really paralyzed. I wanted to keep growing our revenues and keep our staff making good money, but there seemed to be less and less appointments, less groups in our resort and less leisure guests taking vacations. Together, the 20 staff members and I spent four to five hours with a facilitator going through the SWOT process and it was one of the best things ever for our company. I think one of the largest outcomes was we made a decision as a team, not just a CEO or spa director or GM or manager making it – it was all of us together looking out for each other.
We were straightforward and honest with each other without hurting feelings and we tried to keep it at a level that affected our guest expectations and our bottom line, beginning by adding some new referral programs to ask guests back. It was so interesting to me to hear other perspectives and to hear some thoughts and concerns I had never thought about. The dialogue was very relative to the health and future of our business. It really brought the team together, and I think, even at this very moment, I still have 80 percent of the 20 staff members that came to that meeting because the task really bonded us to the big picture, helped us to focus on some new things and gave everyone a sense of ownership.
I realize many of you don't have 39 other team members and are running your own small business with just yourself or two to five others involved, but I would hope you would entertain the idea of doing some type of strategic planning session even if it is with you and a mentor, friend, business colleague or a coworker. Baron writes about a "turnaround-management team" coming in to examine your business piece-by-piece for potential leaks, operating flaws or critical areas of improvement. Many of us are not in the position to find that type of "spa/massage detective," but what can you do to help your business still grow revenue, thrive, grow your customer base and sustain?
Challenge yourself and set aside some time to look at all the pieces of your business and see what is working and what is not. I think it could be as simplistic as a list and maybe even a running list (something that you keep in your pocket while you are working) because sometimes thoughts are in and out, and it is best to capture them when they appear. A simple SWOT analysis can bring to mind some visionary goals you want to achieve and reveal some dynamics of your business that may need immediate tweaking to benefit your client or your bottom line. I also believe surveys (anonymous or not) that have a special something tied to them work very well. Plainly ask the guests in your business what they think – Who better to ask? This survey can be done by typing up three to 10 simple questions to hand them before they leave, or ask for an email address (also great to use in future marketing efforts) and send them an online survey. Easy to do! Give them $10 off if they fill out the online survey or the hard-copy one, and hopefully you get two things: (1) needed information about your current business and (2) a repeat client that wants to use their incentive.
There are so many ways to engage and grow your business. Don't get paralyzed thinking it will get better by doing nothing because that usually doesn't happen!
Ann Brown, a licensed massage therapist, is a member of the International Spa Association's board of directors and serves as spa director at Spa Shiki at The Lodge of Four Seasons in Lake Ozark, Mo. She also provides management consulting services through Spa Insight Consulting.
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