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The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
First Do No Harm?
There's no questioning the frightening nature of breast cancer, which strikes one in eight women in the U.S. – eclipsed only by skin cancer in terms of prevalence.
Spieth Thanks His Chiropractor After Historic Masters Win
Jordan Spieth didn't just capture the hearts of golf enthusiasts worldwide with his record-setting, wire-to-wire victory at the 79th Masters Tournament.
Professional Credentialing and Board Certification: An Ethical Faux Pas
Because of the Affordable Care Act, health care systems are coordinating care through accountable care organizations (ACOs) in order to reduce the cost of care and improve quality of care.
We Get Letters & Email
A House Divided? (May 1 issue) provoked significant response from readers. Here are several of the surprisingly similar comments we received.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Rethinking Musculoskeletal Pain – A Public Health Perspective
The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the world's oldest and largest association of its kind, founded more than 140 years ago and boasting over 25,000 members.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
ACA or ICA: Which Best Represents You?
Last June, I was honored to represent Texas ICA members as their representative assemblyman at the ICA Annual Meeting in Kansas City.
Green Tea Improves Cognitive Function in Elderly Subjects
Publishing their results in the journal Nutrients in May 2014, researchers showed that drinking the equivalent of 2-4 cups of brewed green tea (or bottled tea) daily improved cognitive function or reduced the progression of cognitive dysfunction in elderly subjects.
Our Biggest Challenges to Compete in Wellness Care
In the first article in this four-article series [May 1 DC], I made the case that chiropractors should either embrace offering lifestyle wellness in their practices or face the possibility of losing their place in the wellness care marketplace.
Giving Vets the Care They Deserve
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) administers the largest integrated health care system in the United States.
Reducing the Autogenic Inhibition Reflex: Making Weak Muscles Strong
The autogenic inhibition (AI) reflex is a sudden relaxation of a muscle in response to excess tension.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
Leg-Length Inequality and Pelvic Fixation: A New Approach to the Negative Derifield (Part 2)
As we noted in our previous article, with a positive Derifield (+D), the doctor observes the reactive (shorter) leg in the prone position that becomes longer or "crosses over" in the flexed position.
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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