Business Strategies For Acupuncturists
Business Management Strategies can only be effective if Business Principles are well understood. New business owners often make the mistake of not knowing the difference between a Strategy and a Principle.
A Principle is an immutable Law.
It never changes.
The Law of Gravity is a good example of a principle because it always exerts its force regardless of what you do. You cannot change gravity.
A Strategy can be changed, modified, and optimized to fit your goals.
So if your goal is to fly, use the Law of Gravity to apply different Strategies, like: flying an airplane, sky diving, parachuting, cliff diving, or ski jumping.
When you understand a Principle like the Law of Gravity then you can adjust and reassess Strategies to use gravity to your advantage.
The idea is to focus your energy and creativity on developing Strategies, not on trying to alter unchangeable Principles.
This is absolutely true in the Business World.
There are "Rules" that govern how business works and although they are not as immutable as gravity, it would be a waste of time & energy to try to change them.
It is better to know what these business laws are, and then use them to your advantage by developing proven (and innovative) business strategies to achieve your business goals.
Acupuncturists are innovative by nature. We have a wonderful gift to think outside the box and use abstract ideas and unique sensitivities.
These are wonderful qualities in the world of healing, but they can be dangerous in the business world.
It is okay to have a unique acupuncture practice, but in order to have a successful acupuncture practice there are certain principles that you need to follow.
These are just a few of the Principles important for Acupuncture Business Management:
1. Profit Equals Income Minus Expenses.
As the saying goes, "If your business is not making a profit, then it is just an expensive hobby."
The "Profit = Income - Expenses" Law is true for any business regardless of type, location, or volume. It may seem silly to bring this up, but this simple rule is often ignored in the desire to "be an acupuncturist".
Keeping track of your finances is a must. The Strategies that you develop may include hiring an accountant to review your financial records quarterly or Yearly. You can also hire a bookkeeper to do more frequent "audits" and balance your accounts.
However, accountants and bookkeepers do not replace your responsibility for accurately tracking the income and the expenses of your acupuncture business.
To help you automate these records you can use accounting software like Quickbooks Pro (which is what I use) or Quicken. Whatever you use look for software that can help you when produce a record called a "Profit & Loss Statement". This will hep you at tax time.
You do not absolutely need accounting software. There is nothing wrong with using a paper and pencil. The important thing is that you take an active role in keeping track of what expenses are being paid and what income is being generated. These records need to be accurate in case your acupuncture business is ever audited.
Don't be afraid to consult with Accountants and other Financial experts when you are learning how to "keep the books".
2. Taxes are Collected by the County, City, State, and Federal Government.
You will soon learn that small businesses are the financial backbone of this country. It is important to understand the nuances of the different taxes you are required to pay and to develop business strategies to assure that they are paid on time.
New business owners may be surprised by the many different types of taxes, so here is a brief run down.
There is the Self-Employment Tax and "B&O" Tax (Business & Occupation).
These include taxes on service income, retail income, and a "Use Tax" (which only applies to items purchased in a state, like Oregon that does not have a sales tax, and then used for a business in Washington, which does have a state sales tax.) On top of that there are various local city and county taxes.
If you have an employee then you will be paying Pay Roll Taxes, Labor & Industry Taxes, State Employment Security Tax, Federal Employers and Unemployment Tax.
Don't worry. Accountants and Pay Roll services know how to get the paperwork together. You just write the checks!
3. There Are Only 24-Hours in a Day.
This is a principle, an immutable law that you cannot change. So you must develop effective strategies to manage your day.
There will be times when it feels like you can't get everything done that needs to be done in a short 24-hour span. If you are a "procrastinator" then getting organized and developing strategies to get things completed are essential.
Setting priorities, planning, and delegating are some methods to address your daily business and personal needs. There is no doubt that managing a business while providing quality services is much more effective (and enjoyable) when you have mastered time management skills.
Don't be afraid to take a class or hire a business coach to help you learn effective business strategies. Having a live person to work with can save you time and help prevent costly errors.
There are also many free online resources. Eventually you will find the acupuncture business strategies that match your individual style.
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Acupuncture Business Management Basics