There are no two ways around it.
You are going to have to learn some basic acupuncture business management skills in order to run a successful practice.
By far the very best FreeAcupuncture Business Management resource I can provide to you is the
My Own Business, Inc., (MOBI)Online Business Course. It covers everything from writing a business plan to funding your business.
The Small Business Administration (SBA) and the IRS also provide online business instruction, but MOBI's program has easy to understand lessons with fun quizzes, and video commentary from real business owners and professionals.
MOBI presents the same concepts as the SBA and IRS but in a way that celebrates the entrepreneurial spirit.
You can never have too much information about how to start up your business so I recommend looking at all the Free Resources provided by MOBI, the SBA, and the IRS.
It is much easier to manage an acupuncture practice that is built on a solid foundation. So use these free organizations to help you lay the foundation for you business.
Yet there will be frustrating days when it feels like you are doing more "office maintenance" than treating patients.
You became an acupuncturist to do what you love and provide a valuable service to people in need.
Your acupuncture training probably did not include classes on how to manage the daily needs of a busy office. Nonetheless, you are responsible for the operational details of your clinic.
Once you understand acupuncture business management basics, then you can apply practical strategies to address your office needs.
The goal after all is to spend your time providing acupuncture and Chinese medicine to your patients, not stocking toiletries in the restroom.
Acupuncture Business Management involves understanding and working with these essential concepts:
1. Time Management
To put it bluntly, Time is Money. The fact is you need funds to run your business. Managing your time effectively is an important way to maximize income.
It is well worth it to develop a plan for how to spend your time during: Your Work Day and Work Week; Accomplishing Daily, Weekly, Monthly Tasks; and Taking Vacation.
2. Knowing What you Can & Cannot Change
There is a vast difference between a Business Principle, which is something you cannot change, and a Business Strategy, which is something you should be evaluating to change.
Knowing at any given time whether you are dealing with a Business Principle or a Business Strategy will help you manage: Profits; Taxes; and Feeling that there are not enough hours in the day.
3. How to Get Paid
It is a fact of doing business: You must get paid. Healthy Acupuncture Business Management means developing methods to accept payment in every form possible including: Insurance, Cash or Check; Credit Card; Billing or Payment Plans; and Trades, Barters, or Exchanges.
4. The Art of Delegation
If you are fortunate enough to have employees or business partners then you must learn to let go and let them do their job. Even when you are certain no one could possibly send a fax as well as you, you must resist all temptations to do it yourself.
If you find yourself thinking something like, "If I don't do it myself, it won't get done right" then you must learn the motto, "Train & Trust": Train your employees and Trust them to accomplish the job. Later you can get feedback, re-evaluate, make adjustments and Trust once again. Eventually everyone is doing their job, including YOU.
5. Customer Service
The backbone of any service based business is to provide excellent customer service. This means not only being kind and courteous to people on the phone and in person, but also returning phone calls in a timely manner, having a system for dealing with complaints, and making your environment warm and inviting.
You can be the best acupuncturist in the world, but if you do not have a kind and courteous staff, a friendly, knowledgeable, and trustworthy demeanor, and a clean and professional office, you will struggle to fill your practice.
Whether you are a self-employed solo-practitioner or in a business partnership with other acupuncturists, YOU are responsible for every aspect of the business.
That does not mean that you have to DO everything. In fact I recommend that you don't even try.
But you should know all the tasks that need to be done and who is responsible for them.
Why? Because your acupuncture practice success depends on it.
Most books are going to tell you how to market your practice and get people through your door. That IS important. But if patients do not like what they experience once they walk into your office, it does not matter how good you or the acupuncture treatments are, they will not return.
Acupuncturists do not go out of business because they cannot provide effective acupuncture treatments. Most acupuncturists get worn down by the daily pressures and time consuming details of running a business.
That is why Acupuncturists, like all business owners, need to have business management strategies.