Most acupuncture training schools give their students basic training in running a business, but if you really want to be successful in this field, you are going to need more than basic business sense.
There are some trade secrets you cannot learn in the classroom, but the lessons ultimately help you build your practice. Here are a few things you won’t learn in acupuncture training school.
You have to pick a specialty
You’ve probably trained in every kind of acupuncture when you were in school. While it’s good to have basic knowledge of various subspecialties like acupressure and cosmetic acupuncture, you have better chances of running a lucrative business if you focus on one specialization.
Start with something you truly enjoyed doing in acupuncture school. Then check if there is a high demand for that specialization in the area where you want to set up your clinic. Try to strike a perfect balance between focusing on a subspecialty you personally like, and something that will make for good business.
You need aggressive marketing
Even though they generally have the benefits and risks on one’s body, selling acupuncture services is simply not as easy as selling essential oils. Fear of needles is a pretty common phobia, so you can understand why a lot of people have an unhealthy skepticism over trying acupuncture.
In efforts to live a more holistic lifestyle, more and more people are starting to show interest in complementary and alternative medicine treatments now. As a way to boost your marketing, you can promote your acupuncture practice as such because acupuncture is indeed an alternative form of treatment for certain conditions as opposed to traditional medicine.
Aside from offering impeccable customer service, the only way you can ensure a steady stream of clients is by having a solid marketing strategy. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask your patients for referrals, especially if you’re confident that you’ve provided them with satisfactory treatment.
Likewise, make sure to utilize social media to promote your business… This will boost your engagement.
You have to be strict with patients
By now, you already know that the practice of acupuncture can be dangerous. A lot of things can go wrong even if you or your workers are very careful. For this reason, you have to be firm when giving your patients instructions on how to behave while the treatment is ongoing, and if there’s anything they need to do after the treatment to guarantee the best results.
You have to be stern and make sure they understand the dangers of an acupuncture treatment gone wrong.
Applying to be an insurance provider takes time
If you want to be able to accept clients, then you need to accept their insurance. Many prospective clients are hesitant to get treated because they aren’t sure if the acupuncture treatment they’ll be receiving is covered by their insurance plan. After all, if you’re already paying a considerable amount of money for your health, then it’s reasonable for an acupuncture session to be covered, right?
Wrong. Not all insurance companies cover acupuncture treatments so you have to do this all by yourself and apply to be an insurance provider.
A word of advice, apply to become an insurance provider before you finish training, especially if you’re serious enough about the trade. It takes more than a month to half a year to get approved, so you might as well get it out of the way.
You need to have your business insured, too
If it’s reasonable for your clients to pay with insurance, then it makes sense if you have an insurance plan of your own. This gives you protection from costly mistakes that might put you in a courtroom or out of job. It’s not that you intend that to happen, but more so for added peace of mind.
This particular aspect of practicing medicine, whether you consider it alternative medicine or not, there’s always some risk involved. So make sure to invest in the proper business insurance plan for your practice. In the event something happens, you’ll be glad you did.
You can let some patients go.
Letting patients go will be harder for some than it is for others simply because your patients are the foundation of your practice, and without them, your practice wouldn’t exist. Now, it’s one thing to have a deep appreciation for your patients, but when their actions or behaviors pose a potential risk or threat to your business or its reputation, you have to draw the line there.
This doesn’t mean you necessarily have to be picky with who you take on as patients. But in that same token, you must also be able to recognize when a patient isn’t respecting your practice values or you, as a professional healthcare provider.
Acupuncturists work pretty intimately and attentively with patients. And some of them can be quite rude and others can be totally inappropriate. So in cases where you already feel something wrong is about to happen or is already happening, forget about the fees or the wasted time and everything else. Fire your patient. Nobody is going to question you for it.
You will feel awkward when accepting tips
The practice of tipping is debatable in several parts of the world. But usually, it’s a mandatory show of appreciation for excellent services.
However, people do get confused about where to fit acupuncture in the grand scheme of things. Is it medicine? Is it a form of spa treatment? So instead of wasting their time to try and figure this out, they hand you a tip. If you’re an acupuncturist that believes that the practice is a form of medicine, you’d definitely feel awkward about it.
To be honest, it’s your choice if you will accept tips or not. But once you decide on this, follow through. You can either accept tips wholeheartedly or refuse them respectfully.
Being an acupuncturist is a worthwhile job. You become close to other people and help them start the process of healing and relaxation to ultimately give them better lives. Hopefully, these tips help you pursue this profession with vigor and the right mindset.