We’re gonna be talking about creating a business plan, and the caveat here is in one hour or less really big takeaways that we’re gonna have today are the main steps you have to go through.
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Hello everyone. Welcome to another episode of To The Point. I am Dr. Nell with American Acupuncture Council, and I’m so happy to have you all here and talk about a really important topic that has been key to how I’ve developed my practice pretty much from start to scaling. So let’s go to the slides. A.
All right. We’re gonna be talking about creating a business plan, and the caveat here is in one hour or less really big takeaways that we’re gonna have today are the main steps you have to go through. A lot of times this feels overwhelming. I promise it will not be. Again, when I was growing my practice, I came out of school.
We don’t get a lot of business training. The schools prepare us so well clinically, and unfortunately we get into practice and have to be small business owners and don’t really know the steps to start that process from start to finish. And we get into this day to day where you’re like, all right, what are the things I absolutely have to do?
What ends up happening a lot of the time is we forget to plan and we take something like a business plan and say, oh, it, it’s too long. I’m not gonna be able to do it. But today you’re gonna walk away feeling comfortable, confident, and I’m gonna give you all the keys for success that I used in my own practice.
All right. So if this is so easy and you’re gonna come away in this short show, knowing these steps, why isn’t everybody doing it? What are the fears associated here? It’s about a lot of misconceptions when it comes to business plans in general. A big one is that, oh, they have to be in a certain format.
And if I don’t get the format exactly, rightly right, it’s just not gonna make sense. Nobody’s gonna wanna read it, it won’t provide any value for me or my business. That’s simply not true. There are several formats to business plans. They can range from being short to long more detailed. To less. There’s different formats if you’re looking for funding, if you’re not.
And that’s another common misconception, oh, I only need one if I’m looking for funding. A lot of acupuncturists straight out into practice aren’t seeking funding. Fortunately there are not a ton of startup costs compared to other industries when it comes to starting an acupuncture practice.
There are ways to start pretty small and scale. Really strategically, but there are still reasons to have business plans beyond seeking funding from I. . Another one is, oh, it can’t change, or it will take too much work for me to change it. Why put all this work in on the front end if I’m gonna have to change it later?
Or, I don’t have everything so fleshed out, so why put in all that time and energy? And we’ll get into how that can be really simple and streamlined for you. And then lastly that they’re not useful for acupuncturists specifically that, oh, if I. A tech startup company or if I’m someone who has a ton of inventory, like maybe that makes more sense to have a business plan, but I’m looking at being a sole proprietor to start.
Why do I even need one? And so we’re gonna go through these really key steps to make this process super easy for you and where you can see this is very relevant for you and for your. But first, let’s get into this, the traditional versus lean startup. There are different types of business plans. Like I said, they are not a one size fits all.
It’s not, oh, this has to be 18 pages long or it’s not worth doing. There’s a format called a lean startup business plan, which is actually very applicable for acupunc. Because we are often starting out lean not necessarily with a lot of inventory. Not with stock options not with a lot of these scaling opportunities that you would see in a lot of other business plans, but this lean startup business plan can be a really great fit for you and for your practice, particularly when you’re starting out.
So do you have an hour? We’re gonna go over this in less than an hour today, but you really only needed an hour to get this framework built because I’m going to give you step by step what you need to plug into this. Some people have this as a one pager, a guide, something they can reference back to.
I’ve had. Practitioners I work with who will start out with this framework as their one pager cover, and then they’ll develop a more traditional business plan and build out each of these sections really thoroughly. But this is just a basic framework that you can literally do in one hour or less, and it helps guide you.
It helps guide your business helps frame your decision making process. When you look at, oh, What are my goals for next year? What are my goals for next quarter, for next month? How did I do this month? You’re gonna be referring back to this plan and adjusting accordingly. So let’s get into it. What are these different sections in the Lean Startup plan?
First we’re looking at key partnerships. So what does that even mean? Keep partnerships. When you’re first starting out, you are looking at not only people you could collaborate with, but what vendors are you using, what distributors are you using? Who are you utilizing for your herbs, for your acupuncture supplies?
Are there opportunities for you to collaborate with those people? Looking at. In your area, if you’re going to be sharing a space with other providers or if there are other providers you want to be able to refer to, who are those key relationships, those key partnerships that you need to look out for?
Next, it’s key activities. This is what does your business do? In the day to day how do you gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace? What are things that make your practice a little bit different than other businesses in the area? With this section, you wanna think about, how are you Selling your services.
Are you’re obviously an acupuncturist, so you’re going to be going directly to a consumer. Are you going to be doing that with herbs as well? Are you going to be seeking referrals and when referrals come in, are you then looking to Do prepaid packages, if that’s allowed in your state.
What are the key activities that you’re doing in your business that are going to lead to that type of growth? And obviously acupuncture treatments fall into this. Herbs can fall into this nutrition advice can fall into this as well. And so thinking about what’s in your scope and how are you going to incorporate that in something that has to be in every business plan?
And this will look different depending on what kind of resources you do have. Some businesses are gonna have, Capital intellectual property. But really what are your key resources? Do you have money in the bank to help fund your business? Where are you at financially? Do you have intellectual property?
Do you have a low to go that’s trademarked? Things like that. And that would all go into key. And as you’re going through these sections, remember that you can bullet point this. It doesn’t have to start out in this really long, fleshed out framework. You can make some bullet points here and start there, and that’s how we get this under that hour.
Next is value proposition, which I absolutely love, and I want everyone to be so excited and so comfortable in talking about because your value proposition is just your compelling statement about what your practice brings to the marketplace. Think about the area that you’re in. Think about the needs that your community has and how are you.
To meet those needs. What are key issues that are happening in your community? Things that you can help solve, and then customer relationships. What does this look like just in the day to day of your business? Is it more automated? Are people. Online booking, is it very high touch? Are you doing house calls?
Are you going into people’s homes? Are you spending longer amounts of time with them? Are you having a higher volume practice than spending less time? But being able to meet needs more efficiently. What do those customer relationships look like? And when you do this section, you’re thinking about really patient experience from start to finish their first touch with you.
All the way through that first visit into how they’re interacting with you for follow-ups, all of that. And that makes us think, when we’re thinking about that customer experience, we of course need to have something about customer segments, right? So what exactly are customer segments? This is your target.
And you wanna be really specific with this because as you are building out a customer experience a patient experience, you wanna think about. Who is this really going to feel valuable to? Who is this gonna feel good to? Your branding for your business? All of that, it’s going to be very different.
What would attract I do a lot of men’s health. So a 55 year old man who’s experiencing andropause, that would look very different. That’s a very different. Segment of the market than a 20 year old female who is dealing with dysmenorrhea and extreme stress. Being at a college age and wanting to protect her health long term very different segments and a different value proposition and a different customer experience that could feel really meaningful for.
Next is channels. So how exactly are you interacting with your patients and perspective patients? Your target market? Are you doing Google ads? Are you on social media? Are you sending out blog posts? Are you doing a newsletter? Are you calling people to follow up and see how their treatment was?
All of these channels can be really meaningful. They also can be really targeted and more appropriate for certain audiences than others. And so you wanna make sure to put a little thought into that. Next is gonna be cost structure and with your cost structure. We think about, all right, what are we charging for acupuncture treatments or what is the increase that we’re gonna have on our herbs?
But there can be different folk eye depending on the type of practice you have. So with this cost structure, what you wanna think about is, are you focusing more on. Minimizing cost. Let’s say you’re doing a community acupuncture clinic and you know that your target market, that your demographic is going to fall into a lower income setting.
You’re gonna be more focused on cost saving. If you’re, in a higher income level and people are really focused on what is this experience going to be like for me, I want it to be high touch. Maybe you’re less concerned about saving costs, but more concerned about enhancing quality and the patient.
So looking at how are we gonna structure costs that it makes sense not only for your business but for the patient demographic that you’re looking to reach as well. Lastly, we’re gonna look at revenue streams. And this is actually one of my favorite pieces of this cuz it gets us thinking a lot of times his acupuncturist.
We called acupuncturists. So we think about the needle, we think about how much am I charging for a treatment, what’s my cash price, looking at what people are paying, with their copays out, out of network. All of those things. We factor in really primarily acupuncture.
However there are additional revenue streams that are available to us. You’re in insurance practice. Insurance isn’t going to cover cosmetic acupuncture or microneedling. Are you incorporating that? Are you incorporating herbal medicine into your practice? Nutritional consultation, Chiang Tai Chi.
There are so many aspects of our practice that we are able to offer to those who truly need it. And quite often we get hyper focused on the needling portion and that can be the only revenue stream It. A lot of you teach do consulting expert witness. There’s so many different revenue streams that are available to you as a practitioner who is so well qualified in this medicine.
So I just wanted you to be able to see quick summary. Lot of words on this. These are simply the ones that we went through and. You have got this. That’s the biggest thing. Did this in my last show. We talked a lot about confidence at the last speaking engagement I did and. I hope that this is something that you can take back to your practice, or if you’re a student, take back to school and know that you have such an easy, simple framework that will help you just like the way it helped me in my practice.
So thank you all so much for being here. Do not forget that next week you need to be tuning in for another episode of To The Point, and we will see you then.