Here is another way of looking at what you need to make to cover your costs, including your own salary and savings.
The equation for this is as follows:
Cost of Materials + Overhead+ Labor + Profit
All these added together = the price you NEED to charge to thrive.
What do each of these four items include??
•Overhead = rent, utilities, marketing, insurance, phone, licenses (the costs that keep your business open!)
•Materials is needles, moxa, paper, files, pens, ink cartridges, clean laundry or table paper, everything
•Your Labor is what you want to earn per patient visit
•Plus profit/savings! (Now there’s a concept)
For example, if your….
•Overhead is $2500 per month
•Materials are $175 per month
•Labor (yours) is $5000 per month
•Profit for savings and emergencies is $750 per month
This total is $8425 per month ÷ by 125 Ptx per month (about 30 per week), this cost about $67 per ptx visit (the amount you need to make each treatment).
Things that may change your numbers for the better:
1. Rental of space or income made through other practitioners' work for you lowers overhead number
2. Costs and income from product sales (herbs and other items) can have a huge impact of your cost/income per patient visit.
3. Other income-generating activities in your clinic such as classes also lower overhead but may increase materials use.
4. More patients and more product sales!
Please remember this INCLUDES your income and some profit [i.e., savings].
Run these numbers several different ways. Remember to compare monthly costs to monthly income or weekly costs to weekly income. This lets you know how much you need to charge and how many ptx you must see to thrive.
Weighing these together…
You should be able to come up with how much you need to make from each patient visit and how many patient visits you need to make your budget work!
This article was published in early 2009, but it has such valuable info that I decided to publish it again. I hope our readers find it useful. Thanks for reading!
by Bob Flaws
In Chinese, the words gu fang [古方] mean “ancient formulas,” while the words jing fang [经方] mean “classic formulas.” Both these terms refer to herbal formulas created in China prior to the Jin-Yuan dynasties (1280-1368 CE). These are the formulas which form the core repertoire of Chinese medicine’s formulas and prescriptions. Many of these formulas come from Zhang Zhong-jing’s late Han dynasty Shang Han Lun (Treatise on Damage [Due to] Cold)/Jin Gui Yao Lue (Essentials from the Golden Cabinet/Coffer). They are the formulas that all of us memorize in school as undergraduates, such as Ma Huang Tang, Ge Gen Tang, Xiao and Da Chai Hu Tang, Si Wu Tang, Si and Liu Jun Zi Tang, Er Chen Tang, etc. Many of these formulas are sold by Blue Poppy Herbs as part of our “Classics” line. Recently, I happened to ask our General Manager for sales statistics on several of these formulas, and I was disheartened to learn that several of these formulas sell very, very poorly. That tells me that many of our customers do not really understand how Chinese herbal medicine is practiced in clinic as opposed to how it is learned in the classroom and presented in entry-level textbooks.
by Honora Lee Wolfe
We always hear that we have to “network” to build our practice. “Join the Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis, the PTA, and Toast Masters,” business teachers say. I myself have said that you should go to every fundraiser, party, speech, seminar, Chamber of Commerce class, PTA meeting, church dinner, book-signing, or other event where there will be people to meet and greet. So, okay, you might say to me, what if I do go? How do I “work” such events to actually become better known in the community and turn that into patients and referrals?
Here are my best ideas to get the most out of every event you attend.
1. Be the first in and last out. As a rule, the best networking opportunities happen in the 20 minutes prior to the start of the event and the 20 minutes after the function ends. If you main objective is to make as many contacts as possible, the always arrive as early as possible. You can even think of yourself as one of the hosts and greet and speak to as many people as possible and then say goodbye and “gee, wasn’t it interesting when the speaker said…” at the end. Mostly, people won’t care that you aren’t really the host, but will be thankful that someone was kind enough to greet them and make them feel more comfortable and welcome in a new environment.
2. What’s in a name (tag)? Okay so this one is a little hokey, but it works. Create your own name tag and put your name and then a quote or message underneath, either something inspiring enough to start a conversation or relevant to what you do and interesting enough that people will ask about it.
Or, if they will have their own nametags, open yours up and write your message on it. You can try something inspiring like, “The average human heart beats 100,000 times per day; make those beats count.” or “Choose a positive thought; the human brain can only hold one thought at a time!” or something humorous like “Needle little pick me up?” or “Got health?” This will start a number of conversations; I guarantee it.
3. Be a brilliant conversationalist. You can control any conversation by asking all the questions and then just sit and listen attentively. Don’t interrupt or talk much about yourself. People will believe you carry on the best conversation they ever had. Toward the end of the conversation or when it’s time to go, offer them your card with a simple comment such as, “It was great to talk with you; appreciate you sharing about yourself. Here’s my business card; I don’t know that you’ll ever need my services, but if you do, here’s how to find me.” Then offer your hand and a smile and move on.
4. Be a door prize. Offering your product or service as one of the door-prizes at any event that has such things, or as part of a silent auction for any and every community fundraiser, is always a good way to get publicity for being a real participant. If you can arrange it, try to trade the door prize for a copy of the attendee mailing list. Do this regularly for any clubs and associations of which you are a member and watch your mailing list grow.
5. Creative Introductions. You can make a memorable impact on everyone you meet by developing a more creative verbal introduction. So, instead of saying: “I’m an acupuncturist.” you might say:
“I relieve the full range of human suffering using very small sharp metal implements.”
“I help people run faster, jump higher, and recover faster from any and all physical activity and exertion.”
“I help husbands love their wives more every week of the month.”
“I make it possible for more people to get a better night’s sleep.”
You get the idea. As these examples illustrate, the way you introduce yourself can be dead serious and dead boring, or a little more fun and a lot more interesting. Your message should be a conversation starter, memorable, and help you market yourself and your services in a lighthearted way. Remember that you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Hope these ideas help you make the best use of any and all your networking opportunities. My next networking events are a class on my favorite acupuncture treatments at KAMWO Chinese Herbs in NYC, Wed. May 29th at 7 PM and a talk on marketing at PCOM NY on Thursday May 30th at Noon. Maybe I’ll see you there!
Most successful entrepreneurs try to maximize every minute of their business lives. Being well organized is an important part of their success. If we believe that getting organized is just for those who are compulsive neatniks, think again. I’d hate to admit the amount of time I’ve wasted hunting for misplaced items both at home and in my office, and I’m at least a 6-or-7 on a 1-10 scale of “how organized are you?” Our messy, haphazard ways cost us time and time is money.
There are probably a gazillion blogs on getting organized, time management, how to clean up your desk, files, or life. But if you need another nudge, here are my top 10 tips.
- If your desk or office is really a mess, schedule a weekend to clean it. Put everything on the floor. Each item, file, or piece of paper gets picked up and either filed where it needs to go, recycled, or prioritized in a stack that needs attention within days (not months). Do you really plan to answer that brochure you got about going on an acupuncture cruise, donating to your alma mater, or changing insurance policies? Either write the check or recycle the paper now is my advice. When you are done, set aside another day for dealing with the items in the prioritized stack that now remains on your desk.
- Be ruthless with paper. As long a you have a digital copy of everything that matters BACKED UP with a proper storage methodology (external drive, CDs, cloud) you don’t need a paper back up of anything unless it’s a contract with a signature.
- Sort through your piles of business cards. Cannot remember why you have a card or who the person is? Toss it. Have not been in contact with the person for a decade or more? Toss it. You might also consider scanning the ones you want into a digital database and tossing all of them!
- Find a calendar that actually helps you keep track. Keep only one master calendar, whether it’s digital and in your phone or computer, or a book that you carry around. If it’s a print calendar, decide if you want to be able to see a week or a month at a time. Keep past calendars with tax documents if they provide support for business expenses or income.
- Set aside time each day to answer emails. Don’t let them pile up. If you have not dealt with an email within a few days, delegate it to an employee to respond, delete it, or file it in an appropriate sub-folder in your system.
- Don’t think you have to answer every call now. Let your front desk deal with as many as possible. For the ones to which you must respond, create a time each day for that activity and make it into a habit. For the ones to which you could leave a voice mail, do them at the end of the day or early morning and leave the messages you need to leave, politely and succinctly.
- Friday is list day. Actually it can be every day, but on Friday for sure. The last thing I do before leaving on Friday is to make a list of what I’ll need to do on Monday. That way I can leave the office without keeping stuff in my head or worrying that I will forget something important or something I’ve agreed to do. It will be front and center awaiting me when I return.
- Consider that perhaps there are too many things on your plate. If you just cannot seem to stay organized, could it be that you have more responsibilities than you can really handle? Perhaps you must drop one committee, one teaching gig, one class you are taking, one volunteer job, OR hire more help? Short of getting rid of your spouse or children, what is the least important thing on your weekly to-do list that you could drop?
- If you are someone who finds it difficult to get and stay organized, perhaps an hour once per week to re-organize your desk would be a useful way to discipline yourself. I do this from time to time…going through my email inbox to see what should be responded to or deleted and sorting one or another stack on my desk. It doesn’t take too long to do this, and keeps my email inbox tidier!
- Promise yourself that you’ll stay organized. Take this one day at a time, but put some systems like the above in place and you’ll be surprised how much time this will save you week over week. For example, if you were able to fit in 1-2 more patients each week, what would that add up to in 50 weeks? Maybe a vacation or something else you’ve been saving for? Or just maybe, an hour more of downtime every week would allow you to get an acupuncture treatment, attend a yoga class, or actually have time for your favorite hobby. Now there’s an idea I could get behind!
Good luck and thanks for reading my blog. For other tips on business, marketing, and clinical success, check out my book Points for Profit: The Essential Guide to Practice Success for Acupuncturists.
Last weekend, CNN aired their film about the serious problems with the American Healthcare System, Escape Fire, for a second showing. Anyone in our profession who has yet to see it should try to catch it online, as it gives acupuncture an important send up! Our strange bedfellow in this film is the U.S. military, which is "trying to figure out how to integrate this service" into all levels of active duty and veteran PTSD care. One of the guys at the top of medical services in the Pentagon, General David Fridovich, states clearly that the military doesn't need more research studies to be convinced that acupuncture works well for PTSD, specifically the NADA protocol, they only are struggling to figure out how to integrate these services (which is probably "code" for figuring out how to pay for them). Another problem is that "acupuncturist" is not one of the coded professions on the list of health care professionals on the EASR-VHP (pronounced "esar-vip") system that allows governmental agencies to hire acupuncturists, understand exactly what we do, and know what our pay scale should be. Getting our profession on that list with proper reimbursement codes would be a major hurdle for us.
While I know there are many heroes in this work, two come to mind that I count as personal friends or at least acquaintances. The first of those is Frank Yurasek, Assistant Dean of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine at National University of Health Sciences in Lombard, IL, who has single-handedly created and staffed a free clinic for veterans with PTSD through one of the largest hospitals in the Chicago area. They are treating 25-30 per week now and are in negotiations to open two more similar programs at area VA hospitals that will significantly increase the number of patients treated. Frank, now 73 years young, has been tireless in this work, stating that "acupuncture is an idea whose time has come," especially due to the fact that hospitals and the VA have a mandate to find alternatives to using morphine derivatives to ease pain. He is working every day to give us a permanent seat at the integrative-medicine table.
Second is Deb Boehme, a veteran and PTSD sufferer herself, Deb has worked hard to get acupuncture included in standard disaster emergency response teams in her home state of New Mexico. She also runs a successful free weekly clinic, open to all veterans and their families, that has been in operation for several years in Albuquerque. Deb, an active member of the New Mexico Medical Response Corps (MRC), has brought her considerable expertise from a life-time of working with the military as well as state and federal disaster response teams to Acupuncture Without Borders, with which group she is a regular instructor.
These are just two of those who are called to the service both of trauma sufferers as well as the larger acupuncture community! Think what could happen if we all participated in these efforts?
So check out the Escape Fire movie (and no, I won't give away the reason it is called by that name), and think about how you could help this growing awareness and respect for acupuncture in our nation and become even more a part of the solution to our nation's serious medical-care problems than you already are! My commitment is to complete MRC required trainings and certifications to be a part of any local disaster response in my own area.
Thanks for reading and best wishes.