Managing practice pain

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Nursing your business  back to health during the current pandemic crisis.

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Jeff Shearer

November, 2020

Let’s face it: 2020 has been pretty painful not only for our community but also for our practices, our personal lives, and our mental health. 


At times it has felt like – and maybe still feels like – the world is spinning out of control, and Armageddon is waiting around the corner with a baseball bat. It feels like we all need a warm fire, the smell of your nanna’s cardigan, and a cosy blankey to hide under.


Unfortunately, the option of hiding under said blankey won’t help us navigate the pain management that our practice may require.


Triage


What’s the problem? I know I know it seems like a silly question, but if we can break down our practice pain to specifics like symptoms, then we can identify a diagnosis.

  1. Money

    • Not enough coming through the doors

    • Too much going out the door

    • Uncertainty
       

  2. Clients

    • Drop in numbers

    • Highly stressed
       

  3. Overwhelm  

    • because you are human too, and, naturally, what is going on right now is going to have an impact on you.


Money


Being clear on your financial situation is always important, but right now, it is vital. Taking time to sit down and work out your personal and practice budget will help clarify exactly where you are at. It can be stressful, but knowledge is power.
Go through all of your weekly personal expenses, like rent/mortgage, food, motor vehicle, insurance, electricity, etc. Add them together, then multiply that figure by 52. This figure is what you need to have as your minimum take-home income after tax.  This online budget tool can help: moneysmart.gov.au/budgeting/budget-planner

 

Do exactly the same with your business expenses. Here’s another online tool to help: business.gov.au/Finance/Accounting/How-to-create-a-budget

 

If you find yourself in a position where your income does not meet your expenses, then it’s time to look at what spending can be reduced. Under current circumstances, many service providers are offering financial assistance packages to help you stay afloat. Contact your service providers to find out what they may be able to offer. Nobody wants to lose customers right now, so flexibility is the name of the game.


Clients


Having a bit more time on your hands allows you to put together a marketing plan both for now and the future.

 

  • Website – write as many articles as you can about what you do and how you can help people. Yes, the AHPRA advertising guidelines can make it confusing to navigate, but if you stick your head in the sand, you will definitely not grow. Effective Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the key. Here’s an article to give you the lowdown. Don’t know how to identify keywords you should use? Google Keyword Planner is the key. It is free and an incredibly powerful resource. Here’s a step by step guide on how to use it.
     

  • Client follow up – This is not about soliciting for appointments but making sure your clients are doing okay in these stressful times. A simple phone call can let them know someone cares and that they are not alone. If they are struggling, you have tools to help them.
     

  • Online resources – Providing videos or articles about managing this situation, mental health support, self-care techniques, meditation, exercise, etc. that your clients can access easily helps them learn how to look after themselves more effectively.
     

  • Networking – Connecting with local practitioners can help you understand more about what they do and how they can help your clients in areas you perhaps cannot. It is also a great way to meet people doing some really cool things, not to mention creating a potential practitioner support network.
     

  • Compassion – Whatever you are doing with your marketing or networking, showing compassion in your text and images will make a difference to our community, being able to support each other and cope more effectively.

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Overwhelm


It is natural for anyone to feel overwhelmed at the moment. Being a practitioner can certainly raise this intensity as we naturally become the sounding board for our clients who aren’t coping.  As a result, we can start to feel overwhelmed.

 

  • Ask for help – you don’t have to do this on your own. Reach out to your colleagues and let them know you are struggling. Contact your association and ask what resources they can provide or recommend. While social media can be a place where some fairly poor behaviour occurs, there are practitioners you can connect with to ask for help. Don’t be shy. We all got into this industry to help people.
     

  • Look into getting some regular treatments that help you rebalance your system.
     

  • Exercise – Even small amounts of regular exercise can help to move that qi, baby.
     

  • Reduce device time – Limit your time on social media to no more than 30 minutes per day… WHAT? Yes, 30 minutes per day. This gives you time to check your business pages, post a couple of things, engage in some others, and disconnect. Oh, and take social media off your phone if you can. It helps prevent automatic checking.
     

  • Diet – Get yourself back into the habit of eating fresh food and regular meals as much as possible. We all know how much of an impact this can have.
     

  • Be kind to yourself – You are human, you will make mistakes, and you will have bad days. It’s okay. Limit these by taking more control of your life and moving your decisions and actions to ones that lean on the positive side of the equation as much as possible.
     

And don’t forget to keep spreading the love.

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Jeff Shearer

Jeff Shearer is a Chinese medicine practitioner who has run several successful practices and now works in Newcastle NSW. Conscious of the struggle many practitioners face in achieving practice success, Jeff developed Ethical Practice, an information-based business helping practitioners to be all they can be. Visit www.ethicalpractice.net