Overwhelmed trying to figure out how to start an Oriental medicine practice? Here are some tips from AOMA alumni!*
While you are in school:
Take your board exams before you graduate
Get licensed quickly after finishing boards
Develop a business plan during practice management class
Start developing marketing materials
Launch your website before graduation
Plan your career
Investigate different locations for your future practice (states, cities, venues) Consider specializing in something (ex. style of practice, specific patient demographic, type of condition(s), etc.)
Participate in an internship, externship, or apprenticeship (ex. AOMA’s Practice Management Fieldwork Program)
Consider a job on a cruise ship – it’s a great way to gain experience and travel!
Form relationships with your patients in the student clinic to build your future patient base
Find a successful mentor and pick their brain!
Get connected, join a networking group
Build a financial foundation
Set aside money for starting up your practice
Minimize student loan debt and understand the different repayment options
Forecast startup costs for your practice, including funding, insurance, advertising, etc.
Keep your day job as you build your practice to earn extra income
Learn Quickbooks or other basic accounting skills
Research pricing for treatments so you can charge enough for your services
After You Graduate:
Hone your business & professional skills
Buy a point of sale system to handle financial transactions
Consider selling supplements and herbs to boost your practice’s income
Consider offering adjunct techniques to patients like medical qigong, bodywork
Outline clear treatment plans so patients know what to expect
Continue to work on your bed-side manners to improve the patient experience Provide patient & community education
Volunteer in your community for extra visibility
Find a market coach if you need extra help with outreach
Practice a lot; start seeing as many patients as possible, as soon as possible
Make time for self-care
Take kidney tonics to keep your energy-level up
Practice mind-body techniques to handle stress
Start small & grow (be patient it will take time)
Take a vacation/time off after graduation – you might need the break!
Commit to life-long learning and more Oriental medicine techniques – never stop improving
Be passionate about TCM!
*Advice compiled from 2013 alumni survey.