In the first major phase of the acupuncture business vision process I teach, the command is to “Know the Landscape!” To summarize the linked article – you need to know/research/understand the overall professional environment where you’re planning to plant yourself. What are the regulatory, professional, community, legal and broad financial realities in the place you plan to practice Chinese medicine?
This gives you the first part of an informational framework that can help guide the more internal, intuitive visioning moves that happen later in the process.
I find it helpful to think of that part of our business environment as similar to a landscape or ecosystem. Interrelated entities, individuals, organizations, publications, laws, enforcement agencies, ethical and professional codes – all creating a gestalt space into which your Chinese medicine based business is born. The connections between these things and the realms they create form the broadest set of features that you must consider as you raise your business up from infancy to adulthood.
So – let’s say you’ve gone through the list of questions in the last blog post, gone down all the rabbit holes that those investigations opened up, and have a pile of research – what now? What’s the next step?
The second phase of the process I teach commands you to, “Know yourself.” That’s right – here we turn our powers of questioning & observation within. We’re not yet dreaming the big dreams, not yet articulating our business visions in their final forms. No – here we’re again diving into a series of questions that form a pool of information that helps inform the later parts of the process.
These questions are meant to help you, with some degree of penetrating objectivity, to get a sense for how your personal past, present and future may impact the reality of your future in Chinese medicine business.
The questions below are just a few of the many possibilities:
- What was your childhood and young adult life like with regards to business & money? Do you have attitudes and habits that are unconsciously sabotaging you?
- What’s your educational and employment background? Have you had other jobs, careers? Did you study something in college that has nothing to do with medicine? How might those “other lives” influence your practice?
- What’s your personality? You can look here at all different methods for discussing the Self, from astrology of all kinds to Meyers-Briggs, to simple determinations like introvert/extrovert.
- How might your personality influence what kinds of businesses we do well with? If you have a business model that demands you interact with 100 patients a week, and you’re a deeply introverted person, is this sustainable?
- What do you really need from your practice? What kind of money? What kind of life flexibility? Do you need some time off before you jump in – or if you’re already in – do you need some time off anyway?
- What things really drive and move you? What brings you to tears when you see it in the world?
- How do you stay motivated? What things knock you off center?
- What’s your productivity, time management and organization like? How do you deal with chaotic and fast moving environments? How might that relate to the types of business environments you cultivate?
- What kinds of dependencies do you have? Pre-existing debts? The care of family members? Other businesses or career responsibilities?
- What’s the immediate future look like for you? Have plans for growing a family, taking care of an aged parent, doing some world travel or taking on another degree?
- How’s your support network? If things get rough, do you have people to care for you – if not – do you have a plan in place to make that the case?
- What do you already know about business and practice management, and what do you still have to learn? Do you know where you will be obtaining that knowledge?
Working through these questions, and the questions that emerge from that research, animates the next layer of the visioning process.
In the next post, I’ll outline that layer which finds us beginning the process of determining those people who most need and can benefit from our medicine. In this third “knowledge” phase of determining an acupuncture practice vision that can really guide you, we have to consider our patients and their needs. These three factors (knowing the ecosystem, knowing yourself and knowing your people) combine to create an unshakeable foundation for all the dreaming, brainstorming, editing and iterating to come.