Numbers- first month report card with commentary

70 grand opening treatments on June 17th
69 treatments from June 18th to June 30th in 8 business days
115 treatments in July in 13 business days
62 scheduled for free Friday on the 25th
316 total treatments

$1430 in June
$2195 in July

These are our numbers for our first full month of operations at Tucson Community Acupuncture. Our projections for the first month were way low and we are actually just under our projections for month three.

I should also note that we have done a number of trades and sold several acu-passes, which skews our numbers a bit. If we filtered these out our average take per treatment would be a bit higher.

As far as the numbers go, we are very happy with the rate of growth so far. The summer in Tucson is a down time for everyone, so the fact that we have been as busy as we have been for our first month of operations has been great!

Outside of the numbers, the whole experience has been very rewarding for all of us. From a clinician’s perspective, to see as many patients as we have in the past month has been an experience without measure. We have had the opportunity to improve our skills in all aspects of the clinical encounter, from intake and communication to diagnosis and needling. We have been able to put the teachings to the test and figure out what works for us. As Dr. Tan says, “Don’t learn to practice. You must practice to learn.” Starting a CA has given us that opportunity to practice to learn and we have revelled in the experience. I personally estimate that in the past month I have seen as many patients as I saw in my third year clinical rotation at the student clinic.

This past month has made me really appreciate just how precious this medicine is and how much the acupuncture profession has to offer the public. While before I had a mental appreciation for CA, and strongly identified with points in The Remedy, actually practicing CA has given me an emotional fulfillment that I could not have anticipated. And while I would like to say that I have helped people this past month, what has been most unexpected is the degree to which my practice has helped me. That is to say that practicing acupuncture in tune with my values has a positive health effect on me. It is this aspect of practice that separates practicing in tune with ones heart and values from many so-called “holistic” therapists who price themselves out of the range of most people. I won’t speak as to the moral value of charging rates that only the wealthy can afford, but rather to the negative physical, emotional and spiritual effects on a practitioner from basing their price structure outside what they feel comfortable charging. If you are at all uncomfortable with your rates, you are literally hurting yourself. Truly integral medicine goes farther than treating a patients body, mind and spirit and actually heals the practitioner. The CA model allows this healing to occur and is a missing piece to a more integral approach to acupuncture practice.

Personally speaking, outside of falling in love with my wife and being witness to the birth of our son, connecting with people in my practice has been the most life affirming experience I have known. It fills me with meaning and hope and I feel genuine affection for the people that come to us for help.

They help me more than they can possibly know.

LarryG
Author: LarryG

CA punk for 12 years. AZ License #600

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Conference Keynote: Breaking the Ceiling

The theme for this conference is “Breaking Barriers”. You know, there are so many barriers to break in acupuncture that it was really hard to choose which ones to talk about for this speech. But since I’ve spent so much time talking about classism as a barrier, I thought it might be fun to shift gears a little and talk about numbers.

Responses

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  1. That’s fantastic!  I am

    That’s fantastic!  I am very happy for you and wish you continued success.  Who says acupuncture isn’t fun!

    Michael Victoria, BC “sing’in rooty toot toot for the moon!”

  2. Outstandin’.

     

     
    Thanks for your reflections – I can also relate to the humbling experience of providing care on one’s own terms.

    How lucky we are to be treating folks for a living, right? 

  3. Awesome!

    Great first month Larry and Keith.  Your numbers are making me feel less worried about my own opening.  Keep up the good work!

    Wade

  4. Whoo Hoo!

    Great start!  I can’t wait to get you into the next survey!  How would you classify your place, urban or suburban? (just curious)  🙂

  5. advertising?

    Hey, how have you  been putting the word out?  Word of mouth?  Fliers?  Website? 

     We are doing a soft open in Asheville, NC.  Right now it’s a little too soft.  Soon we will have an opening, I am hoping that will change things.

     Elizabeth (Sam’s business partner)

  6. “with my freeeeze ray,

    i will -stop- the world. ” -Dr. H

    wish i had a freeze ray, that’d be cool. but alas we don’t.

    we do have Shosho, my sweetie, and seemingly tireless supercheerleader, web designer, promo/mktng, biz consultant, and more, so in that Larry and I are very fortunate. we joke that we have our own Lupine.

    our patients haven’t really come from any one place or group, it’s been a mix. advice: cast a big net, and plant as many seeds as you can.

    Shoyo hooked us up with a flyer service here in town that posters local hangouts and community info boards, cost us maybe $100 for the whole summer, we got a deal here, many of our newbees have come from this. this flyer service puts up 100 flyers (with pull off tabs, sho made them) for us every 2 weeks.

    Sho, Larry, and I also have our own communities here in Tucson, we sent out several mass emails, with good return. one of my friends has an active email list of 600 people and we had at least 5 come in from that contact. (one of the interesting things about the transition from my PP to CA was that very few patients have followed me to CA)

    Talk to everybody. forget shyness, forget the moment, take any conversation to talk of your grand opening. anybody says to you something like ” hey , what are you doing these days, or what are you up to?” , then don’t hold back – let your passion for your project flow from the depths of your Being, it is contagious, everyone feels it, and I honestly have received only a tiny amount of negative feedback, the overwhelming reaction is extremely positive, this whole thing really strikes a nerve with people.

    getting dinner at your local favorite restaurant? talk to the cashier, slip them a biz card. at the bank – opening your biz account , you have the cashier’s undivided attention for 2 minutes, tell them about acupuncture and give them your card. people want to know why you have that glow! they sense it. most people aren’t glowing, if you’re glowing with this project, they want to know why, let them into your world. getting some help in the hardware store? to the guy/gal who works there, they may not know it, but they can use your CA clinic.

    list your opening on craigslist, backpages.com, hotfrog, yahoo, any local publication / alt weekly newspaper, public radio station website, anything you can think of. you can list for free in many places. we got a lot of patients from these.

    bring your flyers to offices, parties, anyplace where there are people and talk to them. little league, soccer parents, talk to people at your local co-op. create a buzz.

    carry biz cards and flyers everywhere you go. we heard that someone we know put our business card inside of the copies of the Utne reader at a local store. wish i had thought of that.

    once the thing gets momentum, it carries itself to a degree and you just have to coax it along. we’ve had things appear spontaneously in the local paper and none of us did the listing/blurb.

    all this and we are still trying to get our first press release out.

    hope this helps.

    all the best to you,

    keith

     p .s. i also got Larry to perform the inessentially weird act of smashing a coconut in front of our front door at the opening, a good luck tradition in many Asian countries.

     

     

     

  7. I think coconut-smashing is probably ESSENTIALLY weird

    and apparently it worked. Congratulations! And thanks for spelling out all the specifics of what else you did.

  8. Thanks Keith

    Thanks Keith,

     I am all over the “not holding back” approach and telling everyone. We are fliering, business cards are on their way, and a few health fairs coming up.  With Jingie Pulse Diagnosis, I am getting some really good results so hopefully referals are on their way.

      One issue I am having now, though is lateness and cancelling at the last minute.  I hate to say this but when people book a massage with me and pay me $65 an hour, this does not happen.  But I would really rather be doing CA.

    I framed a sign and put it on our front desk “Community Acupunture depends on YOU.  Please give 24 hours notice when canceling or rescheduling.”

    Any thoughts on that?

    Elizabeth

     

  9. cancellations / reschedules

    we have had our share of these, and as far as i can tell,  none of us here has been concerned about it, but we haven’t reached anything near capacity yet in our 7th week.  i’ll take a look at the c/r percentages at end of month 3 and see if it’s a concern for us.  maybe if we were losing seats to people that could have them i might be more concerned. we have lifted the standard CA 101 financial policy and make it part of our incoming paperwork.  my experience so far has been that walk-ins have replaced the cancels.  been nice that way.  maybe if you see if you have cancels or reschedules more often with one person, then you could talk to them one on one. 

    in a previous post before Larry and I opened up shop, I responded more harshly in a post about cancellations and people taking responsibility for their own care. i believe i said something about one time mulligans. this was  driven by my previous experience with PP and my own feelings about cancels and reschedules in the PP/BP format.  in the one-on-one format, cancellations hurt me more timewise and financially. in CA practice,  my heart has softened a bit more after seeing some of the cases we have seen, and i am trying to be less attached to comings, goings, and outcomes.  we’re growing, we’ve already proven our sustainability (in the first 2 weeks) and my sense is that  eventually with more numbers, the cancellations and reschedules for us will just be a typical percentage when life happens for people, and the greater overall numbers will mean that c and r won’t mean that much.  this may be a better question to direct to one of the clinics that’s been around longer.  overall , i feel that stating your reasonable policies and boundaries in plain sight sets the intention and people will respond in kind.  hope some of this is helpful.  with you in spirit, keith

  10. cancelations plus more marketing stuff

    Hi Keith,  after the most recent 11th hour cancelation, I made a sign, framed it, and placed it on the front desk reading “community acupuncture depends on YOU!  please allow 24 hours notice for canceling or rescheduling appointments.”  Thank you, Staff.

     I called my patient and left him a message asking first, how he was doing, and second to let him know that we are implementing our new policy.  Our location is tucked away, so it is unlikely that we will be getting walk-ins in our clinic to make up for any no-shows.

    What is the CA 101 policy?  I am going to WCA in October to do the training.  Will that be part of it?

    As far as marketing, our business cards came in today, and I asked Rachel (our Lupine) to make a Facebook and a Myspace page.  I wrote a letter to the local independant paper in response to a psychologists article about Post Traumatic Stress disorder.  He gave a comprehensive list of referals to Veterans and their families, but no alternative medicine.  I wrote to him and to the paper to let them know about Helios, a group that meets twice a month to give free treatments to veterans, and then to our community/hybrid clinic and to the other community/hybrid clinic on the west side of town.  I am opening the net, man.

    Thank you, Elizabeth

  11. CA 101

    is the booklet on the Intro to CAN forum.  It is available to members of CAN and gives our collective wisdom about all aspects of how to start a CA clinic.  🙂

  12. reaching a tipping point

    hi again Elizabeth,

    a couple more thoughts for you.  one thing that helped me tremendously was to read a book called “the Tipping Point”.  I learned a little more how to recognize how certain people are connected in the community and the importance of cultivating those contacts to help make the net larger, to step out of my little shy self and tell people what a wonderful thing CA is and how it can help them.  I say this in  the most positively intended way of a “what can they do for me” kind of thing,  as a recognition that certain people are more well connected in our communities, the movers and shakers and communicators are some examples, although Gladwell uses different terminology in his book.  We  try to have all of our community leave the clinic with cards or flyers to hand out to friends and family.

    Mostly referrals eventually take care of themself over time, but to jumpstart this without doing the hard sell on people, talk to your current clients freely and casually if you have a chance in the reception area about how you just started, or some wacky adventure that just happened in the course of doing business.  people love a good story, they remember it.  you become more real, and not just another impersonal medical office experience  treated like nothing. it gives them more of a sense of connection to who you are and what you are doing.  I totally endorse professional and ethical boundaries, but isn’t it more homey and comfy when you walk in a place and feel like you know someone , even if it’s just  a little bit?  Gently steer the conversation if you have a chance to how this medicine can help anyone they know.  Most times I don’t even have to do this, people ask me first if acupuncture is good for blankity blank for their ___ (partner/friend/ colleague/ etc).  always yes.  because it is.   

    -k 

     

     

  13. Between you and your

    Between you and your business partner, is one of you more of a go getter than the other?  How have you worked out job responsibilities and tasks? 

     

  14. rock paper scissors

    we honestly try to equally distribute the areas and items that each of us is good at or willing to tackle. mainly there are 3 of us working on things, each of us with somewhat different skill sets from the past (lucky us), so  we make to do lists/spreadsheets/timelines, and if there’s something that seems equally distasteful or undoable skillwise for any of us , we are very good at ignoring it for as long as possible, ha!,  or we recognize the task is out of our skill set and suck one of our friends into the vortex to complete the task, or seek a professonal who comes recommended.