Every student of Traditional Chinese Medicine looks forward to graduating and starting their TCM career! It's a rewarding path, so naturally, you're eager to get going. Still, before you start your own TCM business, there are several important things you need to consider. Here are five of them:
Get a Mentor
You've learned a lot about Traditional Chinese Medicine while earning your degree, but there's still so much to learn as you start your practice and work with people. Truly, your education will never end, but formal schooling is only one way to go about learning more. Finding a mentor can help you get your career on track.
Every mentorship is different. The first step is finding someone you truly confident as a business person and a TCM practitioner. A mentor is more than a friend: it's someone who will be honest with you and offer constructive criticism when necessary. It's important to work with someone who wants to be a mentor, otherwise, they'll never give you the guidance you need, no matter how good they are at business or TCM; together, you'll agree to an arrangement that works for you. This might be as simple as a monthly lunch meeting where you ask questions and discuss the month's successes and areas for improvement.
Find the Right Location
There are several aspects to this. First, you can choose the city or town where you'd like to practice. Then, you may find it useful to select an under-served area of that city: for example, you might not want to open your business down the street from another TCM business. In some cases that might work out just fine, but you need to do your research on the demographics, who is already being served, and how you can reach your target market.
From there, you need to select the right space. Rent is one consideration, as is the size and shape of the space (do you want a room to grow or will you move into a new space when you hire a second TCM practitioner) and the availability of parking. Is it easy for people to find? Is it close to public transportation?
Hone Your Business Skills
Being a skilled and knowledgeable acupuncturist has nothing to do with business. You need to write a solid business plan and marketing plan. As you know, you have to take special care when advertising acupuncture and herbal medicine services to comply with the law; you need to ensure you're up-to-speed on all codes and guidelines regarding marketing as well as the practice itself. Your mentor may be able to help you with your business plan, or you may want to consider hiring someone to work with you or getting a business partner.
It's important to meet people in your community. Some of your new contacts may end up being customers of yours, or they might recommend someone to you or partner with you in some way, perhaps on a marketing strategy. Others may be able to offer tips and insight. Networking is essential for success in any business.
You can do this in a lot of ways. There are formal networking groups you can join; you should also plan to attend a variety of events in your community in a professional or personal capacity.
Set Yourself Apart
What will help you become a highly-sought Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner? You might consider specialising in one area, for example, or you can focus on building an exceptional community around your business or creating a top-notch customer experience. There are a lot of ways to stand out: consider your strengths and what you bring to your profession, and build upon that.
At the Sydney Institute of Traditional Chinese Medicine, we are committed to helping you achieve your career goals. If you have any questions about enrolling in a program to become a TCM practitioner, please contact us.
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