SECTION 1 - PART 3 - What's the 'Why' Behind Your Business?

We are first and foremost health practitioners tending to the needs of our patients, yet as successful business owners we must aim to sell our customers a feeling and not just the product. The goal is not to sell just acupuncture. Yes, the experience itself may be unique, pleasant and effective, but really you are aiming to sell people how the acupuncture will improve their life and how this will ultimately make them feel.

If your patient asks you what they are getting for their time and money, you could state the obvious like this -

"Well first I'm going to ask you some questions about what you think is wrong with you, then I'll make some conclusions about what I think is wrong with you. I'll get you to get on that massage table there while I stick a number of sterile needles into you that will make you feel some interesting things. Then you'll lie there and do nothing for 20 minutes before paying me some money and then leaving. According to research and my experience, there's a good chance your condition will improve but you'll probably have to come back again to make sure."

What is described here is an emotionless rendition of the product, the things and the events that may occur in an acupuncture treatment. But what you are really selling them is improved quality of life in the form of ease of movement without pain so they can do all of the things they love doing; better gut health so they can enjoy their everyday eating experience without feeling uncomfortable; a more stable mood so they can cope more easily in day-to-day life; an improved chance of conceiving so they can start a family etc. Whatever it may be, we need to constantly retain the understanding that the results of our treatments are worth exponentially more than the work itself or the dollar amount we charge. Someone may invest $500 or $1000 in themselves to resolve RSI for example, but for that amount of money, the value of the results they get in return is far greater. It may allow them to finally experience whole days without pain so they can work more efficiently, get back to their favourite hobby, or avoid surgery that previously seemed to be the only solution.

The more you remind your patients that you are aiming to help them get back to doing the things that they love, the more they will understanding the value of your service. This not only benefits you as the practitioner, but also the patient as they are more willing to be pro-active about their health and well-being and they will also usually respond better to their treatments.

Simon Sinek speaks about the importance of establishing your 'why' as a determining factor for how well your business may do. He explains that while most businesses know what their product is and how it works, it is the why that often gets overlooked or left until last on the list of priorities.

You can learn more about Simon Sinek here.

This goes back to what we were discussing earlier about finding the reason why you are doing what you are doing. Previously we established your why for yourself as an individual, now we are aiming to establish this for your business. If you are having trouble establishing your Why, you may want to do the previous exercise of asking that very question again and again until you find an answer that sits well with you. If these two (sets of) values are in alignment with each other, then you are on your way to doing what you love and loving what you do.

So for a basic example for myself ...

What - Acupuncture

How - Musculoskeletal focus

Why - Purpose/ Cause

If we dig a little deeper to expand on how these elements relate to the patients I treat, I can start to build a clearer and more detailed understanding of my What, How and Why. After determining these, we reverse the order to give us a statement for what my acupuncture clinic is really about.

I offer my patients the opportunity to live more fulfilling lives by helping them overcome physical pain through the practice of acupuncture.

Why - to give my patients the opportunity to live more fulfilling lives

How - by helping them overcome physical pain

What - the practice of acupuncture

By only focusing on the What and How, we may find ourselves practicing acupuncture without an ultimate goal or purpose in mind. From the subjective experience as the practitioner, treating people without a Why can have the potential to make the work monotonous and make us feel like we are without a cause. If you focus on your Why first, your What and How become easier to establish, and you are able to build the foundations of your practice on your ultimate goals. In this way, each individual treatment we administer becomes a miniature quest on the ultimate journey to obtaining your goals and fulfilling your purpose in life. Focus on your Why from the very beginning when you are building your business, and you will fast-track your way to growth and success because you have something that you believe in, and that is one powerful thing!

So, what is your why?