Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Business Side of Healing

There is something a little different about the business of healing. The main objective of most businesses is to increase their owners' wealth (hopefully coupled with offering something of value to society). Healing professions also concern themselves with a beautiful bottom line.
But individuals who endeavor to alleviate suffering through a form of healing work are usually drawn to this by some siren's song within. Perhaps they possess a great love for people, extraordinary compassion, a sense of the divinity of life, or a tremendous innate gift. Maybe they choose to do this work because they are fascinated by the mechanisms of the body; they long to solve some great biological puzzle; or they are honoring their family profession. A few may actually choose a medical career with the primary goal of attaining wealth and status.
As interesting and varied as the reasons why people choose to do healing work is the work itself. This applies to more than just physicians and nurses. There are those that offer healing through homeopathic or ayurvedic treatments. Naturopaths and herbalists, chiropractors and massage therapists, acupuncturists and energy workers, physical therapists and paramedics - all of these people offer their unique approach to the healing process. Then there are those in support positions such as medical technicians, hospital administrators and professional caregivers that are also involved with the care and treatment of those in pain. And we should not neglect to mention veterinarians who treat our animal friends, counselors and others in psychology who nurture mental health, and the people who concern themselves with spiritual well being. There are so many ways to heal, and many who need healing.
Often, people in the business of healing are also in business for themselves. They are small business owners and sole practitioners who must devote at least 25% of their time in the management and promotion of their businesses. To most of these professionals, this is their "pain in the neck" that promises no cure. Their years of education, training, interning or working with mentors, perfecting their crafts, and building their practices were not accomplished so they could spend 12 to 20 hours a week buried in paperwork! Totaling receipts, filling out forms, filing folders and trying to build and promote a website is not how they want to spend their precious time and energy. But, for small business owners this is an inescapable reality. Some tasks can be delegated to others; but, unless they are fortunate enough to have dedicated support, most of the business is squarely on their shoulders.
Just how much this subtracts from the number of people they could help, or from their ability to keep up with the constant necessity of self-education, or just how much of a toll this takes on their own peace and wellbeing is impossible to calculate. But it is easy to understand what a difficult juggling act this must be; and how important this is when it could potentially affect the quality of care they provide to people seeking relief.
Is there a way to give these healing professionals more time to help, learn, share their knowledge, and protect their own health without jeopardizing the strength and efficiency of their businesses? I believe there is. It is called the "Rules, Tools and Jewels" approach. What this basically boils down to is using standard business practices combined with the talents of other professionals in order to streamline operations and delegate tasks that are not directly related to the business of healing.
The Rules include effective: scheduling, organizing, prioritizing, and setting your boundaries. The Tools include office systems and protocols, financial management, people management, security, documentation, software, marketing and strategic planning, expert advice, community support and reminders. The Jewels are support professionals, such as: accountants, office managers, marketing consultants, personal assistants, coaches, and financial advisors. These principles are explained in depth in another article, "Rules, Tools and Jewels for Business".
Healing is about helping people get what they need to be whole and well. Business is about profits driven by sales, strategy and administration. While these two things seem dissimilar, they can be harmoniously combined to create efficient, profitable yet healing-centered businesses. What makes this possible is really one key principle: it takes more than one. No one single element (or one person, for that matter) ensures the success of a business. It is employing the right combination of elements (and people) that ensures success. Claiming that perfect combination is what all business owners must do for the "health" of their businesses.
Lorrie Tabar is a freelance writer with 18 years of experience as a proposal writer for the construction industry. She also has experience as a caregiver and a licensed massage therapist in Georgia. She indulges in movies, books, art, movies, and creative cooking.

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