Practice Building: how to be a successful naturopathic doctor

The goal of this page is to help other practitioners and clinics in the holistic healthcare community improve the health of their businesses. The only way to ensure that the ethos of naturopathic healthcare, self-awareness and holistic healing become ingrained in how the average person lives is for naturopathic clinics to thrive financially so they can help more patients. Our philosophy can be summed up in the saying: “a rising tide lifts all boats”. By this, we mean that improving the financial health of other naturopathic practitioners and clinics will also improve our own situation. We are committed to this goal even though it means that at times we will help competitors. We do this because the success and professionalism of others in our field improves public perception of us all. If a competitor goes out of business, that results in a negative experience for that clinic’s patients, employees and owners that casts a negative light on everything that we stand for at Terrain Wellness. On the other hand, healthy competition raises public awareness and leads to much greater public interest in naturopathic & integrative healthcare which helps everyone in our industry.

For these reasons and more, improving the level of professionalism and excellence within the holistic health community is one of the core values at the Terrain Wellness naturopathic and acupuncture clinic in Portland, Oregon. Of course, it goes without saying that this mission begins with our doctors, management and support staff working to constantly improve our patient care and customer experience. However, the health of our business is also crucial for allowing us to sustain our growth while helping more people improve their health. “Profit” and “success” have become words that embarrass many of us, with imagery of Wall-Street billionaire-bailouts, political scandals and corporate greed dominating the narrative. On the hand though, how can a clinic meet its patient’s needs when it is struggling to meet its basic needs for survival?

The answer is that a thriving naturopathic clinic will help exponentially more people than a struggling one. Also, a thriving holistic clinic has the profit margins to care for the employees and owners who give so much to others. In business, much like in our lives, we cannot effectively care for others without first mastering self-care.

Why having a healthy holistic business matters

As naturopathic doctors, we spend years learning natural medicine in addition to also studying modern pharmacology as well as anatomy and physiology. When it comes to our healing craft, we will all certainly spend our entire careers honing and refining our healing skills and improving patient care. In sharp contrast to the years of learning naturopathic medicine, too often business skills like financial planning, book-keeping, organization, product development, advertising and management are often given very little attention or are ignored completely. For these reasons, naturopathic practitioners and holistic clinics in general often struggle financially and eventually fail, despite the doctors and staff who work there providing excellent care to their patients. Sadly, failure in business hurts a lot of people. Failed clinics harm patients while leaving staff unemployed and put the owners in years of financial ruin. Holistic healthcare clinics that go out of business also negatively affect the public’s perception of our entire industry.

On the other hand, A financially successful practice re-invests in continuing education, offers staff development, develops new treatments, educates the public, provides excellent patient experience all while creating stable jobs at a locally-owned business. In the coming weeks and months, we will be updating this page with article links on topics related to developing a healthy and thriving integrative healthcare clinic.

Topics we hope to cover in future updates:

  • Bluprint for success: choosing a clinic floorplan that improves patient experience
  • Do the math: run the numbers to ensure that success is attainable
  • Digital Marketing for Naturopaths: SEO for long-term value
  • Book keeping: boring details like billing, insurance & taxes will make/break your company