My Acupuncture Business Plan

April 8, 2009 by  
Filed under Acu Insighter Newsletter

Carefully Plan Your Acupuncture Business

Carefully Plan Your Acupuncture Business

I wish I had understood the importance of writing a well thought out acupuncture business plan for my Chinese medicine practice when I opened my clinic in 2000.  It would have saved me a great deal of frustration, not to mention time and MONEY.

But when I graduated from acupuncture school I was not focused on business, marketing, or any of those mundane elements of commerce.  I wanted to BE an acupuncturist.  That’s it! I was finally free of classes, exams, and supervisors.  I was ready to start healing people and that’s really all I wanted to do.

Believing your only requirement for success is being a great acupuncturist and providing fantastic services to your patients is a huge mistake.  Remaining focused on improving your acupuncture skills at the exclusion of learning basic business principles is one of the “10 Big Mistakes I Made Opening My Acupuncture Practice”.  (Both the ebook and video are available for free download at

For better or worse, in 2005 I was forced to write a real acupuncture business plan in order to get a bank loan.  My husband and I had a grand vision of purchasing our own clinic rather than continuing to lease expensive office space.  With help from a fantastic volunteer at our local SBA (Small Business Administration) we were able to put together a formal acupuncture business plan, complete with acupuncture market research and financial projections for our acupuncture practice.

I am not going to tell you it was a fun or easy thing to do.  It was hard work and took months of meetings with our SBA volunteer and hours of writing and re-writing.  Nonetheless, throughout the entire process, my husband and I kept saying to each other, “why didn’t we do this sooner?!”.

We learned SO MUCH by going through all the different business planning stages and realized that if only we had taken the time to plan out our acupuncture business when we opened our clinic, we would have avoided countless struggles.

It was clear that we had made some very poor business decisions, simply because we did not go through the process of planning out our acupuncture business.

This is one of the reasons I have decided to make our actual acupuncture business plan available to other acupuncturists, students, and new graduates.  I wish I had a plan like this to use as a reference when I graduated from acupuncture school.  I hope you read this plan BEFORE you make some of the crucial decisions about your practice!

After all, this business plan resulted in us securing a bank loan and a SBA loan (two loans) to purchase and build the acupuncture clinic of our dreams.  In fact, we ended with an acupuncture clinic attached to our home, which is ironic since this was NOT even included as a possibility in the formal business plan that we wrote!  To me, this shows that going through the steps of planning out your acupuncture business is more important than what ends up on paper.

The one area that our acupuncture business plan really lacks is in the marketing plan.  We were not at all Internet savvy at the time of writing our plan and therefore we did not include any information about marketing our acupuncture practice with a website and other powerful Internet resources.  If you are writing a business plan today for your acupuncture practice, you must include Internet tools and resources as an integral part of your acupuncture marketing plan.  If you are not sure how to do this, please read my book, “Complementary and Alternative Marketing: How to Attract New Patients, Market Your Practice, and Earn Passive Income With Your Acupuncture Website” available at

I am counting on you to take these resources and use them to build a successful acupuncture practice, because the world needs more acupuncturists!

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Want more information about acupuncture business planning and marketing?

Download "10 Big Mistakes I Made Opening My Acupuncture Practice & What You Can Do To Avoid Them"

Read about how I attract customers and generate additional income with my acupuncture website in my book, and "Complementary & Alternative Marketing". It comes with 4 Bonus videos, 2 marketing ebooks, and my Acupuncture Business Plan.

Learn how you can get your own customizable ebook to offer your patients. You can instantly become an author and an expert! Read (and listen) here: Become an Author of Your Own Ebook

Teach your patients about the importance of healthy food choices. Click on the "Food Matters" Video.


2 Responses to “My Acupuncture Business Plan”
  1. My education, like that of most acupuncturists, was focused solely on the practice of Chinese medicine and not on the business side of things. But in order to start a private practice I needed a crash course on business, and Lisa Hanfileti provided invaluable resources towards this goal. Her website, “10 Big Mistakes” video, and business plan enabled me to quickly and effectively secure the funding I needed to make my dream a reality.

    -Julie M Baumhofer, MS, L.Ac

  2. Courtney says:

    Lisa, you state on your web site that “no one goes to acupuncture school on a whim.” I think I may be the exception to this fiat! I was midway through a BA in Philosophy and starting the pre-med program when I decided to run away to New Zealand and study massage therapy. During the program, one of the tutors did an acupuncture demonstration that I happened to witness. I also read an article in the local newspaper about women in the Bay Area (one of my homes!) who were using acupuncture to get pregnant! I was fascinated, and decided to abandon my pre-med curriculum (which I was NOT enjoying), settle for a Bio minor, and pursue TCM education a couple years after I graduated. I didn’t end up receiving a treatment until about 8 months before I matriculated, and even then it didn’t do a lot for my original complaint (but did do a lot of other neat stuff). Still, I was drawn to the subject and decided to follow my gut, without doing much research or reading on my own (oops!)

    I’ve greatly enjoyed perusing your web site, particularly the page where you expound on your evolution from skeptic to practitioner. The first year of TCM school has been challenging in unexpected ways, the most primary being a newfound skepticism that I can’t seem to shake. This is echoed my the majority of my friends and family, who haven’t tried acupuncture or have tried with mixed to no results. On top of that, the first year of school is replete with rote memorization of terms and concepts that are completely foreign and never quite explained. I’ve had a few “ah-ha” moments, but I’m holding out for a whole lot more.

    To my chagrin, I’m still pretty far off starting my own business (I’m still in my first year, going 3/4-time). However, I’m taking a SCORE class at school this term and find your material incredibly useful and pertinent. Even tips on choosing a name for my practice get me excited about this field and this future, which is absolutely invaluable.

    I completely agree with your assertion that we all need to work together to build a network of business-savvy practitioners, and you’ve done a remarkable job providing the information to do just that. Despite my misgivings, I’m looking forward to joining the ranks! Thank you for all your work, and especially thank you for sharing your process.

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