Is Your Practice Useful?

 In Practice Building

Meghan Walker, ND

I have a small crush on Tony Robbins. I admit it openly. He speaks and creates a call to action that is perfectly aligned with my psychology. Of the many takeaways I have received from Tony over the years, none have been as impactful as the simple notion that the quality of one’s life is aligned with the quality of one’s questions. 

Build a Business That’s Useful to Your Patients

We build our business in the spirit of helping others. For many of us, we have become naturopathic doctors because we ourselves were touched by the power of this system of medicine. We graduate, find a place to practice, and work towards the goal of seeing patients. Some of us have gone through the exercise of niching our approach, and others have set up a general practice. In either case, we put out a shingle, create a brand, and start promoting ourselves as the new kid in town. We speak on topics that align with our interests, we blog, build dispensaries, and put ourselves out there for consumers. During this process, how many of us have stopped to ask ourselves whether the initiative we have built, or the talk we are providing, is useful for the consumers we are trying to attract?

I recently had a nutritionist call me regarding I referral I had sent her way. She noted that the patient was difficult to work with and was having trouble with even the most simplistic tasks. Upon inquiry, she noted that the patient was not even willing to try making her own homemade almond milk. I fell silent. My client is a busy executive; she is not looking for almond milk recipes, she is looking for pre-made recommendations. We need to service our customers. And our customers are not other naturopathic doctors or healthcare providers. We need to build a business that is useful to our ideal audience.

Aligning your ideas and initiatives with your ideal customer does not have to be a lengthy process of analysis; sometimes it is just a matter of asking the right filtering questions. Moving your ideas through a filtering algorithm ensures that the best ideas are brought to fruition, leaving the remainder on the table for exploration at a later date.

Ask Yourself the Right Questions

All of my new ideas move through these filtering questions:

  1. In simple terms, what precisely is the vision of my business or new initiative?
  2. How will I monetize the idea? (How will it make money?)
  3. Is the vision aligned with my target market?
  4. What problem am I solving for my target market?
  5. Is it useful? (Meaning, did they have this problem in the first place, and how do I know that?)
  6. Can I scale this idea? (Meaning, can I grow it, and, if so, what level of impact will it have in my business?)
  7. Will this initiative increase my revenue or cut my costs?
  8. Is this vision aligned with my lifestyle goals? (Meaning, I want to free up more time to play with my family. If this new idea, unless game-changing, will not serve that overarching goal, it will not be pursued.)

These questions are built in sequence. They are intended to be addressed in this specific order and they are designed to make everyone feel slightly uncomfortable. Many of us struggle with the concept of “making money” while helping others with their healing journey. These questions are designed to help remove that emotional struggle and enable us to make decisions for our business that are grounded from an objective, but well intentioned, place.

When you can start to build initiatives from a foundation of strong intent and sound business logic, the results are outstanding for both you and the people you serve. Can you think of a more noble and compelling career objective? Now, isn’t that the best question you’ve been asked all day?

Walker_headshotMeghan Walker, ND, is a naturopathic doctor and the CEO of Toronto-based Bright Almond, a company that connects healthcare consumers with licensed professionals practicing complementary and alternative medicine. Dr Walker is a passionate promoter of the profession and its capacity to transform people’s lives. Website:


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