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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Starting an Alternative Healthcare Business in Ontario

The Canada-Ontario Business Service Centre website has some good advice on starting an alternative healthcare business in Ontario. Note the use of the word "business" as opposed to "practice."

What differentiates a business from a practice? If you're like the vast majority of alternative healthcare practitioners, you're in practice to help people first and foremost, but the success of your practice is not just dependent on your altruism or your skill as a practitioner. The current healthcare system is arguably stacked against alternative healthcare practitioners, so to be a successful practitioner, you also need to be a successful business person.

The difference between a business and a practice ultimately comes down to sales & marketing. Traditional practitioners have no trouble obtaining patients, because the healthcare infrastructure distributes them rather effectively. As a non-traditional healthcare provider, you're not so lucky. You need to find patients, and you need to make it easy for patients to find you. Just as important: you must provide the information potential patients need to make informed decisions about their own healthcare.

As long as alternative healthcare remains "alternative," it will be a conceptual sell. Even though all buying decisions are primarily emotional in nature, the target audience for your sales & marketing efforts will need to be convinced.