Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Serena Clavenna, Founder of American Acupuncture Center, located in Bloomfield Hills, MI, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
The American Acupuncture Center is a Traditional Chinese Medicine clinic. We provide Acupuncture, cupping therapy, Gua sha (also known as muscle scraping), electrical stimulation, meditation, and traditional Chinese nutritional counseling. I also use quite a bit of moxibustion, which is an incent that is burned to warm acupuncture points. Moxa is mostly known for its ability to turn breach babies. I also have an onsite herbal pharmacy so that I can provide my patients with Traditional Chinese herbal formulas that are specifically tailored to their needs. We also have a massage therapist on staff.
Tell us about yourself
I love what I do. Most people work to live, but I live to work. I am lucky that way. I work with pain management mostly; however, I do address fertility, anxiety, and many other health concerns. Most people don't realize that Acupuncture can do much more than pain management. I started my business because I was working out of multiple facilities, including chiropractors, massage therapists, and an acupuncture clinic. I felt that I could provide my patients with a more individualized and personal healing experience in a setting that was specifically made for Traditional Chinese medicine.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I passed by year business goals within 3 months of opening. I did not think that I would have grown at the rate that I have. I find myself extremely lucky to have such loyal patients that followed me from my previous locations and referred me to their friends and family.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Taxes! There is a lot you have to keep track of, and not one is taught what to keep track of and how to. It was a learning process. For example, herbal formulas are in a tax gray area. The font technique qualifies as a supplement, but they also don't qualify. Plus, navigating government tax websites is a whole issue in itself.
Also, I do not currently have someone working from the desk, so I am unable to answer the phone when I'm currently with a patient. I try my best, but unfortunately, not everyone leaves a voice mail, and I miss that helping person that called.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
The first is to have an informative website and easy to use. My website is usually the first thing people look at before calling me. This took me a month to accomplish, but now it is my best marketing tool.
Secondly, be organized. If you are not organized, your clientele will know. It also makes your life a lot easier when you are busy. Falling behind because you can't find something or don't have the proper information to give a person can cause them to lose faith in you and believe you don't care about them.
Thirdly, be kind to everyone. When someone is rude to you, it's not usually about you. Listening to their concerns and offering to help really goes a long way. Plus, no one wants to go back to a business where they were treated poorly.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Acupuncture is not witchcraft, and I understand why people think it is. I personally thought it was at first. But I realized this after personally experiencing the benefits and researching the science behind how Acupuncture works on the body. In short, Acupuncture regulates the body's hormones, promotes circulation, puts someone in fight and flight into a rest and digest state, and initiates the body's natural healing process through the use of microtraumas (inserting an acupuncture needle).
Lastly, Acupuncture does not hurt. The needles are not like the needles your medical doctor uses; they are significantly thinner and smaller. Most people even fall asleep during an acupuncture treatment.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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