June 28, 2013   Posted by: sagepage

Discussion Notes from Financial Roundtable with Molly Dunn on 6/27

After graduation, many students of Traditional Chinese Medicine, body therapy, massage, talk therapy and other health and healing modalities find themselves in the precarious position of entrepreneur and small business owner. With little preparation during school, this new identify often comes with unforseen stressors and challenges. In an attempt to create a community of support for students and new health care and healing practitioners, Sage Community Health Collective is hosting a series of Financial Roundtables. Below are the discussion notes from our very first one! We look forward to continuing this very important conversation!

If you have questions or want elaboration on any of the points, feel free to email Sage at sagecommunityhealth [at] gmail [dot] com.

The next Financial Roundtable with Molly Dunn is scheduled at Sage for September 27th at Noon. For details, check out our calendar of events!

Discussion notes:

  •  Small businesses and Institutions are mediums by which we should add value to each other’s lives
  • Institutions should serve the small business owner and not the other way around
  • Shape your business to fit your needs, if you know what those are
  • Small businesses have the authority to create a business around their values and goals
  • Use small business tools to your own ends
  • ID the conflicts within yourself that create guilt around achieving your goals, dreams, visions, etc.
  • Notice where you apologize for certain aspects of your business.
  • Notice your business habits and try not to judge them or apologize for them.
  • A small business habit that you have and that you may be ashamed of MAY actually be a best practice!
  • Investigate the aspects of your business that you are ashamed about…what is the strength there? What is the resilience there?
  • If you are competent and not communicating well about what you are doing, your clients will not return. This is called Informational Asymmetry where you hold the clarity and information about what you do, why you do it, etc, but that is not being transmitted to the patient/client.
  • Trust builds when there is greater Info Symmetry.
  • Ask: how do people understand what you do and your competence?
  • How do you evaluate yourself?
  • “Don’t hire a$$holes!” and try not be one ;)
  • Set a target audience. What segment of the population are you trying to serve?
  • Where do you want to go and how will you know when you have “gotten there?” with your practice?
  • Create solid goals out of the amorphous visions…create something you can measure yourself against.
  • Goal setting 1: Set a goal that you think you can become comfortable with and that allays your anxiety.
  • Goal setting 2: Set a series of small benchmarks on the way to that major goal.
  • The idea of setting goals when it comes to target pop can be applied to other areas of your business.
  • Set aspirational personal goals – how much do you want to be making in order for it to not feel like a sacrifice?
  • Ask: what is the cost to you in running the business as it is being run now?
  • Ask: How much do you want to do this? How many hours?
  • Ask: How much do you want to make?
  • Try to set those goals 2 years out.
  • Once you have your goals set, ID what tools you need in order to build that business? Financial planning, marketing, etc.
  • The only way to mess up the process of goal setting is to not be honest with yourself. You have the power to make those goals.
  • The thing that brings someone in the door may not be what keeps them there…
  • Exercise: What is the decision path when people start thinking about coming to you? What is the path from their thought of coming to you to the moment they come to see you.
  • Look at those distinct moments as a way of informing the way you talk about referrals and think about referrals and the way you think about word of mouth and the way you think about welcoming a patient/client.
  • Exercise: Segmenting the market: who is most likely to come for your service? If female bodied, female IDed, then focus on that segment and other segments that you want to reach out to.
  • How do you minimize this feeling in the client/patient: “I got what I paid for but I still feel cheated”?
  • Understanding your own business cycle – what is the shape of your business revenue and rate – lumpy, etc? What are ways that you can plan ahead for the lumpiness or irregularities?
  • Make your goals realistic and have realistic expectations!
  • When seeking new clients, how do they come to experience you, not just meet you or learn your name and what services you provide?
  • When you are working in a field that is new to the mainstream or unknown to many people, you have to communicate what you are doing well and education is a huge part of that.
  • ETDBW: Easy To Do Business With – be that!


It is helpful to create and flesh out the following Ven Diagram for your practice: What you do, what you think you do, and what your client/patient thinks you do


About Molly Dunn

Molly Dunn is a small business consultant born and raised in Chicago. She’s worn a paper hat, slinging quesadillas at the Taste of Chicago, taught HIV prevention in Tanzania, covered health policy for Senator Durbin in Washington DC, and helped overhaul the health and education benefits of the National Guard Bureau during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. After earning an MBA from Oxford University focusing on Social Entrepreneurship,Molly spent two years working for the United States Agency for International Development, personally engaging in bilateral negotiations with the government of Tanzania, and focusing on topics as diverse as economic growth, human trafficking, maternal health, and atrocity prevention.

A lifelong student of Dr. Paul Farmer, Molly has a passion for leveling inequalities of wealth and power, especially through access to expert care. Her most treasured occupation was being the caretaker for her grandmother as she suffered pancreatic cancer.
Desperately glad to be back in Chicago, Molly strongly believes that entrepreneurs do better, both personally and professionally, when they treat their business as an expression of their values. And she loves helping them get there.
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