How Flexible is Your Practice?

by Nicole Hodson, Executive Director, NANP

We all know we’re living through a unique time in history. Never have entire states and nations been in lockdown over a pandemic, resulting in massive hits to local and worldwide economies. For so many who were already living paycheck to paycheck (or client to client) times just became that much harder. With long range impacts completely unknown, I want you to know that if you’re feeling helpless and hopeless about the future, you’re not alone.

But, let me offer up one piece of advice – be flexible.

It may seem simplistic to say, but your practice’s ability to be agile at a time like this is critical to its survival.

A short story…

Many years ago, I saw something on TV that seemed absurd. A man was being interviewed on a talk show about his recent experience during a terrible tornado. He lived in a trailer which had been picked up and hurled about a mile away. The man had sustained only minor cuts and bruises with no significant injuries at all.

“C’mon,” I thought. “How is that possible? A mile and no injuries?!” Then he said that he’d been passed out cold during the twister (no, I’m not suggesting we all get inebriated). His doctor confirmed that due to his “condition” at the time of the tornado, his body was completely flexible and therefore it didn’t resist by tightening or clenching against being jostled, slammed, flung, and dropped. The physician explained that the man’s utter state of relaxation and looseness allowed him to essentially roll with the punches.

Think of your business as the trailer in this story and you as the man. Only by being nimble will your business survive. The same is true for many businesses.

Take the NANP for example; the pandemic and subsequent shelter-in-place-orders made it impossible for us to host our annual conference HEALCon in person. So, we pivoted to an online offering. We haven’t fully avoided losses that come with this kind of change to our normal format, but we are at least able to provide the educational experience (and some fun!) instead of canceling altogether.

Now let’s talk about your nutrition business. How can you position your practice to help your clients weather this storm? What can you teach them while they’re hunkered down at home, unable to eat out at restaurants, and perhaps with extra time on their hands? The answer: help them recognize this time as an amazing opportunity to make changes for which they otherwise wouldn’t have the time or bandwidth.

This is a great chance for holistic nutrition professionals to shine by demonstrating how whole foods nutrition can boost immunity and even save money at the grocery store (a bag of beans is much cheaper than a bag of chips, after all!). Show off what you know by providing immune-boosting recipes, hosting live online cooking demonstrations, teaching pantry clean up, encouraging them to make good use of this time by getting more exercise… you get the picture.

It would be easy to sit back and let the pandemic control the future. But that won’t help you or your clients. Now is the time to be agile and creative, because now is the time when your clients need you the most, whether they know it or not. And it’s up to you to figure out how to explain your value to them.

Like the man in the story, we’re all being jostled, slammed, and flung about during this pandemic. Be the calm in the storm. Do what you know. Teach people how to eat better and take better care of themselves. It’s what you do, and it’s so needed right now. 

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