As you may or may not know, my Mom is the original Boss Lady in my life
(besides her Mom, my Grams — of course!)
My Mom, Dr. Ann Auburn, is a Family Practice Doctor as well as a Doctor of Osteopathy (having to do with bones, joints and muscles). At her practice they focus on finding the root cause of health problems and help fix them with a holistic approach – more of what the world needs these days! Eight years ago she started The Natural Health Improvement Center in Grandville, Michigan and it’s a pretty phenomenal place. Every time I go back home and stop into the clinic I hear stories from her patients about how she saved their lives and how much she helped them. It’s pretty special and I’m very proud of the work she does.
Below is an interview with Dr. Auburn herself about wellness and of course business advice — enjoy!
1. What motivated you to go into the health and wellness field?
Mostly my love of people and teaching people how to feel better and achieve happier and healthier lives lasting into their golden years! Also, I saw so many problems with the over-prescribing of medications that I wanted to find a better way to help people and use the medicines as a last resort. In addition, I’ve had my own struggles with sinus issues and a healthier diet and an individualized supplement program, plus osteopathic manual medicine and acupuncture have really helped me with that. I’ll never forget visiting a chiropractor recommended by a friend who recommended a gluten free, sugar free and dairy free diet, that gave me relief from almost constant sinus headaches for 2 weeks, something I hadn’t experienced in 5-6 years!! And let me tell you, these sinus headaches were whoppers; like migraines,…yuck! It’s so wonderful to have these under control, instead of the headaches controlling me!
2. What did you wish you knew before starting your business?
I wish I had been able to get a more realistic prediction of all of the business expenses and the return on investment. I started with a huge wish list of what I wanted to have and do at my clinic and some of those things took a long time to pay off and probably should have been added later, as we expanded. Now we have policies on how we look at new additions to the business and one of them is return on investment, plus, we basically have a checklist to research anything new I want to add, so a more objective decision can be made before jumping in without enough information. Overall though, I have to say, the passion that created my clinic carried us through, and it all turned out just fine. This continues to be one of our number one driving forces today. Passion is what makes it fun, and not just work!
3. What are your top three vital points that you have to have in as a leader to run a successful business?
Well, as I said, number one is passion, Number two is love for others; including staff and customers. Number 3, be able to admit when you screwed up and do your best to make it right, plus put in policy to prevent it from happening again. And, if I could, add a number 4, have a policy manual and write ups for all of the positions in your business. This has helped us stay organized and sane, and we modify and re-write them as needed. These are also a great teaching tool and help us to implement our “Hat, don’t hit” policy, which means if someone makes a mistake, we try to teach, rather than punish, that way we all learn and become better people.
4. Any advice to someone who wants to start their own business?
Write all of your ideas down as far in advance as you can. I kept a running, typed list of everything I wanted and an approximate time line, in an outline form. Everything from services, staff, equipment, decor, suppliers, educational handouts/lectures/newsletters, and other PR and Marketing ideas and projected income, and it helped me solidify my vision and make it come true. I even wrote down what I wanted at the beginning and predicted out 5 years what I wanted. Every year, I make a new list, so we can continue to grow and serve our clients to the best of our abilities. It has always been so fun to look back on my list and see what we’ve actually done, and most of it has come true!!
5. What is your proudest moment since starting the Natural Health Improvement Center?
Every time I hear a patient say, “Thank you so much for listening to me!” or “I feel so much better!” or “Your staff is so wonderful.”, I get such a kick out of that! Honestly, that really is what I live for; helping others and seeing them smile and feel better. I also love having a great staff that’s like my second family and loves what they do and conveys my passion and love, and they really do!! The other thing that was so great for me, was getting to that 5 year mark in the business. That was when a lot of the debt was paid and I could see the future of being able to help more people and do more for expanding and improving integrative medicine.
Anything else you would like to say? We’re all ears!
Thanks for having me share my story!
~ Dr. Ann Auburn, D.O., Natural Health Improvement Center Founder
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