In For your clients

How can you survive Covid-19?

It’s a pretty tough time at the moment, right? No doubt your clients are freaking out, people in your community are freaking out. And quite likely you are freaking out. You want to help people who need it. But there’s also that question of: Should I stay open? Not to mention: How are I going to cover the bills that keep on coming in?

Stay open or close?

There is a lot of controversy and arguments out there as to what we ‘should’ be doing. On one hand, as health care workers we have the ability to help people in these times of extreme distress. On the other hand, can we legitimately keep our clinic at the level of dis-infection required to keep our clients and us safe?

This is what we decided… 

On Monday this week, my colleague and I made the very difficult decision to close our doors until at least the end of April. Despite seriously ramping up our infection control procedures, we were not convinced this would be enough to stop an infection transmission occurring in our clinic. Particularly given the highly contagious aspect of the virus and its ability to survive on surfaces and in the air for long periods of time.

But isn’t it my job to…?

I get it. Your job is to help people with their health.  The idea of not being able to help those who need you at this critical time is a seemingly illogical, in some ways. Certainly, a challenge. At our clinic, we went through this brain-bender too. So, we got our heads together and developed some strategies to assist our clients as best we can under the circumstances. Below are some ideas we came up with….

How do you support your clients in other ways?

  • Online consults
    Because so many of our clients are out of work, we decided that to provide free 30-minute online/phone consults. During the consult we can provide self-care advice. We can also prescribe Chinese herbs via pickup, post or if the post stops home delivery. Any client who still has an income or has money to spend? We ask them to spend the equivalent of the consult fee at a local business who is struggling. We are all in this together. The more we work together and support each other the better  for the short and the long-term.
  • Check-in phone calls 
    As we have a lot more time on our hands, being able to check-in on our more vulnerable clients will help them feel less isolated and anxious. 
  • Facebook/Zoom/Skype group support 
    We are developing a plan to provide free regular online activities including meditation, stretching programs, exercise programs, cooking strategies and general selfcare.
  • Support to health care workers 
    Once the rest of our PPE (personal protective equipment) delivery arrives, we plan to run a regular free clinic for hospital staff. So many of our regular clients who work in the hospitals are showing signs of extreme anxiety and stress. They are our front line in this pandemic and under extreme pressure. We can help.

How can your business survive this?

  • Business plan 
    We are currently reviewing our practice business plan to look at ways we can kick start when the shut-down finally lifts. Marketing strategies, financial management and improving our service model.
  • Government Small Business Stimulus 
    There are a range of stimulus packages that have been released here in Australia and overseas. Our suggestion is NOT to try to navigate these yourselves, as you may not understand the process and miss out on what you are entitled to. Contact your accountant ASAP. Don’t have one? Get one. This is the time to get expert advice.
  • Paying Your Bills 
    There is also a range of bank support that is being offered by major institutions including no interest loans and loan repayment relief strategies. Your accountant will be able to advise you of these options.

Many are finding themselves under extreme financial stress right now. Fear around paying your rent, mortgage and bills is rampant. Just remember that the banks, landlords and service providers are in the same situation. They cannot afford to foreclose on your house or debt as this will reduce the value of these items meaning they definitely will not get their money back or be able to sell or re-lease them.

And lastly: Don’t forget to reach out to your practitioner community. You are all decent-hearted folk who came into this industry wanting to make a difference in the world. This is your chance to support each other and become leaders. Help our community come out of this crisis with greater love, compassion and respect. And, of course, better health.

Take care and big love to you all. 

Author: Jeff Shearer, Ethical Practice

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