BioPractica and Emma Sutherland from Studio You, shared their insights into specialising, what it means and how to do it

High Job Satisfaction, More Security

According to SEEK, naturopaths and nutritionists have high levels of job satisfaction, work-life balance and variety of work. BUT this is offset with challenges in adequate income, job security and career progression. So, will specialising help to give you more money, security and career progression?

The Advantages of Specialising

Knowing a lot about a lot is harder than knowing a lot about a little! A practitioner with a specialty is often viewed as an authority which can give you potential to charge more. People have faith that you know what you are talking about. You also become a bigger fish in a smaller pond and as a result less businesses can compete with you. If your potential client is searching for your niche, then it’s a case of round peg in a round hole and it’s an easy fit. You may have better networking and joint venture opportunities if you have a speciality, as you can “be the expert” to other people’s network. If you love what you do, specialising can be highly rewarding and give a lot of job satisfaction.

The Disadvantages of Specialising

If you don’t keep up with relevant research you risk becoming outdated. If you chose to specialise in a popular topic then your speciality may become obsolete as times change, this can be an issue! There is potential for boredom as doing the same thing all day may diminish your passion for the one topic. If a potential client doesn’t fit your speciality, they may believe you can’t help them. For example, you may specialise in female hormones, and any potential male clients automatically decide they can’t work with you. Lastly, finding staff is harder as they must also have your expertise and passion.

What Do You Specialise In?

The first place to look is yourself – what have you personally experienced with your health? What has impacted you in your life (e.g. do you have a parent with a chronic condition?). Think about what lights you up, and makes you feel positive. Who are the clients you’ve done your very best work for, who you’ve got the best results for, who you’ve really enjoyed working for, who has been profitable to work with? This will provide valuable insights into areas you may consider specialising in.

Types of Specialising

  • Vertical specialisation – you focus on a particular kind of client

(e.g. busy mums, athletes).

  • Horizontal specialisation – you focus on a particular problem

(e.g. insulin resistance, weight loss).

How Do You Specialise?

Find a mentor and learn from them as you can fast track your learning curve. Always look for opportunities to upskill by doing courses and extra training. Search for complementary businesses where you can create strategic alliances. For example:

  • If you specialise in weight, find a PT; or
  • If you specialise in fertility, find an acupuncturist.

Fun Fact for the Readers: Tell us who inspires you / or who your professional idol is and why?

Walt Disney himself inspires me. He went through so much to make it and could have given up so many times, but he always kept working towards his dream! Never stop chasing your dreams!


“See a need, fill a need” – (Robots, 2005) and this is exactly why SimpleClinic came to fruition. There was a need in the natural medicine industry that was not being filled and I personally have experienced the frustrations of trying to streamline my processes in clinic.

BioPractica and Emma Sutherland from Studio You, shared their insights into specialising, what it means and how to do it.

Why Focus on Patient Retention?

The easiest way to increase revenue in your business is to keep your current clients active. Research clearly shows it is far more expensive, both in time and dollars, to secure a new customer. Think of it like this – your current client are hot leads, they already know you and trust you, so they are highly likely to repeat purchase from you. But a new client is only a warm lead – they know enough about you to make an appointment but not enough to trust you and refer other people.

Why Do Patients Drop Off?

  • Not feeling cared for or special
  • Your services are too expensive
  • Your protocol is far too complex
  • They are totally overwhelmed with information
  • Your directions not clear enough
  • They don’t feel you are positive or competent
  • They are kept waiting longer than 10 minutes
  • There is a lack of a collaborative approach
  • Their goals are not identified
  • They are talked to, not with
  • They are unsure what to do

– you didn’t write it down for them

The Art of Value

When patients feel a sense of value they are more likely to stay, pay and refer, which means they become your raving fans. Always give more value at every turn and deliver more than expected. Patient relationships are what keeps the patient coming back so aim to work out what makes your clients feel a sense of value. Is it the email you sent with a research paper on their health condition? Was it the fact you remembered their children’s names and asked after them?

How will patients know they are getting value from you? Are your goals well outlined and clear? For example: in three month’s time I expect your periods to be 50% less painful that what they are now. Having clear benchmarks will allow both you and your patient to assess their progress and their sense of value. It is very common for patients to forget how unwell they were, so always keep detailed notes of their progress.

How to Easily Increase Patient Retention

When you are finishing up an appointment with a patient, always rebook them. It is best to do this in a way that is conducive to a positive outcome. Ask “So what time on the 16th or 17th of next month works for you?” Instead of “When would you like to rebook?” If a patient does cancel their upcoming appointment, do you have a recall process in place? Or does your patient disappear without you noticing for months? Use SMS and emails to contact any drop offs and rebook them within 7 days of their cancellation.

BioPractica are a sponsor of the Transition to Practice Seminar: From the classroom to the clinic.