Top Reasons Why Face-to-Face Networking is Essential

How many times have you spoken to someone via email and felt a personal disconnect? We live in technologically advanced, social media thriving world, where much of our communication has moved online. While there are many advantages to virtual communication (i.e., email, text message, chat, virtual meetings) including convenience, scalability and the possibility for automation, often times much of this communication is immensely impersonal. As healthcare providers, we understand the importance of developing and maintaining rapport with our clients, this is also true for networking and business relationships.

Today we are diving straight in and providing you with the top and most significant reasons why your face-to-face networking is essential now more than ever.

1. Your practice does not exist only online. You have a physical business which means it is mandatory to do some networking face-to-face.  This may be for marketing purposes, to obtain clients or interact with other business owners.  In person, networking allows you to pick when, where and how to connect with others.

2. It mitigates the danger of “physical disconnection.” One of the problems associated with communicating entirely online is the possible physical disconnection from your customer base. Without seeing you face-to-face, it can be hard for others to see you as an actual person. As a “faceless recipient,” meaningful connections cannot be established or maintained.

3 – Better supports non-verbal communication. Much of our communication is actually non-verbal, i.e., it comes from facial expressions, eye gaze, gestures, and tone of voice. Mood and the underlying meaning of the message can be harder to express and interpret through the written word.

4. Easier rapport building. We create and maintain rapport with someone through the subconscious matching or “Mirroring” of their non-verbal cues. I will not go into detail about Mirroring here, but it is something everyone one does (at least to some degree) subconsciously as part of non-verbal communication. Mirroring helps the listener feel accepted and triggers a sense of recognition and understanding, i.e., rapport. Rapport builds trust and empathy. People are more likely to go out of their way to aid those who they trust, and they will usually want them to succeed.

5. It is the most memorable way to network. People will not just remember what you said, but they will remember your face and the impression you made on them in person.

6. Facilitates the expression of passion and emotion. Conversations in person allow you to be original, authentic and to inspire.

7. You obtain feedback immediately. This is and will always be a plus and is pretty self-explanatory.

8. Message customization. Though immediate and ongoing feedback (verbal and non-verbal) you can customize your message to better suit your audience.

9. Expression of personality. You can show off your personality and brand more in person than through any other way.

10. You can build LASTING connections. When you network face-to-face, you’re able to connect more with people and create a much deeper long-lasting relationship.

Top Networking Opportunities For Private Practice Dietitians

Top Networking Opportunities For Private Practice Dietitians

As discussed in our previous blog, networking is vital to the success of any private practice or business in general. Today we will delve further into some of the networking opportunities that are available to nutrition professionals.

1 – Find Meetup Groups Focused on Business & Health

Meetup is an online platform that allows you to find, organize and join special interest groups and meetings that are run in your local community. Business development, networking and health, and wellness, specific groups are common. Joining Meet-up groups can be useful for meeting local people who can be potential clients or referral pathways.

2 – Join Practice & Interest Groups

If you are a member of  The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, you have the option of joining Dietetic Practice Groups and Membership Interest Groups. These groups specialize in specific areas of interest or practice, e.g., Integrative and Functional Medicine, Diabetes Care, Weight Management and Business. Joining such groups is a way of connecting with colleagues who share your interests as well as establishing yourself as an expert in your field. They often have special discussion boards, Facebook groups, and webinars which you can participate in. We especially recommend joining The Nutrition Entrepreneurs Dietetic Practice Group. They have a specific focus on private practice, business development, and entrepreneurship.

3 – Attend Conferences & Professional Development Events

There are many local, state or nationwide conferences you can attend for face-to-face networking. The National Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics annual conference – Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) is held in a different state each year. This 3-day conference has many various networking events to offer. If you are looking for something more local, each US state has their own affiliate state dietetic association which usually hold their annual conference and other meetings. There may also district dietetic associations and meetings find out more by clicking here.

4 – Participate in Facebook & Other Online Groups

Online groups such as those via Facebook are very popular. There are many dietitian specific groups which you can join. Kalix EMR has its own Facebook group, click here to join.

5 – Reach out to Others Health Professionals in Your Local Area

Reach out to other healthcare professionals in your area, e.g., primary care physicians, physical therapists, massage therapists, counselors/therapists. This type of networking can take many different formats some of our suggestions include:
  • Offer to supply food for the morning or afternoon coffee break in exchange for a 5-minute presentation
  • Bring around a snack or fruit basket for their front desk
  • Suggest to be an information resource for them when any nutrition-related questions come up
  • Ask to meet out of hours to go grab a bite to eat or drink
  • Hand-out Christmas gifts or end of year thank you gifts

The Importance of Networking & The Power it Holds

Networking is a form of communication, whether it be verbal or virtual, in which it allows you to promote and market yourself, your expertise in your specialty area, your brand, and your business. It also gives you the amazing ability to make connections, influence others and grow your clientele. Do you realize how powerful that is? This ability rests in your hands.

For those of you just starting out in private practice, networking can be particularly essential and beneficial for your business. Keep in mind that networking involves both the giving and receiving in favor of all parties involved.


Networking with others is so beneficial. It allows you to make connections with others, share information about your practice and meet people who can even help your practice potentially grow.

Below are some more of the many exciting benefits.

1 – Connections – You are able to connect with a variety of people who can theoretically build your brand and increase clientele.

2 – Self Esteem Building – Meeting new people and networking causes a huge boost in confidence which allows room for growth in the areas of presentation, public speaking and marketing skills even more.

3 – Promotion – You are able to promote your practice. This is advantageous in numerous ways.

4 – Ability to Share Useful Information – This is of immense significance to your practice as it provides you with the opportunity to develop your knowledge, share knowledge with others, and obtain other pertinent perspectives that may actually help you in your line of work.

5 – Credibility – You are able to build a reliable and reputable character which could lead to increased levels of potential support from others.

The ultimate goal of networking is to grow your business (brand) in every way, shape and form possible. Be sure to take a peek at next week’s blog as we discuss the top reasons why networking is best face-to-face!

10 Steps to Setting up a Thriving Nutrition Practice

Now that you’ve named your practice, what’s next?  This is where the challenging part begins.  There are several steps involved.

Step 1- Register Your Business

Depending on your selected business structure (read our blog for more info), you may need to file business registration.  We recommend consulting an accountant to obtain the right legal protocol to register your business lawfully.

A great site to refer to is LegalZoom.  They can take the stress off of you by handling any and all paperwork you need to file for a set fee.

The Best Business Structures For Private Nutrition Practices

Step 2 – Find a Practice Location

Traditionally, private nutrition practices have been purely physical office spaces. But things are changing! With the widespread availability of fast internet and the increased acceptance of telehealth (or virtual meetings) as a mode of communication, many practices are now partially or even wholly virtual. Kalix EMR offers you all of the software needed to run a virtual practice including HIPAA compliant virtual meeting platform, online forms, and paperwork, billing, appointment scheduling, secure messaging and more!

Additional options for appointment locations, (other than the traditional office space) include visiting clients at their homes (i.e., home visits) or public locations, e.g., local library, coffee shop, or even a grocery store.

Please note: when considering non-traditional appointment locations, special consideration must be given to patient privacy. Additionally, if you plan to offer insurance reimbursement, check with the insurance companies what appointment locations are covered. We will cover this topic in more detail in a future blog. 

If a physical office space is for you, we a few suggestions to keep costs down.

  • Find someone in a similar field as you. Offer to pay them a percentage of your profits to sublease a room in their space.
  • Some medical centers, fitness centers, and other professional offices offer shared office space that can be rented on by the hour, or by the day at a reasonable price.
  • Setting up a home office is the most affordable option. With special care and consideration, it could work well for you and your clients.

Step3 – Apply for an NPI number and EIN

A National Provider Identifier (NPI) and Employer Identification Number (EIN)  may or may not be required, depending on your business structure and where or not you decide to take insurance or offer superbills. Registration can be completed online and is free.  Click on the following links to apply EIN and NPI. 

Step 4 – Get Professional Indemnity & Liability Insurance

We recommend that you purchase Professional Indemnity & Liability Insurance. Depending on your business structure, you could be personally liable for your business financially and legally. If your practice is sued, without insurance, your house, savings, and other personal assets may be at risk. 

Step 5 – Obtain a Business Phone Number & Fax

If a phone number doesn’t come with your office location, its worth considering using a virtual phone system. Virtual Phone systems are very affordable to set-up, are flexible, and do not require the purchase of new equipment.

There are lots of companies out there offering these services. Make sure you choose one that is HIPAA compliant. We found Phone.com, RingRx, and RingCentral all provide secure HIPAA compliant VoIP phone systems. These systems allow you to purchase a local and/or toll-free numbers and have calls diverted to your computer, cell or home phone.

If you are looking for a HIPAA compliant fax number, Kalix offers dedicated local and toll-free fax numbers as an add-on to your subscription.

You may also wish to consider a virtual assistance or phone answering service.  We recommend Nutrition Practice Management who will work alongside Kalix EMR.

Step 6 – Build Your Practice Website

This is not as hard as it sounds! These days you don’t need to be able to code to build your own site. There are many website builder sites available that allow you to design a website quickly and easily, no experience required. You can choose a website design for a selection of premade templates. Templates can then be customized with a few clicks of the mouse. You can add or remove pages and choose graphics which represent your practice.

In most cases, this whole process can be accomplished in a single afternoon. Website builder sites are also very affordable, often offering free base subscription plans. Popular options include Wix, Squarespace and Weebly. For a review of various builders, we recommend the following site – The Best Website Builders.

For more information about setting up your website, please see our blog below:

Four Easy Steps to Setting-up a Website for Your Practice

Step 7 – Set-up Your Practice Email

Kalix’s Messaging functionality allows you to securely communicate with clients and contacts. Messages can be automated to remind and notify about upcoming appointments, as a reminder to pay outstanding bills, to collect client information via online forms and electronic paperwork), to communicate with other healthcare providers, as well a way to stay in contact with clients on an ongoing basis.

We also recommend setting up your own email address for general inquiries and other communications. Many people do not know this, but it is never a good idea to use general email domains, such as gmail.com and yahoo.com as your professional email address.  Instead, it is worth the time setting up your business email address using your own domain, e.g.  [yourname] @ [yourwebsite]. Having your own personalized email gives a great professional impression on potential clients and makes it easier for anyone to contact you.

You can set up your own personalized email address at the same time that you are creating your practice website. Your selected website builder platform will most likely have the option to purchase your own domain, e.g., nutritionpractice.com. Creating a domain specific email address is also often included as part of their subscription packages. Alternatively, you can set sent-up a professional email from your business web address with G Suite by Google.

Step 8 – Choose A HIPAA Compliant Email Provider

Next, you should choose a HIPAA compliant email provider. Your selected provider will be able to use your personalized email address. To read our recommendations for affordable HIPAA compliant email providers, please see our blog below.

How Choose to the Right HIPAA Compliant Email Provider For Your Private Practice

Step 9 – Create Business Cards and Other Promotional Material

Create and order professional business cards and other promotional materials, e.g. flyers.  The keyword here is professional.  Ensure you create promotional material that sets you apart from others in your field and stands out.  Some online sites that have excellent tools include VistaPrint and Moo.

Step 10 – File with ‘Google My Business’

We also recommend creating a listing for your business with Google My Business. It is free, and you get to decide how your private practice appears on Google Search and Maps. Your clients can also leave online reviews, and you can respond to them.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog as we discuss the importance of networking and the power it holds!

Tips for Naming Your Nutrition Practice

A name says so much.  It can have a positive or a negative impact on your business.  We live in a world where names carry much meaning, so it’s a good rule of thumb to consider various aspects of your practice before moving forward with the process of creating a business name.  Below are a few questions to consider beforehand:

1 – What URLs are available? – This is of significant importance because you will eventually need a practice website. You want to choose a name that reflects a website address that is currently not being used by another entity.

5 – Who is your ideal client? – Consider the types of people you plan to service, whether it be children, teenagers, young adults, pregnant women, the-3o-somethings, male desk jockeys, middle-aged women, the elderly…What type of names will appeal to the target group?

2 – Who are you as a dietitian/nutritionist? – Are you focusing on specific conditions e.g. diabetes, weight management, food sensitivities or more on a holistic aspect of nutrition? When analyzing this, consider asking yourself what type of approach you will be offering your clients.

3 – What is your practice model? -What will clients experience during your appointment sessions with them?

4 – What names feel really exciting to you? – Think of what intrigues you and what truly expresses the passion and enthusiasm you possess for your business.

Next, consider the fact that there are various types of practice names for you to choose from.  They include Location-Based, Specialty-Based, Name-Based, Personality-Based, and Process-Based.  Let’s delve into each to help you understand each and the least recommended of all 5.

  • Location-based: Can be based on your city or town (i.e. Southern Nutritionist LLC or Seattle Nutrition Company)
  • Specialty-based: Focused on a particular practice area of nutrition (i.e. Diabetes & At Risk Obesity Nutrition Healing Inc.)
  • Name-based: this is the least recommended type, as it may limit your ability to grow in the future and take on staff. You would not want to go through the entire process of rebranding yourself again after already being established. (i.e. Smith Nutrition Company)
  • Personality-based: Your name here would typically be something that is personally significant to you or perhaps a use of a metaphor. (i.e. Focused & Fearless Diet Free LLC)
  • Process-based: The focus here would be on a special process you use. (i.e. LEAP Nutrition Therapy)

No matter which name you decide, please keep in mind that your private practice is a complete reflection of who you are as a person.  It is your permanent brand.  It should reflect positive aspects of you and your business that will make potential clients curious about your services.

The Best Business Structures For Private Nutrition Practices

If you are starting your own private practice, there are many factors to consider; practice location, website setup, marketing strategies, referral pathways…A crucial piece of the puzzle (and the topic of this blog post) is business structure.

When examining business structures, you need to decide on what type will best fit your needs now, but also your requirements in the future as your practice grows. Each option has its own plus and minuses. Your decision will impact on how much tax you pay, the amount of required business paperwork and your personal liability. Let’s look at each business structure, and their legal and tax requirements.

Sole Proprietorships (or Sole Traders)

This is the easiest and cheapest type of business to set up. Sole proprietorships as the name suggests are owned by a single individual. This business structure is only an option for you if you’re ‘going it alone.’ As a sole trader, you don’t need to register your business with your state, and as the owner, you get all of the business profits. The biggest downside is that you’re personally liable for your business financially and legally. If your practice is sued, your house, savings, and other personal assets are at risk (professional indemnity & liability insurance can assist with this).

From a tax perspective, you report all business profits as personal income. Self-employment tax (calculated based on the net income of your practice) must also be paid.

Setup: the easiest (business does not require registration)

Employee identification number required: no

Your position: the business owner, not an employee

Special tax forms: none required

Financial & legal liability: you are personally liable, with your personal assets at risk

Profit: all business profits are personal income

Tax paid: personal income tax & self-employment tax


Partnerships are very similar to sole proprietorships, except they are run by two or more persons. If starting a practice with others, this business structure is worth considering.

When forming a partnership, a little bit of set-up is required. Your business may need to be registered with your state. You should also get a partnership agreement in place. The partnership business model stipulates all partners share the profits and control business operations. An agreement can assist in settling potential business conflicts and clearly define the responsibilities of all partners.

Like sole proprietorships, all owners have financial and legal liability for the business. If someone in your practice is sued* or something else goes wrong, all partners’ house, savings, and other personal assets are at risk (professional indemnity & liability insurance can assist with this).

As a partnership, your business itself doesn’t pay any tax. For informational purposes, you’ll still need to file a special form to the IRS, an annual Form 1065 (Return of Partnership Income). Each partner should also submit a Schedule K-1 to report their share of profits. Tax is paid based on what you and your business partners pay in personal income tax (and self-employment tax) from on your share of the profits.

Setup: easy – business registration may be required & partnership agreement developed

Employee identification number required: yes

Your position: a business owner, not an employee

Special tax forms: Form 1o65 and Schedule K-1 (informational purposes)

 Financial & legal liability: you and your partners are personally liable, with your personal assets are at risk

Profit: your share of business profits become personal income

Tax paid: personal income tax & self-employment tax

*The forming of a limited liability partnership (LLP) can “shield” you from liability for the acts of other partners or employees. An LLP is similar to a limited liability company (see below for details), but the LLP operates under partnership rules. Because LLP is a type of partnership, I do not discuss this structure as part of this blog.

Limited Liability Companies (LLC)

Limited liability companies structure provides liability protection for business owners. An LLC is formed by filing Articles of Organization. An LLC has its own assets and liabilities, separate from its owner/s. The business itself does not pay corporate taxes. Instead, you are taxed (as with a sole proprietorship or partnership) through your personal income from your share of the profits. You are still responsible for paying self-employment tax. If your LLC has other owners, it must file a Form 1065 (Return of Partnership Income) to the IRS for information purposes, along with a Schedule K-1. The business may need its own employer identification number (EIN).

Setup: medium easy – filing articles of organization with your state & development of a partnership/operating agreement (if there are other owners)

Employee identification number required: yes (if there                                  are other owners or employees)

Your position: a business owner (member), not an employee

Special tax forms: Form 1o65 and Schedule K-1 (if there other owners)

Financial & legal liability: no personal responsibility

Profit: your share of business profits become personal income

Tax paid: personal income tax & self-employment tax

Professional Limited Liability Companies (PLLC)

Some states do not allow professionals whose occupation requires a license, e.g., dietitians, to form LLCs. If this is the case, you can create a PLLC (professional limited liability company) instead. PLLCs are considered a type of LCC. Hence, I will not go into detail about their structure. PLLCs are formed by filing articles of organization and require that your registered dietitian status (along with all owners) to be verified before the PLLC filing is approved. All owners may be required to be licensed in the same profession.


Corporations are businesses set up as their own legal entity. They are owned by shareholders and require a board of directors. There are two different types of corporations C-Corporations and S-Corporations.


S corporations are similar to LLC, they have the liability protection but pay no corporate tax. As an owner, (called a shareholder) you are taxed through your own personal income from your share of the profits as well as through your wage. As an owner-worker, you considered an employee for tax purposes and will be required to pay yourself “reasonable” compensation, i.e., a salary before receiving profits. S-corps do not pay self-employment tax, but regular employment taxes apply to wages.

You can form an S-corp by filing a Form 2553 with the IRS and articles of incorporation with the state you operate in. An informational corporate tax return must be filed each year using the Form 1120S  (with a Schedule K-1 if there are multiple shareholders).

Setup: medium -filing of a Form 2553 signed by all the shareholder and articles of incorporation

Employee identification number required: yes

Your position: you are an employee and a shareholder

Special tax forms: Form 1120S and Schedule K-1

Financial & legal liability: no personal responsibility

Profit: your salary and share of the profits (after wages)

Tax paid: employee tax and personal income tax (wage & share of profit)


A C corporation pays its own taxes separately from its owners.  As an owner of a C-corp, you also pay taxes on your dividends from shares and employee wages. Setting up a C corporation is the most complicated and expensive of all the business structures. You are required to register your business name, file a certificate of incorporation, draft corporate bylaws and hold a board of director’s meeting. At tax time C-corps must file Form 1120 or Form 1120-A with the IRS. As a c-corp you may be double taxed. Business profits are taxed (corporate tax) and then taxed again when distributed to shareholders as dividends.

Setup: complicated -business name registration, filing a certificate of incorporation, drafting corporate bylaws and board of director’s meetings

Employee identification number required: yes

Your position: you employee, shareholder and board member

Special tax forms: Form 1120 

Financial & legal liability: no personal responsibility

Profit: your salary and shareholders as dividends

Tax paid: corporate tax, employer tax and personal income tax (wage & dividends)

If this article has helped you in any way, please let us know in the comment section.  We much appreciate your feedback.

Disclaimer: the content here is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest. It is neither intended to be comprehensive nor to constitute legal or financial advice.

Low Cost Marketing for Your Practice

When you are working to establish your practice’s presence online, it can be easy to assume the best way to promote your services is to use paid advertising on platforms like Facebook. But there are actually many different ways to market your practice for little cost.


Hosting a webinar is a free way to engage with your audience and establish yourself as an expert in your field.  While it doesn’t cost you anything to host a webinar, they can take time to plan and promote. The more appealing the topic you choose, the more engagement you’ll receive from potential clients. To host a webinar, you will need to spend time developing your content, will need to promote the webinar through social media and any email lists you have. You will also want to follow up with webinar attendees after the event. While this process can take some effort, the payoff can be significant.

Referral Program

For service-based businesses, it is very easy to create a simple referral system which gives incentives to clients who invite their friends to schedule an appointment as well. To do this, you can offer existing patients a percentage off of their next visit or free products. While this may cost your practice some income, you will take up for this with revenue from your new client.


One of the simplest ways to market your business is maintaining a regular blog on your website. Most blog posts are 350-500 words long and focus on topics you know will resonate with your audience. It may seem overwhelming to come up with content for this on a weekly basis but it is possible to write several posts at one time or to outsource this task to a virtual assistant. Having a consistent presence will show your investment in your practice and will also boost your website’s ranking with Google’s search engine.

These marketing tactics may take some time but they will pay off in free exposure for your practice. Do you have any low cost marketing techniques you’ve successfully used in your practice? We’d love to hear about them in the comments!

HIPAA Compliance For Private Practice Dietitians 101 (Part 1)

Most of us have at least heard the acronym HIPAA and probably are aware it is something to do with the security and privacy of patient information. But What is HIPAA? Are registered dietitians required to comply? What does HIPAA Compliance actually mean and what does it require?  What happens if I fail to meet HIPAA? 


Even though it is pronounced hip-pa, the National privacy and security act issued U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is called HIPAA. The acronym HIPAA standing for Health Information Portability and Accountability Act.

What is HIPAA?

When discussing any topic, I like to start with a definition. Definitions help to check that we’re all on the same page before progressing further.

Health Information Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) requires healthcare providers such as Registered Dietitians (covered entities) and their business associates (like Kalix) to establish and follow procedures and practices that ensure the confidentiality and security of Protected Health Information (PHI) when it is transferred , received, handled, or shared.

Covered Entities

HIPAA-covered entities include health plans, clearinghouses (process and submit claims), and certain health care providers (including RDs) who participate in the electronic exchange of healthcare information (e.g. claims, payments, remittance advice, referrals and encounter information) between two parties for financial or administrative activities related to healthcare.

Business Associates

Covered Entities often use third parties to provide certain health and business services. If these activities or services involve the use or disclosure of protected health information on behalf of a covered entity, the third party is considered a business associate.

Protected Health Information

Is any identifiable demographic and other information relating to the past, present, or future physical or mental health or condition of an individual. This includes information related to the provision or payment of health care services to an individual by a covered entity (health care provider, health plan, employer, or health care clearinghouse). PHI includes (but is not limited to): name, address, appointment dates and details, phone numbers, email addresses, SSN, insurance details, full face photos and any unique identifying number.

Why is HIPAA important?

HIPAA penalties for non-compliance are expensive. They can range from $100 to $50,000 per violation. A single violation due to willful neglect results in automatic $50,000 fine. The fines and charges are broken down by type as shown below.
Categories of Violations and Respective Penalty Amounts Available

Violation category—Section 1176(a)(1) Each violation All such violations of an identical provision in a calendar year
(A) Did Not Know $100-$50,000 $1,500,000
(B) Reasonable Cause $1,000-$50,000 $1,500,000
(C i) Willful Neglect-Corrected $10,000-$50,000 $1,500,000
(C ii) Willful Neglect-Not Corrected $50,000 $1,500,000

Below are the most common common compliance issues listed by Department of Health & Human Services.

  • Unlawful use and disclosure of protected health information
  • Lack of safeguards for protected health information
  • Lack of patient access to their protected health information
  • Use or disclosure of more than the minimum necessary protected health information
  • Lack of administrative safeguards of electronic protected health information.

Next Time

In Part two I will discuss your responsibilities as health care professions and how to run a HIPAA Compliant practice. I will hence explore the administrative, physical and technical safeguards needed to ensure the safe transmission and storage of protected health information.