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

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.

Using Technology to Manage Your Practice Part 2

This post is by Claire Nichols co-founder and director of Kalix EMR and practice management solution. Claire is an Accredited Practising Dietitian, who has previously worked in private practice as well as clinical dietetics.

This is part 2 in a series of blogs that explore the ins and outs of using technology in private practice setting. It is based my experience working in private practice, as well as the lessons learned while starting my own business, Kalix.

What solutions are there out there?

During this post, I will look at example solutions that can assist with the management of a private practice. I am a bit hesitant about listing actual product names, but you have requested it… so I will…

But first a short disclaimer; I am not associated with any of the solutions listed (except for Kalix that is). This post is not meant to be a complete list. It just contains options I like.  If you are looking to implementing a new technology or solution, investigate and evaluate the different options available first. See my previous blog for things to consider.

Solutions to management your practice

Practice management solutions & electronic medical records

Practice management solutions assist with the management of the day-to-day tasks and operations a private practice.

How they can help:

  • Securely manage and store of sensitive health information
  • Meet government security and privacy requirements (e.g. HIPAA, HITECH, Australian Privacy Principles)
  • Increase the efficiency of client scheduling
  • Automate client appointment reminders to save time and reduce no shows
  • Streamline client, referral and contact management
  • Improve the consistency and efficiency of medical note documentation
  • Simplify invoicing, billing & payments

Example Solutions


Kalix is a HIPAA compliant, cloud-based EMR and practice management solution for diettians and allied health professionals. It has range of features including scheduling, automated reminders, client management, electronic documentation, configurable templates, billing and payments.


 Accounting software

Accounting software are applications that record and manage accounting transactions, invoicing, bank reconciliation bookkeeping and other functionality.

How they can help:

  • Automate data input
  • Instant production of powerful financial and management reports
  • Simplify cash flow management and budgeting

Example Solutions

  • Quickbooks
  • Xero

Social media management

There is more to social media than sharing selfies, baby photos and videos of cute kittens. Social media is almost considered an essential marketing and advertising tool for private practices. if used properly, it can help you to:

  • Connect with new clients and markets
  • Engage and maintain lasting relationships with current clients
  • Re-engage previous clients
  • Establish your expertise and authority in your area of practice
  • Create connections with other health professionals e.g. for referral sources, partnerships and collaborations.

The key phase here is “if used properly”… just participating in social media does not guarantee any of the above.  Social media can easily turn into a time consuming, ineffective and even expensive (if using paid ads) exercise…but the purpose of this blog isn’t to discuss the pros and cons of using social media… or how to achieve success in social media…Technology can help you to achieve success and make your efforts more efficient and effective.

How they can help:

  • Reduce the time required to manage social media accounts by:
      1. Publishing posts to all your social networks at once
      2. Suggesting content for posts
      3. Scheduling posts ahead of time
  • Analyse the effectiveness of your campaigns
  • Monitor your accounts for comments, mentions and reviews of your business

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Example solutions:


Schedules posts in advance for Tweets, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. Post to all medium simultaneously. Monitor conversations and engagement. Free plan.


Very similar to Hootesuite, but shares posts to different social media sthrough the day rather than all at once.

Post Planner

Suggests relevant “trending” content and images for Facebook posts. Provides status updates ideas. Schedules Facebook posts ahead of time.


Management tool for Twitter. Allows the management of multiple accounts in one interface. Schedules Tweets in advance. Tracks specified topics, hashtags and sends alerts. Allows the filtering of your feed.

Twitter Analytics

An analytics tool to see info about how many users are viewing and interacting with your tweet.

Email Marketing

Solutions to send bulk email messages to a subscriber list, they are often used to send electronic newsletters and special offers.

Note: despite being a widely used practice, in many countries, it is illegal to send direct email marketing messages without prior consent (Australia – Spam Act 2003, Canada – CASL, and Europe- EU Opt-In Directive). The United States is an exception to this.

How they can help:

  • Bulk sending of emails
  • Provide easy to use email templates
  • Assistance with spam considerations
  • Management of lead development
  • Tracking of email campaign performance


Email marketing service to send email newsletters, manage subscriber lists, and track campaign performance. Free plan.

Constant Control 

An alternative to Mailchimp, similar functionality.

Web development and hosting services

How they can help:

  • Design your own website without coding
  • Inexpensive compared to hiring a software developer
  •  Ability to edit, modify and update your own website content
  • Includes Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Personalize your domain name and email

Wix https://www.wix.com/

This web development platform allows users to design their own website using templates and drag and drop tools (it’s really easy to use). Websites are mobile friendly, come with search engine optimization (SEO), social plug-ins (links in with social media accounts), e-commerce (online stores), contact forms, blogs and community forums.

Wix offers free website hosting. You can also purchase your own personalized domain name through Wix (a personalized web address e.g. www.mypracticename.com).  Wix is also partnered with Google to provide personalized email (e.g. name@mypracticename.com) via Google Apps.

Wix has everything you need to set up a website, blog, email address, community forum and even e-commerce (online store). Other options out there include:

Crazy Domains

Internet domain registrar and web and email hosting company. Use to register your personalized domain and email address. Can purchase .com.au and .net.au addresses, which are not available though Wix.


An e-commerce platform to create online stores.

Google Apps for Business

Provides email (Gmail), online storage (Google Drive), online calendars (Google calendar) and other tools.

An advantage of choosing Google (for those who live in the USA) is HIPAA compliance. You must sign a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) with Google, for HIPAA compliance to apply to you. BAAs are only offered to Google App customers with an administrator account click here  for  details.

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File Hosting Services

Allows access to files and documents over the internet from different computers, tablets and smart phones.

Unfortunately, many regular file hosting services (e.g. Dropbox, iCloud), do not have the level of security required to meet the health information security and privacy requirements (e.g. HITECH and HIPAA). For this reason, Kalix offers free unlimited file storage. Store unlimited documents against client files, as well as generally against your Kalix account e.g. for client handouts, marketing material.


Well, that’s about all for now…I hope you find this info useful. Remember, if you are looking at implementing a new technology or solution, investigate and evaluate the different options available first.

The clever use of technology can make the difference between having an effective and profitable practice and running one that isn’t… Technology can assist a practice to become more efficient, through automation and the removal of unprofitable and wasted time. But, use technology smartly.

Using Technology to Manage Your Practice Part 1

This post is by Claire Nichols co-founder and director of Kalix EMR and practice management solution. Claire is an Accredited Practising Dietitian, who has previously worked in private practice as well as clinical dietetics. 

Hi everyone, this is part 1  in a series of blogs that explore the ins and outs of using technology in private practice setting.  It is based my experience working in private practice, as well as the lessons learned while starting my own business, Kalix. I do not come from a business background, nor a computing background. Starting Kalix was quite a steep learning curve for me, but overall rewarding experience. I hope you find this post useful.

Private Practice today

Starting a business like a private practice, making it profitable, and then ensuring it remains profitable can be hard, really hard.

It’s a lot of long hours of work and persistence, lots of persistence.

Keeping up with finances, admin, marketing and advertising, and not to mention staying up to date with the latest in your area of practice…well, it’s not a 9-to-5 job, that’s for sure.

But if you achieve success, the rewards are great. You have the freedom to be innovative and creativity, building something that is your very own. You can set your own work schedule and of course the chance to be your own boss!

Some of the duties and responsibilities when running a private practice

Some of the duties when running a private practice

The image above demonstrates some of the duties and responsibilities when running a successful practice.

Even though the completion of these tasks is essential, none of them directly generate revenue.

Many of them are also very repetitive, e.g., admin tasks. And some can be beyond our training as health professionals e.g., legal, accounting tasks, marketing. The time it takes to complete these tasks, actually takes away from time that could be better spent seeing clients and generating money. Therefore, practically speaking, the time you spend completing on these tasks is actually losing you money.

So the question is can technology help?

Can technology help?

The answer is obviously yes.

Technology can help us to work smarter, and more efficiently, avoiding duplication, and wasted time. And we use technology in this way every day. For example, think of PCs, smartphones and global positioning systems (GPS). I don’t know how I could run a business without my smartphone or PC, I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this blog for one. And my GPS has saved me countless hours. I use it to find the quickest route when driving anywhere and now I no longer need to look at maps or ask for directions.

Likewise, technology can be used in a private practice setting to improve the efficiency of these non-profitable (but essential) tasks and even automate them, i.e., make them happen automatically without any effort on your part.

You can think of using technology as essentially partnering with experts in a particular area that you lack experience in, e.g., by using Mail Chimp you are accessing their 13 years of experience in an email marketing or by using a practice management program, you are utilizing their expertise in security and data management.

The other side

On the other side of this discussion, I should also mention that it is essential to choose technology smartly. I like this quote by Bill Gates:

“The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency. The second is that automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.”

You do not want to use technology, whether it is the latest mobile device or cloud-based software solution, just because it is new or ‘trendy’. You need to examine the tasks you are looking at improving, whether it’s emailing marketing or scheduling clients’ appointments and consider whether the solution will actually make a difference. For example, if I only drive around my local area and I know my local area quite well, then purchasing a GPS may not be a prudent investment.

Things to consider:

What are the current costs for completing the task e.g. monetary value of time lost, the wages of admin staff, equipment costs? What are the initial costs for investing in this new technology or solution? What are the ongoing costs? The costs of the new technology or solution should not be higher than what you are currently spending.

Why are you looking to adopt this new technology or solution? Do you want to complete a task faster? Are you looking to automate a job that takes up a lot of time? Are you seeking more consistency in how the task performed? You should have a clear understanding of the problem that you’re experiencing. You need to make sure that the technology or solution will solve your problem.

Finally, you need to consider the “human” element. How will your clients respond to this new technology, if you are looking to automate a task that was previously completed by humans, how will this make a difference?


The clever use of technology can make the difference between having a productive and profitable practice and running one that isn’t…Technology can assist a practice to become more efficient, through automation and the removal of unprofitable and wasted time. But remember, use technology smartly.

“The number one benefit of information technology is that it empowers people to do what they want to do. It lets people be creative. It lets people be productive. It lets people learn things they didn’t think they could learn before, and so in a sense it is all about potential.” Steve Ballmer

That’s all for now. In part 2, I will discuss actual examples of technology which may help you run a more organized & productive practice.