Stories and Articles
Acupuncture Express – Natalie Meehan
By the time Natalie Meehan (’14, management) was honored as a Future Rising Business Leader by SDSU’s College of Business Administration in the spring of 2013, she was already set to open a business with her mother and a family friend, who happened to be an acupuncturist.
The three of them embarked on a unique concept where acupuncture patients could purchase a monthly membership for $49.99 with additional monthly treatments available at $39.99. Since acupuncture is not covered by most medical insurance plans, the partners envisioned a way to allow patients to get treatments at a reasonable cost.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese medical practice that is growing in popularity in the U.S. as an alternative medical treatment. Patients are treated by inserting thin needles into various points on the body to treat a wide variety of medical issues such as pain treatment, weight loss and fertility stimulation.
" I always knew I wanted to start my own business and be my own boss." - Natalie Meehan
“I always knew I wanted to start my own business and be my own boss. Since my entrepreneurial mother was my role model, it never crossed my mind that I could work for someone else,” said Meehan. “But I wanted more than that – I also wanted to give back to the community as well. So I decided that for every membership sold, we should donate an equivalent membership to a cancer patient dealing with the pain of chemotherapy and that decision has made my work incredibly meaningful.”The three partners started their business thanks in part to the fact that they had the location, the necessary skill set and an existing group of patients to begin the practice. “My mother is a chiropractor who manages her own clinic and, since we were able to operate out of the same space, it allowed us to get started with very little overhead,” said Meehan. “She hit upon the idea of an acupuncture clinic that was membership-based, so we asked a family friend, who is an acupuncture practitioner with a devoted set of patients, to join us.”
But I wanted more than that – I also wanted to give back to the community as well.
The business has been so successful that the trio is now looking to expand their business model to the North County area of San Diego and they are currently looking for another acupuncture practitioner to join them.
And while Meehan has made her share of mistakes during the first year of the business, she has no regrets about co-founding her company at a young age (she recently turned 24). “My advice to SDSU’s student entrepreneurs is to start your business as soon as possible,” she said. “If you can’t start your company within two years, something in your business plan needs to change and as time goes on, you’ll lose your motivation and drive. You’ll make mistakes, but you can’t be an expert until you ‘Just Do It’ – Nike was really on to something with that slogan.”