With a dream of expanding her community acupuncture clinic, Tennessee native, Alexa Hulsey, opened her second location within the Greater Nashville area in the fall of 2019. Formerly known as East Nashville Community Acupuncture, Encircle Acupuncture adopts the community acupuncture model which charges patients on a sliding scale. With her dream set, Alexa worked with Pathway to plan and prepare her expansion.
Accessible Acupuncture and Accessible Resources
An acupuncturist since 2005 and a business owner since 2010, Alexa knew she wanted to expand her business but did not know how. “I started to feel overwhelmed and began to look for entrepreneur resources in Nashville and found Pathway. At Pathway, what I experienced is a community of people who want so badly for me to succeed. That is why they are there and why they exist.”
After opening her first location years ago, business grew quickly, and she knew she would have to hire more acupuncturists. Within the first 6 months, patients were already asking when she would open a second location in the area. Through keeping all profits in the business for future growth, Alexa was able to fund most of the expansion herself and only needed business support. As a great candidate for Pathway Women’s Business Center’s Ignite 360 Program, Alexa joined the mentor program in November of 2018.
Stick With It
A Pathway advisor worked with Alexa for three months before the program started to get her financials in order. Throughout the program, mentors worked with Alexa to develop a recruitment strategy to be intentional about outreach, develop a marketing strategy, and create an HR plan, among other deliverables. “We all were working for a goal of building something sustainable in Ignite 360.”
One of the significant takeaways for Alexa from Ignite 360 was the work and thought tailored to replication. With a plan to open a second location the following year, they worked to create a strategy that would be long term replicable for future growth and even more locations. After digging into demographic research to find the most suitable place for the second location, they chose East Nashville.
“The Ignite 360 program is for a very specific stage, but it was crucial for me to get to the next step. I do not know if I could have opened my second location without Ignite. There was someone always on my team that was an expert.”
Encircle Acupuncture had their grand opening for the Bellevue location in late 2019 with an updated name to reflect the expansion. “I think of branding for big corporations, but in reality, any business needs it” shared Alexa. “I had never looked at branding for my business before, I didn’t think I had to, but Ignite helped me realize that.” The updated name reflects a sense of belonging and community.
“People say that small business ownership can be lonely because there is no one else in your position. But you cannot, and should not, do this alone. Every good business owner and entrepreneur is supported by a team of people. Learn to trust that other people want you to succeed and are there to help. I would not be here, talking about my expansion, if I had not sought out help. It takes a village and I’m so glad Pathway is a part of my village.”
With two successful locations, Encircle Acupuncture still has plans for growth in the future. As a Memphis native, Alexa would love to have a location in West Tennessee and provide quality acupuncture at an affordable price across the region and country.
Check out Pathway WBC’s workshops to grow your business and get connected with a mentor.