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Creating a Community with Relatability and Reliability When it comes to addiction and mental health counseling, the responsibilities go far beyond running a successful business.

By Emily Washcovick

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Wholeview Wellness

Behind the Review host and Yelp's Small Business Expert, Emily Washcovick, shares a look at this week's episode of the podcast.

Business owners have enormous responsibilities and are constantly navigating challenging situations. But when it comes to addiction and mental health counseling, the responsibilities go far beyond just running a successful business. Dr. Sarah Church founded Wholeview Wellness in New York City because she felt there was a need not being met in the therapeutic community. She felt a responsibility to bring a different perspective and research-based approach to those seeking counsel, and her determination and passion can be used as a model for any entrepreneur looking to start out on their own.

This week's Yelp reviewer, Glori M., was kind enough to share her experience—one that many will be able to relate to. She wasn't sure what to expect at first, but after experiencing Dr. Church's calm and kind demeanor, Glori felt a sense of trust that in turn made her feel comfortable sharing. And though it started with hesitation and nervousness, her experience turned into a 5-star review.

Dr. Church's attention to the "customer experience" is critical, and it's important to note that the success of her wellness program didn't happen overnight. Wholeview Wellness is a culmination of her entire career, spanning multiple industries where she picked up useful tools along the way—from researching at Yale, to participating in pre-doctoral programs focused on addiction, to conducting investment research. She experienced an array of different roles and realized the job she wanted simply didn't exist—she would have to create it for herself.

The work doesn't stop there though. Once Dr. Church's company was up and running, there were still many challenges she faced. As a society, we may have come a long way when it comes to mental health, but a stigma still exists around addiction and treatment. The onus is on every single one of us to break that down, but especially for people who work in the field. For Dr. Church, it's about creating a community where people can talk openly and honestly about what they are working through. Not all industries may face these particular stigmas, but think about how you can leverage community to overcome any challenges you're dealing with. It can be an incredibly powerful way to achieve success.

This week, we dive into the different approaches to therapy and how they benefit clients. We also learn general business tactics from how Dr. Church runs her business. Here are a few of the key takeaways:

  • Reliable communication. For Dr. Church, it's not just about communicating openly, it's about being reliable. She knows the importance of picking up the phone, of being there when someone calls. Think about your communication strategy and how consistent your lines of communication are with your customers.

  • Learn to relate to your clients. Dr. Church finds ways to relate to her clients and learn about the personal experiences that may impact their mental health, addiction, or other things. No matter what industry you're in, relating to your consumers will help your business. It creates a connection with them that can foster loyalty and a stronger relationship moving forward.

  • Create a community. In every business, there is a chance to insert yourself into or create a community. Whether you're a landscaper, a therapist, or a cafe owner, your community is essential to the success of your business. You need to understand your place in that group and how you can make a positive impact. Thinking beyond the individual transaction will help you cultivate a larger and more meaningful customer base.

During Mental Health Awareness Month and always, it's so important to acknowledge how vital places like Wholeview Wellness are, and we're grateful to people like Dr. Church for putting in the work she does and to Glori for sharing her story.

Listen to the episode below to hear directly from Dr. Church and Glori, and subscribe to Behind the Review for more from new business owners and reviewers every Thursday.

Emily Washcovick

Small Business Expert at Yelp

As Yelp’s Small Business Expert, Emily is meticulously focused on helping local business owners succeed and grow. Her expertise lies in customer engagement, reputation management, and all things digital marketing. Through speaking engagements and thought leadership, Emily shares industry insights that entrepreneurs in any business category can leverage for the growth and well-being of their businesses. She is also the host of Behind the Review, a podcast from Yelp and Entrepreneur Media, where each episode features conversations with a business owner and a reviewer about the story and lessons behind their interactions.

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