Surviving Financial Despair, Employee Theft, and 2020

Feeling worried or anxious is a natural response to stress, particularly if there are a lot of things going on in your life.

While there have been many bumps in Nancy’s career, including financial insecurity and employee strain, Nancy looks back on her life with pride.

During her career, she has learned many lessons and continues to reflect on them each day, grateful that she gets the chance to change people’s lives in the same way as her own.

That’s why, among many other reasons, Nancy always has a full planner of patients, and Duncan Hearing Healthcare continues to be recognized as the region’s leading provider, with their clinic growing year after year.

“I am able to support my family in the lifestyle I always dreamed I wanted to, and my once 2-year-old little boy is now finishing his freshman year of high school. Oh, what an adventure it has been so far, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me next.”

Nancy’s roots run deep to the Southcoast, where she establishes a special connection to the community where she practices. Many patients come to Nancy with a problem, and they stay partners for life.

It’s a gift to be able to have that effect on people and is essential for forming lasting relationships.

So, how did Nancy Duncan manage to build a strong-running reputation in the area


A Lot Of Hard Work

When an audiologist visited her one day in class, her passion for audiology grew, and it wasn’t long until she was taking an internship with the same provider, keen to learn more about hearing.

However, like many others, the journey to opening up a hearing healthcare clinic was by no means easy, as she was denied a business loan twice, dealt with employee theft, and juggled five roles at once.

Nancy, being who she is, didn’t give up and often spent her time ringing up providers asking for work experience.

The first couple of years of business were easy, but it wasn’t until the 2006 crash happened that the chaos began to unfold, as she was also managing post-partum depression and daycare.

But this allowed her to learn and grow, which she uses to this day.

“The minute I start to think I am the expert or that I’ve got it all figured out, I realize it’s time to find a group of people doing it better, bigger and different so I can continue to learn.”

Nancy understands that she’s not going to be an expert in everything, but learning is the best skill you can have.

“I’ve survived! I learned to always pay attention, and I know that I am not the expert in ANYTHING! I learned that I can always learn more, that I can always be taught, and this pertains to everything.”

It takes a certain type of person to overcome many challenges without giving up, but Nancy didn’t let it block her vision and used it as an opportunity to grow.


The 3 Challenges Nancy Has Faced And How She Learned From Them

#1 – Staffing Resource

COVID-19 brought many challenges for businesses in the US, Nancy’s in particular. She was constantly worried that COVID would find its way inside the clinic, frightened that they would be forced to close.

“Every day I would wake up and stare at my phone through the glass shower door as I got ready.”

“If someone had the sniffles or had been near someone who had been exposed to COVID, they would have to stay home, get tested. We all held our breath hoping they were negative because if they weren’t, it could close the entire operation down in a heartbeat if we too had been exposed.”

Luckily, with a supportive team of providers, they worked together to ensure they stayed COVID secure and operated high levels of hygiene.

“My team was fantastic! They would take the reins and either pick up the slack if one of our patient care coordinators who couldn’t make it or if it was a practitioner, we would double up on seeing patients or quickly man the phones to get them rescheduled.”

“I made it a point to buy my team lunch whenever possible to thank them for this, and once we all had been vaccinated and could get together safely, I had a chef come to my house and cook a meal for all of us so we could celebrate surviving this together.”

#2 – Long COVID

When one of Nancy’s staff caught COVID, no one knew the danger it could present and how catastrophic it can be.

As time went on, her symptoms worsened and became more abundant. Starting with a cough, it quickly progressed to breathing issues, and she was put on a vent with severe brain fog, confusion, hallucinations, and muscle fatigue.

At the same time, Nancy was trying to keep patients and staff calm, but she couldn’t let her patient experience be affected further.

“During this time, she and I discussed the possibility of her not being able to see patients ever again because she was unable to maintain breath for more than a few seconds which made talking almost impossible, her doctors told her this might be permanent.”

“I assured her that no matter what, she would always be a part of our company no matter if we had to create a position for her with whatever her body allowed her to do.”

“These were some of the hardest discussions I have had to have in my life with someone I consider a friend/family member and colleague.”

#3 – Reinvention Of Business

Learning new skills and adapting to new situations is key to professional and personal success. But how could she react to a worldwide pandemic?

“Up until March 2020, this was going along quite nicely, and then bam! I mean, I never in a million years would have guessed I would have to shut down due to a global pandemic.”

“Although this has been one of the harder periods of my life, it has reinvigorated me about my business as it had become rather stale.” 

“I see the potential and see that we can easily compete with OTC, online options. I do it every day and patients choose us. It took COVID to make me realize all of these other things aren’t as scary as I once thought they were.”

“We have thankfully come out of the pandemic unscathed financially and have not only survived, but we have also thrived.”

Along with the support from her staff, family, and Orange and Gray, Nancy managed to turn 2020, a year of financial insecurity, into a year of profitability and growth.


The Inner Circle Changed Everything

While Nancy and her team worked hard to stay ahead of the game, having the expert knowledge and support from the Inner Circle gave her a space to grow and learn.

“The meetings every other week allow me the time to focus on the business. It energizes me to move forward and work on the business, not just in it.”

“I leave each inner circle meeting with at least one (usually many, many more) take away from members on things they are doing or questions they have asked or been able to answer for me.”

“Having access to the Orange and Gray team allows me the ability to let my mind and creativity soar because I know I can present an idea and there is a team ready to make it happen and they always surpass my expectations.”

Nancy Duncan is a loyal member of the Inner Circle, and we are so happy to see her thrive. She not only listens and engages in calls, but she makes sure to ask questions where possible, a key trait of any successful business owner.

We can’t wait to see what 2022 brings for Nancy Duncan.

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