As chiropractors, we all strive to accomplish bigger and better things throughout our careers. One of the dilemmas is how can I best grow the practice?
To answer this, many DC’s think the only way to accomplish this is to emulate other successful doctors in the field. We study what they say, their mannerisms, personalities and simply try to "be them." Unfortunately, being someone else 8-hours a day, year-after-year can create internal strife, foster unhappiness and, potentially, lead to feelings of living a lie.
Personality-driven practices, solely based upon your mission or acting out what others say, lead to patients gravitating toward the personality in the practice versus the power, process and principle behind the chiropractic adjustment in a true business setting. A personality-driven practice may build income, but it will not build equity.
One day, after 19 years of practice, I looked out on a roomful of patients waiting for their adjustments and realized if I was not the doctor there that particular day, they may not be there either. This may be a great feeling for one’s ego, but not a great approach to growing a practice.
If the delivery of chiropractic in your office is based on external emotion only, you have based the success on your mood, energy level and your attention to the practice or your feelings that particular day. This is the main reason why some practitioners fail to achieve consistent and sustainable growth.
Each year, on review with my accountant, I am told that my practice is worth 3-6 times the last year’s net. I always wonder to myself, Is it really?
There will be a time when I will walk away from active practice. I want to think that what I have worked for made a difference in thousands of my patients’ lives and that my practice is actually worth something sellable and on-going for the next generation.
Take a look at your practice now and ask yourself, What is it really worth when you are not there delivering the care on a day-to-day basis?
Personalities, your own driving the practice or your imitation of another, also make sustainability and reproducibility a major problem for our profession. A practice that simply produces when you produce can also lead to lives that tip out of balance. If balance is an issue, move toward proper process. Find work-life balance by examining equal parts: Family-Faith-and Fulfillment.
Faith means growing into a person of assured ethics and unwavering honesty in order to connect with your purpose. Family balance only happens when we grow to value the important relationships in our lives and this only happens when our spouse, family and loved ones never fall second in line to our practice. Fulfillment is attained when we reach our greatest potential, provide for our loved ones, caring for our patients and enjoying the rewards of a work-life balance.
This morning, I experienced, first-hand, the importance of a self-sustaining practice. As I arrived at the office, I fell on the ice and immobilized my shoulder. After a few adjustments, the pain intensified and I shifted my role to Administrator, as my Associate Doctors kicked in without missing a beat.
A self-sustaining practice allows us all the freedom of never "falling" (no pun intended!) out of balance and, at the same time, builds equity in the business. By having a process in place for sustainability, you create a practice based on delivering the power and principle of chiropractic to be valuable and bullet proof from any variable. As well, proper delegation, through a well documented training process and a curriculum, is how to turnkey your employees to produce regardless of personality, emotions or economic variables.
To transition to a business model, from merely a practice, one must first examine the following:
1) exactly what you want;
2) how you intend to proceed;
3) what is important to you;
4) what you want the practice to be; and
5) how you want to get there.1
A battle between Doctor as owner vs. employee must be determined to get you working through solid processes ON the practice—not just IN the practice.2 Resolve the conflict by determining the most effective way to do the job you are doing and then document that job. Once you have documented the job, create a strategy for replacing yourself with someone else (another Doctor or paraprofessional) who will then use the documented system exactly as you do.3 Use your new employees to manage the newly delegated system. Improve the system by quantifying its effectiveness over time and repeat with any process where you are acting as employee rather than owner.4
In addition to these recommendations, I encourage the most repetitious and time consuming procedures be replaced by blue-ray video. By doing so, you pre-frame value and education into the patient process as patients will find videos cutting-edge, more authoritative, and factual than most doctor-driven processes. This type of educational process, tied in with solid care plan options and financial recommendations, produces exceptional outcomes in a process-driven chiropractic business.
The chiropractic families that we see now are amazed, excited, and in awe with superior service and clinical outcomes. They refer friends and family because the systematic process anchors them to the principle of chiropractic and not just the practice owner.
Dr. Gerard Hinley is a 20-year practitioner and co-owner of Infiniti Group, LLC, a company created to cultivate the power in chiropractors’ lives, by building purpose-driven, profitable, reproducible, self-sustaining businesses that enrich and balance the doctors’ lives, as well as those they serve. Dr. Hinley is co-creator of the Care Plan Calculator, which simplifies care plan options and financials for the chiropractic office. He may be reached at www.infinitigroupllc.com or to master financial care plans at www.thecareplancalculator.com.
1. The E-MYTH Physician, Gerber, Michael E., page 113
2. The E-MYTH Physician, Gerber, Michael E., page 28
3. The E-MYTH Physician, Gerber, Michael E., page 28, 29
4. The E-MYTH Physician, Gerber, Michael E., page 29