Running your very own successful practice is a dream shared by a great many chiropractors today. But what if your practice doesn’t take off the way you had hoped, or you begin to plateau after a seemingly steady and predictable rise in business? Or maybe you’re just starting out, license in hand, looking for the best way to jumpstart your new practice. In truth, not every practice makes it, and of those that do, not every practice thrives. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 66 percent of all small businesses are still running after two years. So how do you set out a plan to protect your new business from falling flat? Let’s take a look at six ways to move your practice off the plateau and set yourself up for long-term success.
Establish a Baseline and Set Goals
If you don’t know where you are, how do you know which direction to head? And if you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there? The first thing to do is establish a baseline to gain an understanding of exactly where you can improve your practice. Just as you evaluate a patient to determine what care is required, so should you evaluate your practice. And be specific with what you want to achieve, list out exactly why you want to achieve those goals and how they will help grow your practice. Establish milestones along the way to help you stay on track.
Your goals need to be specific and measurable – as well as attainable. Look at every area of your practice! But first, get busy establishing that baseline:
1. Are you running an automated, technology-driven practice? Does your staff spend time doing things they shouldn’t? (Patient appointment reminders that could be automated, as an example).
2. How much time are you spending ON your practice instead of IN your practice? Do you even set aside just one hour per week to think and strategize as to your growth?
3. Are your patient notes completed as you see each patient, or are you spending hours during nights and weekends playing catch-up? Efficient practices practice efficiently.
4. What percentage of practice revenues go towards operations versus advertising and marketing?
5. What is your referral rate and do you ask for referrals from your patients?
6. Does your website reflect the level of patient care you bring to the community? Do you keep it updated and relevant?
7. Are you educating your patients as to all the different ways in which you can help them? In-practice signage? Newsletters? Blogs?
8. Are your patient check-in procedures automated?
You get the point – there’s so many ways to improve, but get take a snapshot of each area so you can then track that improvement as you move to address each area.
The Power of the Lunch and Learn
Lunch and learns are easy to set up and are a wonderful way to market your practice. Check with local restaurants in your area and work with them to set up routine lunch and learns. This partnership allows them to gain more business while also offering you a great space in which to host your event and attract new patients.
Set up Spinal Screenings
Set up a spinal screening station wherever there is a good deal of foot traffic. Take some time on weekends to hit up your local mall, seasonal county fair, or 5k fun run. How about local offices? Chiropractors often look to the general consumer community for new patients, but the business district itself can also be a deep and relatively untapped well of potential.
Automate Everything You Can
Each hour of your day has value, and saving time is saving money. List out all of your practice processes and try to get from one point to another with fewer steps. This eye-opening exercise can give you back time that you weren’t even aware was missing.
Buddy up with Other Businesses
Speak to other businesses in your area and build your own services network. Agree to offer service to their clients in exchange for posting your business cards, and offer to do the same within your practice. Not only will you increase your own business, but you’ll establish trust within the business community in your area.
Build a Following
Your practice is an ongoing project that needs committed attention and an extended social network in order to keep booming. That means you need active participation from your staff, your industry, your local business community, and your patients. Set up any combination of LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram accounts and start getting social.
Establish a baseline, set clear goals for yourself, build your social network, seek participation from your extended community, and turn to your technology to confidently move your practice off the plateau.