As a Doctor of Chiropractic you must also become a leader, a business owner, and a strategic thinker. Transcend the stagnation of merely managing your practice and exercise the type of leadership necessary to help your business thrive.
Building a successful business requires clear goals, strategic thinking, and bold execution. This takes the type of leadership that transcends the simple process of managing your day-to-day practice. In order to provide exceptional treatment to your community, you must keep your doors open, your life healthfully funded, and your practice not just living, but thriving. The difference between leadership and management lies within the ability to take the building blocks of true, effective leadership and implement them elegantly and energetically within your practice.
Remember You Are Running a Business
The problem with becoming a freestanding Doctor of Chiropractic, is that in order to practice your passion, you must also spend time running your business. This means that you must trade cash for services, and charge your clients money. That transaction involves retaining prices, sensibly limiting discounts, and carrying patient balances until the time at which you can be reimbursed. In a world of write-offs and freebies, this can be a difficult frame of mind to maintain. Take some time to do some financial reviewing so that you can keep those big numbers on hand while you work on the smaller details of leading your practice forward.
- What is the true price of your practice? In other words, if not one single patient walked through your doors, what would your business cost you in daily overhead?
- What type of salary do you require (and what would be ideal) for you and your family to live a happy, fruitful life?
- How much do you need to save for (college tuition, retirement, vacations, and such)?
- What is your current debt and what is your debt repayment plan?
- How do your rates and discounts compare to the rates and discounts of other businesses and chiropractors in your area?
Once you have a clear picture of the overall financial status of your practice, you can more easily keep your endeavors in line with those goals. Write them down and refer to them often to ensure that your efforts are consistent with the true picture of your business’s financial requirements.
Focus on Your Staff
Your staff are the face of your practice, and the lifeblood of your business. Happy staff members equal happy patients, and that in turn equals a prosperous practice. Your staff make such a large impact on your practice that it’s essential that you invest in each individual and engage them in the success of your business.
- Promote a sense of ownership. A staff member that feels ownership in their position is much more likely to put their best foot forward. When speaking with your staff about your practice, try to place effort on making references such as “our practice”, “our patients”, and “our goals”. Give them responsibility for specific goals and attach incentives to those goals to help provide a sense of ownership and accountability to the accomplishments of your business.
- Set clear expectations. Make sure that the expectations set upon your staff are clear, direct, and attainable. Start small and encourage adherence and successful execution. Once your staff members feel that they can meet their goals, achieve concrete accomplishments, and that they are rewarded accordingly, you will find your practice running smoother and more efficiently.
- Train your staff. Train your staff members thoroughly and provide them with additional opportunities to learn and grow. If you feel as if your staff members are not completing tasks correctly or missing their goals, start by confirming it is not a training issue. Training issues are much easier to address and can help strengthen the bond between you and your staff.
- Invite feedback. A staff member that is invited to participate and feels as if they are being heard will be much more likely to accept guidance and put their heart into their work. Don’t wait for feedback. Actively invite the opinions of your staff members. If there is a complaint, work to address it together and find a mutually beneficial solution. Your staff members are your team, and as members of a team, each voice should have a place in the actions of the group.
Elevate Your Practice
Anyone can walk into a standard chiropractic practice, but your patients should be rewarded by entering your doors and receiving an experience unlike any other office. Take some time to elevate your décor, offer educational and interesting reading material, provide small refreshments, and engage the patient immediately. Just a few small touches can speak volumes to your clientele.
Expanding products and services can help you reach additional subsets of clients as well as harvest more out of your existing client base. Upselling is an important means by which you can increase revenue. It’s up to you to anticipate and address your patients’ needs before they ask. Look for opportunities to offer beneficial supplements, orthotics, and additional services.
If you do not currently provide additional services, consider partnering with other local businesses to offer discounted service bundles or pursue new services in-house, such as providing Certified Medical Exams. This can bring in an additional market of commercial and truck drivers looking to achieve mandatory health certificates.
In this modern age, websites and social media pages are all but a mandatory part of leading a successful business. Online promotions allow you to connect with patients, your community, as well as manage online reviews and recommendations. Social media offers you a solid online platform by which to tout your services, offer education, and share your business. Online promotions can generate new business and they’re as easy as posting discounts, coupons, and programs online. They allow you to connect to your industry, reach out to patients, and create community alliances.
Manage Your Money
We all have that one friend who seems to come up broke, no matter how healthy their paycheck. This highlights the truth of the matter: it’s not how much money you make, but how much you save.
Your chiropractic clinic will not manage its finances itself. And the best way to make money and grow your practice is to manage these finances carefully. Keep the following tips in mind for a positive financial future:
- Must-haves vs. do-wants. Keep an eye on what you purchase that is a must-have vs. a do-want. If those items that you want aren’t creating a beneficial return on investment, start limiting purchases that aren’t bare necessities.
- Haggling. Part of business is negotiating, that means it’s a skill that can either be costly or profitable in the long run. Compare vendors and seek out the best deals. A little bit of research up front can provide a lot of savings over time.
- Technology. Purchase technology appropriately. Software is costly, but it can also help streamline your practice and reduce expenses in all other areas. Carefully consider your software purchases and ensure that your technology works for you, not against you. Whenever possible purchase your technology once, and purchase wisely. An incorrect purchase based on price vs. functionality can end up costing you double in the long run. As a result, it fails to meet the needs of your rapidly expanding practice.
Practice leadership means keeping a strategic eye on the way you run your business, handle your patients, and nurture your relationships. To be a leader you need to go above and beyond while adhering to tried and true methods that will help your practice. Effective leadership will help you as a Doctor of Chiropractic and a business owner. Then, you can escort your practice towards longstanding success, instead of simply managing it into mediocrity.