There are certain truths that describe how life works. These are sayings that can either be guidelines for success or explanations of failure. One such truth comes to mind as I look at the current state of the chiropractic profession in the United States:
This is true in every aspect of running a business. Achieving a goal that is significantly greater than where you are now in your business / practice requires you to change many factors. However, the more factors you change / increase, the greater your potential rewards.
This is the precise reason why we are now offering iPad app versions of Dynamic Chiropractic (launching next month) and DC Practice Insights (already available). Like the seed example, increasing our circulation, improving print content and layout is not enough to grow in today's media marketplace. We had to move into a new format (a bigger flower pot) to reach new levels.
The same holds true for your business (practice). You can do things to improve as a doctor of chiropractic, beautify your clinic and give your website a facelift – but these will not be the game changers you are probably seeking. (If you aren't improving and evolving your practice on a regular basis, you are actually more likely to be a victim of the definition of insanity, rather than the law of diminishing returns – doing the same thing and expecting different results.)
So, what kinds of changes can be game changers for you? What can you do to take your practice from what was successful five or 10 years ago to what is successful today? The DCs I talk to and those I observe all seem to have one thing in common: they are willing to make substantial changes and really work at being successful. That being said, here a few things to think about that might spark some ideas you can use to propel your practice to the next level:
- Network with different providers: You are surrounded by other health care professionals, but they aren't necessarily competitors. Spend time getting to know them and see if you can build some synergy. One DC I know is successfully working with a gynecologist. This makes real sense, as two-thirds of his patients are women.
- Reach out to your community: Volunteer your services with sports teams, dance studios, homeless shelters, etc. Getting out of your office and into the community will give your practice great exposure; and you will gain a double blessing from serving others.
- Understand your patients: Your patients have health needs you might consider adding to your practice (weight loss, stress relief, etc.). Begin having conversations that will identify those needs and consider how you can expand your practice to serve them. These conversations may also reveal friends and relatives who are potential new patients.
- Create value with information: The right information is one of the most powerful things on Earth. Take the time to really study and learn about a specific area (sports care, nutrition, pediatrics, injury, etc.). Then share that information with patients so they think of you every time the topic comes up. This will prompt them to ask questions and make referrals.
- Reinvent your practice: As the advent of the app is reinventing periodicals, so too should you be reinventing your practice. Take some time to consider what you should be doing differently. This might include working with a practice-management consultant or joining a marketing group. Talk to your colleagues about what's working for them.
The world of business is a world of competition. Every day, people are deciding what they will focus on in their efforts to maintain their health. The only way to participate in that decision is to get out of your office personally, electronically and through someone who can make a referral.
Doing more of the same thing is unlikely to yield substantially different results. And even if it does, those improvements will diminish over time. Isn't it time to break out and have the practice you want?
Click here for more information about Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher.