Dynamic Chiropractic – April 1, 2013, Vol. 31, Issue 07

dynamicchiropractic.com >> Chiropractic (General)

7 Bottom-Line Ideas to Improve Your Practice

By Peter G. Fernandez, DC

I've always been fascinated by people who are consistently successful at what they do; especially those who experience repeated success in many areas of their life throughout their lifetime.

In entertainment, I think of Sylvester Stallone and Oprah Winfrey. In business, I think of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. We each have our own examples of super-successful people who are successful in whatever they do. But how do they do it?

Over the years I've studied the lives of many successful people. I've read their books, watched their interviews, researched them online, etc. And I've learned that most of them were not born into success; they simply did, and continue to do, bottom-line things that help them achieve their full potential. Here are seven things they do that the rest of us can easily emulate.

1. Organize Your Time

At one time in my career I ruptured three discs in my back. The pain almost knocked me out of practice. I couldn't stand up for more than two hours at a time. That meant I could only practice two hours at a time. I had to treat patients in the morning and the afternoon, when they were going to work and coming from work. Therefore, I changed my adjusting times to Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons from 4:00-6:00 p.m., and Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings from 9:00-11:00 a.m. This schedule allowed me to treat all my morning and afternoon patients in a compressed manner, and allowed me to get the rest I needed. It not only saved my practice; it helped it grow. My practice grew because I took the time to organize my time.

2. Own Your Possessions; Don't Let Them Own You

Successful doctors enjoy buying stuff. But instead of owning their possessions, their possessions start to own them. They work hard every day to pay off their possessions and, of course, the grind to do so wears them down. Instead, they should have purchased a more moderate home, a less expensive car, etc. As for weekend and vacation cabins, planes and yachts – rent them when you want to use them (and let someone else pay for the overhead and depreciation). This way you can enjoy your life to the fullest while avoiding some of the stress. Life is a lot less stressful life when you practice because you want to, not because you have to.

3. Keep Your Overhead Low

Think about what you can do to decrease your overhead. Most doctors can chop their overhead from 65 percent down to 40 percent or lower. Unfortunately, some of their fixed expenses (e.g., mortgages) are too high and can't be reduced quickly. However, these fixed expenses can be paid off by using a mortgage acceleration method. Keep in mind that some overhead-lowering ideas can be fun, some tough and some unusual, but they can drive your overhead down while increasing your bottom-line income. And that means more money in your pocket.

4. Learn From Your Own Failures

Ask people why they have been successful; most of the time, their answers will be filled with personal pronouns: "I," "me" and the sometimes too occasional "we." But ask them why they failed and most will revert to childhood thinking and instinctively distance themselves from the problem, like the kid who says, "My toy broke" instead of "I broke my toy." They'll say the economy was in recession. They'll say their office location was poor. They'll say their patients quit coming because they couldn't afford to pay. They'll say it was someone or something else. And by distancing themselves, they don't learn from their failures.

Occasionally, something completely outside your control will cause you to fail (e.g., a tornado or hurricane). Most of the time, though, it's you. And that's OK. Every successful person has failed; sometimes numerous times. Most of them have failed a lot more often than you. That's why they're successful now. They embraced every failure: owned it, learned from it, and took full responsibility for making sure that next time, things would turn out differently.

5. Don't Be Afraid to Get Help

Look, no one person can know everything there is to know. You'll become more successful, more quickly, when you surround yourself with wise, positive people who can advise you (professional accountants, attorneys, financial planners, etc.). These people have the accumulated knowledge you need to steer you toward success and away from failure. Let them guide you and "keep you out of the weeds."

6. Ignore Other People's Negativity

If you allow people to make more withdrawals than deposits in your life, you will be out of balance and thinking negative before you know it. Ignore unconstructive, hurtful comments from "friends," relatives and critics. No one has the right to judge you. They may have heard your stories, but they didn't feel what you were going through You may not have control over what others say, but you do have control over allowing what they say to affect you. You alone can deny their poisonous words from invading your spirit and mind.

7. Brainstorm With Your Staff

Some doctors have weekly staff meetings to give their staff "direction." A few doctors make it a point to train their staff members. Almost no one sits down with their entire staff and brainstorms with them on a regular basis. In a brainstorming session everyone has input. There are no right and wrong questions … or answers. Everyone has an opportunity to "table" a problem or point out a missing opportunity they've witnessed in the office. But the doctor has to offer the staff the opportunity. After all, a problem can't be fixed unless it's identified.

Let me leave you with one final thought. Running a successful practice should be fun and profitable. So, do the things your future self will thank you for. What you do every day matters more than what you do every once in a while. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. Make sure it's worthwhile. Choose to improve your bottom line (and your life) by implementing these ideas today.

Dr. Peter G. Fernandez, a graduate of Logan Chiropractic College, is a practice consultant with over 30 years of experience. He has written more than 20 books and over 200 articles on building a practice, and has consulted with 5,000-plus practices. Contact Dr. Fernandez with questions or comments regarding this article via e-mail ( ) or by visiting www.drfernandez.com.


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