As a DC, particularly if you are working for yourself, coping with failure can have consequences beyond just feeling sorry for yourself.
If your practice fails to grow by attracting new patients or, worse yet, is unable to retain your current ones, it’s not just a business failure. It can feel like a personal one because you have poured so much of yourself into your practice, to the point where it can be difficult to separate your personal life from your professional one.
How do you deal with failures in your practice, particularly if your personal and professional lives are very much intertwined?
Here are some things to keep in mind when trying to recover from a practice failure.
1. Center yourself
Your first instinct might be to panic and make some hasty or drastic decisions about what to do with your practice. Unfortunately, that is the worst time to make any major decisions regarding the future of your practice.
Take some time to stop and center yourself. This would be an excellent time to practice your meditation or yoga to calm your thoughts. Take a few days for the same type of self-care that you would often recommend for your patients. This will allow you to then tackle the problem with a clear mind that isn’t distracted.
2. What’s your best-case scenario?
If you are right in the middle of dealing with the situation, it can be all too easy to think in terms of worst-case scenario from your failure – essentially having to shut down your practice. Your emotions can be running high, particularly if you have a great deal of personal investment in your practice.
If this is the case, consider flipping the scenario on its head and instead think about the best-case scenario – your practice may not gain new patients, but is able to maintain the ones it already has. If this happens, you may not see an increase in your bottom line, but neither have you actually lost anything.
Instead, you are staying even. This is a much better position – and mindset – from which to move forward.
3. Start small
It can be a strong temptation to dive right in to a big plan to completely renovate the structure of your practice in an effort to get more patients and increase your bottom line. As tempting as this might be, it won’t be long before you become overwhelmed with the enormity of the undertaking and just give up in frustration. Unfortunately, that will put you right back at square one.
Instead, start with some small changes and improvements. One good place to start is with your current patients. They can often be a great source for you to gain new patients. Offering referral rewards, such as a discount for the next visit for every referral they send your way is an easy way to generate new patients.
Of course, you should also not forget to offer new patients a discount for their first visit. Along the same lines, consider a loyalty program for your patients who see you for regular maintenance adjustments.
Over time, you can consider graduating to more ambitious plans, such as participating in local health fairs or giving free lectures on the importance of spinal health and wellness. The point is to make gradual changes to how you market your practice and yourself to overcome
The key thing to remember is that, while a failure in your practice can feel disastrous on a personal level, it doesn’t need to be. If you take time to clear your mind, determine how to recover from failure, and start out small, you may find that what seems impossible to overcome is not as insurmountable as you initially thought.