Your practice has a business side, and all types of business people frequently fall for myths and popular fables.
Chiropractic care is no exception. Success myths abound. The important thing you can do for yourself, your practice and your patients is to make sure you don’t fall for success myths. Doing your own homework and carefully applying advice and sensible guidance will go a long way.
Of course, myths also typically have an element of truth in them. Sometimes a success myth will work for a while and may even lead some individuals into an enormously successful practice. Regardless, having realistic expectations is key; if it seems like a myth is overpromising, then tread carefully.
Here are several common success myths in the chiropractic world.
1. How my local area feels about chiropractic dictates my success
Many chiropractors form an assumption about local demographics based on the patients they’ve treated and other people they’ve interacted with. This is simply human nature. It’s impossible, though, to determine how successful your practice can be in one town based only on this anecdotal evidence.
Perhaps a slow schedule means you’re not marketing enough, reaching the right people, or looking in the right places. Your busy practice may not be in a chiropractic-friendly community at all, but you’ve still found patients because your clinic has a great location in a highly-populated area and you’re able to serve a niche in the local healthcare ecosystem.
Running a successful practice is complex and there’s usually always something that can be improved. Either way, how well your practice does may have little to do with what your city at large thinks about chiropractic care.
2. Chiropractic is an easy path to profits
Almost everyone has heard stories of multimillion dollar practices where the doctor plays golf after working half a day. This may be true for some chiropractors, but the reality for most is that building a profitable practice is difficult to do and requires a lot of hard work. For many practices, this picture isn’t realistic.
If someone is looking for a great business investment, they may want to look elsewhere. Chiropractors invest considerably in their own education and often risk their own finances and capital when they open a practice—and the returns aren’t guaranteed.
That said, being a chiropractor can also provide you with a stable, rewarding and flexible career where you get to help others and make a meaningful difference in your community. Any financial returns you get are just an extra reward for the great work that you do. Becoming rich isn’t guaranteed.
3. High-volume is imperative
While having a large practice and a really busy clinic is great, it isn’t absolutely essential for your success. You can run a successful practice without having extremely high numbers of patients. This is because you can improve your profitability in various ways.
Billing fully and accurately for all the services you provide, having an all-cash practice, adopting other revenue streams, teaming up with other professionals, and doing other things to strengthen your clinic can provide the boost you’re looking for.
4. If you build it, they will come
Setting up shop and accepting patients will likely not be enough for your clinic to prosper. You’ll typically need to do some marketing and look for referrals from the community to really get your business going. Everyone’s situation is different, but in general terms, you’ll need to market more heavily when you’re just starting out, and you can start to dial your efforts back a bit over time as you grow more successful.
5. Being great will be quickly rewarded
Everyone has to start somewhere, and a new clinic will have to start with excellence and providing great service to patients. You’ll probably need to do a lot more, though, than offer great high-quality care in the beginning. You’ll also need to continue to commit yourself to improving your practice. Be willing to constantly experiment and look for new ideas and strategies.
6. Marketing is unprofessional
Many health care practitioners—including chiropractors—believe that marketing healthcare services is an unprofessional activity. Part of this probably resulted from regulation of health care marketing in the past and present, as well as perceptions of what marketing means. Many people believe all marketing is sleazy and more akin to selling snake oil than providing health care.
In reality, marketing means getting the word out about your practice and how you serve your community. If the community doesn’t know about what you do, it’s hard for them to know you exist, let alone purchase your services. Don’t stress about trying to use marketing to sell every skeptic on the benefits of chiropractic care—instead, focus on informing your community about your clinic and what you offer.
7. The proverbial ‘grain of salt’
Taking an informed, skeptical view of business advice while also being ready to experiment can help you discover new best practices and steer clear of gimmicks. Not every solution fits every practice—your mileage may vary. As long as you can be a critical reader of business ideas, you’ll be prepared to make your business more successful and be all you can be as a chiropractor.
- Necela T. “The Myth of the High Volume Practice.” Dynamic Chiropractic. https://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=53725. Published April 2009. Accessed July 2018.
- Iconic Orange. “4 Myths About Marketing Your Healthcare Practice.” http://iconicorange.com/2016/04/13/4-myths-about-marketing-your-healthcare-practice/. Published April 2016. Accessed July 2018.
- Necela T. “The 7 Myths of Chiropractic Business Success.” The Strategic Chiropractor. https://www.strategicdc.com/the-7-myths-of-chiropractic-business-success/. Published Aug. 2010. Accessed July 2018.