The chiropractic profession has grown exponentially. With that growth has come more practitioners and an ever-changing health care marketplace.
From a public perspective, locating a doctor of chiropractic isn’t difficult. The problem finding one who is consistent in his or her delivery, shows up and, most importantly, stays in business.
The problem is not a lack of education; DCs today are better educated than ever. But education isn’t enough. Below are some common pitfalls related to today’s new chiropractic practice. If you can learn and avoid them, your chances of success will increase dramatically.
1. Too much month at the end of the money.
You must keep your overhead within limits. Many new doctors start out with high equipment leases, excessive staff expenses, cable, unnecessary nutritional inventories, high rent, etc. Avoid this at all cost. These expenses, in addition to staggering student loan debt, can sink you within months of opening.
If you aren’t adequately funded, consider finding a doctor who has extra space and negotiate an agreement to practice in his or her office as an independent contractor. This arrangement allows you to contribute a percentage of your income toward overhead costs, while giving you access to the doctor’s equipment, staff, X-ray facilities, etc.
2. Being undercapitalized.
It has been said that the simple things are put here for the wise to see. Be wise by being well-funded for the venture ahead. Perform due diligence and draft pro forma statements and double your estimates. Too many small business owners think they have enough money to get them to the break-even point only to discover they don’t. Nothing is more stressful than a stack of bills and no money.
3. A less-than-prominent location.
There was a time when location wasn’t so much of an issue for doctors. During my early practice years, we marketed heavily and the public came to us. Today, marketing has drastically changed and encompasses online, social media and digital formats. Adding as much convenience to that equation as possible is imperative for success. The more visible you are, the more convenience you offer.
4. Lack of mentorship.
Going it alone in today’s environment is insane. Most doctors who fail do so by thinking they know it all. Here is a piece of advice: You don’t. Be willing to learn and listen.
Find mentors for different areas of your professional life you can connect with and hug them tight. Have good procedures, policies and up-to-date compliance manuals. Run important decisions by your mentors before moving forward. If the answer is not what you want to hear, decide now to go with their advice.
Choices determine your circumstances. Decisions determine your destiny. Make wise decisions and good choices will follow.
5. No proven marketing strategies.
Most new practices have little in the way of marketing plans. Saying you know a lot of people, your family will refer to you, or thinking you have it all figured out will be a ticket to your local bankruptcy court.
Spend your dollars wisely. Television, radio and print ads are dying in the chiropractic marketplace. We now live in a digital world. Your online presence and ability to communicate effectively are your lifeline to success.
How do you define good communication skills? If you can walk into a restaurant and leave with the names of several new patients, you are a good communicator.
Practice and hone your skills. Don’t be afraid to ask for referrals or speak up about the services you have to offer. You have an awesome gift. B.J. Palmer once said, “Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell and advertise.”
Dallas D. Humble, DC, is an author, business consultant, and keynote speaker. He has penned numerous articles and books on preventive health, hope, and the power of restoration including his newest release, The Greatest Chiropractor in the World, available on Amazon. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org