By Anthony J. Lombardi, DC
“Banks lend money to chiropractic students who have no money and no assets so that they can graduate and practice. But when they graduate and try to start a practice, banks reject them because they have no money and no assets.”
– The Chiropractic Catch-22
Through years of working with new graduates, I developed a better understanding about what chiropractors were looking for from the banking industry. I approached 4 or 5 small to medium financial institutions in Canada and in the US, and I expressed to them the obstacles chiropractors and new graduate chiropractors face today. Using consumer and psychology research, I demonstrated the measurable benefits banks could receive if they invested in new graduates looking to start their own practices.
The latest consumer research shows that if service providers like banks, stores, restaurants, car dealerships, and small businesses engage the consumer at significant, life-altering stages in life, such as birth of a child, marriage, retirement, or graduating from school – that consumer will habitually use that service or product for the rest of his or her life. The study found that when someone marries, he or she is more likely to start buying a new type of coffee. When a couple moves into a new house, they’re more apt to purchase a different kind of cereal. When they divorce, there’s an increased chance they’ll start buying different brands of beer. When they start their first jobs after graduation, they will likely choose their lifelong bank.
I am currently consulting with a number of small to medium-size financial institutions where I demonstrate how applying psychology research with common consumer patterns can help banks realize the long-term value of investing in new graduates from chiropractic school.
If graduating chiropractic students present a business plan to financial institutions, then the banks would lend them $10,000 on a line of credit, regardless of their debt coming out of school (avg. $105,000). Many students mentioned “no money” as an obstacle to starting a practice, whether it’s their own or in someone else’s facility. $10,000 is enough to buy some basics to build and move forward. I demonstrated that these students, as they age, will have mortgages, 401 K’s, loans, and investments. Further, even if they fail at chiropractic, they are well-educated enough to land work in a different field, so that insures a long-term customer.
Thankfully, a growing number of financial institutions agree with me. Beginning later this year, select banks in Canada, along with banks in certain US states, will launch a pilot project that will provide those new, chiropractic graduates who submit a viable business plan with a $10,000 business line of credit for start-up costs in their new practices.
Many financial institutions have been making a concerted effort to make things more manageable for small business owners, which include chiropractic practices. In a recent interview, Kara Kaiser, Regional President of BMO Harris Bank in Wisconsin, explained: “Small business growth is a key to driving our economy forward, and our teams are constantly working with customers to identify financial solutions to help them realize their aspirations.”
In the meantime, feel free to contact me with any questions you may have on approaching financial institutions or building business plans for your practice. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will return your email.