Making the decision to open your own chiropractic practice can be both exciting and terrifying. First of all, congratulations on your decision to branch out from the comfort zone you have enjoyed while working for someone else’s practice. Taking a leap into the unknown by becoming your own boss is risky, but that risk is an essential ingredient in your success as an entrepreneur.
As chiropractors, we are more inclined towards the technical aspects of both our work and lives. Having a love for the technicalities of your work is great! This knowledge, as well as your passion for chiropractic philosophy, is what got you through chiropractic school in the first place. To succeed in running your own practice, however, you will need to harness your inner business person – and business involves both risk-taking and creativity.
If you haven’t picked up a copy of Michael Gerber’s book, The E-Myth, I would highly recommend that you do so. Here, Gerber teaches his readers to not fall victim to a common entrepreneurship myth (or, “E-Myth”). This myth tells us that if we know how to handle the technical side of our business, we have an understanding of the entire business.
A chiropractic business is more than just the technical aspect of service. While it is true that the business would not exist without the service, we have to understand how to manage a business and maintain a customer base in order to succeed. In addition to handling the patients and problems that arise in the moment, we must look ahead and plan for the future.
Success tip #1: Know what you need
Your particular skill set is what makes your practice possible, but do you have what it takes to turn your skills into a successful business? You may find it necessary to hire help for administrative duties, reception, and billing. The key here is to keep any overhead expense at a minimum. Try to hire employees who are capable of handling multiple tasks, or find software programs that can reduce and simplify administrative or billing work.
Success tip #2: Manage your staff
Until now, you have only worn one hat – as the chiropractor. When operating your own practice, however, you must also put on the “boss” hat. Though your staff may be trained in skills beyond your particular areas of expertise, it is important that you hire knowledgeable, experienced employees with whom you can work closely and trust. Ask questions and be involved with the business side of your business. It is imperative for the success of your entrepreneurship that you have a solid grasp on what is going on with your accounting books, appointments, etc. at all times. You must also work closely with your staff to ensure good morale and customer service practices. Your administrative staff will likely be the first staff members that your clients will encounter, and first impressions are everything.
Success tip #3: Market yourself
In order to succeed, you must make yourself known! Develop a mission statement that clearly conveys to your potential clients what it is that you can do for them. Reach out to the public through social media (Facebook, Twitter), radio advertisements, mailers… even go door to door. It’s important that you get creative when trying to establish a solid client base. Host an open house, develop special promotions – whatever it takes to get people walking in through your doors.
Success tip #4: Maintain your clients
Never become comfortable with the status quo.[/pullquote]
Once the people are making appointments, the ball is in your court. This is your time to shine with your technical expertise and ability to help others. Make customer service a priority in order to retain your clients. Again, it is key here that your entire staff is on board with keeping clients happy. From answering phones to answering questions, you and your employees should all represent your practice with eloquence, authority, and knowledge. You will find that the majority of your new business will come from reviews and referrals, so it is essential to your entrepreneurship that you maintain 100% customer satisfaction.
Success tip #5: Educate and expand
Besides recommending you to other prospective clients, happy patients can aid in the growth of your entrepreneurship in other ways. Though you may be taking care of one problem for a client, they may not realize how many other ways you can improve their health and quality of life. It is your job to educate your patrons on the various services and educational products that you can offer to them. This is a mutually beneficial tool that will both increase your revenue and your customer satisfaction.
Remember that of utmost importance in your journey into chiropractic entrepreneurship is your constant passion for your work and your business. Never become comfortable with the status-quo.To keep your practice vibrant and successful, you must always work to improve and grow your business.