Baby Steps to Business Success

Two Parts of Success

Success author Orison Swett Marden once wrote, the first part of success is get-to-it-iveness. The second part is stick-to-it-iveness. Every doctor or business person beginning requires an act of faith and courage, a bold leap into the unknown. I was scared when I opened my first of six clinics. The amazing thing is, as I expanded, I was nervous every time. Fear is often good; fear gets us out of bed. Did you know that only one in ten people who want to start their own business ever develops enough courage to begin and enough persistence to continue: Get-to-it-iveness and stick-to-it-iveness.

The first law of success is concentration—to bend all the energies to one point, and to go directly to that point, looking neither to the right or to the left.—William Mathews

The more thought you invest in planning and setting priorities before you begin, the more important things you will do and the faster you will get them done once you get started.

The more important and valuable the task is to you, the more you will be motivated to overcome procrastination and launch yourself into the task at hand.

Often it is the fear of failure, more than anything else, which holds people back. It paralyzes action. And it makes failure inevitable. If you want to expand your clinic, add technologies, digital X-ray, decompression; now is the time. Invest yourself in your practice. As a consultant, the most common question asked by new doctors is, “Where do I begin?”

Begin with a Dream

You begin with a dream. Then, turn your dream into a goal and write a plan for yourself to make your goal, your plan, your dream a reality. The good news about business is, even if you know nothing about business, you can begin with a dream, a castle in the air, and then build a foundation under it.

Now that you know where to begin, the time to begin is here and now.

Kaplan’s Seven Simple Steps to Success

1. Set a goal.

2. Begin accumulating money; start saving.

3. Springboard your current practice.

4. Experiment in your business.

5. Search for problems and then resolve them.

6. Read everything you can read about chiropractic.

7. Implement your plan with perseverance.

The starting point of many great fortunes has been these seven simple steps.

Number one: Set a goal and back it with a burning desire. There are no short cuts here. “Goal setting is goal getting.” Or, as Nike says, “Just do it!”

Number two: Begin accumulating capital with a regular savings program. Nothing else is possible without this. You cannot move forward until you start a savings program. In one of my last articles, I spoke of putting away 10 percent of your money each week. Put this in a special account. Watch this account grow.  

Use Your Current Practice as a Springboard

Number three: Use your current practice as a springboard to later success. Learn while you earn. Take the long view. Let us say you were considering decompression; ask your patients their thoughts. Play the infomercial. One of my doctors in Rhode Island ran an ad before he had the machine and started booking appointments. Do patient surveys in your office. It is OK to step outside your comfort zone. Change is good; it is inevitable. Embrace change in your life and your practice. Patients love it when you add new plans, new services, and new ideas. Your excitement becomes contagious.

Number four: As stated above, where better to experiment than to experiment in business on a limited scale so you can learn the key abilities, services, and technologies that are necessary for success. Number five: Search for problems; no clinic or practice is void of them. Once you find them, develop a solution. Diagnose your practice and then treat it. Symptoms of a sick practice are no new patients, poor cash flow, no referrals, poor attitude of employees, constant turnover of employees, a sloppy office. Does your office have any of these symptoms? If it does, only by following the steps above can you begin to cure what ails your practice.  

Read Everything You Can Find

Number six: Read everything you can find on business, motivation and chiropractic. John F. Kennedy said, “All leaders are readers, but not all readers are leaders.” Read to lead. Learn what you can from the great ones. I recommend books like The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz; Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill; As a Man Thinketh, by James Allan; The World’s Greatest Salesman, by Og Mandino. These books will open up pathways in your brain, if you remain open. The key to learning is to remain flexible. Be willing to change your mind if you get different information.

Master Your ABC’s

Number seven: Implement your plans with courage and persistence. You can do this by applying my ABC method. Have complete faith in your ability to succeed and never, never give up. What good is it to have a dream, a goal or a plan and not follow through? Make a commitment and stay committed. Success is not for the weak; it is a marathon. Olympians train for four years often to run a ten-second or a four-minute race. You are training and working for a lifetime, a lifetime of success.

The ABC Method is a powerful priority-setting technique that you can use every single day. This technique is so simple and effective that it can, all by itself, make you one of the most efficient and effective doctors in your field.

The power of this technique lies in its simplicity. Here’s how it works: You start with a list of everything you have to do for the coming day. Think on paper. You then place an A, B, or C before each item on your list before you begin the first task.

An “A” item is defined as something that is very important. This is something that you must do. This is a task for which there can be serious consequences, if you do it or fail to do it, like visiting a key customer or finishing a report for your boss that he/she needs for an upcoming board meeting. These are the frogs of your life.

If you have more than one “A” task, you prioritize these tasks by writing A-1, A-2, A-3, and so on in front of each item. Your A-1 task is your biggest, ugliest frog of all. If you can complete your ABC’s, you will conquer your tasks at hand.

A “B” item is defined as a task that you should do, but it only has mild consequences. These are the tadpoles of your work life. This means that someone may be unhappy or inconvenienced if you don’t do it, but it is nowhere as important as an “A” task. Returning an unimportant telephone message or reviewing your email would be a “B” task. The rule is that you should never do a “B” task when there is an “A” task left undone. You should never be distracted by a tadpole when there is a big frog sitting there waiting to be eaten.

A “C” task is defined as something that would be nice to do, but for which there are no consequences at all, whether you do it or not. “C” tasks include phoning a friend, having coffee or lunch with a coworker or completing some personal business during work hours. This sort of activity has no effect at all on your work life.

After you have applied the ABC Method to your list, you will now be completely organized and ready to get more important things done faster.

In Summary

Set a goal, make a plan and then launch your plan. Get started. Do something. Begin on a small scale with limited risk and investment, but get going!

Resolve that, no matter what happens, you will never, never give up until you are successful. Before you accomplish anything worthwhile, you will have to pass the persistence test. And the test will come far sooner than you imagine.

Lastly, don’t forget to take Baby Steps and master your ABC’s.

Dr. Eric S. Kaplan, is CEO of Multidisciplinary Business Applications, Inc. (MBA), a comprehensive coaching firm with a successful, documented history of creating profitable multidisciplinary practices nationwide. Co developer and President of Discforce the next Generation on Spinal decompression. For more information, call 1-561-626-3004.

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