When confronted with the full weight of running a practice, a chiropractor’s reaction is often:
- Why didn’t they teach this to me in chiropractic school?
- Can I hire someone else to run my practice for me?
- Isn’t it possible to just practice chiropractic and not worry about the business?
After reading the book, The E-Myth, by Michael Gerber, we couldn’t help but marvel at its applicability to chiropractors. Many in our profession often feel overwhelmed with the business side of their practice because they run it with the “entrepreneurial myth” or “E-Myth” that says, “If you understand the technical work of a business, you understand a business that does that technical work.”
It’s okay to love the technical part of chiropractic, but the aforementioned thinking confines you to running your practice as a technician. This leads to frustration, because you need more than a technician’s skills to run a practice successfully. The answer to this conundrum is to discover the possibilities open to you, not only as a technician, but also as an entrepreneur.
The truth is that for any practice to be successful, the chiropractor/owner must be able to blend and balance not one, but two roles effectively. It’s not just about being the good “technician” and giving quality adjustments. It’s also about being an aspiring entrepreneur.
What is an entrepreneur? According to Michael Gerber, “It is the dreamer in us, who sees a vision different from the present and is the catalyst for change.” Entrepreneurs would run a practice by implementing new systems, skills, technologies, and setting goals. Entrepreneurs dream about where they want that practice to be in the future and meet those goals by thinking outside the box and being creative.
The technician is the doer and loves to do the work. His or her focus is not dreaming about things, but doing them. As long as the technician is working, he or she is happy. Therefore, the technician lives in the present. The entrepreneur plans and directs the future of the practice by setting goals and creatively meeting those goals.
In order to grow a practice, chiropractors need to shift their focus from working in the business to working on the business.
Most likely, you are already a good technician. You know how to adjust. You get good results with your patients. You learned all of that in chiropractic college. But what about the entrepreneur in you? Have you allowed that part of you to come into focus?
The entrepreneur is the inventor, goal setter, visionary, and dreamer within us. Begin by dreaming and creating new and better ways of providing chiropractic services, caring for patients, and reaching new successes. Allow yourself to be more than “just” a chiropractor, understand that you are an entrepreneur, and be mindful of these two factors: momentum and stagnation.
Have you ever known, early in a particular month, that it was going to be a bad one, with frustration, inefficiency, low production, and high stress? It seems the practice in general is moving in the wrong direction, but the momentum seems so overwhelming that you simply cannot apply the brakes? In times like that, imagine how you would react if someone said, “Wait a minute. Take a step back. Think about new ways to schedule, so that the month doesn’t have to be bad.” It would be easy to respond, “Leave me alone. I’m too busy doing what I’m doing to think about how to do it better!” If this sounds familiar, you’ve been taken by the force of momentum, the unhappy state of speeding in the wrong direction, yet feeling unable to stop yourself. Momentum challenges us all, but, by recognizing it and redirecting the momentum, you can take on a new direction in which to steer your life and practice.
Someone who has been taught to view creativity as risky simply stops being creative. Don’t let this happen to you. Invest in new skills, goals, and visions for your practice. Invest in yourself. When stagnation gets in the way, it becomes more comfortable to cling to the status quo. Are you caught in the rut of being unhappy with your practice, doing the same thing while wanting different results? How many times do we hear chiropractors complain about an insurance issue or a staff problem—only to learn that they have been plagued by the same problem for years and have never taken steps to resolve it and move on. Stagnation prevents you from taking risks; it stops you from finding new pathways.
If you have been in practice for many years and have accepted the routine, the safe, and the comfortable, there will come a time when you will feel unfulfilled and uninspired. You will wake up one morning to find that you have lost your passion. Focusing on the entrepreneurial spirit in you means creating and pursuing new possibilities that you really want to achieve. Allow yourself to dream about your future, whether you’ve been in practice two months or twenty years. Once you are ready to enter the world of the entrepreneur, you can begin to build the kind of practice you would really like to have.
by Tom Owen III, and Todd Osborne, D.C.
Dr. Todd Osborne, a 1989 graduate of Palmer College, ran a successful high volume multiple doctor practice, and is currently Vice President of AMC, Inc., as well as an author and lecturer. Visit www.amcfamily.com or call (877) AMC-7117 for more information.