So, I bet your practice is getting all the clients you can handle and growing is no problem, right? Let’s be honest, we would all love to have a few more people walking through the door.
But where do you start?
To get more information about growing a practice, I caught up with Dr. Mark Steenerson of Minnesota. A few years ago, he was asking himself the same question and found an answer. In the last year, Dr. Steenerson’s practice grew by 48%. In fact, he made around $10,000 in just two hours by implementing a simple change. Dr. Steenerson’s practice became multi-disciplined.
When I speak to the most successful doctors, they say that the key to success is growing in terms of patients and proving that you can create a lasting, positive impact in their lives. Many people do not understand what chiropractic is and how it can benefit them, so growing a practice means that “chiropractors must educate communities about the benefits of chiropractic care” (Bureau of Labor Statistics 2010-2011 Handbook). This realization by the community changes a chiropractic practice forever. Referrals grow, income finally reaches desired levels and they are able to build a name for themselves as local health experts.
The United States Department of Labor says that success prospects are best for chiropractors who operate within a multi-disciplined practice because it allows patients to stay in house for their most pressing needs. A Multi-disciplined practice simply means that the practice offers more than one service.
- weight loss
- laser hair removal
- nutritional services
- physical therapy
- smoking cessation
- corporate wellness
The other benefit of a multi-disciplined practice for chiropractors is that it gives them the ability to grow by attracting people who do not understand or would otherwise not pursue chiropractic care. If a chiropractor successfully demonstrates their value to a patient, that patient will be far more likely to evaluate, understand and purchase the needed chiropractic care regimen.
So how do you decide on additional services to provide? Well, a good business is always built around an unfilled need or opportunity. In order to decide which service will aid by growing your practice the most, you need to figure out which service will benefit your community and current patients. What are their greatest needs?
For those of you who are still wondering, Dr. Steenerson chose weight loss. “I was having major problems getting people in the door for chiropractic, but when they come for weight loss and get great results, you better believe they are willing to listen.” (Dr. Mark Steenerson)
Dr. Steenerson uses his weight loss program to target some of the 200 million plus Americans who are interested in losing weight. Once he helps them do so, they are easily converted to chiropractic patients in order to address further imbalances within their body. Dr. Steenerson kicked off his weight loss practice by putting on a two hour “Weight Loss Information Night”. This event was open to the public and generated more than $10,000 in cash revenue. This number, however, is trivial when compared to the growing chiropractic and referral business that is still coming in the door. To make the event a success he placed professional advertisements in two local papers, which yielded around 70 attendees. A year later he is still reaping the benefits of this event and will be for a long time to come.
So, why weight loss?
With two in three Americans overweight and all of the highly publicized health risks, the weight loss industry is booming. As a result, people in your community and even your own clients are spending significant amounts of money on weight loss right now. To make matters worse, most of them are spending it on unhealthy, unsustainable programs with miniscule long-term success rates.
Weight loss is the perfect example of an effective, cash based service with ongoing profit potential, but just bringing a strong program into your practice is not enough. Jim Allchin, a former executive at Microsoft once said “we’re obviously going to spend a lot in marketing because we think the product sells itself.” Just because you now have this high quality, in-demand product doesn’t mean people know about it. Growing your practice requires making marketing a priority and doing it effectively. In addition, explore opportunities to position yourself as an expert within the community by doing talks at local health food stores, churches and other health professional’s offices. Get creative!
Once your practice starts growing, develop and test a system for moving patients between the various services you offer to provide highest value to them and highest revenue to you. Remember, if you do not offer it to them, chances are they will get it elsewhere. Finally, be sure to leverage referrals. You can simply ask or research ways to get a little more creative. The key to growing your practice is finding something that works and sticking with it.
Bureau of Labor Statistics. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook. 2010-11 Edition.