The BIGGEST Myth In Private Practice

The biggest myth in private practice is that you need to be around for a long time, to be experienced before you can build a successful practice.

Myth – Success Is a Function of Time.

Fact – Success Is Not a Function of Time, Neither Is It a Function of Perseverance. It is a Combination of Time and Mastery of Business Skills Like Marketing and Communication.

You’ll understand what I mean in just a second.

So what does it take to succeed? Success, in a ‘life sense’ means different things to different people, which is why we should narrow down the definition of success to business. So, let’s define success in business terms. In my opinion, success signifies:

  • The ability to take a break (vacation) any time you want
  • The feeling of joy/anticipation you get when you go to work each day
  • The ability to make payroll without stress
  • Satisfied customers with a progressively increasing duration, frequency or amount of transaction size. (In private practice, this means how often patients come back, how often they refer, and whether they are offered, and use additional revenue generating programs, which may include cash paying programs and other products or services.)
This is the foundation of a successful practice, or a successful business. Not one of the things above are a function of time. In fact, let me break these down for you further:
  • The ability to take a break is a function of how well you are able to identify, attract, hire and retain high quality staff.
  • The feeling of joy when you go to work each day is a function of your internal drive to serve your patients, and your passion for what you do each day.
  • The ability to make payroll without stress is directly related to the physical therapy marketing strategies that you have in place to constantly drive new patients to your practice.
  • Increasing the amount, duration and frequency of transactions (visits/other services like massage) is directly related to how often and how effectively you communicate with patients. A done-for-you physical therapy newsletter system is an excellent choice.
In the age of social media that we live in, the reputation of your practice can be built very quickly if you put enough planning and strategy into your approach. In fact, the smarter you are about your marketing and the more strategic you are with your hiring, the faster you’ll be able to grow your practice.

“The smarter you are about your marketing and the more strategic you are with your hiring, the faster you’ll be able to grow your practice.”
Nitin Chhoda PT, DPT

We’ve been trained, since school, to be effective clinicians and problem solvers, and not to be effective business owners. In fact, the very structure of our educational system makes us better employees if we choose to go down that path.

Let me clarify, I have nothing against employees or staff members – In fact, I believe that reliable staff members are the backbone of a successful practice (and I have put together a very detailed hiring program called “Hiring Rx”, for which registrations will be closing down this weekend) but the truth is that you, as a private practice owner, must be effective at managing and leading staff members. When communicating with your staff members, it’s not important what you say and how you say it, what matters is your understanding of the staff member’s ‘paradigm’ of the world since each one of us perceives the world differently.

Here is an example. The simple instruction “I want you to see that patient now” can be perceived as a request by some individuals, and a forceful, arrogant directive by others.

At the end of the day, you must become a master of marketing and communication.

This shatters the myth of “I need to be experienced and be the best possible clinician I can be to get noticed”. Sure, you can do it that way if you like, but that path will take a lot more perseverance than the path of marketing and communication mastery.

3 Comments

  • Lorraine West says:

    This is so true in this generation. Success is not always equated with how long you are in the business. Look at the billionaires we have now like Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and he's not even 30 yet. His success is largely due to its mission to give people the power to share and to make the world open and connected. Through Facebook, you can connect with just everyone. It is open communication.

    Open communication is also crucial in private practice. Staying in touch with your patients, letting them know that you still care for them, long after they have been discharged, will give them instant recall should friends and family require physical therapy services.

    Thank you Nitin for always reminding us the basic principles to help us grow our practice.

  • Vincent Gazzi says:

    Right you are, Nitin! Schools prepare us to be good clinicians but other skills when it comes to owning a private we have to learn hands on with some drastic results.

    When we go into private practice, it is a given that we are excellent clinicians. We know our trade and we assume falsely that is enough. I learned that the hard way when I was losing some of my best therapists and also patients who I thought were very satisfied with our services.

    I bought your book and is an avid reader of your blogs so I've come a long way from somebody who believes my clinical skills and expertise will be enough to be successful to what I am, building relationship with both patients and staff members.

  • Simon Peters says:

    Your blog about hiring as the next most important thing after marketing prompted me to go through your previous blogs. I'm glad I took the time to read because I learned a lot.

    I am not yet into private practice because I thought I'm fairly new in the physical therapy business and as you said the myth equates expertise or success to time. Now, I know areas that I need to focus on before I venture into private practice.

    Thank Nitin for your inspiration.

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