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June, 2012

The Fuel That Makes Everything Else in Your Practice Work

By Kurt Kuhn, DC

Welcome to Dynamic Chiropractic Practice Insights "My Best Idea" column. An extension of our "Solutions" feature, this column provides a forum for an exceptional practitioner to share some of the secrets to their success.

When someone, especially another chiropractor, asks the secret of a successful practice, it would be easy to give some standard truisms. I'll share three of these truisms with you, and they are called truisms for a reason, because they are true. But these truths are not enough on their own. Read on to find out the secret ingredient that makes them work.

1. Location

You could give the realtor perspective of, "Location, Location, Location." And it would be true. A great location, near a grocery store for example, can make your practice life easier. People are already coming to the store 2 to 3 times per week, so that sort of location makes it easy to add coming to the chiropractor right to their grocery list. Yet, there are many patients driving right past the grocery store and a dozen other chiropractors they have the option to see, so that's not it.

2. Finding Your Niche

You could follow the marketing perspective and select a unique niche to practice in. You could have a unique skill, training or equipment. By doing things no one else can do you create your own mini-monopoly within your niche. The downside here is you better really be able to do something no one else can do, or everyone else will jump on the bandwagon and say "I can do that, too!" And without the missing ingredient, even if you are the best, people might still drive right by your office on their way to see someone else.

3. Establishing Competency

Some people would say its competence. That being good at what you do is what really matters to potential patients. Oh, how I wish that were true. It would be so easy then wouldn't it? The sad truth is that there may be people driving right by your office to see a chiropractor who isn't nearly as competent as you are right now.

So, do location, niche and competence not even matter? They are truisms, remember? In fact, they do matter. You should select a great location, you should develop a niche that no one else can compete with and you should absolutely be competent. You should be so good people come from all around to see you. But, people won't come to see you until you add this secret ingredient.

The Secret

So what is it? What's the secret? It just might surprise you. The secret is...excitement. Not the jumping up and down on the couch excitement, although that will certainly get their attention. I mean a real, sincere excitement about what you do. You see, "When you're on fire people will come from all around just to see you burn!"

And that is the jet fuel that makes everything else you have done take off. It's easy to lose that excitement. In fact, the better you get, the less amazed you are by what you do because it becomes commonplace. Heck, you may have found yourself snickering at some newbie because they were excited about a simple case that had a positive outcome. It's important for you to recapture that excitement.

You can also lose your excitement when your numbers no longer thrill you. Whether you are counting patient visits, dollars or whatever, the numbers are empty. Like many other high volume practitioners, I figured it out that big numbers aren't the end-all (though they do pay the bills). The numbers themselves are just tools to tell you where you should focus your excitement. They shouldn't be the excitement. Don't work for your numbers; put your numbers to work for you.

So, what should you be excited about? It should be about the patient and how you are applying your knowledge and skills to fill their wants and needs. You should be excited about them! "People aren't up on what they aren't up on." What that means is that you have to put together a communication package that takes your patients from point A to point Z with what you are doing. Whether you are focusing on science, art or philosophy, don't expect your patients to be excited about what you do if you aren't telling them what to be excited about.

Take the time to write down the messages you want to get out there and make a plan on how to deliver it. Then go the distance and deliver the message. A doctor-patient relationship is like any other relationship; it will wither on the vine if you don't feed it. Feed your patients with your excitement.

Remember the Ralph Waldo Emerson line, "It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself." Get excited about making a difference; make the difference; and share that experience with others. Before long, you will have them following your desire.

Dynamic Chiropractic Practice Insights is looking for additional "Best Ideas" from chiropractors nationwide who want to share what has worked in making a successful practice. Here are the particulars of what we are looking for. Answer the following questions to share your best idea: 1. Many factors go into having a successful chiropractic clinic, but what is the number one thing that has led to your success? (This can be anything from marketing strategy to patient relations to specialized services to great technique and so forth, the goal is to give your peers the help they also need to be a success.) 2. What are the practical milestones you use to measure your success? (Again this can be many things: patient retention, financial results, etc.) 3. What advice can you give for managing through difficult times? Please keep your answers to 800-1200 words and include a brief biography and your contact information. To submit your "Best Idea," e-mail it to Senior Associate Editor Kathryn Feather at with "Best Idea" in the subject line.

Dr. Kuhn is a graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic, is Board Certified in Chiropractic Neurology and the subspecialty of Electrodiagnostics by the ACNB. He has a Master of Science in Business from the Krannert School of Business at Purdue University and a PhD in Education from Capella University. He has 28 years of practice experience. He can be reached at: .

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