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September, 2012

Invest in New Technology, Tout It Honestly and Reap the Rewards

By Lawton W. Howell

There's nothing like the exhilaration of discovering new technology that promises to flood your practice with patients and stacks of cash. The reality is that virtually any new technology or bright, shiny piece of new equipment, can actually help attract and retain new patients and even generate tremendous bank deposits.

And, it doesn't need to be hard equipment,it can be soft goods, too! Everyone has a story and "proof" that they have the solution. And, the wave of new solutions continues to grow. You no longer need to stagnant or decline; you can thrive, provided you acquire this new device or product. In fact, if you added up all the claims from weight loss to peripheral neurology and everything in between, you could have a ten million dollar practice overnight! And so you wonder, why aren't there larger, more successful Chiropreneurs? The answer is so simple, you can validate the reason from your own experience.

Investment Level One

Whether you decide to acquire one or all of these new technologies, you are most certainly on a trajectory of failure when you don't budget for the missing component. The monthly lease payment, the inventory required or the capital investment is not the only financial obligation required. You must be able to communicate to your patients and to the people in your marketplace, the value and benefits of any new shiny bling you incorporate into your practice. Having a piece of equipment does not guarantee success. Think about the biggest piece of equipment you have is your office. How well is it growing your practice?

Investment Level Two

Whether you plan to offer a pain relief gel or a $6,500 peripheral neurology program of care, unless you have a budget to "market" the solution, you are doomed to failure. If you offer orthotics, how many pairs have you sold this month?

There are stores that only exist to sell orthotics and nothing else. Could they survive and profit if they were only able to sell the same number of orthotics that you sell? Here's the reality of business: if you do not have the resources to market your products and services, then don't keep adding overhead, as you will just drown faster.

Look at the amount of money McDonald's will invest to sell a cup of hot chocolate. How much do you invest each month to sell pain relief gel that costs much more than hot chocolate? Sure, they could be losing money on the hot chocolate, but, while you are in their store, you might purchase other items. You could be sending a mailer to all new residents in your marketplace offering a tube of pain relief gel and a spinal screening in order to introduce them to your brand of chiropractic.

Not All Marketing is Equal

Some vendors offer to provide marketing support. There is marketing and there is marketing. Vendor-supplied marketing generally does not promote your brand of chiropractic, instead they focus on their equipment or product. You can understand why, but this is not helpful for promoting your brand of chiropractic, of which their equipment is a small part. People don't buy drill bits. They buy quarter-inch holes. Your marketing must be focused on the end results desired by your target audience, not the cool equipment.

Competitive Colleagues

If entrepreneurs can make a living opening orthotic stores, then certainly a practice offering only peripheral neurology could be a mega-success. Or with so many people overweight, why not stop adjusting and help them lose weight? Surely you can compete with Jenny Craig or the other billion-dollar weight lost brands. Never overlook the competition, and not just your competitive colleagues. If someone is marketing a competing product or service, then you will need to respond. Word of mouth marketing is great and can be an initial strategy, but at some point you max out. Jenny Craig or Smith Chiropractic? Who dominates the marketplace? Can you overcome the competition? Absolutely, but not without resources.

Technology is a magnet to those seeking a solution to their problems. In other words "the quick fix." However, this quick fix takes six to twelve months. There are a great number of folks who are overweight and, at some point, they will decide to lose the fat. Whom will they choose to help them? The practice who is marketing the solution or the one hoping someone hears about your solution?

Marketing is a continuous process that succeeds with repetition. If you can't market your new shiny bling, then don't, invest instead.

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