Elements of a Successful Practice
By Kenneth Ross, DC
Welcome to Dynamic Chiropractic PracticeINSIGHTS' "My Best Idea" column. An extension of our "Solutions" feature, this column provides a forum for exceptional practitioners to share some of the secrets to their success.
Like any other profession, including chiropractic, we all want financial freedom and time freedom to spend with family and friends. In the 29 years I have been in practice, I have taken the good with the bad; some things worked while others did not. I took the best and the good things and applied them to my practice.
Sure, there are elements of a successful practice, such as a solid framework, profit, sales and marketing, financial stability, business development, patient acquisition, retention, accounting, service and goal- setting. If I had to pick one of these as the single most important factor for me having a successful practice, service would be the most important. Service involves many areas, not just the consultation, examination, adjustment and therapy; it's much more than that.
A successful practice must encompass the above elements, but above all, treating patients is not about the doctor, but about the patient. Distinguish yourself from your competition and connect to the patient with stories. Bring the patient along for the ride with you, not for your business. Tell a true story that educates, instructs and persuades people.
I have been telling stories for many years to my patients, which allows the patient to connect with me, not the practice, through concepts and ideas without risk to them. The best stories are the ones that achieve something greater than the original problem presented; the value of your care in getting the patient well.
Understand who your patients are by sharing your experiences, which creates emotion and equates to empathy. Present yourself with authority and connect with your patients from the heart. Listen to your patients, find out what they want and need; then take action by telling them what to do next and solve their problems through chiropractic care. Let them know how chiropractic care will change their circumstances and lives.
Provide value to their care, be authentic, genuine and focus on the patient; not the money, not the insurance or anything else. Using these simple techniques will build trust, relationships and rapport with your patients and explode your practice. Patients will refer, retention will be higher, and they will follow through with their treatment plans. This is by far the single most important thing I have done to have a successful practice.
With respect to other factors needed to have a successful practice, patient acquisition and retention are also key. You also need to have consistent and aggressive business practices and procedures with a solid framework. In my practice, I have in place an office policy manual and a risk management manual for all my procedures and practices.
Profits are important, but without patient acquisition and retention, profits do not necessarily equate to long-term success. Profits must be measured in acquisition and retention of your patients. The patient will determine your practice; how it produces and the progress it makes.
The Patient's Investment
As I mentioned earlier, patients don't buy services; they invest in a relationship with the doctor and staff in which trust is built between the patient and the doctor. Attract new patients to yourself, not the practice. Build brands such as trust, recognition and relationships with consistent standards. Once that relationship is there, patients will refer and the word will be out. All this will cost you no money, just your time – but do it daily. Engage with your patients every day and your practice will grow in the good and bad times.
I have consistently done this with everyone who walks into my office, and this is how I measure my success. Each patient who comes into my office is a new milestone and a gauge of how well I have told my story to them; how well I have built trust and a relationship with them over the years.
Dynamic Chiropractic Practice Insights is looking for additional "Best Ideas" from chiropractors nationwide who want to share what has worked in making their practice successful. 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 a marketing strategy to patient relations, to specialized services to great technique and so forth; the goal is to give your peers the help they need to be successful.) 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?
Keep your article to 800-1,200 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. Kenneth Ross is a graduate of Life Chiropractic College and law school. He practices chiropractic in Orlando, Fla., and lectures nationally on medical and legal issues affecting the practice of chiropractic. He can be reached with questions and comments at (407) 875-2000.