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continued...

Then I marked the locations of the largest companies that had referred patients to us. Each day I had Marilyn add tacks for our patients who lived or worked the farthest from the surgical center. I took four green tacks for the biggest shopping malls in Orange County and stuck them in. I circled a five-mile radius in red around my existing office to signify how far I thought our local patients would be willing to drive to see us.

Slowly, an area started to jump out of the map. This small, triangular area right in the middle of our three main freeway arteries just kept pulling my eyes toward it. I wasn't yet 100 percent convinced that this was the spot we needed to move the office, but I definitely started getting a very good feeling about it.

Including the Patients

We started to let our patients know we were "probably" going to move in a subtle way. We would say "Hey, guess what? We're moving." Almost everyone gave the same response: "Oh, no! Where?" I told the staff to tell everyone, "Well, where would you like us to move?"

We kind of made it a game and our patients really enjoyed thinking they had some control over where we were going. As all of this input started streaming in, that same triangular spot kept popping out on the map, but this time the reasons it was emerging were making clearer business sense. The point on the map was almost exactly five miles southwest.

The drive time from the old office was maybe seven minutes, but because this new location was closer to all three major freeways, it was easier to get to than where we were. When I looked at the thumbtacks and took our patients' opinions into consideration, I knew where we had to go.

With my broker's help, we found a dream location. The new building is beautiful and clean. Our new property manager bent over backward with tenant improvements. They gave me three months free rent plus five more months at 50 percent off. The new office is larger. The new area is safer for my patients and staff. I can make it to my kids' practices and games in half the time it took before leaving the old place. My wife loves that I'm closer to home.

The new office is surrounded by businesses and little-to-no "For Lease" signs. We're closer to our patient base, which has set off a chain reaction we could have only dreamed of: patients lined up again for treatment. We have hit all-time records in weekly (201) and monthly (803) patient visits. I have always had a personal goal to break a certain number in annual income (which only my wife knows about); we should hit it before the end of November.

Hindsight is 20-20 and now that we're here, I could just kick myself for not doing this sooner. All of our numbers are on the rise and it doesn't look like it's going to slow down any time soon.

I failed to respect the one universal law of "Location, location, location." Thank god there was some dumb luck involved in this whole ordeal. At first it might have looked bad, but ultimately, maybe the chiropractic gods were shining their pen-lights down on me.

This entire experience proved to me that if things aren't going well where you are, maybe a change in environment can be that huge boost in the arm you need to help overcome your situation.

Now maybe soon I'll lose weight and my grey hairs will turn black again. Is it a miracle?


Dr. Jeff A. Fisher practices in his new office in Irvine, Calif. Visit his Web site at www.fisherchiroinc.com.

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