Starting my own physical therapy private practice was one of the most intimidating things I ever did. For an immigrant who first set foot on US soil with little more than a briefcase, I thought I had experienced all the highs and lows in my eventful journey from rookie PT to physical therapy business owner, but nothing prepared me for what I was about to experience as the first time owner of a PT clinic – understanding all the ins and outs of physical therapy documentation, physical therapy billing, physical therapy coding and building a physical therapy website turned out to be quite a handful..
Some of the lessons I learned will help you save hundreds, potentially thousands of dollars AND add more revenue to your private practice at the same time.
You can learn EVERYTHING I used to single-handedly build a six figure generating physical therapy private practice using scripts and techniques that will transform your practice. All my coaching and mentorship clients have used these strategies to drive more new patients, get doctors to refer and ignite referrals from existing patients. And you will get a chance to learn these to in the upcoming Referral Ignition 2016.
Like everyone else, my reasons for starting a physical therapy business included the need for freedom and independence. I wanted to unleash my creativity (which my previous job restricted) and be my own boss. I wanted to make patients feel better, and have doctors reach out to me to treat their patients. My expectations were high – to help hundreds of patients in the community AND double or triple my previous income in the process. There was also another, deeper reason. Having grown up in a fiercely competitive city (Mumbai, India) and arrived in the US with nothing more than a suitcase filled with books and clothes in August 2002, I was always driven to ‘prove myself’ and set myself apart from the competition.
Whether you took the same path I did, or are thinking about it, opening up your own practice can be a daunting proposition, especially in a stuttering economy.
Here are FIVE key factors that will help your practice thrive, not just survive in today’s competitive climate.
1. Have a good support system in place (personal and professional)
It’s important to have someone to talk to. Let family members know what you are doing, so you have someone to lean on. Listen to objective advice and be prepared to handle criticism. They may have some good advice, or even be able to point you in the right directions for resources to help you get up and running. Try and join a ‘mastermind’ group of like-minded, success oriented, private practice owners who are willing to share some of their growth strategies. Being in the same room with other, more advanced practitioners than you is the FASTEST way for you to grow your practice. If you cannot organize such a group, the next best thing is to find a mentor who can coach you every step of the way.
2. Network, network, network…
In real estate, they say there are 3 things that are important – location, location, and location.
In Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty, author Harvey Mackay writes: “If I had to name the single characteristic shared by all the truly successful people I’ve met over a lifetime, I’d say it is the ability to create and nurture a network of contacts.”
If you go at it alone, you may be (unknowingly) heading for failure. You will certainly make a lot more mistakes and waste more time and energy than if you had a network of peers to assist you. As mentioned earlier, finding the right network of people who want you to succeed, and are willing to give you honest and constructive feedback about things like your website, company name, logo, and any other significant step. I still meet quarterly with a group of my peers. We share marketing strategies, and even key strategies to help grow our businesses.
The importance of networking is that this network should constantly grow and evolve so your private practice is injected with new ideas for innovation and growth.This is exactly the kind of network you can expect when you attend the Referral Ignition 2016.
3. Master (and Protect) your time
Your time is the most valuable thing you have. Treasure it, and wisely manage the time you have to the tasks only you can do.
It is important that you know how to identify and eliminate all low value tasks. All these tasks should delegate. Remember, the time that you spend on your business is designed to grow your business. Any activity that does not do that, may be outsourced at a reasonable price. This includes answering phones, scheduling patients, faxing paperwork, and even trying to change things on your website – give these activities to someone who knows how to do it, and focus on the ‘high lifetime value’ tasks.
A high lifetime value task includes activities that can build your business and professional reputation. This includes:
- Communicating with referral sources
- Training staff to improve customer service and clinical productivity.
- Creating systems, policies and procedures
- Evaluating return on investment with marketing methods
- Identifying untapped sources of referrals
- Organizing and utilizing testimonials from patients
4. Get the right staff on your team
The right staff can make all the difference. When it comes to industries that are service-based like massage places, nail salons, and physical therapy, customer service is king! If your staff knows how to answer phone calls, talk to people in pain and their family, and do something for the patient (like call for the ride before being asked, or opening the door for someone with crutches or in a wheelchair), that patient will definitely take notice and appreciate your practice and staff. If however, your staff doesn’t answer the phone right away, makes a caller stay on hold for a while, or your staff keeps a patient waiting in the waiting room for a long time before being treated, chances are that patient is not likely to come back. An unexpected, sincere act of kindness goes a long way.
5. Invest in your physical health.
Remember to eat right, exercise regularly and keep up with your annual physicals. Practice what your preach! Our job requires us to be motivating and a positive role model to our patients. Go beyond the physical. Keep motivational and inspirational quotes around your office where they are visible. Be sure to read inspiring books that can help steer you and your business in the right direction.