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Are you a physical therapist who owns a practice?
Are you a business owner whose mission is to deliver outstanding physical therapy?
There’s a vast difference. But most Physical Therapists don’t ever stop to ask this question, much less explore what the answer means for their ability to be profitable, deliver exceptional care, and take control of their time.
It’s a costly mistake I made myself when I was operating my own practice. For me—and for a lot of the Physical Therapists I now work with—the importance of thinking like a business owner really became clear when I started hiring.
That’s when I realized: I didn’t know what I was doing. I was an expert at physical therapy. But at business ownership, I was a complete novice.
We’re reluctant to think of ourselves as beginners
Most Physical Therapists become owners because we don’t want to work for other people. We have a well-honed vision of what top-notch care looks like. We want to do things our way. The difficult irony is that stepping into ownership puts you in a world that’s almost entirely outside your expertise.
When you accept that you don’t have all the answers, you open yourself up for change—and growth. Allowing yourself the freedom to be a beginner puts you in a learning mindset—the best place for a leader and innovator to be. It also puts you in the position to get help for all the critical aspects of your business that you’re not an expert in, including:
- Hiring and training
- Financial management
Your training and your experience has prepared you to help the person with a musculoskeletal problem, guiding them to better health and quality of life. That’s an incredibly important job. But as a practice owner, it’s not the job you’re in anymore.
We try to do everything
Most practice owners are knee-deep in daily operations, living through one chaotic workday after the next. They may not be happy about it, but there they are. Developing a business that can operate effectively without you isn’t just possible—it’s essential if you want your practice to grow.
Removing yourself from daily operations doesn’t happen by accident. Time management strategies help—but they’re just the tip of the iceberg. You also need to:
- Know what your most important work is—and how to focus on it
- Delegate low-energy activities to others who can do that work better than you can
- Take a serious look at whether treating patients yourself is holding you back
We rely too much on word of mouth marketing
It’s the core marketing strategy for most practice owners. It’s what gave you your initial success in establishing your practice—those patients who like and trust you, who recommended you to others. Unfortunately, the way most practice owners operate word of mouth marketing leads to inconsistent results.
Without a plan in place, word of mouth marketing is impossible to control. It works for a while—until it doesn’t. Word of mouth marketing usually stops working well enough as soon as you try to grow. When I was a practice owner I wasn’t satisfied with a no-growth business plan. And I didn’t want to rest my family’s livelihood on the inconsistent results my word of mouth marketing produced.
Stay tuned, because I’ll talk more soon about how to execute word of mouth marketing so it’s reliable and effective.
We don’t think strategically about the future
When I was an overwhelmed PT running a business, I looked ahead to the future and didn’t like what I saw. I saw myself working way too hard and continuing to struggle. I saw myself worrying constantly about money. I saw myself not being available to my family in the way I wanted to be. It actually drove me to think about switching careers altogether. Instead, I re-committed to my practice, with one big change:
Instead of being a great physical therapist who owned a business, I would put all my effort and attention to building a thriving business that delivered great care.
How we see ourselves determines the actions we take. Are you prepared to see yourself as a business owner dedicated to a mission of great healthcare?
I know what it’s like to take those first steps toward becoming a business owner and entrepreneur. It’s exciting and scary at the same time. To talk through your next steps, schedule your Get Laser Focused 30 Minute Free Call today!