Why aren’t more Independent PT practices more successful?
Although the data is sparse on exactly what percentage of PT practice owners with three clinics or less are successful, we can all agree that the percentage could and should be higher!
So why isn’t it?
In my experience as a PT Owner for over 14 years and surveying many other private practice owners across the country, I believe the reasons are these:
1. Lack of Clarity
2. Emotional Decision Making
3. Poor Implementation
What’s interesting about these three problems is that they’re all related to one another. An Owner, who is not clear about where the company is headed is often unable to “sell” his or her vision to the staff.
In response, the staff does not “get on board” with the idea and poor implementation is the results. The Owner at this point becomes more reactive in nature causing them to make poor emotionally based decisions rather than intelligent, creative decisions.
This process continues to repeat itself while the frustration mounts on the Owner and the staff.
The solution is quite simple to understand, but can be challenging if the Owner doesn’t buy into the reasoning.
Let’s take each one of these problems and dive deeper into How and Why they occur.
Lack of Clarity
In virtually every seminar, workshop and book I’ve ever taken or read over the past 20 years as a Physical therapist, Clarity is always at the top of the list when it comes to “What is the first step of success?”
For years, I ignored this universal truth because I thought it was a waste of time. I thought, “I know what I need…it’s more New patients! I don’t need to sit there and write it out on a sheet of paper!”
This type of mindset kept me from achieving a higher level of success for many years.
For me, the truth was that I wasn’t sure what I wanted from the practice. I wasn’t sure what I wanted my business and life to look like. All I know I needed more NP’s so I could make more money.
Clarity is about having a vision, a clear picture of what your life will look like sometime in the future. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work the other way around. The goal, vision or expectation ALWAYS comes before hand. Otherwise, you just end up somewhere that most likely you didn’t want to be.
The clearer you are about what you want, the more likely it is to happen!
Emotion Based Decision Making
Have you ever felt that the more you tried to grow the practice the harder it was to do it? It almost feels as if you’re working your tail off to find out that you’re just digging a bigger hole.
This was me in the first seven years of my practice.
My lack of clarity and vision or what I wanted, combined with my inability to engage my staff and help implement my ideas caused me to work harder and harder with a minimal increase in results.
It was a mentor of mine and me willing to listen, which finally opened my eyes to the fact that every decision I was making came from a place of high, negative emotion. In other words, my decisions are nothing more than reactions to what was happening in the practice.
For example, when my numbers were low (NP and Visits), I sought out a quick referral generating solution that would hopefully “solve” the problem. What ended up happening was a temporary fix. Or worse, this quick fix solution caused other areas of the practice to become problematic.
Without looking at my problem from a state of creativity, innovation and what I call the “positive zone,” the solution would always cause more problems than it solved.
Many PT Owners make poor, emotionally driven, solutions from a negative state causing constant confusion amongst the staff and the Owner. This does not lead to success, but just the opposite.
To succeed in your practice, one must get better at these areas:
• Creating Clarity
• Creative Decision Making
• Ability to Implement
Once you have a vision of where you’re headed, the ability to think creatively rather than reactively and the ability to implement and follow through with your ideas regardless whether they work perfectly initially, then you’ll be well on your way to consistent, well-deserving success!
Practically ever PT Owner I’ve ever interviewed had at least some issue with implementing an idea or system into their practice.
If creating your future is the “thinking” part of an Owners job, and making decisions is the “emotional” part, then implementation is definitely the “doing” part!
“You can’t think your way to success!” I’m not sure who gets the credit for saying this quote, but I bet they were an action taker! Only action takers know this to be true.
What is an action taker?
• They are a doer, not a procrastinator
• They focus on making progress towards their goals
• They don’t allow perfectionism tendencies slow them down
Implementing a project isn’t about getting it right; it’s about getting it MOVING!
Getting into motion no matter how small the steps are is the secret to implementation. Most of us want the conditions perfect, everything to be just right before taking action.
“Whether it’s implementing a more effective marketing strategy, showing their PT’s how to better engage and connect with their patients or how to handle objections from patients at the front desk, getting these projects into motion and making adjustments as you go will always be better than waiting for the perfect time.”
Over thinking, over analyzing leads to procrastination and time wasted. Having ideas is a good thing, but without implementation it just stays as an idea, rather than an idea with action!