A healthy chiropractic practice is a growing practice. You might assume growth comes in the form of new patients and as long as you have patients coming in the door on a regular basis you think all is well.
Sometimes this leads to a false sense of security and comfort becomes the norm, this is what I call a bubble. It’s dangerous to get too comfortable because when one gets comfy, one stops moving forward.
Is your practice growing by leaps and bounds, a steady stream or a slow trickle?
Who cares what pace it’s growing…at least it’s growing right? Well…a practice can grow too fast and not be able to give patients the best of care if your practice is not staffed properly or systems are not in place to handle the influx of new patients. When this happens, things get overlooked, forgotten and mistakes happen, then the stress sets in. Stress leads to panic and the walls seem to be close in, so creates a”panic bubble”.
A steady steam of new patients is great but beware of the “comfort bubble”, this can cause one to not feel the need to push for more patients through means of chiropractic ads or adding niche services.
On the other hand, slow growth is cause for concern because this often leads to less revenue and it’s hard to market your practice if you have no budget for marketing, then you reside in the “stuck bubble”.
If your practice isn’t seeing new patients at all then there is cause for concern, but even when you know things have to change and something has to be done to get more patients in the door, there is still that fear of stepping out and trying new ways to bring in new patients. I call this the “fear bubble”.
Everyone sits in a bubble but we have to learn out to step out of those bubbles if change is going to happen. Of all the bubbles mentioned, I think the “comfort bubble” is the most dangerous, because why fix something that’s not broke right? All of the other bubbles would cause you to take action, to step out and look at new options.
To break free of the stuck bubble, try adding niches that will help expand the patient’s options in their health care. Billable services such as massage, physical therapy, wellness, nutrition and weight loss will help expand your practice beyond the traditional chiropractic practice and increase revenue. As will adding supplements, pillows, small PT items such at foam rollers, flexible tubing and hand putty for strengthening exercises.
To get out of that comfort bubble….expand the practice. These days chiropractors have so much more to offer to their patients above and beyond the traditional spinal adjustment. When spinal decompression therapy was introduced several years ago, it was considered a luxury therapy for many in the chiropractic field as the equipment was expensive and not all practices had the room to add a decompression table. As time went on and spinal decompression proved to be a superior alternative to surgery and prolonged medication used in pain management.
The manufacturing of smaller and less complicated decompression tables helped to reduce the cost to purchase and house the tables thus allowing more chiropractic practices a way to give additional treatments to their patients with herniated disc issues. After ironing out ways for effectively marketing spinal decompression, more chiropractic clinics offered decompression and more patients were given a choice in their care. Same is true for laser therapy today.
The panic bubble is broken once you hire and train additional staff, then you establish a system. This is typically a rare problem to have as most new practices start out slow. So you want to have adequate staff and systems ready before you open for business.
Last but not least, the fear bubble. This is where I was many years ago and this is why I can say there is hope beyond this bubble. It is the worst feeling in the world to know you’ve got to do something to save your practice but there is no money. It’s also probably the hardest bubble to break out of.
I recommend networking and asking for referrals, encourage existing patients to refer their family and friends to your office. Health and wellness mini shops are perfect segues into chiropractic care and a great way to introduce the community to your office. Host a open door health talk in your office once a month. This is a great way to get new patients in your door that might curious about chiropractic. It is also a great way to address fears of those who may have been told negative things about chiropractic.