Just like a back can spasm, leaving you a little off balance, so too, can your chiropractic practice. After all, nothing is guaranteed forever. Yet – like your back – all is not lost; nothing that a little bit of TLC can’t fix, anyway! So follow our top tips to get you back on your feet in no time:
Assess the situation
Put your doctor’s hat on and imagine your practice as a patient. What exactly are the problems here? Are all your services selling? Is too much being spent on unnecessary things? Is your management competent? Is yours a one-way trip to failure or are there roundabouts that can get you back in the right direction? Be brutally honest with yourself – however painful it might be.
The backbone to any business, it is vital that you evaluate yours:
- Know your costs. Make sure you’re aware of how much it actually costs you to provide your services and work out a ‘cost per patient’ or ‘cost per procedure’.
- Increase your balance. Easier said than done, we know, but this means things like collecting outstanding payments, generating cash from assets and – of course – taking out a loan with the likes of people like us!
- Sort the ‘must pay’ expenses from the ‘can wait’.
- Cut expenses. Anything that is not contributing to the practice’s success should be minimised. Now is the time to reduce overhead expenses, renegotiate leases and sort the wheat from the chaff.
- Develop and implement plans to ensure your cash repayments are doable and your trajectory on the up. Set up a budget (if you haven’t already done so) and review it annually – at the very minimum! You’ll be amazed at the findings!
Patients are a virtue …
… until they’re not anymore. Don’t be afraid to lose patients that are providing lots of work but little income. Of course, giving free advice is admirable, but not if it’s at the expense of your business. “If your practice tends to get a lot of people asking for free advice, then it might be a good idea to promote a consulting service”, advises Sam Williamson of AIMS Media. “Place clear signs on the door stating that you will charge to give people advice, and that you need a minimum of an hour to properly advise them. This will help to turn otherwise non-paying customers into paying customers.”
Similarly, if you employ many members of staff, it may be worthwhile to think about cutting these numbers, too. – especially if they’re inefficient. Remember, you are, primarily, a boss – not a friend. Vitally, you must build a top-notch team, made up of accountancy, managerial, marketing, admin and PR skills.
Don’t be too proud to share the burden with someone and become a partnership. Someone coming in with fresh eyes could be just what the practice needs. Yes, you will have to split the profit, but remember – it’s better to have 50% of something than 100% of nothing.
Develop a long-term marketing plan
Until you fully commit to this, you will always be operating under capacity. Invest an affordable amount into marketing each month but also take advantage of free marketing opportunities, such as promotion on social media. It really is as simple as that!
Once you’re back on track, make sure you have plans in place to ensure you don’t hit the same pitfalls. Use what’s happened to learn from your mistakes; are you confident in the services you offer? Are you marketing correctly? Are you sourcing alternative financing?
Lucky for you, we can help. Find out more here.