My old music teacher said once, “Practice makes permanent. Perfect practice makes perfect.” It took me years to understand what she meant by that. Many of my peers and ‘gurus’ in the world were telling me to just ‘put in the time’ and it will eventually come. I’ll eventually understand how to play the piano. But it wasn’t until I had a teacher that had to break me of a bad habit in order for me to effortlessly complete a song, did I understand.
Yes, just ‘putting in the time’ was enough to get by with my piano playing. But learning to do something the right way – the first time – is what took my music to a whole new level.
This is what an established and proven blueprint can do for you and your business.
A blueprint is defined as “a detailed outline or a plan of action”. Having a blueprint can ensure that you don’t waste time trying to figure something out. And even if your plan of action is flawed, you can find it quicker – because you have a plan – and fix or adjust it and keep moving forward.
In this post, I’m going to outline the first pillar of the 4 Pillar Blueprint that many successful businesses have used to establish, grow, and ultimately scale their business.
Set Your Foundation
Nothing – be it business, sports, health, music, you name it – can be built on unless you have the fundamentals in place. And don’t fool yourself, you are building. You are an architect that is designing the structure of how your life and business will either stand or fall in the coming years. And statistically speaking, any business owner has the odds stacked against them. Here is a report on the survival rates of small businesses from sba.gov.
In a functional medicine practice, a solid foundation is key. Here is a quick overview of each section of the 1st pillar in our blueprint:
If you head isn’t in the right place, your business won’t be either. One of my favorite phrases is “People don’t have business problems. They have personal problems that reflect in their business”. And it’s never been truer today.
For Example – Do you believe that you are being fairly compensated for your experience and expertise? Do you believe that it’s possible FOR YOU to have a successful business? Are you adapting to the feedback that the universe is giving you to help you iterate and improve yourself and your business?
Having a mindset of success is a key factor that many forget, or even skip. Then they wonder what happened to their business.
This is a marketing term that is slowly making its way into other industries. It means to pick a specialty. The old adage of “Jack of All trades, master of none” is what we are referring to here.
Let’s look deeper into the functional medicine industry to get an example of what I’m talking about here. The ultimate goal of any doctor or practitioner is to help people become the healthiest version of themselves. But – there are many different symptoms, different methods of discovery and healing that can be administered for each symptom. And ultimately, there are different root causes for each symptom. As a doctor, you are – by nature – a generalist. You have a working knowledge of all of it.
However, what happens if you intentionally specialize in one area? What if you specialized in Natural Thyroid treatment? or What if your passion is helping pregnant mothers maintain a nutritional diet? Or maybe you become the expert in relieving chronic knee pain?
This doesn’t mean you have to turn away patients looking for your services that are outside your specialty, but it does mean that people with those specific issues can find you easier. And they will search you out! That’s the power of niching…getting people to come to you because of what you know and how you can help them.
Now that you have started on your mindset and you have an idea the specific niche you want to be the expert in it’s time to move onto the basics of business.
Your schooling taught you most of what you need to know to do your job. But they taught you very little about how to open and run a practice and the business things that go into just keeping the lights on.
This is where many doctors and practitioners feel overwhelmed. It can feel like you are playing darts, with a blindfold on, in a spinning room filled with people you care about. Yeah…you don’t know where the target is and you’re not sure if what you’re doing is helping or hurting.
Let’s start with a basic principle – you don’t have to do everything yourself. Yes, that means outsourcing. And yes, that requires money. And that can be hard if you’re first starting out. But I promise you, somethings are worth spending money on so that you don’t have to. In my world that’s bookkeeping (and taxes) – If I tried to do it myself the IRS would for sure be after me for my lack of record keeping and haphazard organization of expenses.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you don’t keep tabs on it. Only that you are not the one to physically do the work that you can outsource. I have monthly meetings with my bookkeeper to ensure that everything looks right and expenses are categorized properly. Because it is MY responsibility ultimately, but I can let someone else do the legwork so that I can focus on what I do best.
Everything in business can have a process. From how you answer the phone to how you build a plan for your patients to follow. Even down to what your office visits look and feel like. The more details that are processed (and planned) down to the smallest detail the more smoothly operations are going to go.
Side note: this does not mean to let planning stop you from getting started. Nor does it mean to not start until your plan is perfect. (spoiler alert: most plans don’t start out perfect and there is always something to improve.)
However, this part of the foundation of your business is all about establishing and sticking to a process and system. It allows for the easier training of new employees. Your patients will feel like they know the drill better. It helps you to determine which areas of your business can be streamlined.
Processes are all about making your practice run a smooth as it can.
And processes aren’t so rigid that you can’t customize.
For Example – One step in the process of a new patient is to establish a wellness plan for them. The individualized care that they get falls into that wellness plan and is customizable for their needs. However, YOUR process is to “Establish a Wellness Plan”. And that plan should itself be a process for the patient to follow.
It’s time for me to be brutally honest with you. If you do not have a website and at least some kind of social media presence you are irrelevant in today’s environment.
And I can go even farther to say if your presence isn’t easy to access on a mobile device – or it looks like crap – you’re not relevant.
Now, the good news here is this is TOTALLY within your control. Social media profiles are free to set up and free to create content on and engage your audience. This costs you time (and most of it can be done in an hour or less a day). Websites have a price associated with them. However, I caution you from using a cookie cutter website that many companies are pushing. You will look just like everyone else and will not stand out from your competition.
For as little as a few hundred dollars – up to several thousand – you can get a great, modern looking, website that is unique to you and your practice. This alone in some industries *cough* chiropractors *cough*, can set you apart from the other doctors a block away from your office.
Wrapping it up
Wow, this post got long quick. Check back for posts on the other three pillars in the coming weeks. And each Subset of the Foundational Pillar has more in-depth conversations to go into. Keep a look out for more posts going deeper into each subset.
As you can see, there is more to having a successful practice than getting your education and opening doors to an office. But then again, you probably figured that out already. I’m here to help you. If there’s something specific you want me to deep dive into feel free to leave it in the comments. Also, what ways did you set up your practice’s foundation that has helped you overcome the struggles? Let me know in the comments.