There are few things more nerve-wracking than leaving the comfortable bubble of college and setting out on your own.
This is true for any new grad, but especially true for new DCs. The pressure is on to start making some- thing of oneself—and start paying off those loans.
Don’t worry, you’ve got this. Setting a course for success can be as gratifying as it is challenging, but it’s well worth the time and effort. Here are a few pearls of wisdom I wish I had known before starting out.
You might have dreams of a multi- million-dollar practice (and there’s nothing wrong with that), but you have to build toward that. Meanwhile, consider joining an existing practice to keep your costs low and get experience.
Ideally, find one that does a good job marketing and has a great reputation—these are your first step- ping stones on your way to success, so try to make sure they’re as solid as possible. Of course, you won’t want to start out empty-handed: a table, an adjusting instrument, orthotics starter kit, and laser technology are good initial investments to consider.
Hint: Many of the major chiropractic vendors (tables, orthotics, laser, adjusting instruments, etc.) offer screaming good deals for new docs.
Search the web for “chiropractic grad pack” and “chiropractic starter kit” and similar terms.
The people business
Memorize this statistic: Nearly 70 percent of patients leave their chiropractor because of a feeling of indifference (only 14 percent leave because they are unhappy).1 Remember that people are your business. You need to make them feel appreciated and valued as well as help them feel healthier, stronger, or less in pain. A patient who receives caring service— who is made to feel like the No. 1 patient in your world—will return and urge their friends to follow.
The key to great outcomes
When patients know why they must follow a regimen for healing, they comply. When patients comply, they get better faster. Avoid using overly clinical language. Make sure you explain why a certain procedure or exercise is necessary, and link it to how the patient will benefit.
Use clear, everyday metaphors to illustrate your points such as, “the feet are the body’s foundation” or “the spine is the body’s ‘command central.’ ” These truisms are easy for patients to remember and understand.
Whether foot orthotics, supplements, pillows, or at-home rehab tools, products can establish a healthy revenue stream while improving your patient outcomes. Start small to see what patients respond to. Don’t invest in a huge stock of inventory unless you’re sure it will sell.
A fairly sure-fire investment is custom orthotics—you don’t have to order ahead or keep any inventory in stock, and many companies make it easy with free or low-cost starter kits.
Use free tools like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest (all linking back to your practice website, which you can build easily on sites like wix.com). Meet and talk to as many people as possible.
Offer spinal or postural assessments at health fairs, fitness clubs, and other places where people come together.
Find a mentor
There are plenty of doctors out there who are eager to help the next genera- tion. Make connections within your professional or graduate associations and don’t be afraid to ask about best practices, lessons learned, and anything else that comes to mind.
When the time comes and you’re well on the road to success, be sure to return the favor.
Kevin Wong, DC, is an expert on foot analysis, walking and standing postures, and orthotics. He discusses spinal and extremity adjusting at speaking engagements. He can be contacted through orindachiropractic.com.
1 McDermott E. “They’re Just Not that Into You: Why Patients Churn (and How to Stop Them).” WebPT. www.webpt.com/blog/post/ they-re-just-not-that-into-you-why-patients- churn-and-how-to-stop-them. Published July 2017. Accessed November 2017.