by Michael Dorausch, DC

I invite you non chiropractic business people to read this post, as I feel a lot of this stuff crosses into many types of small businesses.

About once a month I get a handwritten letter from some chiropractic practice management firm in Tustin, California. I believe they always include the same testimonial, from a chiropractic office in San Clemente, along with their handwritten cover letter inviting me to call for a free consultation.

In the past I’ve thrown the letters in the trash (gotta start recycling those) but they keep coming. I received one again this month, and I think there’s some good topics related to chiropractic salaries, so I decided to keep it (at least until this post is done).

The testimonial letter is from a chiropractor in San Clemente (Southern California) and it reads as follows… I have been a chiropractor in California for 15 years now. I have a beautiful wife and three small children. Life is busy, rewarding and great. In my practice, we see 250 patient visits per week and average in the $70,000 per month range for collections.

Next sentence reads… However, it hasn’t always been this way!

The letter continues (enters sounds of violin) with the story of this chiropractors struggle during the first four years in his practice. Things were so bad that he apparently considered quitting, until he joined this magical Management group. The letter goes on to espouse how great this management program is, and how it has taught this chiropractor to run his practice as a business.

I see letters like this appearing in my chiropractic office almost every day, and I have to say they are rather sickening. I have nothing wrong with business management, in fact, I think it’s critical to one’s business success. Of course it hasn’t always been this way, you have to start your practice somewhere. In most business situations, you start at zero, and work your way up. Waiting four years to take action on your business is pure lunacy, regardless of your industry. If more chiropractors would begin the planning stages while they were students, I believe we’d see less chiropractors failing in those first four years.

wordcamp Dorausch trepanyThis nonsense that there are no new patients out there is totally bogus hogwash. I speak with successful chiropractors frequently, and they believe people in their community are choosing chiropractic more than ever.

Research statistics from Internet searches suggest this as well, as the number of people seeking out health information online and specific information about chiropractic is just staggering. I’ve been at this a long time, and Planet Chiropractic has been gathering search log files for nearly 10 years. Those files include every word ever searched for on the web site. And that’s just the information and from one web site.

It’s my experience that the flow of new patients into chiropractic offices (in the United States) is like a rising river. When the river rises in your neck of the woods, you had better be prepared.

Business training shouldn’t be the result of some sort of epiphany, where you woke up and decided to go to work. Business should involve common sense everyday planning and action. In chiropractic, and every other service industry, you had also better develop some personal skills on how to successfully interact with others.

That’s me in the photo with my chiropractor, Dr. Don Trepany.

For those of you that are planning on going to chiropractic school, and those of you just graduating, take your business planning seriously. Find some people in your area that can act as mentors, get some business training, develop your personal skills, and don’t bitch and moan when you could be working on your plan for success.

Speaking of successful and local chiropractors, here are some that come to mind who are rocking their communities, and taking care of masses of people with great passion and dedication to service… Dr. Ram Parikh of Discover Chiropractic in Butler Pennsylvania. Dr. Ken Gee Ehrlich of the Good Chiropractor, and Dr. Luke Cohen from Innate Chiropractic Center in Pacific Palisades, California. There’s Dr. Adam Church at Atlas Chiropractic in East Haven Connecticut and Dr. Alok Trivedi of Delta Chiropractic in Algonquin, Illinois (Lake in the Hills).

And you, successful chiropractor, I didn’t leave you off the list, just done for the night.