Building your multi-practitioner private practice requires a strong foundation, meaning as we build the structure of our practice we can do so knowing that the efforts we put in create something that is strong, sturdy and sustainable.
Start with the end in mind. The more specific about what you want to build the easier it is for you to lay the appropriate foundation for your practice. For instance, in our Ethical Practice business coaching I work a lot with practitioners who have managed to be able to create a successful practice on their own and decide that they want to grow beyond just themselves. They want to bring on practitioners to work with them. This is great because it means that you can take the success you have and share it with others ensuring you are in the long run able to help more people. The problem is in my experience, and yes I mean mine because I have done this, is that we don’t look at what we need to do to ensure it works. We assume training the new practitioners is just a matter of running through a few things and that will be fine. We are wrong every single time.
Many years ago I found myself in this position. I was seeing 45+ clients per week, with 30 on a cancellation list and booked out a month in advance while working 6 days a week. Yes it was unsustainable. I decided that I had worked out how to make a practice work and so I wanted to help other practitioners to learn how to do the same as we have such a significant statistic of failure in our industry. So by bringing on another practitioner this would reduce my workload, increase the people my practice was able to help and I could teach someone how to succeed in practice. Easy right? So I recruited a reasonably new graduate and set to work. The problem was I didn’t take the time to create a training program, I just shot from the hip and dealt with things as I saw them occur. The result was an unmitigated disaster and I had to acknowledge it was entirely my fault. My version of building a foundation was grabbing anything I could and throwing it into a pile of rubble and then building on top of that.
What did I learn?
I learnt that without a solid practice foundation everything crumbles…and fast. What we need to do is look at what we are doing first, what is working, what isn’t, what do we need to change? We need to plan our practice foundation to the nearest millimetre before we even look for practice building materials. What are the first steps we need to take, the second, and the third? There is no use trying to put the roof on a building if you don’t have any walls. Once we have our plan then we need to take each brick and lay it carefully. That means we need to look at the fine detail of what we are doing so our practice reaches it’s full potential brick by brick.
Dealing with the mundane
The hardest thing for all of us is doing the ground-work, the day-to-day ordinary tasks can be so mundane. We all want to see that amazing end result. The multiple rooms, busy but super chilled reception, the smiles on the faces of the people that the practice helps and of course the freedom this practice success brings. Without that solid practice foundation your dream practice will remain in your head and never see the light of day.
What did I change?
After my first practitioner left, Megan and I spent the next 8 months creating a staff training program that went through every single detail of what I did as a practitioner and why I did it. The difficulty here was that so many of the things I did I had developed over 15 years and many of them I had forgotten why, but going back helped me to understand why what I did worked and to reaffirm my vision for my practice. This made it easier when training practitioners to help them engage more directly with the task set for them. We created a series of documents right down to how you greet someone when they walk through the front door. We then went through each of those with each practitioner over and over and over again until we felt they were wearing it like a second skin. I know this seems a little over the top but I had assumed a lot with my first practitioner and that was not going to happen again. This process also enabled us to build a cohesive approach together ensuring a continuity of service and standard for our clients. The feedback from our clients was that we were unusual for a natural medicine clinic, we were highly professional and had it together.
Before long I had 4 practitioners working for me who were gradually learning how to run a practice successfully and building a strong client base for themselves. Now don’t get me wrong I still made mistakes along the way because like you I am human. But from those mistakes came greater success and our practitioners learnt everything they needed to be able to go out on their own and succeed in the future. We also created Ethical Practice because we want our whole profession to be more successful not just a handful of practitioners.
You don’t have to have the same practice vision as I did. You might want to work 3 half days a week or you might want to build a chain of clinics. The issues remain the same. So whatever your idea make sure you:
- Clarify exactly what you want.
- Refine the idea into the essence of why you are doing it.
- Create your building plan.
- Pick up and lay one brick at a time.
- Adjust as you need to
- Build your dream practice
If you don’t know where to start or have a particular issue you need help with then feel free to contact us. Together we have almost a half century of experience that is directly related to your practice success.