Far too many chiropractors labor for far too long on the business roller-coaster watching their income dip and dive to the tune of consistent unpredictability. Sure, the twister is a fun ride at the amusement park, but let’s talk about creating a more steady stream of success in your practice using what I call your Chiropractic “BFF”.
And don’t worry, I haven’t lost my mind and slipped into a tween advice columnist mode here — we’re talking the Chiropractic “Business Future Formula.”
Multiply By Four
Part of our problem that prohibits us from accurately predicting the pace of our practice is that we fail to future pace our current problems or results. In this, take a few simple math exercises to illustrate what I mean. For each question, multiply your current number by four to see what happens in each primary category of your practice:
Your Basic Production Stats — this would include new patients, weekly visits, services and collections. For example — if you’ve collected $100,000 this past quarter, then multiplying by four puts you on track to collect $400k this year. How does that feel? If the answer is not good, then you’ve got to take action NOW to correct it, not as the 4th quarter rolls around.
Your Past Production (Accounts Receivable) — many times we focus so much on the “front end” (attracting new patients or even our current production) that we fail to look at what we leave behind or what’s falling through the cracks. So apply the same test to your A/R. If you multiplied it by four, would that leave you with a huge mess on your hands or would you be about on track as compared to your production? Again, if the answer is less than desirable, take steps to focus on improving your A/R now. And by the way, if your answer is “I don’t even know how to measure if my A/R is a good or bad presently” — that’s a bad sign. How can you predict what you don’t even know how to monitor? Take that as a clue that you need to learn how to oversee your billing, collections and A/R.
Your Personal Workload — everyone wants their practice to grow or increase, but frankly not everyone has the bandwidth to truly make it happen. Look at how you spend your time now and you will get an idea of your capacity in four basic areas: patient care, documentation, revenue production, business management. In other words, if you multiplied your current patient load, do you literally have the capacity to expand — or would you be crippled by your own growth? How about your documentation? Are you already piled up with paperwork and behind on your notes, spending weekends and off-hours doing documentation? What if the business multiplied — would this just magnify your mess? Consider Revenue Production — is it all dependent on you? In other words, if the business booms is it only because of your efforts or can you grow your practice because of multiple streams of incomes and providers? Finally, who’s steering the ship? If your practice multiplies, with more revenue, more providers, you are going to need more direction to navigate the change. Are you ready?
Why Four and More?
Some of you may ask — why multiply by four? In reality, you can choose whatever interval you like. For example, if it’s March, you could compile stats from Jan and Feb and multiply by six. Or if you’re in June, multiply by two.
The reason I do like using “four” as our multiplier is that it also correlates well with project completion time. For example, with my private coaching clients, we work in 90 day chunks to focus on improvement because a quarter (three month time period) is enough time to make significant progress but not too far off to get lost in the weeds.
Regardless of what your number may be, the key idea is to future pace your present results and see if you like what the future looks like.
The Good News and The Opportunity
Here’s the good news — if you are reading this in the 1st Quarter, you’ve got three quarters left to make improvements! Even if you are not, the realization and focus on what you need to do to change the course of your business future will help you take the first step in getting there.
Now, if the above questions produced less than comforting answers for you, here is your opportunity. You can fix this. These problems don’t tend to resolve themselves and it takes consistent effort working in all these errors to kill the roller-coaster and build a better, business future. So, get moving. You know which areas need the most work and if you’re unclear, just start anywhere — imperfect progress is better than perfect procrastination.