Item(s) added to cart

Item(s) not added to cart

Partners in Practice

March 29, 2017

How to Grow a Practice When Success Is Counterintuitive

By: Lorne Brown, Dr TCM, CPA

In the third installment of Dr. Lorne Brown’s four-part blog series, Lorne Brown, CPA, Dr TCM, challenges you to take deliberate, strategic actions (every day) to make your business succeed. His recent book, “Missing the Point: Why Acupuncturists Fail and What They Need to Know to Succeed,” has already reached over 1,400 acupuncturists. Get a taste of how his years of expertise can help you significantly grow your practice.

Success Requires Action

Success is counterintuitive. If it was so obvious and logical, then everyone would be successful. For this reason, a lot of things I did to make my businesses a success don’t seem to make sense to practitioners I mentor until they’ve done those things too and seen that they work. Then the methods to success seems obvious!

When I chose to open my practice on Sundays, I had a revolt at the clinic. Why Sunday and not Saturday? Saturday nowadays is like a regular day in the workweek. Professionals work; people shop. It’s not a day for rest. On Sunday, things are open but most medical clinics and professionals, like doctors and lawyers, aren’t typically open. When I made the announcement, my practitioners said we can’t work on Sunday because it’s a church day. I asked, “Who here goes to church on Sundays?” Nobody answered yes. None of my practitioners are religious, none of them go to church, none of them are aware of their patients going to church. I said, “Let’s try it for three months and see what happens.”

Well, we did it, and now Sunday is booked up months in advance. Patients love it because it is a “lazy day.” There’s less traffic, and they don’t have to run back to work or other appointments after acupuncture. There is very little competing for their time on Sundays. It didn’t seem to make sense when I said we should open on Sunday because no other clinics were open. But now Sunday is booked out in advance more than any other of our clinic days.

In Part 2 of my book, “Missing the Point,” I give a lot of examples of things that are counterintuitive in business. A common misconception, for example, is that free or discounted treatments will get people in the door. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. If you lower your fees in half, it doesn't double your practice but rather makes you work twice as hard to earn the same amount you were already making. As a former accountant, I can tell you lowering your fees is not logical.

Smarter Thinking Leads to Smarter Action

What I share in “Missing the Point” is like a blueprint for entrepreneurial thinking. At the beginning I present action steps that are so ridiculously simple that they’re at risk of being dismissed. Even the actions at the very end of the book that I say to do on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis are things everyone has heard of. Nothing there is new. The difference is, once you have the entrepreneurial thinking, you have the understanding of why you need to do those things and you’ll be inspired to develop the discipline of doing them on a regular, ongoing basis.

Most people will follow the plan for a few weeks or a couple months and then say it doesn’t work. They don’t realize growing a successful practice is about persistence over the life of your practice. It’s just like planting a tomato seed or fig tree. First you cultivate the soil. Even before you plant, you’re spending energy and time getting the soil ready. Then you plant your seed. Three weeks later—after pulling weeds and watering every day, setting up the right balance of sun and shade, and without any sign of growth—it’d be easy to say, “This isn’t working!” But what you don’t see is that underneath the soil, against the craziest odds, against all the weight of heavy dirt, and with minimal oxygen and sunlight, this tiny seed has spouted and is now working its way up to the surface to eventually bear fruit. The plan is working; you just don’t see that yet!

This is the same as growing your practice. Success doesn’t always show up the way you want it to right away. You think it may not be working, but underneath, a lot of things are happening. Persistence and continued action are the keys. Your actions are always congruent with your thinking. So adopting the attitudes and philosophies of successful entrepreneurs is essential. The more you develop your attitudes and consistently take smarter action, the bigger difference that’s going to make in your success.

You Don’t Need a Get-Rich-Quick Scheme

I’ve been in practice since 2000. I still work on my thinking and take action daily. I don’t have to put forth the same incredible effort now as I did at the beginning, but I still put in the effort. That can’t stop. It’s like my father once said, “I don’t know any way to get rich quick—legally anyhow. You can inherit, but that’s not a great way to become rich (by losing your parents), and it may take a long time too. You can marry into it, but most prefer to marry for love. Or you can do illegal activities.” Since my father hadn’t done any of those, he recommended to me the one thing he knew for sure: “You’re going to have to show up daily and work.” He was successful because he outworked everybody. Even when he didn’t want to be at work, he showed and delivered value to his customers. He was a great mentor because he taught me that when you love what you do, it’s easy to show up because you love doing it. But it’s only because you put in the time that you become successful.

Get Ahead With Entrepreneurial Thinking

The principles I present in “Missing the Point” have worked for me in all my business ventures. I learned through books and mentors, and I’ve since passed those techniques on to associates and colleagues who have successfully applied the methods in their practices.

If you like what you’ve read here and are excited to learn more, sign up for our upcoming What Acupuncturists Need to Know to Succeed webinar. And join us for the final installment in Dr. Brown’s series, in which he talks about building your team and confidently training your staff to best help your patients. Make sure you don't miss this final piece of the success puzzle.

To get the whole story, order “Missing The Point: Why Acupuncturists Fail . . . and What They Need to Know to Succeed.

SP News

Download Current Issue

Read more SP News articles in digital form, including practice tips and features, by clicking here.


About Partners in Practice

We want to help our health care professional customers connect and learn through practice management-related content. Introducing Partners in Practice, a new blog and content hub exclusively for our practitioner partners.

You must be signed in to access this new page, which features blogs from chiropractors and acupuncturists as well as SP News practice tips and articles. Don’t forget to sign up for the Partners in Practice blog digest!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.