“You’re going to have a slice of this multi-billion dollar industry.”
Many of us heard and thought this when we decided to become healthcare practitioners. When we were considering becoming a healthcare practitioner, most of us were told that we could make an excellent living doing what we loved; helping people. There is a mentality that permeates the healthcare college scene, and that’s a “build it, and they will come” mentality- they make it all sound so easy.
We bite the bullet it and sign on the dotted line. We rack up a staggering amount of debt and spend four years of our lives withdrawn from the workforce (further loss of lifetime income and increased opportunity costs) to complete our degree. Then, many of us graduate and work for another practitioner for a year or more while we learn how a practice runs and refine our skills in the hopes to acquire enough knowledge to open our own practice. After our first year on the job, we then take out a massive private equity loan to open or purchase a practice. We’re full of hope, and we “KNOW” that we’re going to be a success.
It doesn’t take long to realize that the healthcare practitioner’s dream of success is just that – a dream. For most, the first year in private practice is typically a hellish existence, and at that point, we realize that we got in way over our heads. Then, by year two or three we’re typically able to stay afloat and take home a moderate income (at best) – we think it’s going to be better one day, but that day never comes. Many practice owners stay in this financial purgatory for the remainder of their career, and the successful ones wise up and look for help with their business.
The problem with becoming a healthcare practitioner is that college doesn’t give us a solid foundational understanding in regards to financial literacy.
Healthcare colleges don’t help to develop our abilities in accounting, finance, human resources or managerial decision-making skills. Most practice owners know next to nothing about the business side of owning a practice, and that’s 90% of what’s necessary for success in practice! In addition to not providing a solid foundation for financial literacy, practitioners are now saddled with $200,000+ of debt that gives them a minimal chance of success – they are doomed before they even begin. We blame the colleges, but we also condemn the culture amongst healthcare practitioners for spewing financially illiterate nonsense non-stop. We need to develop a solid understanding of business best practices, as an industry, if our industry is to be successful in the long run.
I had to learn this lesson about the necessity of financial literacy the hard way. I wish someone would have told us what I was in for when I decided to dedicate myself to becoming a healthcare practitioner and practice owner. I wish people would have given me a fair warning when I was already IN college! When I graduated from college, I wish someone would have taken me aside and said: “Okay, now that you know how to provide care, you NEED to develop your understanding of business if you want to have a chance at surviving in this field.” No one provided this critical pause and advice, not a single damn person! When I opened my first practice and was struggling, I realized very quickly that this was a problem and that I needed to fix it. Over the years, I hired a whole slew of coaches and consultants and only gained the most minimal knowledge that I needed. Looking back, many of them didn’t know what the hell they were talking about.
The consultants and coaches were barely able to give me the basics much less help me to move the needle in my practice in a meaningful and significant way.
I ended up putting my nose to the grindstone and learning all of my financial literacy skills the hard way- by independent research and resolute study. I then took the principles I learned through research and what I gained from real-world first-hand experience to create my own management system in practice – that’s when my practice grew exponentially. After I had implemented my own system based on solid business practices, my practice began to grow month after month – for years. I eventually got to the point where people approached me to start consulting them; then the rest was history- now my practice solution is used by all of our clients, and I stepped away from practicing personally.
What we do isn’t magic.
Here’s the thing, what we as The Art of Practice Prosperity team do isn’t magic. We help healthcare practitioners with their financial literacy and managerial decision-making skills. On top of filling the educational gaps left from college, we give them a plug-and-play business solution that they can implement immediately- which is very important. 56% of small business in the United States fail within the first four years, and much of it is due to poor financial literacy. We’ve met a lot of practitioners with failed or failing businesses, and it’s typically poor money management skills, poor marketing skills, and poor sales or enrollment skills that sink their practice. A healthcare practice owner must know the best business practices in accounting, allocating funds for disbursements, payroll, marketing, paying themselves, human resources, and practice management. If a practice owner doesn’t have a solid understanding of these areas, even when they might not be performing in all of them themselves personally, they will be set up for failure.
We will help you.
If you feel like you’re struggling to grasp the financial concepts involved with running a practice, we highly recommend watching our training. You can do that here: www.expandmypractice.com If you want to ask us a few questions and have a quick chat, you can do that here: www.theartofpracticeprosperity.com/sayhello
p.s. If you would like to learn more about this problem, I highly recommend reading this peer-reviewed study on the lack of financial literacy in the healthcare industry as it applies to Chiropractic. From our experience, we are confident that this is transferable to any healthcare field:
All our best,
Jonathan and The Art of Practice Prosperity Team