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What Business Are You In?
    Here's a quiz for you:  What business are you in?  Think long and hard before answering this seemingly self-evident question.

    If you are like 95% of all chiropractors, you've answered that you're in the chiropractic care business.  However, if you are part of the 5% of truly successful doctors, then you know that this is not true.

    You are in the business of marketing.  Plain and simple.  Whether your goal is to help as many patients as possible, make a certain income, or live a certain lifestyle, the only way to do this is by realizing that you need to get a certain quantity, and a certain quality of patients.  And in order to do that, you must actively find and attract them to your practice, which is a marketing process.

    Now, I know that many doctors out there will disagree with me.  They have been conditioned that in order for them to be successful, they have to be the best chiropractor in the world.  While I have absolutely nothing against you being a great chiropractor, the truth of the matter is this is not sufficient.

    I'm sure that you've heard the saying, "If you build a better mousetrap, they will come."  Well this is a bunch of hogwash.  While it may have been true in years past, specifically before the information age, this simply is no longer true.  Sure there are businesses that this saying still applies to, but they are the exception, not the rule.

    In fact, this is one of the main reasons why so many businesses with high potential fail.  They assume that since they have a great product or service, customers will seek them out.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Virtually every study has shown that great marketing will sell a mediocre product, but mediocre marketing will not sell a great product.  Please think about this profound statement.  How have you been viewing your practice?

    Have you been so concerned about learning the newest adjustment techniques, or being on the cutting-edge of the newest research, that you totally ignored the business aspect of your practice?  While it's great to be on the cutting-edge of chiropractic care, if you are not getting the patients you need, or making the money you need, you're in deep trouble.

    Believe me in this, no matter how good of a chiropractor you are, you will continually have an uphill fight in making a living, or keeping your practice open for that matter, until you realize that you are in the business of marketing.

    Chiropractic should be your passion and your mission, but unless you are running an efficient business, you're not going to be able to deliver chiropractic care to your patients, and all your effort will have been in vain.

    And the bottom line is that you owe it to your patients to be marketing oriented.  Your patients depend on you to provide them with chiropractic care, but if you aren't making enough money to stay in practice, you'll eventually have to close down, and your patients will be forced to find another doctor, possibly even a non-chiropractor.

    I'm going to let you in on a little secret.  Do you know why some chiropractors invest all their time learning chiropractic techniques and research, but never make it in the real world?  It isn't because they aren't able.  Virtually any chiropractor can become very successful, with a practice that provides them with a great income.

    The reason some chiropractors never make it is because they never try.  It's that simple.  They are scared.  They're scared of change, and they're scared of failure.  So what do they do?  They lie to themselves and tell themselves that they are learning how to be a better chiropractor.  In truth, all they're doing is running away from they're fears.

    Again, please don't misunderstand what I'm talking about here with the genuine importance of learning and keeping up to date with new procedures and research.  You definitely owe it to yourself and to your patients to be knowledgeable in your field, and to deliver the best care you are capable of, but don't start using this as an excuse for not having the practice and the lifestyle you've always dreamed of.

    Heck, the same thing happened to me not too long ago.  Here was I, an "expert" in marketing and growing businesses, and I wasn't following my own advice.  One day I woke up and realized that even though I had all the knowledge to grow my business to any size I chose, I was waiting for my clients to come to me.

    What did I spend my time on?  I fooled myself into believing that I was keeping abreast of all the new marketing research, but one day I had enough.  For one week I wrote down on paper everything that I did, and the extent of time that I spent doing it.

    And when I was done, I got really depressed.  I realized that a lot of my time was actually wasted, and I did very little to grow my business.  I found myself spending a large portion of my time "learning".  Now, while learning is great, there is a time for learning, and there is a time for action, and I simply was not giving enough attention to action.

    This was a year ago.  Since then I've stuck with the daily routine of writing down everything I did during the day.  I've been able to keep a tab on what my time and resources are being utilized on, and my productivity (and profits) have increased since then.

    Now here's the challenge for you.  Can you, and do you, realize that you are running a business, and getting customers (patients) is your primary job?  Do you understand that the only way you can provide care for patients is to have patients to provide care for?  And the only way to do this is by becoming marketing oriented first.

    Instead of learning only new chiropractic research, spend time learning marketing.  Go to your bookstore or library and pick up a book by one of the marketing greats.  Anything by Gary Halbert, Jay Abraham, John Caples, Ted Nicholas, or David Ogilvy will expand your mind to what you can do, and the realities of growing a business.

    At any rate, there will be two ways in which to interpret this article.  You can try to defend your current activities, and how you run your practice.  Or you can realize that in fact you are in the business of marketing.  The moment you realize the latter, and take the steps necessary to change into a marketing mindset, you will be one step closer to having the practice you always dreamed of, and making the income you deserve.
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