After doing 100+ episodes and interviews with successful PT owners and industry leaders, Nathan Shields has recognized some commonalities between their actions which have led to their success. On this episode, he decides to share those secret actions they take (which aren't so secret) which, if all owners did regularly, would make them successful as well. As a bonus, he brings back Will Humphreys, PT to get his insight and compare his top 5 with his top 5. Discover if they’ll come up with the same things, or if Will sees things a different way?
I brought back Will Humphreys. Will, thanks for coming on again.
Thanks for having me back, Nate. It’s good to see you again.
We had you on a couple of episodes ago, The 3 Fatal Flaws PT Owners Make in Billing/Collections, which was well received. Thanks for coming on and joining us for that. You shared a lot of great information. I don't think I covered some of those stats that you were covering, the projections, how to measure what your collectors are doing for you.
It was so great. There's something cathartic around being able to go back and share these things. Everything that we've talked about is a lesson that either you and I have learned the hard way. If you and I talk about something and it creates value for a reader in a way that prevents an ounce of the pain that we've done or had to go through, it's totally worth it.
If we could maybe charge commission on what people can save by reading stuff like that when it comes to collections, it's hard to go back and learn those lessons or think about those lessons. I don't know about you, but I think about the tens of thousands of dollars that’s probably lost along the way.
It's more than tens of thousands. I got emotional once after I hit a six-figure estimate of what we probably lost over the years. I can't think of it that way. That was an investment in our education.
I did a webinar with Hands-On Diagnostics group about the five things that successful owners do or those actions that they take that make them successful PT owners that many PT owners don't do. That's what started the episode that we had regarding billing and collections. A lot of owners don't do these things. They're not projecting. They're not assessing the staffs appropriately, but there's more to it than that. It's not the billing and collections. There are other aspects of the business that many owners aren't taking steps and approaches. This is where I thought maybe we could come together and share notes. I've put together my five successful actions. For the readers, I've asked Will to do the same and we have not collaborated prior to this point.
Will has his five things and I have my five things. We're going to have some overlap and some ideas of what's most important. You can get there in different ways as long as you're taking the time to do these things. Let's start with a caveat and we both agree that these successful actions are not the first things you do. The first thing you do should you be a business owner is that you've already established purpose, vision, values and goals. That's a given. Many owners don't have those fundamentals. When I start coaching with clients, if those aren't clear and if they're not being lived, that's one of the first things we get into.
It's tough going to get into that a little bit because many clients don't feel like they're gaining traction when they're establishing those things. It's imperative that they're established because the actions that you build off of later on down the road when you hold people accountable, when you hire or fire, when you make business decisions, “Should we do this? Should we do that?” are dependent upon, are they aligned with our purpose, vision, values and goals? Nonetheless, the caveat is those are already established. We don't have to say those are one of the first things.Successful PT owners may not do ALL 5 (or 6) things well, but they do them regularly. Click To Tweet
Building on what you said, when you're coaching people, that's the first thing you establish even though most of the time it's not there. When I talk to people about either billing or oftentimes, I get questions on recruiting, it's another thing that I'll help people with. They want a copy of the ad that I helped create for another person who went from four interested candidates to 40 pre-COVID. COVID is a little bit different. We're getting a little bit more people out there. They want like, “Give me your ad. Let me copy and put it down there.” To your point, it's essential that everyone has that foundation established. It's upon that that you build these other systems and processes with power. Without that, to reiterate the importance of being able to do that prior to any of these top five things that other successful PT owners do.
We’ve established that, set it to the side, now the five actions that successful PT owners take. The first thing I came up with is they track their statistics regularly. They've got daily stats. This isn't just them. This is them and their team should they be big enough. They're tracking some daily stats, weekly stats, monthly stats, maybe quarterly stats, and at least annual stats as well. We could do a deep dive into stats. We're not going to do that now, but it's important to recognize there are statistics and then there are sub stats. When you're talking about collections, it's one thing to say gross revenues but it's another thing to say, “What is our percentage of over-the-counter collections? Are they coming across or are they being collected?”
The second thing that goes into collections, what is our AR aging? That would be a sub-statistic. Those are some things that you might look at in terms of collections. In terms of visits, there's total visits, but the things that influenced total visits are arrival rates, frequency of visits per week, completions of plan of care, all those things can also affect total visits. We have stats. We have sub-stats. Those are some examples. A couple of stats that we use to follow closely was skilled units per visit because that tends to be a statistic that is lesser than what you think it would be as an owner. If you're not tracking it, that can influence your bottom line.
As you said before, Will, PTs tend to be compassionate billers. If they have the choice between billing four units or three units, they'll err on the side of three units thinking that's okay, not recognizing what effects that might have for the clinic, insurance contracts and how we're perceived. We would look at skilled units per visit as one I'd highly recommend people follow. I'd also recommend frequency per week. We all think, if you have a patient, how many times per week should you be seeing them if they have a musculoskeletal injury? A typical therapist would say 2 to 3 times per week.
Inevitably, when you measure that stat as owners, it's usually around two and less than two when it should be closer to like 2.3 or something like that. Those are a couple of stats that I would recommend sharing. Successful owners are tracking these regularly and looking at them regularly, recognizing when they're trending downwards, when they're going upwards, what do we need to change if it's going down and what do we need to add on or do more of if they're going upwards. How did that affect you when you started measuring statistics in a more specific, detailed manner?
I don't think it's a coincidence that we both have that for our number one. The way I worded it was successful owners manage by statistics, not by emotion. For every PT owner, who's been in a discussion where there's been tears, there’s that awkward feeling of like, “What am I doing in this situation?” It's getting rid of the drama and putting in facts. Dealing with objective information, minimizes or eliminate so much of the difficulty and the pain of owning a clinic. To answer your question in a very long way, when we put statistics in, it was the day that I started growing without having to bear the burden of it. You and I were able to finally start expanding our growth, but in a way that didn't feel harder. The more you grow, the more you have to have some of those hard conversations and the more emotion comes in.
It makes the conversation so much easier. It also gives you certainty. You're coming from a place of, “They're my best provider.” Maybe you look at those stats compared to other providers and you think, “Maybe they're just average and I like them.” It's nice to have some real data in front of you. Speaking of skilled units per visit, in one of our clinics, our skilled units per visit average was okay. When I broke it down by provider, there was one provider that significantly produced less than the minimum expectation.
Without that statistic, I'm thinking everything's hunky-dory when that provider needed to be addressed. It not only helps those conversations go more smoothly because they're objective. It also helps because you recognize that you need to have conversations to begin with. It allows you to open that door and say, “FYI, your patients are expected to be here 2 to 3 times per week, but your patients on average are coming like 1.8, 1.7. We can talk about what can happen if they're not coming 2 to 3 times per week and less than that.” It allows you to start having the conversation to begin with. It doesn't have to be emotional. I love that you shared that.
You gave a good example there. I remember one specific case where you and I were looking at a PT that was working for us. We were super stoked because he was seeing high number of visits per week. He was doing a number of evals per week. He was billing appropriately. We thought he was a rock star. When we dove deeper, his average number of visits for each patient episode of care was between 3 and 5 visits. They were disappearing. He was hurting our company and we didn't even know it. On the front end with the primary stats, it looked like he was killing it. We're bonusing him and high fiving, “You're killing it,” then there's a whole bunch of people who aren't getting better and going, “Physical therapy didn't help me.”
Imagine all the number of visits that we lost and the lessened impact that we had in the community because of that. We agree on one. The next one is tied to it and that is, they take the time to measure their stats and run their company. Many owners out there think that their value and their production lie in the care of their patients when it's not that at all. Number one has to be the business, and they short sell the business in order to provide more patient care. When that happens, their business can and will suffer, especially if they want to grow. They have to take the time that the business needs of them to run smoothly, effectively, profitably and with less drama. I remember back in the day when we first got consulting. They're like, “Take half a day, 4 to 5 hours. We're going to eat this elephant one bite at a time.” I take that afternoon, do my chart notes, pay some bills. I did stuff that had nothing to do with running the business.
You did your busy work that was building up.
I started checking off to-do lists of things that I thought were super important, but they had nothing to do with running the business. If you could take those 4 to 5 hours to gather your reports and gather your data and see where you're tracking, that alone in that 4 to 5 hours would make the time worth it. Did you find it hard to take that initial step?
The biggest thing I tell PT owners when I talk to them is like, “The hardest thing you'll learn to do is transition into leadership because when you're a provider leader, you don't even realize how much you can do on the fly because you're on site. The second you open a second location, it becomes clear how effective your leadership is if you're still treating. The way it's perceived because of our fear-based industry is, “They're stepping out of treating.” That's the narrative. You're stepping out of providing care, when the story is, I'm stepping into leadership, which sharing that second message with a team is a lot more powerful than the first. You're telling people you're progressing.
When they start benefiting from your lack of confusion and overwhelm, that's when they'll appreciate that. You and I both had people who were like, “No, you're good. Stay away.” Keep working on the business because their lives were easier. What's hard for us as well is we define ourselves as providers mostly. When we don't get the cookies from our patients and we're stepping into care and we don't know what to do with that time at first, it becomes hard.
I have to say that was my second thing. Number two, and the way I worded it was to protect their leadership time. Managed by statistics then you protect your time there. For anyone who's reading who’s like, “What will I even do?” or someone who is doing some of leadership time, but they're not sure if they're using that time productively, just be consistent. Consistency will allow you eventually to figure out what you need to. Think of time like space. You're creating a space for you to be able to let things come and go. You'll have to get used to that for a while, but then it will start very quickly filling up with important urgent things that you should have been working on a long time ago.
We need some of that time to decompress initially. You brought up the point of it's hard because owners aren't sure what to do with that time and don't know how they're going to fill it up. It's probably good to simply step away and take that time so that you can allow things to come to you. There are things that are going through your head I'm assuming as you’re treating patients like, “I need to get that done,” or “Maybe I should be doing annual reviews on my employees or at least give them some feedback,” or “I want to talk to so and so about such and such policy that's not being followed,” or “Maybe we should have a new policy regarding blank.”
Those are all things that will come to you when you set aside that time and space to work on it. That's what your team wants from a leader. They want the leadership. As I work with clients and they start giving more of their leadership time to the team, to have meetings, to have one-on-one sessions, to strategize together and maybe talk together about policies that they're having issues with, their team is eating it up. Their team loves it that they simply give them that time.
It's imperative to start with at a minimum, 4 to 5 hours in a day. It gradually becomes two half days. It gradually becomes one full day and maybe a half day. That's where you have to put your foot down and say, “No, this is my schedule. If patients want to see me, this is when I see them. I do not see them during admin times. If you want to see me and talk to me about blank issues, you can do it during these hours during my admin time.” Protect your space because no one else will.Any success you have is directly proportionate to the number of difficult conversations you are willing to have. Click To Tweet
Number three is successful owners. I've done over 100 episodes. I've interviewed close to 100 people who were successful in the industry and outside of the industry to a tee, and 99.999% of them have a coach or consultant of some kind or other. They have someone who's showing them the ropes. We all went to PT school. We did not go to business school. We thought, “I'm a great PT. I'll hang out my shingle. Things will be great. Patients will flock to me. I have this relationship with that doctor. Everything's going to be hunky-dory.” We’re not truly recognizing the work that it takes to own the business. We simply continue down that road, thinking everything will be great. Soon thereafter, we get someone that we heavily rely upon at the front desk to give their two-week notice to us and we are lost.
We don't know what to do or someone comes in late and we're like, “How do I handle this now?” Coaches, consultants, number one, give you feedback, help you organize, give you encouragement, question your perspectives. They do all of that because we don't have anyone to answer to because we're at the peak of our organization. Who do we answer to? That's where a coaching consultant can come across and help and be a mini-board of directors for an individual owner. That's my third one. Does that match up with you?
I didn't list mine in terms of priority. It coincidentally hit that. It wasn't the third one I put down, but it's on my list. It's have a coach. You and I both know that's when things pivoted. To put it in perspective, people oftentimes don't hire coaches for two reasons. Number one, they don't even know how to find an appropriate coach. That term coach is a generic term to be applied to many types of individuals who “coach.”
A lot of owners that I talked to don't know what a business coach is or what they do.
How do you define one if that's the case? How do you even hunt them down? Here's what Tim Ferriss says about that, who's a bit of a guru on coaching. He says that the coach that you hire should be someone who has either done what you're trying to do or physically themselves had gone professionally where you want to go and/or helped others do what you want to do and go create. If I want to create a business that's a lifestyle business, a multi-locational, multimillion-dollar practice, and I want to be able to work myself out of it, I would look at Nathan Shields because he has done that. There are people who call themselves coach who go out there, and to be honest, I've never had a bad coach. You and I have had multiple coaches over the years. Having someone hold the space for you is in and of itself incredible. It’s useful to have someone challenge your thinking and give you a space to speak into, but to have someone who has done it is worth its weight in gold.
I love that you said that they don't know where to go because I've asked my audience if they are looking to possibly get a coach or see if it's time for them to get a coach, you name it, what are their wants and needs? I'm more than happy to share coaches that I know. It's not uncommon for me to share the contact information of other coaches that might be a better fit for that individual than for me specifically. It's important to talk to people, use your network, find ways or start googling things. There are people that will come up nowadays.
I've interviewed Greg Todd, Jamey Schrier, Sturdy McKee, Shaun Kirk and guys at Measurable Solutions. Go back to past episodes, you'll have a wide range of people outside of myself that do coaching and consulting. The whole idea behind it is to help you achieve your goals. That's what it is. You reach out to a coach, not only to gain information, to have a sounding board, you name it. One of the most important things is to establish, what are your goals and how am I going to get there? That's where a coach can be your Sherpa or your guide to help you achieve what you want to achieve.
Another tip to finding a good coach is to look for what's out there in terms of free content. Any powerful coach is going to create free content. Greg Todd, for example, has YouTube and Instagram and all those things. Nathan has this show. For me, I do a YouTube channel where I share those same secrets and some things that I had to pay others for to help build a multimillion-dollar practice. You go find those free stuff that's out there. From there, you can see what services they offer. Not all of them are going to be coaches. Some of them will coach specific things. Others will have other services that they offer.
The thing I would tell you is that be expected on the second thing. The other thing that holds PTs from moving forward with coaching is that it's an unusual purchase for them. It's a high dollar amount that they've never had to consider spending money on before. What's a good price range for a coach? It depends on the coach and the program, but when I came home from Europe after a six months sabbatical, the first thing that I did was I went out and I dropped $50,000 on a coach for the year.
Before I knew I was going to do a billing company, before I did anything else, I hired my coach. It was the first thing I did when I came home. The reason being was because I had learned which coach is way up. A lot of coaches are going to do introductory fees of $1,000 to $5,000, depending on their timeframe, but you should anticipate budgeting $10,000 to $20,000 a year in either a coach or coaching services through like a group in order to invest. If you think that's a lot of money, let me ask you, “Would you pay $10,000 to be given $1 million in 1 to 3 years?” That's the exchange on investment when it comes to it. It's a mindset shift for all entrepreneurs. Inc. magazine says, “That's one of the two things all major successful CEOs go through.” Steve Jobs had a coach. It's a necessary step in progression.
To make an easy analogy, Michael Jordan had a coach the entire time and he was the best, yet he still had a coach when he was at the pinnacle, five rings and all. They have their coaches and it's imperative to get some support and advice. It's expensive. You said $50,000. I didn't bat an eye because I know you and I have spent six figures on coaching in the past. It's an unexpected expense and price tag. Jamey Schrier, I was talking to him at lunch one time, he's a coach as well. He said, “If I can't get $1,000 a month, if I can't get you one more new patient a month for my coaching services, then I'm not a very good coach to begin with. You should not pay me,” but you can’t look at it like that. There's got to be some return on investment, whether it's immediate number of new patients. Your clinic is going to be X times more valuable because you simply established it better. That's what a coach and a consultant is going to be for you.
Number four, and like you said, mine aren't necessarily in order of priority. They're all super important. The next thing is that successful owners have reproducible systems and processes that are not dependent on them individually. They established processes and procedures that other people can do and replicate, and they are not the final say. They get other people to own their jobs, own their positions and start establishing a bunch of mini-owners within their clinic who own their jobs and then report appropriately to their supervisor or whatever the name is. Blaine Stimac, he's one of our mentors or one of my buddies in our network, but also seemingly a mentor. Every time I talk to him, the guy has some wisdom to share with me. It's all about reproducing the system, reproducing the process. You could say it's a McDonald's model if you want, but getting somebody in there that can repeat the process over and over again and do so successfully productively. My next one is reproducible systems and processes.
I don't have that in my top five. Without a doubt, it should be. It's such a vital piece. That's the whole point. E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber, the whole thought is if you want to be a company that’s process dependent, you have to get away from being people dependent. That's one of those emotional problems that we all face as owners. What if so and so leaves? If you've got the playbook on how to do that job at a high level, and you can recruit from other processes, you don't care if people leave as much. You're very able to make those harder decisions. You'll see what I put in there as important.
I can expand the size of the nest. Maybe it's six successful actions. Maybe it's not just five. We'll make room for you, Will. I love what you said that the power that it gives you when you have processes in place makes things so much easier. You're not people dependent. It goes back to Gerber and all the issues that he comes up with the story in E-Myth Revisited about the owner that is running with their head cut off. They don't want to do this anymore. They're burned out and frustrated. It's because there's a lack of process and procedure. A lot of HR questions that come across to me from clients, they'll say, “So and so put the wrong number of hours on their time sheet.” I'm like, “What's your process around that?” They’re like, “We don't have one.” That's a lesson learned. You might have to pay them for the added money that they put on their time sheet. Now establish a process that says this is when you can check in and check out.
There's a lot of power behind that. I'm excited to hear what your other one was that took the place of processes and procedures. My last one, my number five, it's not something that was essentially taught to us like these things were. We were taught stats and setting aside admin time. We went out and got coaches and consultants because people told us to. We were taught by our coach and consultant to start with establishing processes and procedures. The thing I'm noticing as I'm coaching clients is that the ones that do well and move forward faster with less drama, they're not escaping the drama, they're facing it head on, are the ones that act with impatience.
They're impatient. One of the more frustrating things is to come across people who have read all the books and done all the things, yet they're still losing money. They're not taking time to work on their business like they know they should and they're putting things into action. It comes into not only the actions that they take like, “This is what I need to do for my business.” You start doing it. “I'll implement it next week or next month, maybe when it's a little bit nicer outside,” I don't know what slows them down. They also do it with their people, with their team.
They act with impatience in a compassionate and empathetic way, not in a mean and angry way like, “I’m impatient with you and I'm going to sternly work with you.” They address the issue immediately. I learned over time that I'm slow at making decisions. I have to sleep on things. I have to mold them over and see what the different options are and think about them. That's where you and I work well together, even though I know it could be frustrating for you. You're able to work through those things quickly and see all the options and whatnot. Still, taking the next step to make the action significantly improves my life. The drama subsides. The mental gymnastics that I'm going through at the time, trying to mull over decision minimizes, lessens the amount of energy that it takes.
Simply, I have to remind myself, if I have option A and option B and I choose option A, if it's the wrong option, I'm going to find out quickly, then we can pivot over option B and recognize that most decisions aren't final. They can be learned from and pivoted from pretty quickly. They act with impatience and they see their stats and they make corrections. They see something out of whack and they immediately address it. They're not afraid to confront. Does that fall in line with what you’re thinking?The more we grow, the more we can impact people's lives. Click To Tweet
That's it. The way I worded it was trainable and willing to have crucial conversations. There's a trainable next. Remember one of our coaches, Scott Fritz, he used to tell us, “I can help anyone as long as they're trainable and willing to implement. We're talking about, in your case, that word you weren't saying that kept coming to mind was urgency. They're hyperfocused on the result and they're urgently making changes because they know what's at stake if they don't make changes. We're all in progression and it's not like we don't need to be coming from a place of panic. The second we see clarity in learning from a book, a podcast or a coach, and we don't implement right away, the reasons for not confronting those problems become insurmountable.
One of the things I've said is that any success I've ever had is directly proportionate to the number of crucial and difficult conversations I was willing to have. We all know what those are. I promise everyone reading, if they ask themselves, “What are the conversations that I should be having that I'm not?” There are immediately 1, 2, 3 things coming to mind. Those are the three things that are holding you back from your dreams. Those are the things that are monetize wise. I think about a room with $1 million in cash piled up. There's a door there. The door is open through that crucial conversation. It's not about the money. In that same room where the money is, there's greater patient results. There's a better impact in developing your team as people.
It comes through this challenge of having that conversation urgently. As you said articulately, if we're not willing to implement those things impatiently in a way that you know what's at risk and what's possible. It's two things. You know what's at risk if I don't and you know what's possible if I do. That mindset is there. We all struggle and we all sit on problems too long. Stop, get off your butt and go have the conversation. I've learned doing it the wrong way. It's better to do it wrong than not at all. “I shouldn't have done that. I shouldn't have said it this way. I think I hurt their feelings accidentally.” That's how you learn to get better at it. The product was still momentum. It was still progression.
Even something as simple as starting this podcast. I didn't have confidence that I was a good podcaster and thus decided to start a podcast. I thought I want to do this podcast. There's something within me wanting to do this. It was scary as hell for a number of episodes. Even at times now I get scared prior to going into an interview, even though I've done over 100 of them. The confidence doesn't come first. Action comes first, confidence comes later. That's when you start becoming more powerful as you continue to have those crucial conversations. As you start to make faster decisions, you'll start to get better at making decisions on the fly. These aren't decisions that are simply decisions on the fly.
These are decisions that we have some data behind. We have enough data. Many times, we're waiting for more data when we don't need more. We simply need to get what's in front of us, understand the situation clearly, and then move forward. When we do so, things turn out so much better. You and I both agree that we've never fired someone too soon. It's always easier to have that crucial conversation first and move forward later. As you continue to make faster decisions, you'll start to get some intuition. Some of that just grows. Some of that is experience. Some of that is hunch in the gut, and sometimes it's okay to work off of those things. The faster we can make those decisions, the better for our business and our employees.
The two things that I would say on how to narrow that learning curve as short as possible, it goes back to getting a coach again. Having a coach help you work on developing your voice in a crucial conversation is huge. We're going to have to learn their voice through trial and error. You can trial and error with a coach in a way to where you dramatically shorten that learning curve. The reason that's important is because even though having that crucial conversation wrong is better than not having it at all. What's possible is if you can have that conversation powerfully, like we have once let an employee go and they posted positive comments on Facebook the next day. That’s what's possible when we can step outside of ourselves and determine how we can serve people, even in those moments. A coach is huge in that. Secondly, as you said, being willing to make the mistake and try. There has to be movement. The picture will appear when the car is in motion.
I listed my five: tracking stats, setting aside admin time, hire a coach or consultant, establishing reproducible systems and processes and lastly, making quick decisions or moving with impatience. What is the one outlier that you've got, Will, that didn't fit in the top five, but now we'll call it the top six?
The sixth most important successful action is to join a network. Sometimes coaching networks get put together so maybe that's one of the reasons I separated it out. It’s worth at least talking about what's a network. A network is a group of individuals that are people you know, that you maintain a relationship with. It can be any kind, but sometimes they're organized like Hands-On Diagnostics seminars. They have this business, but it's also a network. They have weekly webinars from other people that have nothing to do with diagnostics.
It goes back to two phrases that I don't believe get emphasized enough even though we all know them. It's "Who you know, not what you know” and "Your network is your net worth.” I have a friend who is worth tens of millions. He's not a PT. It's a non-PT business. I asked him what his number one successful action was. He goes, “Have you ever read the book, Never Eat Alone?” I said, “I've heard of it, but I've never read it.” He goes, “I've never read it either. I read the title and said, “Yep, I got it,” and started scheduling lunches every week with people he either wanted to know or people he thought he could help.
He told me once about a lunch that turned into a referral that was worth $250,000 to him. I would say that as you and I look back in time and we look at finding the right coaches down to opportunities for growth, it was a matter of knowing the right people first who led us to the right opportunities. People don't build their network because they don't know the value of it. They don't understand that it makes it more fun and they don't know where to start. I challenged a young entrepreneur to reach out and try to get lunch with the CEO, especially now that everyone's doing Zoom all day. People are more willing to meet with you via Zoom since it's not a full lunch.
Just reach out to someone you want to get to know and to say, “I love what you're doing. I'd love to learn from you and ask you some questions because I want to do something similar. I think you're great.” Everyone who's successful has a coach, been coached and been in a network. They are all about supporting those types of people. If you ever get shut down, you didn't want to network with that person. You didn't truly if they’re like, “I'm too busy for you.” If you do reach out to someone who's super popular and big, you have to do your research. You don’t just hit them up on LinkedIn or whatever. You want to find out what interests they have, what organizations and charities do they support. You want to reach out from a place of, “CEO so-and-so, or Mr. so-and-so, or Mrs. so-and-so, I understand that you support such and such. I'm a huge fan of that. I'd love to get with you and pick your brain.” That small difference separates you from these automated spammers who are constantly trying to meet up, network and grow in a way that's tacky versus value-based. That's what I put as my fifth.
I can say that I had thought about it. I thought about putting it in my number five or in my top five. You know me, my mantra is reach out, step out and network. I left network out of the top five. The network was a huge game changer for us, not just the consulting, but also the networking that we did through entrepreneur’s organization, the networking that we did with Measurable Solutions owners, the network we did with Hands-On Diagnostics owners were all super pivotal for us in the last number of years. They still are. I still lean on those guys. Starting up the podcast was a matter of, “I wanted to create this resource for PT owners,” but it was also, “I have a ton of successful PT owners in my network, our network. There's no reason they shouldn't be sharing their successful actions with other PT owners across the country. How can we do that?” That's why I interview these guys. If you want to know who they are, look at a lot of my first episodes. There were some of the more influential owners that affected us in a positive way.
Your podcast is a who's who of amazing people in our industry. If people went back through your podcast list, if you ask me personally like, “Who were the most influential people in our industry?” they've been on your podcast already.
I've had a ton of them. They're great people. They're willing to open up their time. At first, they're like, “Who are you? Why are you reaching out to me?” I say, “I interview people. Here's the link to someone who I interviewed and here's the website.” I am legitimate. They are busy people. They're super productive and they value their time. They filter accordingly. You have to expect that, but don't let that stop you from taking the step and networking. I'd recommend if you can get with an organized group of some kind or other that puts people together, that's helpful as well. There is BNI, but that's a bit more of a marketing juggernaut across the country, but Entrepreneurs’ Organization, we're big fans of. There's Vistage out there that not only helps you network, but also can provide you some small amount of executive coaching/mentorship.
There's Peer2Peer through APTA’s PPS where you have a bunch of PT owner peers that you can get together. I've had Randy Roesch on the podcast talking about Peer2Peer as well. There are opportunities out there. At the very least start talking to some friends and neighbors, go to church, ask some people out to lunch. That can be awkward if you don't know them that well. I know who we're talking about when you're sharing the story about the guy who took guys out to lunch. This is a guy who had his own small business. Through his networking efforts, he completely changed his lifestyle and his life altogether. His wealth was amazing because of the networking that he did.
I love how we're talking about this because this is it. If anyone's reading, this is the way to go. It’s to be able to focus on those 5, 6 things yield. That's the 20% that you can do that will get you 80% of the way there. Everything else, you can figure out in route because this is a framework, this is a foundation. You’ve got to start with the values, the vision, the purpose. As you grow, it's interesting, the more you serve, the more fun it is, the more money you make. Those things aren't separate. Those are connected. The more we grow, the more we can impact people's lives. The more money we make, the more freedom we have. It becomes easier, not harder. That's the mindset of an entrepreneur. It takes change and effort to get there, but without a doubt by doing so, you can greatly improve your whole world.
The owners that are having a hard time being owners and they're getting burned out, it's because they stayed static for too long. They didn't make those quick decisions. They didn't recognize some urgency when it came to making some changes in their business. It starts wearing them down because I recognized, for clinic owners who get to the point where they're like, “I can't see patients anymore,” it's doing my business a disservice. It does my patients a disservice because I'm distracted thinking about the business while I'm treating patients.”
It's not until they get to that point that they finally say, “I've got to figure out a way.” Why they get to that point is because they've subconsciously recognized and I'm able to iterate it, but maybe they aren’t. Their purpose no longer aligns with their actions. They've gotten to a point where they recognize that, “I have a greater purpose in this business and it's not treating patients. I can do more for more people in my community if I lead out in this business and align myself with my greater purpose.” That's when they start to see significant changes and start taking some of these actions that we've laid out.Thinking like an entrepreneur is something anyone can learn how to do. Click To Tweet
If you're reading right now and you're thinking, “I don't know if this is me. I've always been like this,” you've been doing it maybe a certain way for a long time or you don't even know where to go. I want to highlight the main thing, which is that thinking like an entrepreneur is something anyone can learn how to do. It is like a talent in a sport. Some people are born with this God-given ability to be able to perform at some crazy level. There are entrepreneurs who were born that way. That wasn't me. I do feel like the urgency to communicate the hope that anyone can have in being able to do what you and I have done. The one thing that we've been able to do has come through help. That's why you and I both are committed to wanting to help like others. It wasn't organic or natural, at least for me. As we grow, we can say, “If we can do it, you can.” Believe in yourself and start trying.
I love getting coaching calls from guys who have owned their clinics for 1 or 2 years. I'm like, “You're so smart. I wish I could go back and tell myself to do the same thing.”
They will never know how much easier their life became because they did not.
How many years they've accelerated their business and their life by doing that. It would be cool if we had some things that we disagreed on. There were some back and forth, but that didn’t come up.
It would've been neat if we could disagree. Let's pick a topic and start arguing in another episode for the heck of it.
Thanks for joining me. If people want to get a hold of you, how do they do that? Remind everybody how do they get in touch with you, Will.
If you're looking for a unique and powerful way to handle your billing and collecting, what I say is that we make billing and collecting fun and easy. Without a doubt, next to treating patients, the highlight of your day should be collecting your cash. I have a billing company called In the Black. You can go to InTheBlackBilling.com and check us out. For me personally, I have a YouTube channel that I am changing the name of. This is the first time I'm announcing it. I'm going from The Profitable PT to The Profitable Provider. The reason being is because Nathan and I have recognized that our information is being received almost 50% by people who aren't physical therapists and other healthcare spaces. You can go to The Profitable Provider on YouTube and learn lessons that cost me years of money and time learning. I give them away to help you become profitable.
I'd like to highlight that you're still offering the free audit of their billing and collections.
On the profitability side, your first pillar of profitability is always your billing and collecting space. This is truly a service that I offer. If you are not interested in changing billing companies and you just want to check either your in-house solution or outsource solution, you can do something called the Free Profitability Breakthrough Audit. What we do is we take a look at everything within your company that directly impacts your profitability, billing and collecting being the primary one. We analyze that through our systems and give you a readout. We've had people go through who've had pretty good billing solutions. We've had others who didn't realize that there was a six-figure amount of money that was sitting in their accounts receivable that was easily obtainable. That was a six-figure phone call. If you want to know, there's no pressure to do anything else with us. If you are considering looking at an outsource solution, this is a good way to get to know us as well. There's no pressure to do anything on that.
Thanks for sharing. I think that profitability audit would be huge. I wish that we had something like that back in the day. Thanks for your time. I always appreciate it, Will.
Will is the CLO and co-founder of In The Black Billing company and has been a PT for 20 years. He owned a multi-locational outpatient practice for 12 years before starting In The Black Billing with Katie Archibald.
He is a father of 4 boys, married for 20 years and a part-time comedian. He is passionate about physical therapy, entrepreneurship, and the freedom that is created through profitability.
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