What will your practice (or business) look like at the end of 2012?

January 6th, 2013


Brian Tracy

Cover of Brian Tracy

What will your practice look like at the end of 2013?

What changes will you make to the practice? Will those changes buy you more free time? A better team? Less headaches? New services? Better clinical care? Better customer service? Better revenues? Better bank financing? Better strategic alliances? More fame?

Or will you simply do more of the same and hope that things will become better over time? Hint: they wont, they usually get worse.

What changes will you make personally in 2013? Will you get in better physical shape? Will you take better care of your money? Will you become personally more organized? Will you become a better partner in your romantic relationships? Will you discover new friendships? Will you get more involved in giving back?

How will you balance out your 6 human needs? Every human being needs:

  • Certainty that things will be all right
  • Variety so you don’t get bored
  • Significance, the concept you are a worthwhile person
  • Love and connection
  • Growth
  • Contribution to others

Find out where you are weakest and try to improve that area. If you want to be succesful and happy, you must grow and contribute. Otherwise, let’s face facts,  you are just mailing it in.

One last thing. Brian Tracy asks a great question, “What has to happen in 2013 for you to say it was an amazing year?” Answer that question and go to work on it every single day of the year. Then it really will be a great year!

David Zahaluk, MD is a revenue enhancement specialist for doctors and the author of “The Ultimate Practice Building Book.”

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The Basics

December 31st, 2012



Quarterback (Photo credit: Dennis Dalton)

How you grow a practice is not unlike how you build a championship football team. Everyone gets excited about hiring the $15 million dollar a year phenom quarterback straight out of college, but that doesn’t win super bowls. It only works when you train a squad of talented but less famous guys to block and tackle well and to protect that very expensive quarterback.

Everyone wants the one thing that will make their practice #1, but that can’t happen until you do the little things well. The little things are often free or close to it. The little things are often ignored, but they make the big things work spectactularly well. And lack of the little things make the big promising investments fizzle.

Check out our free ecourse if you want to get back to basics in your practice. Just because it is free doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work.

David Zahaluk, MD is a revenue enhancement specialist for doctors and the author of “The Ultimate Practice Building Book.”

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Practice Growth

December 26th, 2012


Revenue Growth

Revenue Growth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had a very interesting conversation with a patient of mine recently. His name is Gary and he is a turnaround expert for a Fortune 100
company. Most large companies keep a roster of smaller companies that they may want to buy. It’s a growth and diversification strategy that allows them to easily acquire more customers and gain access to a related market niche. Nestle, Coke and Pepsi use this strategy to diversify their product offerings. American Airlines used it to buy Travelocity, to ensure their flights got preferential positioning in the online search for affordable travel. General Motors used it to acquire what is now GMAC, a company that offers auto financing, commercial credit lines and mortgages.

I asked Gary about how his team works to raise the revenue of companies by a factor of 5-10 times. He shared something that I believe is worth
repeating. He said most companies that bring in $1 million a year operate entirely differently than companies that bring in $10 million. And those companies act very differently from others that earn $50 million. Your company (or in this case your practice) matures to a certain level and then gets stuck. It can crank out $1 million a year but it can’t possibly generate $10 million. It can’t do that, unless someone with a big picture focus takes over and makes the moves necessary to grow the revenue.

Gary went on to say that lots of time growth is a simple matter of bringing in technical efficiencies, opening up new markets, and using
pre-existing strategic relationships to grow the newly acquired company. It’s easy for Gary but next to impossible for the people who grew the business from scratch. They can’t see it any different than where it is now. Gary doesn’t fall in love with the product or the people who make it, and he is unbiased to the results of new strategies undertaken. He is charged with one overall objective: grow the revenue. Very little else matters.

David Zahaluk, MD is a revenue enhancement specialist for doctors and the author of “The Ultimate Practice Building Book.”

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How do you hire an office manager

October 29th, 2012


Office Manager

Office Manager (Photo credit: mikecogh)

A really good office manager is the difference between a practice that is constant stress and turmoil and a practice where you can enjoy the contribution you make to your patients. The more decisions you have to make and implement the more you need a good office manager. The #1 problem with being a self employed doctor is trying to do too many things at once. You need a solid team to solve this one.

Here are the steps we go through in the process:

1. Define what the office manager is going to do. A better place to start, decide what he or she will not do. Leave time in their workflow for “stuff” that comes up and somebody has to manage or the whole practice will be in chaos.

2. Define how you are going to measure their success. Hint: Use numbers. What cannot be measured, cannot be managed.

3. Define the level of training and experience they must have.

4. Define the character traits you need them to have. Hint: Leadership and strong boundaries ought to be on your list. Those who can’t make a decision without getting an ulcer won’t enjoy being a manager.

5. Make sure you find someone that balances your strengths, not mirrors them. I’m a big picture guy, so I need detail people to support me. If I hired a bunch of managers like me, we would never stop talking about how to make the practice better and get nothing done.

6. Place an ad.

7. Review resumes daily and call in good ones for interview ASAP. Good talent is hard to find. Don’t let your competition beat you to the hire.

8. Do personality testing on the candidates to see if their temperment matches your needs. We use the DISC personality profile, it’s as good as any.

David Zahaluk, MD is a revenue enhancement specialist for doctors and the author of “The Ultimate Practice Building Book.”

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What are you working on?

October 22nd, 2012


English: Dr. Dervin working at the computer.

English: Dr. Dervin working at the computer. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you’re a provider who owns your own practice, please comment in what you’re doing to build your practice. The topic intersts me, and of course I could blather on all day about it, but I thought it might be more interesting to get a community discussion going here.

The real power of a blog is to provoke insightful discussion. I guess I love to teach so much I have turned it into my own personal teaching platform. But that is a bit boring and old school, so please share your comments, provided they are relevant to the discussion.

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Are there enough providers in your practice?

July 24th, 2012
J. Paul Getty

J. Paul Getty (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here are a couple of interesting quotes from J. Paul Getty, a wealthy entreprenuer from the early 20th century:

“I’d rather have 1% of 100 men’s efforts than 100% of my own effort.”

“The #1 guideline to success is you must be in business for yourself.”

Who will you listen to and let yourself be influenced by? Getty? Your colleagues who can never seem to get ahead financially and blame the economy or the government? Political doomsayers and media pundits?

Whether you accept it or not your future is up to you. You are in position to have a great life with great income, the respect of your patients, a meaningful way to contribute to the world and control over your working conditions/hours. In order to do that start building your team. Find out what it takes to hire one more provider and work diligently to make that happen. When you do you will find that more of your income is net income and less work is required of you.

There is  a lot that goes into hiring a medical provider and you really have to do your due diligence. I hate to oversimplify that process but consider the spouse test. If you have someone you want to hire take them out to lunch with you and your spouse (and their spouse too if possible). Then listen extra carefully to what your spouse says about that person because they’re probably right. True story: we once turned down 23 candidates before hiring for 1 clinical position. And it took way longer than expected. And to this day we are thrilled with the choice we waited patiently to make.

David Zahaluk, MD is a revenue enhancement specialist for doctors and the author of “The Ultimate Practice Building Book.”

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Emotions versus Finances – a 15 round heavyweight bout

July 14th, 2012
English: emotions

English: emotions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The skill set that makes you a remarkably good doctor makes you a bad business person. Isn’t that ironic? And the really deceptive part is your high level of book smarts aren’t helping. It’s not that you lack the IQ points but a different kind of intelligence is required to do practice building.

Most doctors, reacting to life in practice with their God-given skill set put on the brakes to practice growth all the time. Hey you’ve got sick, needy and sometimes unreasonable people around you all day long. I get it that pumping the brakes may give you the illusion that you can control the onslaught.  But if AT&T ran their business the way most doctors offices run, they would soon be out of business.

The secret that few doctors embrace (but the ones who get it are rewarded with incredible abundance of time, money and self satisfaction) is to reach beyond yourself and grow through others. Or to put it more succinctly, grow others so they can grow you. But you can’t do that and be a one woman army all at the same time.

Swallow your pride and realize your most important job is to build the team strong. Nourish the high performers and whack the rest. Start with your office manager and your practice building coach.

David Zahaluk, MD is a revenue enhancement specialist for doctors and the author of “The Ultimate Practice Building Book.”

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Happy Independence Day

July 4th, 2012

Declaration-of-independence-broadside-cropped (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have a safe and a happy Independence Day! Boy are we lucky the founding father’s had their act together. Those guys had integrity – they valued their freedom to the point of being willing to die for it.

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Happy Memorial Day

May 28th, 2012
Memorial Day Commemoration 2008

Memorial Day Commemoration 2008 (Photo credit: davidyuweb)

Happy Memorial Day from the patriotic staff at Ultimate Practice Builder.



David Zahaluk, MD is a revenue enhancement specialist for doctors and the author of “The Ultimate Practice Building Book.”

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Don’t be such a cold fish

May 15th, 2012
Halibut in Macks Sport Shop, Kodiak, Alaska

Halibut in Macks Sport Shop, Kodiak, Alaska (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The number one reason why patients leave a practice is apathy. The provider and their staff seem cold, judgmental, slow to respond to legitimate needs, uncommitted and uncaring. It’s not just bad customer service, it’s also bad practice. You get most of your diagnostic information from history unless you are a radiologist or a pathologist. Listen better. Get more involved. It’ll make your job easier.

Make a decision right away about what you are going to do to bring your practice to a significantly higher level of engagement wiht your patients. Then decide the resources you will commit in terms of time, energy and money. It won’t be easy or even necessarily free, but it will be worth it. Send me your success stories so I can share them with the world.

David Zahaluk, MD is a revenue enhancement specialist for doctors and the author of “The Ultimate Practice Building Book.”

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