Slow and steady wins the race… Do you remember being taught that lesson when you were a kid from the story of the Tortoise and the Hare? Well, there is a lot of truth to that when it comes to entrepreneurism with one caveat, you also need to have an occasional sprint thrown in as well.
Building a successful medical practice or business takes time. Very few practices become instantly successful. It usually takes many months or even a year for that success to happen. The one attribute a potential entrepreneur needs to have is PATIENCE. Far too many nurse practitioner entrepreneurs give up to quickly. I know because I have followed up with some nurse practitioners who started a practice that ended up giving up because it was not working out! Don’t do this! You need to be patient.
Listen, there will be dozens, if not hundreds of times, during your practice startup journey where things won’t go right. You need to expect this! You would be a fool if you do not. You must fail to succeed!
Therefore, slow and steady wins the race of building a practice from scratch, but you also need to be prepared to have a few sprints in you during this race. What do I mean by that? I mean that there will be times that you will need to hustle hard to get that practice started.
The first sprint in the race to building that successful practice is during the startup phase. It takes a lot of energy to get a practice up and running. Creating your LLC and the legal structure of the practice, signing a lease, setting up the practice, marketing, and so forth takes time. You will need to dedicate a very focused 20-40 hours during the startup phase of your practice to get it operational. This is a sprint that needs to be done as fast as possible, because if you do not do it fast, you will succumb to analysis paralysis that could ultimately lead to your failure. SO PUT THOSE RUNNING SHOES ON BEFORE YOU GET STARTED. Make sure they have a lot of tread, because you will need it to climb the hill at the start of this race.
After your practice is up and running, it is time to slow down a little and let things naturally take their course. Of course, you always need to be marketing, but this is a time that you need to see how the practice operates and fix issues as they present themselves. You will also need to slow down after the initial sprint, because you could also burn yourself out, just like the hare did in the story.
After 2 to 4 months of being open, you will need to either run another sprint or continue going slow and steady depending on how the practice is doing. If you are marketing correctly, you should begin generating a profit by month 3. If this is the case, then you need to remain patient and continue the slow jog. On the other hand, if you are not making money, it is time to put those running shoes back on and sprint again.
This second sprint should be devoted to marketing your practice. You need to get out into the community, develop relationships with possible referral sources, optimize your website, and develop multiple marketing avenues. There could also be an issue with a process within your practice. This will require you to fix the issue fast so you are not wasting anymore time or money.
After that second sprint, it is time to slow down again for a couple more months. Remember, you need to be patient. Around month 6, you should be generating a profit.
For the practice that was profitable between months 2-4, it is time for another short sprint at the 6 month mark. This is where you add additional services, tweak the processes within your business to make them more efficient, and hit marketing hard again. This is how you will grow your practice! Be careful though, do not do too much… The goal is to the win the race, not to burn yourself out!
During the 6-12 month period after you start your practice, it is very important to remain patient. Many entrepreneurs lose their motivation during this time if the business is not going well and give up. I bet there are thousands of entrepreneurs out there who were just months away from greatness… They lacked patience and it ended up being the cause of their failure. They ran far to long and ended up developing an “injury.”
As you can see, being patient is the key to long term success when creating a practice or business. If you hit it hard and never stop, you will burn yourself out and end up neglecting your practice! This happened to me with my telemedicine practice. I went in guns a blazing for 2 months developing it. I put so much effort into that practice at the start, I was burned out for 2-4 months afterward. The practice did not grow by much. It was pretty stagnant and I contemplated closing it multiple times. I lacked energy and I had to recharge before I could put the effort into it that it needed. Guess what happened? It then started to grow slowly to what it is today. This was a valuable lesson…
I understood the importance of patience and moderation. The Tortoise had it right, go slow and steady! That is how you win the race.
Brothers and sisters, if you want to start a medical practice, it is VITALLY important that you understand this. Learn from my mistakes. I burned myself out multiple times during my entrepreneurial journey. Now as I open my second men’s health practice (by the way, follow the journey HERE), I understand that I am going to take my time with it outside of the startup phase. This will reserve my energy for when problems present themselves. I know that it will take many months for this to take off, and I am OKAY with that.
Be patient, do everything in moderation, and go through your practice start up journey at a nice steady medium pace. This will allow you to win the race!