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In this episode, Barbara and Robert discuss:
- Setting personal and professional visions.
- Breaking your vision into baby steps that are actionable and manageable.
- Being involved in your local chamber of commerce.
- Utilize this unique time we have now to analyze your processes and make your patients and clients happier.
- Leverage your team to help you reach your goals, which also helps them reach their goals.
- Spend time with your clients, listen to them, and do something that makes them feel seen.
“If you work to delegate and coach your teammates on what you want to accomplish, it allows you to take things off your plate, and allows them to have greater success and greater confidence in helping you grow the practice.” — Dr. Robert Moss
Barbara: Welcome to another exciting episode of Marketing Tips for Doctors. I’m your host, Dr. Barbara Hales.
Today, we have with us Dr. Robert Moss. After 22 years of practicing Physical Therapy with an emphasis on Orthopedics, Dr. Moss shifted his focus from running a small practice to streamlining his processes to give him more time to spend with his family. Out of this shift sprung a passion for helping other business owners do the same while also maximizing their profitability and client satisfaction. Welcome to the show, Robert.
Robert: Well, good afternoon, Barbara. How are you doing?
Barbara: Good. Thanks. Well, you have quite a bio there. Tell me, how do you live the dream, increasing profitability while working less?
Robert: That’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? And so, I think part of that really starts with setting a vision for yourself and whether it’s you need to set a personal vision and I think also a company vision as well. Looking out, you know, what do you want to do, what do you want to achieve in three, five, maybe even 10 years?
Ten years out is pretty lofty but at least you have kind of a milestone that you’re continually looking for. And obviously, as things like COVID hit, those milestones get adjusted in terms of, you know, when you’re going to reach them. But I think if you don’t set some type of vision and have some intentionality on what you’re doing on a day-to-day basis, you’re just going to be a mouse on the wheel and just keep grinding it out and then you’ll look up three to five, 10 years later and really haven’t accomplished what you thought you wanted to.
Barbara: Although five years ago, nobody could have predicted this, four or five years moving forward.
Robert: Three months ago, we couldn’t have, right?
Barbara: That’s true. You say that now is a good time to analyze your processes and make your patients and clients happier. You know, what do you mean by that?
Robert: Well, I think for most businesses across the country — We’re in Texas and we definitely slowed up, probably not as much as say on the East or West Coast but it gives you time especially if you received the PPP money where you’re able to pay your employees, you want to keep them engaged. But maybe you don’t have the volume of patients that are coming in or you’ve started maybe some telehealth type things. But it gives you a great opportunity to go back and look at all the things that you should’ve documented, all your processes and make sure that they’re up to date, make sure that they are running efficiently.
Maybe you’ve changed the phone system or the way you send or receive faxes has changed over the years. And it’s a great time to keep your staff, I call them team members, keep them engaged and to go back and look and make sure, yeah, we still do it this way or know this has changed. In that way, they’re still kind of working the process. They’re making sure your systems are maintained and up to date. And it keeps them, like I said, engaged with the organization as a whole even if your patient volume is down.
Barbara: What is the one shift in mindset that can transform your practice?
Robert: So for me, one of the biggest things was there’s a book called One Small Step Can Change Your Life and it’s talking about the Kaizen principle. Kaizen is basically just continuous improvement. And it’s looking to take a very small step at a time kind of like “What About Bob?” that movie years ago with Bill Murray, right? It was baby steps, baby steps, baby steps. And that’s all you’re doing. Instead of looking at this massive project that you have laid out for your staff of where you want to take your business, it’s yeah, you have that vision but you break it all the way down to what’s the smallest little step that I can take today, something that I can truly control and work on taking that step. And once you’ve made that step, okay, what’s the next step I can do? And it’s the old adage, you know, how do you eat an elephant? Well, it’s one bite at a time and that’s essentially what you’re doing.
But as, you know, a busy practice owner, a lot of times we just get caught up in everything. And we’re like, oh, we got to do this big project. And you don’t stop and think like, how can I break it down into a super small step where either I can do it or I can delegate it to an appropriate staff member to do it? Because a lot of times, the owners, they think they have to take on and do all these sorts of things. Know you can leverage your team to help you reach those goals. In the same step, it helps them reach their goals as well.
Barbara: You mentioned that leveraging is the key to growth? What is it that you’re talking about when you say leveraging?
Robert: Just what I said just a second ago. We’ve got to look at our staff members. I know the first couple of years I was in private practice, as the owner, you know, initially I felt like I had to do everything. And as the practice continued to grow, my thought was, well, I’m kind of the only one that knows how to do it or I know how to do it the best. And what I’ve learned over time is that just makes me stressed and you just become the person that everybody wants to go to. So instead of having that feeling, you have to have a bit of a mindset shift to realize you’ve got teammates that are around you and they all have a set of skills. And if you work to kind of delegate and coach them on what you want to accomplish, it allows you to take things off of your plate and allows them to have greater success and greater confidence in helping you grow the practice.
Barbara: What benefits have you gleaned from being a member of the Chamber of Commerce in your area?
Robert: How much time do we have? I’m fortunate I’m in a smaller town in Texas west of Fort Worth. So, we have about 3,000 people. And quick story, the way I got on the Chamber board was a local physician needed to step down. His kids were older and he said, I’ve got like six months left on my term. They’ve already approved you. You just take the six months if you don’t mind. You go to a meeting once a month. And then when you’re done, you’ll be done in six months. I’m like okay.
I was kind of naïve at that point. Well, I got re-elected and re-elected and now have served as the president for many years. But in terms of just the fantastic businesses and business owners that I’ve met, the board members that I’ve had a great opportunity to just develop some great friendships with, meet local judges, county officials, city administrators, the mayor, all that sort of stuff, it’s helped our business as well but I feel like it’s given me a great opportunity just to give back to the community because it truly is our community that helps support our business and support all the small businesses. And so to be able to give back and help sponsor some of the events and we host — One of our big events for the Chamber, we always put up a booth and we do like a free health screening for people. And there’s a lot of things we can do to help. But had I grown up or if I was living in a larger community, I really can’t say that I would be involved with the Chamber. It was kind of, you know, a happenstance that it came along but I’m super fortunate that I’ve had these opportunities over the years.
Barbara: And yet with the health fairs and the connections that you have developed over time, it really has been a great referral source for you.
Robert: Yeah, most definitely. We get a lot of people that are new to the area. And one of the first places they come in town to see is the Chamber of Commerce. And as the Chamber has a welcome bag and as a business you can put your, you know, business cards and brochures and those sorts of things in there. That’s always helpful as well.
We also have it on our website where people can go and search. But it gives them the opportunity to connect with our local physicians and dentists and therapists and chiropractors in the area. So, if you’re not involved with your local Chamber of Commerce, I would definitely recommend that you talk to them and see what other benefits that can help you out especially in times like this where people may be searching and they want to stay local and kind of help support the smaller businesses.
Barbara: I have another question for you.
Barbara: And that is, have any of your children decided to go into Medicine or Physical Therapy?
Robert: Well unfortunately, they saw dad is a bit of workaholic for a while until I kind of started putting a lot of these systems in place. My daughter for a long time was really interested in Veterinary Medicine but she also has a very creative side to her. At one point, my wife is an occupational therapist, so she thought maybe Occupational Therapy. But now, she is leaning towards maybe some type of Marketing and Graphic Design. My son loves computer games so he’s probably going to be programming or working for Disney and writing scripts for movies. And then I have a toddler who’s a little bit of a surprise to us and she is 2 1/2. And so, there’s no telling where she’s going.
Barbara: Well, that’s fun. Why did you choose Physical Therapy initially?
Robert: So back in high school, high school wasn’t much of a challenge. I kind of coasted through and made really good, you know, A’s and B’s. I had a couple of professors or teachers that pushed me a little bit. And at that point, I looked and I thought, well, medical school and residency and all that stuff. Honestly, I was a little bit lazy. And I thought, well, Physical Therapy. I was into kind of working out. I went that route. I didn’t know that I was going to end up going back and finish my doctorate and do all these other certifications. It seemed like I’ve been a lifelong student since then. But really, the thing that appealed to me the most was being able to spend a lot of time with my patients.
I think as a physical therapist we get to know them because we’re seeing them two to three times a week and then we’re spending an hour to hour and a half sessions with them. And really for the people that come into our clinic, we just treat them and call them family members. We had a lady yesterday that — We don’t call them a discharge. We call them a graduation because they’ve reached a milestone. You know, we have a little celebration and we give them a T-shirt and all this stuff. She got emotional and started to cry a little bit. She said, I’m really going to miss you guys. You guys mean so much to me. You know, being a small town, that means a lot to us and we always encourage them just to stop in and say hi or grab a cup of coffee and, you know, see what’s happening with us. I’m really glad I have chosen this profession because of the friends and the opportunities that we’ve had throughout the years.
Barbara: Prior to becoming a physical therapist, was there something in your life where you were a patient that motivated you to go into the field?
Robert: Not necessarily. In high school, I kind of got into, I was in martial arts for a little while and kind of worked out. My dad had a cousin who’s a chiropractor. I grew up in San Antonio, Texas. And I thought, well maybe, Chiropractic was something I’d look into. I went and spent some time with him. And he had a physical therapist that he would refer to. And he said, you need to go talk to this guy. And so, I went over and started talking to him. And I really just kind of liked the way he worked with the patients and it was kind of in line with the workout and things like that that I was doing and again being able to spend a little bit more time with the people and kind of get to help solve their problems. That was the route that I really enjoyed looking at.
Barbara: Do you have any tips for our listening audience in how they can make their patients happier and all the while increasing their practice and saving time all at the same time?
Robert: Yeah. That’s a big step. I think the biggest thing with a lot of patients especially now is just spending the time with them. I think a lot of times we’re so busy and we’re pushed by insurance companies to just hurry up and do these quick visits. And patients really appreciate that time that you can spend with them.
One quick little tip that I’d give your listeners that we do is we actually send out handwritten cards to all of our new patients that come in. Just a quick, you know, hey, thank you. Great seeing you today. Looking forward to helping you with your X problem. If you have any questions, just give me a call. And then we also send one at our graduation as well. We take a picture of them as well on our wall and we post these throughout the clinic. And then we’ll also send them a copy of that picture as well as another handwritten card just, you know, thank you for being part of our family. We enjoyed working with you. If you need anything in the future, we’re always here.
Barbara: And that is really one of the best marketing tips that I’ve heard in a while. Having the process called your graduation ceremony and making people feel really good about it.
Robert: Sure. We actually print a little certificate that has their name on it and we give them one of our T-shirts and we have a coffee mug if they want a coffee mug instead. And we stand up against the wall and the staff kind of gathers around and we take a picture with them.
It really is. I think being in a small town it really kind of solidifies the people that we have. And for that, we have people that send their family members, their husbands or wives, mother-in-law or whatever over. So we have a lot of internal referrals as well, not just from our local physicians or surgeons. And that really helps. That means a lot to me when someone says, hey, this is my mother-in-law and I want you to take care of her like you did for me. And I have a great sense of pride when someone brings a family or a friend over that we can work with them and help them get better.
Barbara: How can our listeners reach you if they’d like to speak to you on a one-to-one basis?
Robert: Sure, great. So right now, springtownphysicaltherapy.com and forward slash MTD for your listeners and there will be a link. They can get in touch with me either via email or a link to book a call. And we can just set up a free call, a free time to talk and just see what kind of problems or issues they’re having or just shoot the breeze and see what’s happening and see if I can lend any advice to them.
Barbara: That’s great. For all of you listeners out there, what I want to point out is how Dr. Moss was able to turn a discharge process for a patient into a graduation ceremony which makes the patient feel good and also is great in terms of marketing. The patient leaves with a certificate and tells all of her friends and family about it. What processes do you have that you can turn around and make the staff and patients happy about as well? You know, give that some thought. This is another episode of Marketing Tips for Doctors with your host, Dr. Barbara Hales.
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