In this episode, Barbara and Paul discuss:
- How Paul transitioned from Physiotherapy to Health Business
- How to Understand your role in the Business
- How to Position yourself in the Market
- How to get more Freedom in your Business
“If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” – Paul Wright
“Don’t fall in love with your product. Fall in love with your market.” – Paul Wright
Connect with Paul Wright:
Connect with Barbara Hales:
Business website: www.TheMedicalStrategist.com
Show website: www.MarketingTipsForDoctors.com
Dr. Barbara Hales: Welcome to another episode of Marketing Tips for Doctors. I’m your host, Dr. Barbara Hales. Today, we have with us Paul Wright. He is a physiotherapist and former owner of Multiple Allied Health Clinics in Australia, which he rarely visited.
He is the author of the Amazon bestseller How to Run in One Minute Practice. He is also the founder of the Practiceology Health Business Freedom Program and has helped thousands of allied health business owners across 57 countries to earn more, work less, and enjoy their lives.
Welcome to the show, Paul.
Paul Wright: Pleased to be here. I followed your work for a long time. So it’s great to be part of your organization. Thanks for having me.
From Active Physiotherapist to Health Business Owner and Speaker
Dr. Barbara Hales: Many people have asked me in the past about transitioning as a health monitor, in which it was a natural transition for me. But can you tell us about your journey on how you went from being an active physiotherapist to being a health business owner and speaker?
Paul Wright: I wanted to be a physical education teacher. I got accepted to Newcastle University and did a Physical Ed course which became my first career. Last year of my undergraduate course, I met a physiotherapist and found this physio gig and I got interested. I applied to Sydney University and got accepted to be a physiotherapist, which then became my second career being a physio. I believe I was fundamentally an entrepreneur. I couldn’t see myself working for someone else, like as a teacher for my career. Perhaps, that was why I transitioned into physio but then I also wanted to be a physio-business owner, which then become my third career.
I ended up growing six practices which I ran remotely. People ask me how I did that, which then got me into my speaking journey. My fourth career was then educating and mentoring other people on how to do it. And I’m a firm believer that things happen for reasons and I didn’t know that at the time. But when I was in my physio business, I used to look out onto a road in Sydney, and I kept seeing a bus with a sign that says “Why most small businesses fail and what to do about it.”
I think that the universe was trying to park the bus there for me, but I was just missing it. So I followed the phone number that was on the side of the bus, which led me to a Michael Gerber seminar. That started the whole journey for me to systemize, replicate, sell, then do what I’m doing now—all rooted in a bus going past by me. We all have these moments, and that’s the journey I took. It has been a great ride.
The Message of the Universe
Dr. Barbara Hales: It just goes to show that sometimes, it’s just a question of following your destiny.
Paul Wright: I say to my clients in Practiceology that the universe will tell you what’s happening. It’s like when an owner gets an application from a superstar employee and they end up rejecting it because there is no open position. But I assure you, within a week, one of your team members will leave. Just take them and see what happens because a resignation might come. It’s the universe telling you that this person has been presented for you to take.
Ineffective, Non-existent or Unsupervised Internal Systems
Dr. Barbara Hales: One of the seven critical mistakes, which I see as the most harmful, is the ineffective, non-existent or unsupervised internal systems. Tell us a bit about that.
Paul Wright: That was the origin of my whole One-Minute Practice Model. I live by the mantra, “Do the work once, and get paid forever.” If you’re going to do something, do it because you have to do it. Then record and document it. Create the steps, so it can be done again. As I moved out of a consulting role in my practice, I started documenting the systems and creating the manual, which Gerber described as the “Franchise Prototype.”
Part of the best examples that we put into a one-minute practice and in our businesses is what we call a “New Patient Register.” So a patient arrives at practice and there are a certain number of steps that that person has to go through in the journey.
In our business, we figure out in great detail the referral source. Chiropractors have been great at reporting on findings while physical therapists were not. The process is laid down on a sheet of paper in which you sit down next to the patient after you’ve done your history and your examination. You then say their overview, what you are going to do about it, and how many times will they come back to get it. But with my process, my frustration was always from having patients coming into our practice. And then we’re getting different recommendations for all different things. There’s no consistency and I ended up unsure of whatever I was getting. So I created this new patient register and this action plan recording system.
The recording system consisted of the recurrence in consultation if they came into the practice, the plan duration, and etc. Without a proper system in place, you won’t know whether things are happening enough. It becomes the most important training tool you can give when you generate reports of your findings.
Make sure that your processes and systems are measured, monitored, recorded and should be a part of your training program. I remember waking up one night in bed realizing my admin manager knew everything. And I knew nothing about a lot of the steps and processes in the business. And I thought that if something happens to her, I’m in a lot of trouble. So I remembered I rang her and I said, “I need you in the first thing in the morning. I got the camera, I’ve got your shift covered, and I want you to show me how you do everything.” I stood there with a camera behind her and she showed me her process. I then had a document that I could use or radio if something happened to her, I had it in place. And I slept better when that happened because I knew if anything happened to her, I had some sort of backup in it. So you have to have these things in place. If you launch a system, you’ve got to make sure you measure it, track it, and that people are accountable for it being done. Otherwise, it won’t happen.
“Failing to understand the true role of your business”
Dr. Barbara Hales: One of your seven critical mistakes where I see you get the most pushback from the people that you’re speaking to is when you say, “failing to understand the true role of your business.” I say that your allied professionals would say, “Well, I’m an allied health professional. Of course, I know what my business and my role are.” How do you explain that to them?
Paul Wright: They follow and understand the role of the business. But we go into business as allied health or actually go back to a stage where we decide to be an allied health professional or health professional for a certain reason. Changing that mindset from being a technical “performer” of the business into being the “owner” of the business are two completely different roles. It all comes back to, “Why do you want to own the business? Why do you want to become a business owner?”
Sometimes, we don’t evolve with that role. We take on the job of being the owner of that practice, but we still have a technician mindset. I think why you want to own the business or why you want to be the business owner.
When you ask people why they started the business, they want more freedom and control. But when you analyze them in detail, they are still doing the consulting as well as doing other things. So they actually didn’t get more freedom but got less free. That’s why you have to ask yourself why you want to be a business owner in the first place the role of the business is to give you more life. The only role of the business is to give you more life, and that means a choice. Being free when you want to go, you are free to charge how much you want, free to take holidays, etc. But if you think the role is still being a clinician, you might as well work for someone else.
The Freedom Score
Paul Wright: We talk about a thing called the Freedom Score, which is you look at take your typical week. You look at how many hours in a week do you physically have to be at your practice. Let’s say you have patients from morning until night, adding those hours up is your freedom score. Remember that the role of your business is to decrease your freedom score. The business should run without you being there. You can be if you want to, if not, you don’t have to be there. But that’s when you transition from being a therapist into being an owner.
Mr. X Model
Paul Wright: I have clients that adopt what they call the Mr. X model, which is where the person still wants to treat patients but they do it on their own terms. They don’t work on holidays. They have certain hours they work and they never budge on that. So they start at nine and finish it to whatever their hours are. They charge what they want, and sometimes don’t even take insurance. They just run the business how they want to run it. In that case, the business is there to serve them. They’re not serving their business.
Current Bank vs. Future Bank, and Learnings
Paul Wright: As you think about the role of your business, understand the thing called a current bank versus a future bank. The current bank is the money I make for the time I’m consulting. It’s the time I’m there. So it’s my revenue. It’s the clients. It’s what they’re seeing. The future bank is what it’s worth when I sell it, or the exit amount.
I learned this the hard way when I had my practice at a fitness center in Sydney. I got a phone call from one of my clients that he had a word from the owner of the gym, where I was a subtenant, had not paid rent for three months. I ended up calling a truck company and moved everything back to the truck, canceled my patients for the day, and we never set foot inside the gym.
We lost the business in less than 24 hours. I learned to never rely on someone else to pay rent. That’s how I understood current banks vs. future banks. It was hard to sell a practice inside a gym because I didn’t understand the concept of business. I also learned the most dangerous number, ONE. Don’t rely on ONE of anything—don’t rely on ONE location, don’t rely on ONE landlord, don’t rely on ONE referral source, and etc.
Perfectionism and Leveraging People
Dr. Barbara Hales: It’s important to have a work-life balance. You should also be looking to see how you can monetize your business for selling it at the end, to make sure that it has worth it. Most health professionals are saying that they have perfectionist syndrome, especially in litigious days ensuring that they are the best, oversee everything, and no mistakes are being made. How do you counteract that?
Paul Wright: I spoke to a person this week who was joining our program. He was the master of this certain process. He was everything for this specific rehab process. But he’s working from dawn to dusk, seven days a week. His alternative is that he can keep doing that or he can get other people to do it for him. I asked him, “What are your other team members have to be as a percentage of you for you to be comfortable for them to do the work?” He replied that they have to be 90% as good as him.
It’s a normal thing to hear but how long has he been trying to perfect himself? He spent decades getting to be 100%. So you have to make sure you package your system well enough so someone who is 50% as good as you can do an exceptionally good job. Because you’re not going to find exceptional people that quickly. One of the keys is to understand that they never going to be you. They will still get a great outcome working with someone else. You just have to leverage them and train them well enough in your system.
So, creating this franchise prototype of what you do to another person is the only way out of your business. Accept that people won’t be as good as us. There’ll be 50%, sometimes less than that. But one thing I learned is that to be successful in a niche is that you have to leverage ordinary people with great systems. I’m not saying people are ordinary, but they’re not you. They’re not the superstar. So they’re going to be ordinary in comparison to you. But you leverage that person with great systems for them to appear better than they are.
Dr. Barbara Hales: You wouldn’t have any value to the practice if you didn’t have anybody other than yourself. If you were the only one, then you could never step down because there’d be nothing to buy. People are buying YOU and you wouldn’t be there.
Paul Wright: When you say, “Leverage ordinary people with great systems,” it sometimes on the words they use. When we do action plan training, you can get a fresh graduate to deliver a significant report of findings. You can leverage a fresh graduate with really good scripts and conversations and train that a lot to make them appear better than they are. And the patient will still get a great outcome. If they haven’t seen you, they don’t know you’re the 100% person. If they’re seeing a new patient and don’t know what’s going, they might be 100% compared to you who is the superstar. Still, you don’t have to be the best IN THE world like this. You just have to be the best IN THEIR world.
Dr. Barbara Hales: In order for a drug to be approved for generic application, they have to prove they are at least 80% effective, 80% of the time. That idea holds to your model as well.
Paul Wright: The other thing that health professionals typically do is they might have a great program or package that they’re fine-tuning, but they take so long to get it to market because they want it to be perfect. They want it to be perfect at everything. As a result, it never gets to market or it takes too long to get there. I learned from Reed Hoffman, Founder of LinkedIn, “If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.”
What it says is not about perfecting the logic, but viability. Having a viable product to put something out there and see if it gets traction. Many health professionals have spent years creating a perfect program only to find a market that doesn’t really want it or by the time it gets out there, the market has moved on. Put something out there and see if get some attention and then fine-tune it. It doesn’t have to be perfect the first time. It’s too slow. The universe rewards action and speed.
Falling in love with your Product
Dr. Barbara Hales: What do you mean by falling in love with your product?
Paul Wright: This is a mistake most of us do. I fell in love with the idea of being a physio. But in no time in any way did I process if there is a demand or need for a physio. Can I make a living out of it? I have not thought of if I can make a living out of physio because I fell in love with my product. We do that when we choose our career. The same thing happens when you have a specific product or program and you fall in love with it. That’s the mistake because the market might not want the product.
The best example for this is the show, Shark Tank, where people pitch their product to the “sharks,” and you’ll see the people who have fallen to their product. My favorite episode was the one where a guy proposes an armpit pad to prevent a sweaty underarm. He pitched that to the “sharks” but they didn’t like it. I learned that he sold a thousand for over 10 years of doing it. There was no market for the product at all. That’s the classic example of falling in love with your product.
What you have to do is fall in love with your market. Fall in love with what the market wants, and then create the product that delivers the solution to the market. Not the other way around.
I did it in my business when I was running my practices. The market was coming to me saying “We want a solution for our problem.” I didn’t start doing this because I wanted to teach people about it. The market presented itself. I ran a couple of seminars and big attendances. My job was then to create the products that filled and satisfied the market. It didn’t matter if I loved helping health business owners run better businesses. But if there’s no one coming to the seminars, no one buying the book, no one doing it, then I made the same mistake. Hence, fall in love with the market. Don’t fall in love with your product.
Dr. Barbara Hales: It’s less embarrassing now that most of us are doing it digitally. No one can see that the room is empty.
Paul Wright: That’s a great point to make. Testing the product is now made easier with technology. You can run ads, or have some magazine advertise your product, and see if people buy it. You test the market.
Positioning yourself in the World
Paul Wright: When we started the eight steps to freedom for health business owners, I launched it with only one step completed. I have to create the other steps when I had enough people registered. You don’t have to do the whole steps now, and that disturbs most analytic health professionals who aspire to perfection. I can’t possibly write a book about knee pain without being an expert. They are the expert. But you don’t want to wait to be anointed by your association. Anoint yourself!
Dr. Barbara Hales: A lot of people suffers from imposter syndrome.
Paul Wright: We all got imposter syndrome. If someone says to me, “Paul, who’s the best health business consultant on the planet?” Well, I am. I’m not going to wait for my association to anoint me. I’m going to put myself out there in our market myself. And I’ll believe that. And that’s all you can do. You don’t wait to be anointed. It’s not arrogant. You can’t wait for the association to position yourself. YOU can position yourself.
Is Technical Excellence a Marketing Advantage?
Paul Wright: I remember doing a lecture in Florida not long ago and we had this group of physical therapists. We had an interesting exercise where I asked them a question, “Is technical excellence a marketing advantage?” Now most want to say yes. We want to say “the better I am, the better I’ll be able to market myself.” But I got these two people up in the crowd and I’m mucking around them. One person is the absolute superstar and the other person is hopeless.
But I can tell you with 100% certainty that I can market a hopeless person equally effectively as I can with the genius. I can get a book ghostwritten for them. They might be a good speaker or they might be able to do a presentation so they can position themselves to be the superstar, even though they are clinically hopeless. Technical excellence is not a marketing advantage. It’s a retention advantage. But as a marketing advantage, I can market both of them effectively and equally. It’s scary but it’s the truth.
If you ask 90% of the American population who’s the best plastic surgeon in Los Angeles, would answer one of the two guys. But we don’t see their failures because their visibility and presence looked great. There’s a lot in this, but technical excellence is a prerequisite these days. Sometimes, we get caught up doing thousands of hours to get better. However, things change when you go to marketing because it’s a different skill set to learn and train to.
Dr. Barbara Hales: What mistakes do people make during COVID?
Paul Wright: COVID gave us great opportunities to step up as a community leader. A lot of our clients were able to leverage COVID to modify their own personal rosters because this is terrible. We were able to blame COVID for everything. Increase in fees, change of owners rosters, seeing other therapists when they are unavailable, things were though than it was before.
Patients became more compliant. Therapists and team members became more compliant. They were complying with our protocols and procedures better because of COVID. And we used it to the max. And because of COVID, we had to shuffle our opponent. Sometimes, you will have to see another therapist, which they would not do prior to COVID. There’s a big opportunity in the ever-changing marketplace, and opportunities as we’ve seen with remote provision of service. We’ve seen a lot of clinics and therapists open psychology services or UK health services that people can do online or therapist doing the service online. We have clients who shut their bricks and mortar and fully went online. There are opportunities for those smart people, and they still are. If you know what to do, there’s always an opportunity. Everything that happens is terrible as it is and that’s the reality.
Reach out to Paul
Dr. Barbara Hales: How can people reach you and get more of your resources?
Paul: We do a monthly webinar. We do a practiceology demonstration every month. You guys can register for that. Go to my https://mypracticeology.com/hales to register for our next practiceology demonstration. We do have an incredible gift where we’ll get you $572 worth of resources posted out to you. I’ll even post your copy of the book, How to run a one minute practice. You also get access to the Online Profit Club Academy Library. All of our resources are there with a huge range of resources. That’s all $19.95. Go to http://paulsincrediblegift.com/.
If you go to https://www.oneminutepractice.com/booksales, you can type in a code BARBARAOS. You can get that book for five bucks. Or find me on LinkedIn.
Dr. Barbara Hales: I’ve really enjoyed speaking with you today. This has been another episode of Marketing tips for Doctors with your host, Dr. Barbara Hales.