The Single Biggest Myth About Building A Medical Practice

6 months ago   •   2 min read

By Ernesto Gutierrez, MD
Table of contents

Doctors believe having great clinical skills is the only requirement to succeed as an independent practice owner.

This is why we spend so much time and effort developing clinical skills. We sign up for courses, trainings, and weekend seminars. This comes from our belief patients choose the best –ie the most skilled– doctor.

Unfortunately, patients have no way of knowing which clinical skills make for the best doctor.

Instead, they will always choose the doctor they perceive as the best.

I know because it's exactly what happened to me…

In 2007, I was fresh out of training and, with some help from my dad, I opened up my very first practice. Signed a lease, got the furniture, equipment, everything. I took an ad on a local publication and one fine Monday morning, I opened the doors for the first time.

And 8 hours later, I called it a day without seeing a single patient, getting a single email or hearing the phone ring even once.

Here's what I wish I knew back then…

The best clinical skills in the world are worthless if patients can't find you.

The good news is engineering this perception is easier than developing more clinical skills.

But you need to accept the fact you need new and different skills to those a doctor needs. If you're ok with that, here are the first 3 steps to take your practice from "best kept secret" to fully booked in record time.

#1: Learn the basics. You don't need an MBA to learn the basics of sales and marketing. Instead, try these 3 books: "The E-Myth Revisited" by Michael Gerber; "The Entrepreneur Rollercoaster" by Darren Hardy; and "Profit First" by Mike Michalowicz.

#2: Create a marketing strategy. Don't rely on "random acts of marketing" like every other doctor. Instead, hire an expert to help you put together a comprehensive marketing strategy, tailored to what your practice needs today. No cookie-cutter plans!

#3: Follow the plan. This is the hardest part. Sticking to the plan can be boring and difficult. But this is where most beginner entrepreneurs go wrong and jump from tactic to tactic instead of sticking to a previously agreed upon plan.

Now that you know, I trust you'll spend some time building the required skills to attract and serve your ideal patients.

The first step is all on you. And if you need help with steps 2 or 3, that's exactly what I help my clients with as a fractional CMO. If you're curious whether hiring a fractional Chief Marketing Officer is the right move for your practice, check the links in my profile or reach out.

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