Episode 000 – The Ups and Downs of Starting and Growing a Successful Chiropractic Practice
No one ever said growing a successful practice was easy, but if you work hard enough for long enough it will eventually pay off. Listen to Dr. Tabor Smith, the host of Practice Growth Strategies, as he walks you through the ups and downs of growing his practice. You’ll discover how he almost lost it all, but out of sheer determination, re-built his practice from the ground up and turned it into a thriving Chiropractic office. Practice Growth Strategies is the official podcast of Genesis Chiropractic Software. Subscribe to us on iTunes and stay tuned for more Practice Growth Strategies!
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Announcer: Welcome to Practice Growth Strategies, bringing you tips and strategies from the best in the business. To find exclusive work flow, scheduling documentation, billing and all of the tools your practice needs in one easy-to-use platform visit GenesisChiropracticSoftware.com. Here’s your host, Dr. Tabor Smith.
Tabor: Hello and welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Growing Practice Strategies. I’m your host, Dr. Tabor Smith. On this first episode, I just wanted to really welcome you here. I wanted to share a little bit about myself and also what we’re going to be doing with Growing Practice Strategies.
I have been very privileged over the course of my career. I’ve been a chiropractor for eight years now, and for the last few years I’ve been privileged enough to be able to do a lot of webinars. I’ve done well over 100 webinars with some of the brightest, some of the smartest and some of the most gifted people in our profession, the wonderful profession of chiropractic.
I’ve also been privileged and blessed to do webinars for an amazing company called Genesis Chiropractic Software. If you haven’t checked out GenesisChiropracticSoftware.com, I highly recommend you do that. I use Genesis in my office. It’s an amazing software. I know some of the biggest offices in the world and some of the best chiropractors in the world use Genesis as well, so I highly recommend you look into it.
Let me just mention a name. One of the big guys at Genesis is Brian Capra. What a great guy. He is a good friend of mine. He has asked me to host this podcast on behalf of Genesis. He has lined up an amazing list of speakers. As these episodes unfold, I want you to subscribe. I want you to make sure you’re listening to every single one because there’s going to be some tips, some jewels, that you’re going to get out of these episodes that could literally spring your practice forward years in advance. I think you’re going to find huge value in these.
Let me start off by telling you a little bit more about myself. I graduated from Parker Chiropractic School. When I first got out, I actually went back to New Mexico and worked for a little while back in New Mexico for about six months. I was going to buy the office that I was working in. That office was for sale. I decided to go back and get a job there and then I would work into buying that practice. It fell through.
I believe in our life that failures matter just as much as successes, and I think if you probably looked at your life as well you’d probably see that there are some failures there that you’d look back and say, “Thank God that it didn’t work out.” It’s the same thing with me. I was so glad that I wasn’t able to buy that practice.
What happened then was I was able to get another job as an associate chiropractor in Amarillo, Texas, for an amazing chiropractor. Some of you might even know him, Dr. Shane Hand. At the time, we had probably one of the biggest chiropractic offices in the State of Texas and I got to work for him. That’s where I learned the principle of chiropractic. I learned just the power in the adjustment. It was absolutely amazing when I saw life change in front of my eyes.
I think it’s okay to say this. We were part of WLP, Dr. C.J. Mertz was a coach there in that office. He’s a great guy. I think it was about after three months of care the person would come back for a group re-exam, basically. It’s where you get the group together and you do another mini doctor’s report just to kind of set those people back on the path of understanding their care and understanding why they are getting adjusted at that office.
At that three-month mark there would always be four or five people in this little group re-exam, this group report of findings. What Dr. Shane would do is he would ask each one of these patients what their experience was so far in the office. In front of everybody, in front of the whole group, he would say, “What is your experience? What have you noticed in your three months of care?” I remember 99% of the people in there would have some kind of improvement.
Something was better. Some of them would even be absolutely miracles and amazing. I remember sitting there as a chiropractor, just a year out of school, thinking, “Wow.” I had an amazing experience where I could barely walk. I had numbness and pain shooting down my legs, and chiropractic changed my life when I was a teenager.
That’s what made me want to go to chiropractic school. When I was able to see that happen in so many people’s lives in such a large practice, that’s when I realized that chiropractic was an amazing thing and that I was extremely blessed to be a chiropractor.
I worked in that office for two years. I loved it. Dr. Shane is still a mentor of mine. Then my wife and I, Dr. Gina Smith, moved from Amarillo to Houston, Texas. We decided to open our own practice. We’ve been practicing here in Houston for about five years now. I don’t think I have a high-volume practice, but I have a good 300-a-week practice. I enjoy it. We have a lot of fun. I have a 5-year-old little boy and two twins who are 10 months old.
We have a great environment and a great culture in my practice, but it wasn’t always great. A lot of you out there are just starting your practice. You’re going to go through some hard times. My advice to you is don’t give up. Keep after it.
I want to share a little story that I think was the hurdle that once you actually jump over it, you look back and think, “Wow. If I can jump that hurdle I can jump over anything.” Let me tell you a little story.
When we first started our practice we were a year into our practice. We had experienced a little bit of a burst right at the beginning. I started off with dinner workshops right off the bat. I found some screenings to do. I started getting some patients in and we built up our savings account to $15,000 or $20,000. That was a lot of money to us at the time.
We had this credit card terminal that was based online. I don’t even know the name of it. I’ll never forget the day there were these red flags all over our computer. We started getting phone calls from patients. We started looking closer and realized that we had been hacked. Somebody had hacked into our computer system. Our patients’ credit cards were in that system. They had charged their credit cards and they had refunded all of the money back onto their credit cards, and then they flushed out our entire bank account system. Literally, we lost everything. They took every dollar we had out of our bank accounts and saving accounts.
It was one of those things that was surreal. I just could not believe this was happening. I had just thought we were finally making it. We were finally going to make it and then all of a sudden, bam. I get emotional just thinking about it, even right now, because I can’t even put into words the emotion that we were experiencing.
I remember talking to my wife saying, “I don’t know what to do. I’ll get a job. I’ll go back and I’ll work for another chiropractor or we’ll shut down the clinic.” I didn’t see how we were even going to make rent. We didn’t give up. I got a second job. I was a fill-in doctor, basically. I found a couple of practices around the Houston area that needed some help on Fridays or on a Tuesday. I would make sure I could be at their office to make some extra money and only stay open at my office whatever days I could and still see the patients that were still there that didn’t leave us after that.
We didn’t give up. I think that is the biggest thing that I learned out of that experience. You’re going to go through some hard times, but, guys, we’re not done going through hard times. You probably can see them ahead of you now, but you pull it together. Every hurdle you jump, I’m telling you, when you look to the next hurdle it doesn’t look as big.
We were able to hang in there. I did more screenings. I went door to door to give flyers. We invited friends and families to every dinner workshop we could do, and we built it back up. Within a year and a half, we were busting out of the little place we were renting.
I remember we lived in this little apartment. We didn’t even have a house at the time. I was actually renting a room from another chiropractor. He was nice enough to let me rent a room in his office. I remember driving by this one building and there was a chiropractor in the building. It was beautiful. It was all bricked out. It was just beautiful. You would drive by, and I’m not going to mention the name of the chiropractor, but it said “Such and Such Chiropractic.”
It was a beautiful building. There was perfect landscape. I would drive by there every morning on the way to work to go to my work and I would just think, “Man, that guy has it made. That is the perfect place to have a chiropractic office.
I wish I could have a chiropractic office like that someday.” I went to work day after day, and finally we got so big that the waiting room was
so busy in that chiropractor’s office that he agreed we should probably start looking for another place to rent and expand.
As the universe would have it, I was driving by that very place that I had drooled over every day to work and I saw a “For Rent” sign in the window. I thought, “Are you kidding me?” I’m telling you, as soon as I saw the “For Rent” sign, I jerked the wheel over. I went right over. I wrote down the phone number. I think it was either that day or the next day I had a meeting with the office manager, the landlord, and I signed a contract. We were able to move into my dream office, my dream practice and build up from there.
The place on the outside was amazing. On the inside I was like, “Oh my goodness. I can’t believe this chiropractor was practicing with some of the things there.” Maybe moving out there was some stuff damaged or something, I don’t know, but it wasn’t in that good of shape.
We went in and completely redid it. We didn’t have the money to completely redo it. In fact, that was part of the negotiation. I was trying to get the rent down. I told him, “Look, you don’t have to do any build out. Just leave it the way it is. I will do it myself.” I got the rent down even more.
There were a couple of weeks where I’d go see patients and go work on my new clinic until we got family members together. We got it all fixed up and we got it nice and shiny and all new paint. I will never forget it when we moved into our new practice, the practice I’m still in today. I love it. I love it everyday when we go. We’ve been able to grow and grow.
I’ll share one more story and then we’ll be done. This is a very personal story, but I think the life lesson that came out of this story was that God will guide you down the paths that you’re supposed to go down. I truly believe that.
We are in this new office. We are growing and getting bigger. There was a plastic surgeon that was next door to us. That’s how nice these offices are. There was a plastic surgeon that was next door to us down a couple of doors. She left, so that place was vacant there. Guess what moved in? A birth center. Absolutely awesome. Three or four doors down to us and they start sending us patients. We start seeing more pregnant women. We start seeing babies.
I mentioned earlier that I have twins. I have two boys. They are 10 months old. One of them we found out has some pretty severe heart defects. Most of you listening are doctors. You probably understand the terminology I’ll tell you. He was born with transposition of the great vessels, a ventricular septal defect and severe pulmonary stenosis. He was cyanotic. His pulse oxygen is very low. It still is. He hasn’t had the open-heart surgery they say he is going to have to have.
He is doing amazing well because I adjust him. His nervous system is working at maximum. The way his anatomy is set up right now it’s working absolutely as best as it can.
I thought, “I’m adjusting him like I know how, but I know there’s a Pediatric Diplomate course out there.” It’s the ICPA. I thought, “If I can just learn a little bit more, if there is something out there that I don’t know yet about chiropractic, about pediatrics that I could learn that would help my little man just a little more, then it’s worth it.” I started going to the ICPA pediatric course to get my certification and then my Diplomate.
Like I said, those things that happen in your life, that’s God guiding you down those paths. Our office now is just flooded with women coming through getting adjusted during pregnancy, bringing their babies in at two weeks old to get checked and sometimes even more. I had some amazing patients that unfortunately for them the baby was born premature and was in the hospital. It was in the NICU and they snuck me in to check it and adjust it.
It’s just amazing that I get to experience these types of things. I get to help babies and little kids. We get to help families. We are a family practice, an all-cash practice. That’s what I do. I just wanted you to know who I am and what I do.
I want to tell you a little bit about this podcast, Growing Practice Strategies. What you can expect over the next coming weeks and months is that we are going to give you hit after hit of value. I’m going to interview some of the most successful chiropractors in our profession. Some of them may not be chiropractors. They might just be marketers. They may just be self-help or self-growth interviews or gurus.
I have some already lined up that are absolutely amazing, but I’m also going to add in some of the older webinars that I’ve already done, some of the interviews that if you haven’t heard them yet would knock your socks off. Maybe you’ve heard some of the interviews I’ve done over the past couple of years, because I’ve put a lot out. Like I said, I’ve done over 100 different webinars with chiropractors alone. You’re just going to get a huge value out of it.
Again, I want to encourage you to make sure you subscribe to this podcast. Make sure that you are listening to each episode because each episode is going to bring something a little bit different. It’s going to help you a little bit more in growing your practice and really, more importantly, growing as a person. I think probably that’s the most important thing.
As we grow as people, as we improve ourselves from the inside out, just like chiropractic from above down inside out as we improve ourselves, that’s when our practices grow. That’s what we are going to focus on in this podcast.
Guys, thank you so much for listening to the first episode and listening to my story as I introduced myself. I look very forward to this voyage, this journey we’re on. Thank you for taking it with me.
I will talk to you soon. I will see you on Episode 2. Thanks. Have a good day.
Announcer: Now that you’ve heard tips and strategies from some of the best in the business, head on over to GenesisChiropracticSofware.com and discover how the largest chiropractic offices in the world track their work flow, scheduling, documentation, billing and so much more.
Thanks for listening and we’ll see you on the next Practice Growth Strategies.