In my travels I get the privilege of speaking to lots of clinicians from all over the world, and something that often comes up in conversation is their desire to build a big clinic with lots of practitioners.
It makes sense of course… Building a large clinic with a broad offering is a great way to scale what you do and potentially make a bigger income for you and your family.
The problem however with this idea is that building a big clinic is possibly the worst thing that some people might do.
The reason I say this is because building something because it seems like the most logical thing to do, is terribly flawed reasoning.
In my experience, there are two reasons to try to build a big business:
1) Because you are naturally entrepreneurial and building and growing a business is what you were born to do.
2) Because it is in you to try.
From what I’ve seen, more people think they fit into category 1 than actually fit into category 1. Building and growing a business takes a certain kind of mindset and tenacity. One that is driven by much more than the desire for money. It relies on the individual to have a deep working knowledge of the service or product that the business provides, but also the vision of and creativity to see opportunities or invent them.
The highly skilled therapist who simply believes they can do a better job than their boss, is NOT an entrepreneur. The entrepreneur is the person who is willing to work harder and longer until they create something more valuable to the world than their boss has.
In many cases, this person never had a boss, because… well they have to do things their way.
Category 2 is a rare individual indeed. They don’t do it for the money, they may not necessarily be particularly creative or tenacious either. They do it because they are afraid of looking back and wondering “What if?”.
They do it because not doing it seems unbearable.
This person is driven by a sense of purpose more than logic.
Recently I sat down with a solo practitioner who has a desire to build a bigger practice and grow a team. We talked through his vision for it and what he intends to do. Eventually we got to the point where he was looking for some advice on how to proceed. My advice started the same way it always does…. “So, why do you want to do this?”.
He paused, looked me dead in the eyes and said “because I have to try”.
I smiled and replied “that’s the best answer I’ve heard”.
You may be thinking… “but I don’t feel like I’m completely in category 1 OR 2and I’m trying to build a big business. It’s still possible for you, providing that your primary motivating force is not the desire for more money or for an easier life.
Starting and growing a business larger than yourself will take more from you than it gives for quite some time. You have to be willing to hire or partner with people who have the skills or knowledge that you don’t, and be willing to ask for advice and apply it when it is given.
Without an entrepreneurial personality or an intrinsic need to build something bigger, you are always going to have the voice in the back of your head saying “why am I doing this to myself?”. Again, this is perfectly fine, providing your resolve to push on is stronger than the voice is loud.
The important thing to remember here is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with starting and growing your own solo practice and delivering a fantastic service to your community. This is just as a noble and respectable endeavour as building a larger business is.
Knowing yourself and what will make you happiest is the surest way to a successful and rewarding career.
So please don’t get sucked into the hype that is often applied to owning and running a big business. If you were born to do that, you probably know it and feel it in your bones. If being an incredible practitioner and doing your thing with one person at a time feels right, then it absolutely is.
The world needs both types of people and we should celebrate both.