Articles August 1, 2014

Brief Against Retreat: Chiropractic Actions in a Tough Economy

From the desk of Dr. Patrick Gentempo, Jr.
Patrick Gentempo, Jr., D.C.

In my 25 years as a chiropractor, business consultant to chiropractors, and CEO of Chiropractic Leadership Alliance (CLA), I have seen many challenges dealt to the field of chiropractic and have been very accurate in strategic recommendations that have helped DCs face these challenges and thrive. In order to figure out what to do, we have to understand what is happening. Let’s talk about the economy…

The headlines are speaking of economic doom and disaster. The stock market has pulled way back. The housing crisis is expanding. Our financial institutions are going bankrupt. We sit and wait for the next domino to fall. We have uncertainty in a very contentious political race. Prevailing wisdom says hunker down, tighten your belts, squeeze tight, play defense and hope for the best…ride the storm out – right? Wrong. Dead wrong!

What’s really happening? The sub-prime lending crisis has initiated a sequence of events that are economically disastrous, and the blows are not over. The banking industry went on a lending binge where they financed overvalued properties to under qualified borrowers. These mortgages were bundled up into very large packages and sold off. As they were traded in the marketplace a sense of reality was lost, until people who got non-income verification loans using adjustable rate mortgages started defaulting on these loans. This hit a tipping point and suddenly property values started to drop, more loans went into default, and property owners no longer wanted to make payments on properties whose value was ‘under water’ compared to the outstanding mortgage (negative equity position).

Financial institutions were sitting with portfolios full of mortgages on property of indeterminate value whose owners were not in a financial or emotional mindset to pay. Next thing you know, Bear Stearns is no longer a viable company. Unimaginable. Then Fannie Mae and the rest all followed…a bad dream dominating the collective psyche of a nation that doesn’t really grasp what is happening. They just understand that it is “bad.”

Some are comparing today’s events to the ‘Great Depression’. Know this – we live in a different world today—one that follows economic rules different from those the 1930’s. Our economy is much more diversified, hence, less prone to an across the board recession or depression. This is not to say that there isn’t economic pain and the effects of what is happening are not far reaching – I am suggesting that it won’t affect all industries and households the same way or to the same degree and that recovery may be faster than some think. Bottom line? There is still an enormous amount of wealth in the households of this nation and every day some of it will be spent somewhere. There will still be around $2.5 trillion spent in the USA alone on what is referred to as healthcare. There is still a lot of ‘economy’ for what you do. My objective is to have as much spent as possible in chiropractic offices because in stressful times, people need chiropractic even more.

So, what are the choices to the DC in these troubled times? Either retrograde retreat and hold on for dear life – or – get very aggressive and go after profitable growth. I obviously advocate the latter. There is opportunity in all crises. Today is no exception. Shrinking is a bad idea. You can’t score points on defense. Time for a gut check.

Many chiropractors have positioned themselves to attract people to their services because these services help consumers cope with the stress they are experiencing. They have made themselves “market-ready” and are going after the market and capturing more of it every day. What is critical for every DC to understand is what it means to be ‘market-ready’. In tough economic climates, mediocre practices just die. So, what does it mean to be market-ready?

First, it means crystal clarity of the objective. In other words, what is the clear purpose of your practice? What is the clear goal you have for every patient who comes through your doors? Where do you want your practice to be in 5 years? Have you set up practice procedures that are consistent with these clear goals and objectives? What do you do day 1 and day 2 with new patients? What is your marketing plan? How do you budget it? How do you measure its results? What are your patient education strategies? How robust are all these systems and considerations? I could go on, but I think you get the idea. Succeeding in businesses, like a chiropractic practice, is very tough. Being in the marketplace today without being market-ready is close to business suicide.

With over 8,000 clients, I have learned a whole lot about what the needs of the field are. Minimally, all the practices need: (1) a DC who has a high degree of confidence, certainty, and credibility; (2) a system of marketing that is creative, gets results, and is cost effective; (3) a system of education that shifts a patient to new understandings about the nature of where health comes from and how to keep and expand one’s true health (this education system must also speak to the virtue of the whole family, including kids, getting adjusted); and (4) a system of procedures that is efficient and reflects the values and purpose of the practice, starting with how a phone is answered and ending with an experience for patients that makes the trip to your office the best part of their day, every day they come!

A final thought…there is a reason our company is called Chiropractic Leadership Alliance. Most companies name their company by the product they sell. Even though we offer cutting edge clinical technology and powerful practice development tools, we realize it is not a machine or a product that in and of itself gets a result. It is the person using it that gets the result. We are an alliance of leaders that have created a culture that our clients like to call their chiropractic home. In tough times, you don’t want to be alone. Together we are creating world leadership of healthcare in a chiropractic model.

On Purpose,

Chiropractic Leadership Alliance, Inc., co-founded by Drs. Patrick Gentempo, Jr., and Christopher Kent 21 years ago, is the developer of the Insight Subluxation StationTM, the On PurposeTM audio subscription service, and the Total SolutionTM intensive training and motivational program. Information on all of CLA’s products and services can be found on its web site: