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Medical Practice Business And Marketing Articles

Article #31   Mar. 2012

“Risk Taking: Necessary For Medical Practice
Business Profitability”

If you value reaching your greatest potential
as a doctor, this is how you do it.

Risk-taking is a measure of our adaptability and creativity. It has everything to do with creating a highly profitable medical practice. It has everything to do with your private practice survival.

You consciously or unconsciously confront risks daily. You either adapt your thinking to modifying those risks when you recognize them, or you adjust to the risk and modify your behavior to live with them.

Naturally we first think about avoiding risks of any nature, an instinctual process that provides you with an immediate sense of security. The problem is that many risks to our lives and personal self are not recognized or predictable. To protect ourselves we engage our minds in patterns of looking for potential risks that we otherwise wouldn’t have noticed.

We pay attention to possible, probable, or actual risks because we intend to do something about them… usually. Ignoring them only postpones the inevitable consequences of living with the probabilities of misfortune following you around like a shadow. Add that to your list of stresses if you have masochistic tendencies.

With these ideas in mind, we are down to dealing with the risk factors and their benefits or destructive potential. Whether intentional or not, we eventually make the necessary changes to avoid risk factors we perceive as dangerous and evaluate those that have a potential of resulting in
a benefit.

The options available for accomplishing this are selected by emotion and rationalized by reason. Any choice we make among those risk options either impedes or enhances the objective we have in mind so there’s a lot of mental analysis involved.

The choices we make measures our degree of success and failure in everything from marriage to career status... even how much beer you can drink and still remain upright.

What are some of your risk-facing options?

  • Recognize risks but ignore them—the “what-the-hell”

  • Select some risks and do something about the ones
    you care about making adjustments for

  • Spend your life in isolation to try to avoid any risks
    at all

  • Believe your faith protects you always, so no need
    for worry

  • Assume your life is predestined, so risks are of no consequence... your fate is already decided no
    matter what

  • Pretend the risks you notice won’t ever affect you...
    such as gambling

  • Rely on statistics that tell you that there is only one
    chance in 10,000 of a certain risk happening to you

  • Face your risks and fears head-on every day... resting
    on hope and your self-confidence in your personal
    capabilities for overcoming them, what ever they are

Risks force our mind to consider the advantages and disadvantages of proceeding on a course beyond the obvious chance of injury,
damage or loss.

There’s another risk dimension of opportunity, believe it or not, that lies beyond what we usually determine to be our personal risk limitations.

The limits that we presently feel comfortable with (our comfort zone) may even contain more risk potential than in the environment outside our comfort zone. It’s just that we often don’t recognize it. The fear of what could happen holds us hostage. If you’re crippled by the fear of an increased “assumed risk” being present outside your comfort zone,
get a grip!

The fact that we most often think additional risks as being more of a threat than we are already facing without stepping out of our comfort zone, in no way guarantees for us that there’s a significant greater risk outside the box we are in. Is it better to stay as we are, or take a chance on improving our situation in spite of a potential risk taking venture into the unknown?

Risks are cognitive warnings that something bad might happen if you push your actions beyond a certain point, because you have had no experience with that circumstance to show you it’s safe to proceed.

Your fundamental freedom for maximizing your professional potential and creativeness is possible only when you’re confident you can handle the risks you undertake. It’s been shown that the mind functions at a much higher level of creativeness and productive thought patterns outside
your comfort zone.

How does one measure the severity of risk factors?

Risks don’t predict the outcome of any risk-taking choice. It’s left to us to move ahead with caution.

The greatest mistake we make is to consider risks primarily as threats rather than opportunities. So, here we are with our knickers in a twist trying to fight off the emotional right brain and soothe the logical left brain at the same time.

Fear is the dominant measurement device we use to judge the consequence of risks. The greater the fear of what we “think” will be the result of taking a risk, the greater we perceive the risk to be. Fear causes us to be imprisoned by the foolishness of “pretend” or “guessing.”

Our move into a situation where we have never been creates fear to a variable degree. The amount depends on your belief in what you are capable of accomplishing… a matter of your self-esteem.

Fear of the unknown makes a risk feel like a threat. We have that fairy-dust belief based on what we have seen and heard about those who have ended up on the short end of the stick by taking risks. We dwell on the fate of risk losers rather than the risk winners. Why is that?

Why don’t we accept what happens to risk-winners who have overcome the fears and their perceived threats successfully. The fear of failure, fear of disgrace, fear of disappointing family expectations, fear of your own capabilities, and fear of loss of everything you have created for yourself, prevents us from upgrading our professional careers and lifestyle? We normally refer to such “over comers” as entrepreneurs.

Discipline is a profound measuring device for judging risk. The greater a person’s discipline has become over their lives, the less the risk potential appears to be… and actually is.

Discipline over one’s own life includes such things as setting goals and achieving them, never being satisfied with their level of accomplishment, using their time productively, making plans that are followed to the end, and ultimately, maintaining the perception of failure as just another stepping stone towards success.

Discipline had to be present for anyone to have graduated from medical school, but you know that. You have it but may not know how to use it to the best advantage. You may be very disciplined at controlling your productive use of your time, but may not realize you have not done so well with establishing medical practice goals beyond medical school and reaching them.

Ask yourself right now, “Am I disappointed with my medical practice or professional career today? Have I reached my highest level of skills and medical knowledge I previously anticipated at this point in my career? Am I sure that I’ve reached my maximum potential in my medical professional career? Am I convinced that I have the discipline and control to accept certain calculated risks in order to reach the place in my career where I originally expected to be?”

Don’t tell me you can’t discipline yourself to do all these things, because I know you have the desire and capability to do so. The difficulty is, “You don’t know what you don’t know.”

If you don’t allow your mind to help you (while outside your mental comfort zone), you lose. Just try to imagine how much useful information and knowledge your mind has suppressed, yet still retains, that you could really use now.

Accountability is not only a virtue, but also a means of measuring risk potential. Taking responsibility for everything that happens to you in your life is key to your ultimate potential in your professional career. The greater your accountability, the less severe the risk potential.

Your level or degree of accountability is inversely proportional to your level of risk acceptance.

Accountability provides you with the ability to think more decisively, make more reasonable and acceptable decisions, and create the most advantageous outcomes from any risk taken. These qualities are best exemplified by war heroes who instantly are able to put aside all risks by understanding their own accountability to others. I discovered that fact in combat in Vietnam while flying on helicopter medevac missions as a
flight surgeon.

Physicians and other professional medical providers are accountable to their patients, to their peers, and to their families, among others. Because of the impact of your accountability for your medical practice performance, most doctors are quite willing to push their limits of skills and medical knowledge (step out of their box) to be of more value to their patients and medical profession.

Overcoming the risks we’re talking about here, leads to extraordinary accomplishments that become result multipliers. You might end up rich even when you didn’t plan to.

When you’re accountable, risk taking surpasses conventional wisdom. You see and understand risk factors more clearly. It enables you to more easily reduce the risks involved. You are less likely to end up out on the end of a limb. This brings up the next topic of adjusting to risk taking… a fresh eyes view of your thoughts concerning risks.

How to change your thinking about medical practice
risk factors

Every medical professional becomes involved in reducing risks to themselves and their patients. Here, I want to focus on the business risks that doctors face today in this world of economic crisis, while the members of congress hide in the pucker-brush.

What I’m most concerned with are the causative factors leading doctors to avoid the business and marketing aspects of their practices. I’m convinced that a large portion of the causes can be attributed to the way doctors think about risk.

An example of doctors who are able to feel comfortable enough to practice medicine, while claiming objective amnesia regarding the risks, reveals the power of mental repression.

Isn’t it remarkable that every OB-Gyn doctor hasn’t quit practice as a result of an incredibly high risk of medical malpractice, especially with obstetrics? I say… let the midwives take the risk instead. The remarkable reduction in malpractice risks to all midwives who are directly involved with the same trauma factors as doctors’ face, rarely are sued for such a situation. Go figure.

A doctor’s pugnacious attitude towards their risks of possibly losing everything, is commendable… but foolish when you consider their alternatives. In my case, it was necessary for me to be neck-wrestled to the ground by my wife before I was able to understand the stress I had put myself under all those years… what an idiot I was!

Yet OB doctors plod along continuing to pay the outrageous malpractice premiums, worrying about when (not if) the next patient will sue them, and knowing that one bad medical judgment, or treatment, or surgical procedure can terminate their practice with the loss of everything. Often,
it also includes loss of their family.

How is it possible to rationalize that kind of risk taking?

Let me list a few possible reasons...

· Fear the risk of changing their specialty is a higher
risk than continuing on as they are

· Fear of the risk of quitting medical practice is higher
than just hangin-in there for a few more years

· Belief that if they accept only patients of very low
risk, it will not financially support keeping their
practice open

· Belief they are not qualified for doing anything
else as a career but what they have already
trained for

· Belief they can’t afford to re-train in another

· Belief the medical system is about to eliminate
private medical practice, so why change
anything yet

· Belief the cost of transforming their medical
practice to a highly efficient business machine
is too risky

· Belief they are stuck with accepting their
mediocre private practice income as the best
they can do or expect

· Belief that as an employee they are safe from all
those risk factors... risks never go away.

The amount of risk involved in each of these situations is a matter of individual perception that has no basis in fact, statistics, or overall outcomes for any doctor in any specialty. Fear freezes us in place with few exceptions.

It seems that doctors who are earning a large income from their practices pay much less attention to risk factors than those who are barely making
it financially.

Sure, rich doctors have a far larger financial cushion which allows them to have less concern about risk taking. During my years in private practice 1973 to 1994, I knew an invasive cardiologist making over $600,000 a year, and a gastroenterologist earning about the same amount. Risks to them were considered essentially insignificant.

Wouldn’t that circumstance cause less affluent doctors to step out of their comfort zone at least long enough to disregard risks that they previously believed to be too drastic? Apparently not.

In this section of discussion about taking risks in medical practice it seems that a few key lessons stand out...

· Objective amnesia is a necessary mental process to
develop to reduce your perceived risks.

· Becoming a wealthy doctor appears to reduce risks.

· Certain personal beliefs about risk taking are capable
of helping or hindering you’re professional status to
a great degree.

ant: normal; font-style: normal; "> Arrogance can be a tactic for reducing practice risks.

Although this tongue-in-cheek summary of lessons are to some degree a bit believable, while they at the same time point out that each of us respond to risks in different ways. It takes a go-round with your “inner self” to learn to deal with risks. How you deal with risks continues to change throughout your professional life, depending on the triggers that send you off into a different phase of belief.

Hard facts to remember

Fact #1: You get nowhere without taking risks.

Fact #2: Taking calculated risks keeps us in the
   recoverable zone.

Fact #3: Ways to reduce risk and create improvement
  are not counter productive.

Fact #4: Fear creates more failures in medical
  practice than all other factors combined.

Fact #5: Every doctor has the in-born capacity to
               find their full potential by learning to adapt
               to practicing in an environment where
               change is constantly occurring and risk-taking
               is prevalent.

What happens when you combine risk taking with medical practice business profitability?

The answer is… nothing! At least not until you’re completely convinced that you need to do what it takes to make it all happen. Even then, nothing happens to your medical practice business until you take action and implement what needs to be done.

Obviously, you will have to trample rough-shod over your fearful uncertainty, deprive yourself of the panty-waist comfort of inertia,
buggy-whip your intentions, and recycle your mental mindset.

The thermal noise you hear is nothing more than excitement stirred up by your sustained focus on the outrageous idea that you are capable of making major improvements in your medical practice and income.

You must understand that there’s a right way and a wrong way to run your medical business. Unfortunately, most doctors don’t really know how to run their own medical business with the maximum efficiency and profitability that most successful businesses already know about.

Doctors aren’t taught what they need to know about business principles and marketing strategies. The results of that fact are relevant to the following issue. Reports have been made that indicate most doctors leave at least a million dollars on the table during their medical practice years
without recognizing it.

Structuring you medical practice to provide you with financial independence over the long haul is a worthy goal. The effort requires both persistent efforts and the business knowledge to make it happen.

Some food for thought about matching risk to gain... 

· How could any doctor in private medical practice expect to
maximize his business profitability without having
foundational business knowledge?

· How can any doctor in medical practice set aside the time
to learn business principles without compromising their
medical practice income significantly?

· When the need arrives for doctors to save their practice
from financial failure, they are already too financially
strapped to pay an expert to help them. Do it yourself?

· If you are not a risk-taker, how would you ever expect to
reach your maximal professional capabilities without
taking risks?

· How much time, effort, and money are you willing to spend
on educating yourself in business principles, tactics, and
strategies? Would you be open to purchasing a business
and marketing set of manuals that will enable you to do
most of it yourself?


Medical schools have no intention of providing even basic education about business and marketing to students. College premed students continue to suffer from the lack of any stimulus to take business courses during college. What you have left in medical practice is learning by trial and error.

This incredible defect in the education of doctors is a setup for medical practice financial failure in any sense of the word. That is exactly why so many private medical practices are now failing and forcing doctors to seek other careers and business opportunities.

Those doctors comfortably snuggled under the wing of an HMO or hospital employment should be worried as well. Total control over how you practice medicine and the constant possibility of being terminated if you resist the hierarchy is even more brutal. I’ve experienced both.

The one undeniable and most critical benefit offered by a formal business education is that a doctor is able to work less and earn more than they ever could otherwise.

Knowing what I now know about risk-taking, business success, and the potential for profitable careers, I am convinced that any physician or other professional healthcare provider that is failing financially in their professional situation would be far better off to convert to a business operation.

One that they create for themselves outside of the medical profession, rather than continue trying to succeed within the medical profession. There are many valid reasons to seriously consider this.

Some other distinguishing advantages of using business knowledge to propel your medical practice machine are...

· Practice burn-out is almost a non-issue.

· Doctor frustration is reduced by 10 fold.

· Doctor’s can earn enough to afford to improve their
skills and knowledge at any time they choose.

· Financial freedom is no longer a pipe-dream, if
the right tools are used.

· Doctor’s are able to alter their medical practices
to meet economic or personal choices with very
little loss of income.

· Practice management requires considerably less
time and effort.

· Employees are more loyal and remain longer in
the job when a practice is run by effective
business procedures.

· Practice income can be move up and down by
increasing or ecreasing the marketing efforts.

If you scrutinize these carefully, you will understand that every one of these advantages are never available to those in employed positions or in private medical practices without incorporating formal business knowledge into their core framework.

“If a businessman invested one hour every day doing nothing
but thinking, brainstorming, creating new and better ways
to be of greater and more valued service to his customers,
money problems would melt away.”
        ---Earl Nightingale

The author, Curt Graham, M.D., an experienced physician, author, marketer and expert in medical practice business and marketing strategies, is an expert author and motivator for professionals in the business world. He is a platinum expert author with and has been published in Modern Physician and elsewhere.
Discover how to make your medical practice highly profitable and exceed all expectations with simple business and marketing strategies. Click the link now for the effective ways to do it.
©Copyright 2004-2011, Curtis Graham, M.D., All Rights Reserved.






       handwritten signature of Dr. Graham


Article #31-A


photo Dan kenney riding on a bull "The Secret of Getting Referrals"

There has never been any argument in advertising circles that the most effective business advertising is word-of-mouth advertising.

That's why direct selling is so dramatically successful as a method of marketing every imaginable product and service, and why direct selling is such a great business in which to be. As a direct salesperson conversationally telling another person why you like a particular product, you are much more convincing advertisement than any TV commercial or magazine ad.

The tremendous persuasiveness of your personal endorsement of a product is what word-of-mouth advertising is all about. Much to the chagrin of professional ad agencies, such word-of-mouth advertising cannot be purchased. But you, as a direct salesperson, can put this special type of advertising power to work for your business.

Because you are fortunate to be on friendly, personal terms with your customers, you can enlist their aid in promoting your services. You can actually turn your present customers into a personal advertising department. All you need to do is master the right way to ask for
their help.

Develop Personal Relations

If you learn how to properly ask for their help, your customers will enthusiastically go to work advertising your business. This will help promote your services, lead you to scores of new services, and give you all the valuable benefits of word-of-mouth advertising. There are two types...

1. The customer actually becomes an advertising agent
and tells others about you and the service you provide.

2. The customer gives you referrals to people who may be good
prospects and allows you to use their name as an endorsement.

Either type can be extremely valuable in multiplying your patient list.

Avoid Pressure

The most important thing to remember is that this kind of help cannot be bought from your customers. It must never seem like you are offering a bribe in exchange for a list of names. As a rule, people will not "sell" their friends to you. Offering an "inducement" also might raise doubts about the quality of your services. If they are as good as you say they are, why should you bribe people for their recommendations?

Remember two very important things about human nature: first, people usually enjoy telling others about products they try and like. Second, people like to be appreciated. One way they get appreciated is by being helpful to others.

In short, offer an incentive for help without appearing to be paying for it.

Show Appreciation

In this way, you're thanking the person, not bribing them. They'll be pleased, won't feel guilty, and will be more willing the next time you ask.

The next time you call on that customer you should remember to again thank them for their help. Report to them on the reactions of the prospects they suggested. Let the person you know you did call on them, that Mrs. Jones did become a customer and purchased such and such, and that Mrs. Walters was interested but wished to purchase at a later date.

In many cases, after reporting these results, you can obtain a couple of additional prospects from them.

Prospects are the lifeblood of your business. Your greatest asset in direct sales is your inventory of prospective new customers. And there is no better way to maintain that inventory, converting prospects to customers, than by using the power of word-of-mouth advertising... with recommendations from your present, satisfied customers. Put this power to work now and watch your profits and your list of patients multiply.

DAN S. KENNEDY is a serial, multi-millionaire entrepreneur; highly paid and sought after marketing and business strategist; advisor to countless first-generation, from-scratch multi-millionaire and 7-figure income entrepreneurs and professionals; and, in his personal practice, one of the very highest paid direct-response copywriters in America. As a speaker, he has delivered over 2,000 compensated presentations, appearing repeatedly on programs with the likes of Donald Trump, Gene Simmons (KISS), Debbi Fields (Mrs. Fields Cookies), and many other celebrity-entrepreneurs, for former U.S. Presidents and other world leaders, and other leading business speakers like Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy and Tom Hopkins, often addressing audiences of 1,000 to 10,000 and up. His popular books have been favorably recognized by Forbes, Business Week, Inc. and Entrepreneur Magazine. His NO B.S. MARKETING LETTER, one of the business newsletters published for Members of Glazer-Kennedy Insider's Circle, is the largest paid subscription newsletter in its genre in the world.



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