A Clinic Growth Blueprint Your Competition Can’t Copy

I talk about the core principles and lessons inside Ash Ali and Hasan Kubba's "The Unfair Advantage" and translate them into how you can apply them as an osteopath.

Podcast Episode Transcript

If you’ve been on the grind for a long time, trying to make things happen, but haven’t got to where you want to be, you’re probably not using your unfair advantages.

If you’re looking to take the plunge and start your own practice, you can massively increase your chances of success by discovering and leveraging your unfair advantages.

The Unfair Advantage by Ash Ali and Hasan Kubba, helps you look at yourself and your circumstances to find the ingredients you didn’t realise you already had to succeed.

This is Behind The Osteopath. I’m Alan Zaia. I’m an osteopath and Founder & CEO of Osteohustle where we bring osteopaths together to plan build and grow your dream career.

This podcast will only continue if it makes a stir in the osteopathic community, if you find value in what I’m doing please rate it, share it with your osteo mates, your principal, associates, Facebook forums, social media – all that good stuff.

Thank you.

Alright, as you know, this podcast is centred around the idea that you should never open a clinic without fully understanding what it takes and a part of that means me covering 10 books I believe every osteopath should read.

The Unfair Advantage is book 7 in the series. I first read this in 2021 and I read it again for this podcast.

Let’s dive in. As always, read the book for yourself because I won’t cover everything in a 30 minute podcast.

So, Ali & Hasan kickstart the book by saying that: “Success in the startup world is not simply awarded to the hardest workers. It’s awarded to those who develop and use their unfair advantages. An unfair advantage is your competitive upper hand and that your set of competitive advantages is unique to you. Sometimes your competitive advantage is not one that is ‘earned’ or worked for. This book is about you, the founders, the entrepreneur behind the business. Most startups fail, not because they can’t build a product. But because they can’t get traction. Ie: they can’t get enough customers through the door.

As you can already tell, this book talks about start-ups a lot, just substitute startups for new practice.

With that being said, let’s dive into the first lesson.

Lesson 1: Life isn’t fair

Access to wealth, influence, power and exceptional mentorship from successful and intelligent people will directly impact your success.

Evan Speigel, the billionaire co-founder of Snapchat said: “I am a young, white, educated male, and I got really, really lucky. And life isn’t fair.

Evan openly admits his privilege and says: “It’s not about working harder. It’s about working the system” In translation, it’s about working smarter.

That’s what the unfair advantage is all about: How to work smarter and how to work the system in your favour.

Now, this challenges the mindset that hard work alone is what makes people successful.

It’s clear that hard work is undoubtedly a correlating factor, but this book argues that this oversimplification of hard work equals success is not only misleading, it could be confusing when you don’t know what to work hard on.

That working hard without working smart is useless.

Ash and Hasan say: “Billionaire Reid Hoffman was asked: “how much of what you accomplished is because of your hard work and your intelligence and how much of what you accomplished is because of the luck and the privileges that you’ve had?” Without a breath of hesitation, he answered: “the answer is massively both, of course.

And that’s it right there. What does it take to plan, build and grow your dream career?

The perfect mix of hard work, intelligence, luck and privilege.

What’s consistent is that no matter what your version of success looks like you are going to need that perfect mix of hard work, intelligence, luck and privilege.

So, life isn’t fair.

And knowing this, coming to terms with it and embracing it puts to an end the idea that hard work alone will lead to success.

At this point you’re probably asking yourself: what’s my unfair advantage? Well let’s find out.

Lesson 2: The MILES framework

This is where Ali and Hasan introduce the MILES framework which is:

  • Money
  • Intelligence & Insights
  • Location & Luck
  • Education & Expertise
  • Status

Here’s when Ali and Hasan make two excellent points:

Point one: “You don’t need to have all of these unfair advantages to succeed. The best strategy is to partner up with people who have unfair advantages that compliment yours

This has so many layers to it.

Partnering up with people can be you looking for an associate, talking your current associates up another level whether that be they become a clinic director, head osteopath etc – something that allows you to move the practice forward and finally partnering with someone you wholeheartedly trust to become co-founders, even if that means delaying the start date so you can increase your chances of succeeding in the long term.

Point two: “All of these advantages are built on the foundation of mindset, which is the one you have the most control over and where you have the most leverage.

Ash and Hasan make it clear that you can all the unfair advantages in the world, but if your mindset isn’t right, you’re prone to fail.

At the core of your mindset is your why.

You must have a sense of why as an osteopath. Because your why is at the core of your actions because it’s a deeper belief and sense of purpose guiding the choices you make.

Why are you doing what you’re doing?

Why are you looking to achieve what you want to achieve?

What do you value most as a person and as a professional?

These are big questions. I get it. But if you don’t ask yourself these kinds of questions, years will fly by and you’ll have no idea what the hell just happened.

Lesson 3: You need a reality-growth mindset

Ali and Hasan build on the fact of needing to work on your mindset by talking about a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset.

A fixed mindset is where you believe people are born naturally gifted at doing things, but incapable of others. A growth mindset is when a person believes you can be bad at something, but it’s only because you have not taken the time or attention to get better at it.

A growth mindset is perfectly encapsulated by the word: ‘yet’.

The reason why I haven’t done X with my practice is because I’m not business-minded”.

So what you can do is use the word ‘yet’ to change your thinking.

The reason why I haven’t done X with my practice is because I’m not business-minded … yet”.

On that point, I want to break the stigma that osteopaths shouldn’t be business-minded because in my opinion being business-minded is you wanting to own a successful business doing what you love.

I genuinely believe that being business-minded can help osteopaths build better practices through being better principals and associates, our profession’s awareness and recognition will increase and in-turn more people will know what an osteopath is, they’ll actively look for one, talk about the benefits to the people they know, and more importantly for our profession, people will want to become osteopaths and tell their kids who are deciding what career choice they want to make, that it’s a good idea to become an osteopath because they can see that the local osteopath runs a great business, seems pretty happy and fulfilled in their life.

In so many ways, being business-minded can, quite frankly, be part of the solution that saves our profession.

Finally, Ash and Hasan say that having a growth mindset allows you to think the sky is the limit. However, we need to be realistic too. With everything in life, we must strike a balance which they call a reality-growth mindset which is “The ability to accept the hard limits of the way things are, and also to believe that anything is possible.”

So, how do you develop a reality-growth mindset? Ash and Hasan list 4 essentials:

  1. Vision – which is the ability to plainly see what you want to create into existence.
  2. Resourcefulness – Being able to solve problems quickly and come up with solutions.
  3. Constant growth & lifelong learning – Gotta keep learning.
  4. Grit & perseverance – Your ability to keep going in the face of resistance.

So, develop a reality-growth mindset and find your why. Go check out episode 4.

Or, if you want help, mindset and your why is the foundation of our branding service. Check out the link in the description.

With that being said, let’s dive into each part of the MILES framework starting with money.

Pillar 1 – Money

We all know that money makes things easier. In this chapter, Ash and Hasan say that when they’re talking about money, they mean wealth – basically anything that you can sell for money.

But this chapter starts with an excellent example of thinking about money no matter how much money you have, or don’t have by talking about runways and burn rates.

All want to be and current practice owners need to know about runways and burn rates.

I’ll read directly from the book here, which says: “The time you have until your start-up runs out of money and is forced to close down is called your runway time. You could have four months of runway time, or you could have one year. It depends on how much money you have and how much money you’re earning. Your burn rate is how much money your start-up is losing every month. If you’re start-up has £5000 in the bank and your burn rate is £1000 per month than you have five months of runway time. More money means you have a longer run away. Also, the lower your burn rate, the more runway time you’ll have as well.

So now you can know how much money to accumulate before getting started, and you can also figure out how to cut your costs or increase your money.

A good rule of thumb is having at least 6 to 18 months of runway time if you’re going to quit a full-time job and focus on a start-up.

Don’t just think about obvious expenses like rent, equipment and insurance etc.

And beyond the essentials, start with a bang because no one will know you exist and you need to make them aware and want to visit. This is how much this fantastic branding will cost, great website, signage, these 1000 leaflets will cost. Hit the ground running.

Pillar 2 – Intelligence & Insight

So this is a very interesting chapter because Ash and Hasan say that there are 4 different types of smarts but they all fall under the heading of intelligence.

  1. Intelligence Quotient (IQ): We all know about IQ, but does it really matter? The short answer is yes, but don’t let the number define who you are. Virtually all psychologists agree that believing you can get smarter actually makes you smarter.
  2. Book smarts: Basically, you typically know if you’re book smart because you prefer to increase your knowledge through books and did very well with your formal education. However, you may discover and develop your book smarts later in life because you’re getting to do it in a self-directed way.
  3. Street smarts & people skills: What you learn through experience outside of school. Ash and Hasan say that street smarts is largely about people skills, which require emotional and social intelligence.
  4. Creative intelligence: This isn’t about being good at painting or poetry. Creative intelligence is how we can connect dots between different places and coming up with outside-the-box solutions.

So that’s intelligence but what about insight?

Insight is less applicable for us as osteopaths because insights in the context of this book is about finding a real problem to solve and therefore finding a need a gap in the market for example.

For osteopaths, the problem we solve is people’s pain. However, in the context of you wanting to start your own practice, insight is extremely valuable.

For example, let’s say you’re passionate and involved with the martial arts world and therefore you have incredible insight into the needs of mixed martial artists and you can therefore create an experience centred around addressing those needs through osteopathy and other qualifications you have.

Ash and Hasan also say that it can be a good idea to get a job within an industry. Being an associate is engrained within our profession and is a great way to get insight into how you do and don’t want to run your practice.

Pillar 3 – Location & Luck

When choosing a place to live we’ll consider all the amenities in the local area – the schools, the transport, the parks or gyms – as well as other things like the crime rates, whether we like how the area looks and what’s going on in the local community. So, why wouldn’t we give the same care and attention to where we start our business?

We’ll start with location because the right location increases your chances of luck. Here’s a few examples.

If your practice is in the middle of nowhere, you’re going to struggle to get not likely to get people through the door. But if you’re the only option, there’s a need for you and you’re embedded within the community, then it could be a gold mine.

Another example is that London is the heart for osteopaths so is Melbourne is for Australia. While it’s unbelievably expensive, you’ll have access to a greater population as well as new grads and you don’t need to have a big space straight away.

Ash and Hasan say that you have two choices if you feel that your physical location isn’t strong.

You can either move or you can simply learn to leverage the internet to bring more awareness and desire to your practice. We’re talking about having a fantastic brand, website, Google Business Profile, Google Ads, email marketing and even social media.

When it comes to luck, there are 4 basic principles that seemingly lucky people use:

  1. Maximise your chance opportunities – You should always look for opportunities and how to create opportunities. A perfect example of this is taking the first step to create a mutually-beneficial business to business relationship.
  2. Trust your intuition and gut feeling, especially when you’ve had some experience – Self-explanatory.
  3. Expect to be lucky – So, if you make an active effort to be more optimistic you are more likely to acknowledge and receive more luck.
  4. Turn even the bad luck into good luck – This says when things you can’t control affect you negatively you can either choose to give up or turn your bad luck into a learning opportunity.

On that note I’m going to directly read something that I enjoy it a lot with this book which is: “Take more action. Do more things. Meet more people. Go to more events. Get feedback. Put more stuff into the world. This is a very powerful way of increasing your luck, because it’s like trying to roll a double six on a pair of dice and you can roll as many times as you like. Obviously you would just keep rolling the dice until you got a double six. That’s increasing your chances, because nobody is counting your number of attempts in life.

Pillar 4 – Education & Expertise

Starting with education, we have formal and informal. Formal being school, university etc. Informal being any self-directed learning you do because you want to.

As we know, a good education is a huge unfair advantage.

All osteopaths have the education unfair advantage because you have gone through enough formal education to open the door for you to become a student osteopath in the first place.

And I believe that wherever you studied osteopathy absolutely determines unfair advantages other osteopaths won’t get.

For example, I went to Swansea University in the UK, where business management was woven into the curriculum, meaning we had essays and exams. That was my formal education springboard that launched my informal education where I chose to dive deeper into the topic more. That led me to where I am today with Osteohustle, and it’s fair to say that things would have been very different if I didn’t go to Swansea University. Also, me being an osteopath is my unfair advantage over those who aren’t because I understand what it means to be an osteopath to our cores.

Let’s talk about developing expertise.

This is a self-taught process where you’re learning through doing.

As you start to figure out yourself as an osteopath, you’ll start to notice that you really enjoy things related to a certain condition, body part or demographic. This could be tendinopathy, the foot and ankle or problems faced by peri-menopausal women for example.

Once you figure out that one thing, lean into it for the next 12 months. Attend all the CPD you can, do the extra reading, enrol in a course, try and reach out to those who you believe are already an expert in the one thing you like.

Becoming an expert doesn’t mean you only treat that one thing, but you’re working on becoming well known in your local area for treating something that you’re extremely good at and passionate about.

And if I still haven’t convinced you, there’s an excellent quote from Professor Fernand Gobet who says: “An expert in a given domain, is somebody who obtains results that are vastly superior to those obtained by the majority of the population.

I promise you that if you find your one thing and push it, you will attract those people and they’ll refer their friends etc and they’ll ask you if you can help with a different condition, which most of the time is “absolutely”.

By dedicating yourself to the mentality of becoming an expert, you will notice a huge shift in your career – especially if you’re attracting the types of people you’re not really interested in treating.

With that being said, let’s dive into the final pillar: Status.

Pillar 5 – Status

Ash and Hasan explain that there’s two different types of status:

  1. Inner status
  2. Outer status

Let’s start with outer status.

Outer status is what you bring to the table.

Ash and Hasan explain that “It’s your perceived ability to add value. Value can be in the form of wisdom, entertainment, spreading good emotions, solving problems for people, achieving something difficult, being cool, trendy, aspirational, attractive, or interesting. That’s why it’s more complicated and expensive, that just whether you are upper-class, white or male – we all have a certain status in different situations.

As for inner status, this is all about how you perceive yourself. It’s the inner psychology that can powerfully boost your outer status by affecting how you come across, through your confidence and self-esteem.

Ash and Hasan say that your confidence and self-esteem always shine through and that people “Pick up on it, consciously, and unconsciously, through your body language, voice, tonality, and other subtle cues in your behaviour. That’s how your inner status increases your outer status.

I’ll admit that I struggled to structure this part of the podcast, so I’ll just quote some gold.

If you pin your self-love and happiness to something external, you’ll either keep moving the finish line and never be happy or you’ll experience the most profound anti-climax of your life and get depressed when you realise that achieving your external goal does not fill the inner void. Love yourself and accept yourself, wherever you’re at as a starting point, then self improve from there.

Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes to everyone else is highlight reel.

The truth is, nobody really knows the right thing to do in every situation, and even huge success stories have a lot of missteps and failures. You can’t see into other people’s heads only into your own. This gives you the impression that everyone else knows what they’re doing, and you’re the only one that doesn’t.

You need to have faith in your ability to step into a role and learn to make it work, and simply pushing yourself slightly outside your comfort zone more regularly will help you build that confidence.


Before you go, I have a favour to ask.

We’re coming to the end of this book series and as I’ve said before, this will only continue if it makes a stir in our community.

The biggest thing you can do is share it with your principal, associates, your osteo mates, share it across Facebook forums – all that good stuff.

Also, if you’re on your phone, tap on the episode, scroll down and you’ll find the Q&A section. Tell me what you think. If you can, give the podcast a 5 star review.

I hope you found these insights as valuable as I did.

Subscribe to get notified when the next episode comes out.

See you next week. Cheers.

Written by Alan Zaia M.Ost

Founder & CEO of Osteohustle. You’ll find Alan coaching osteopaths, travelling in a van or writing our weekly newsletter, The Hustle.

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