A Practical Recession Guide For Osteopathy Clinic Owners & Associates

Here's a practical recession guide for osteopaths, whether that be for clinic owners or associates. The good news is that there's lots you can do!

The UK Falls Into Recession

As the UK falls into recession, it’s crucial for osteopaths—whether you’re a clinic owner with or without associates, or you’re an associate—to adopt an adaptable, proactive and calm approach.

In these uncertain times, it’s not just about steadying the ship; it’s about taking decisive action and proving to yourself and the people you work with that you’re here for the long-term.

As I said in episode 18 – The #1 Reason Why Clinics Fail of the Behind The Osteopath podcast: “You have to get used to accepting truths as fast as possible. Avoiding uncomfortable realities means accepting an uncomfortable future”.

I hope you find this guide helpful.

Find & Fix The Leaks

The first step in weathering a recession is to scrutinise your clinic’s finances. I know, it’s a painful thought of many of us, and many of us even feel like an imposter, but it’s absolutely essential.

I promise you that if you understand the ins and outs of your financials it will empower you to identify where you can make huge cost-saving measures. And when that happens, oh it feels so good!

Schedule a meeting with your accountant to find out how to improve your bottom line. By collaborating with your accountant, you can lean on their expertise to guide you through these tough times.

Ruthlessly cut non-essential expenses, including those elusive monthly subscriptions, and make the effort seek out cheaper utility providers (sorry about you having to sit through repetitive on-hold music!)

Don’t hesitate to negotiate rent reductions with your clinic and personal landlords—remember, don’t ask, don’t get.

Establish a 3-6 month savings reserve so you have a bit of a safety net. Easy to say, hard to do, but try your best to feed into your savings.

Though confronting your finances may be daunting, especially if you find out things aren’t as good as what you thought, shedding light on your financials allows you to make smart decisions about money which can make a huge impact on your business and really take the pressure off.

Recommended Resources:

Website – comparethemarket.com

Blog & Template – How to Ask Your Landlord to Reduce Rent

Blog – An Osteopath’s Guide to Imposter Syndrome

Podcast / Blog – How Fear Holds Osteopaths Back

Go Into Learning Mode

It’s time to turn your learning up to 11.

Shift your focus to learning from business and marketing experts.

Whether you like it or not, you’re not just an osteopath, you’re in the world of business. The more you understand about even the basics, the more control you’ll have when things seem hopeless.

Refresh yourself on the basics of being a great osteopath beyond your hands-on skills. Actively listening to patients, explaining your diagnosis and treatment plan in plain English, reassuring and empathising with patients making them feel heard and cared for, giving them confidence about why they’ve chosen to trust you, overdelivering on expectations.

They’ll love it, and your business will too.

Recommended Resources:

Blog – How “Never Split The Difference” Helps Osteopaths Master Patient Relationships

Podcast / Blog – We’ve Got Being An Osteopath All Wrong

For osteo-specific communication, Dr Oliver Thomson’s Words Matter Podcast

Build Awareness

Push on marketing as others pull back. And relying on word of mouth isn’t good.

Educate your patients via email, socials and provide additional resources for them to take home after their appointment.

Get out into residential areas doing flyer drops, invest in signage – demonstrate that you exist.

Never again will you hear the painful phrase, “Oh, I didn’t even know you were here!”

Recommended Resources:

Blog – 3 Reasons Why Osteopaths Shouldn’t Rely on Word of Mouth Marketing

Podcast / Blog – 10 Years Of Business Experience In 1 Hour

Podcast / Blog – A Clinic Growth Blueprint Your Competition Can’t Copy

Reassure Your Patients

Ask yourself: What can you do to improve the patient experience even more beyond the treatment room?

Think inside the clinic, outside and the digital world.

Could you declutter your clinic, replace some outdated furniture, give it a proper spring clean?

Could you improve your Google Business Profile, website or amp up your socials?

Now’s the time to go above and beyond by providing them with even more value for money.

Wow them and your new patient referrals will go up.

Re-engage Your Patient List

Get the most from what you already have, keep things simple and focus on one thing at a time. These people already know, like and trust you. Send out an email or text campaign to all patients without a future appointment.

If you don’t have a practice management system, take this as the perfect opportunity to grit your teeth and make the leap. It will make your life so much easier when you let the robots do their thing.

Recommended Resources:

Podcast / Blog – Doing Too Much is Destroying Your Career

Blog – The Importance of Digitising Your Osteopathic Practice

Blog – Compare Practice Management Software for Osteopathic Clinics

Our favourites: MyOsteopathy (built for osteopaths by osteopaths) and Cliniko

Support Your Team

This is for principals and associates alike. Embrace a flat organisational structure, meaning that there’s no hierarchy, so you can promote more communication and collaboration. You’re all in the same boat, even if clinic owners technically have more to lose.

The quicker you can adapt to bad news and tough times, the better. Again: “You have to get used to accepting truths as fast as possible. Avoiding uncomfortable realities means accepting an uncomfortable future

Be vocal that everyone is valued, their ideas will be heard.

Seek each other’s insights about how things are currently run and how to become more visible.

Covid and previous recessions have taught us the importance of maintaining our amazing practitioners and staff.

Recommended Resources:

Podcast / Blog – The Toxic Impact of Bad Bosses in Osteopathy

Blog – How Team Culture Makes the Difference

Now What?

Take a deep breath.

Put on a brave face.

Be proactive.

Be optimistic.

You can do this.

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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