How Are You Going To Stand Out?
Healthcare in the U.S. is going berzerk right now. Fierce competition has created a situation where therapists need to be recognized as the best–period. There will always be “therapy jobs” but there is less room for average performers to find a promising career path.
With therapy schools are pumping out more graduates year after year, how are you to find and keep a primo therapy job?
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I believe the most important skill for therapists to develop will not be clinical, it will not be technological, it’s not economical/business acumen. It will be the ability to manage their own careers.
There has been an unprecedented change in the physical therapy profession. For the first time, a substantial and increasing number of therapists can choose what they want to do with their careers.
Therapists have an almost unlimited number of options of what they want to do with their lives. In addition, the average work life span is now close to sixty years and most therapists will have more than one career during that time.
For many of you, choosing a job will not be solely based upon salary and benefits. You might want a job where you can contribute to the good of not just society but the world.
The good news it’s now up to therapists to choose employment that is meaningful to them.
The bad news is it’s now up to therapists to choose employment that is meaningful to them.
Many therapists are unprepared for the responsibility and uncertainty that self-determination brings.
Out in front are code breakers and therapy entrepreneurs who are taking charge of their careers. They may not be smarter than other therapists but they are forging ahead into unknown territory. They think strategically and take action. They don’t let life surprise them nor turn their careers over to hospital administrators or practice owners.
Therapy entrepreneurs are learning how to build a remarkable brand and you should too. Here are 3 steps you can take to create a remarkable therapy brand.
3 Steps To A Remarkable Therapy Brand
1. Choose A Niche
Healthcare has become a pretty noisy place. It seems everywhere you turn there’s a massage center, therapy clinic, or chiropractor. You see them between the nail salons and Chinese restaurants at strip malls. Regardless if you work in private practice or for a large organization you are competing for patients.
You can’t offer bland PT and expect to patients to see you. In your efforts to be different, resist the temptation to jump on the latest treatment trend or equipment fad you read about.
Instead, think about a sustainable difference that you can get passionate about and chase that; be excited about offering a better solution.
The best way to set yourself apart is to leverage your own unique personality and your personal mission. It’s the personalization and attention to each unique patient that will differentiate you from large impersonal organizations and hospitals.
In today’s busy marketplace it’s of vital importance that you have a platform to help you be visible.
You must have a clear message that’s expressed in your professional brand.
A platform is what you stand on to be seen and heard. Yesterday’s platform was made up of steel and wood. Today’s platform is made up of people.
There are three key people groups for you to focus on:
- Loyal fans that consist of friends, family, and previous satisfied patients.
- Key influencers that will support and refer clients to your practice.
- Prospective clients that might become a part of your loyal fan base.
Dorie Clark in her book “Stand Out” describes five ways how 50 experts made a name for themselves:
- Developed a niche expertise so that they became known as experts in a small subject and could expand from it.
- Combined disciplines together to create something new from 2-3 unique elements.
- Became known as an expert through original content or research.
- Created a big bold vision that got people excited.
- Created a new framework and establish themselves as experts by creating systems that explain some major concept.
Therapists can use these proven strategies when creating a remarkable brand that keeps their schedules full. The place to begin is with the patients with whom you do your best work.
2. Write a Who and Do What Statement
Michael Port wrote a book called “Book Yourself Solid”, in which he discusses a personal “who and do what statement”.
Before you generate a marketing plan or strategy you need to be confident in whom you are trying to reach and what it is that you offer them. Without this process, clients will pick up on your confusion and doubts.
When you operate under a clear understanding of the who and what, you’ll do better work and enjoy it more. There is so much fun to be had in knowing what you bring to the table and who can benefit from your expertise—it’s life-giving. The process is simple but you should expect to revise it as you hone in on the specifics.
- Think about your target market first, who has the most to gain from the expertise you have to offer?
- Secondly, determine what your single biggest deliverable is the “who” you described above.
Here are some examples of “who and do what” statements that a physical therapist might develop:
- “I help seniors maintain their function and mobility”
- “I help athletes recover from injury and regain their functionality”
- “I help busy adults recover from injury or surgery on their terms”
The second part of this statement addresses why you do what you do. It’s so important to know why you have targeted a specific segment of the market, what about those folks is special to you?
Each of the statements above might say something like the following about why they reach that market segment with their specific services:
- “…because I believe seniors can be independent and feel great long into the aging process”
- “…because I know that injuries don’t have to end careers”
- “…because I believe that physical therapy is successful with consistency and hard work and busy schedules make that difficult”
Give your “who and do what” statement some time and attention, really reflect on what would make your business exciting for you. Ask yourself who you are really passionate about helping and why.
Even if it seems elementary to take the time, do it anyway and then look at it.
Let the statement you have crafted marinate while you go about your schedule, talk about it with your spouse and your friends, they may have some insight into what they see you get really excited about.
Finally, revise it until you know it has become a reflection of your mission statement. Make it your mantra or elevator statement whenever someone asks you what you do. Encounter clients with the confidence of knowing who you are best suited to help and why you are the best one to help them.
3. Bake In WOW
Now that you have identified your ideal client and have a clear understanding of who they are, it’s time to give some personality to your business. Being like every other therapist on the block is boring. You won’t stand out. People won’t remember you when they need you. You’ve got to bake in some WOW into your brand to make it remarkable.
Most therapists tend to identify themselves with the patient population they work with i.e. pediatrics, orthopedics, geriatrics. They identify by specializations or certifications they’ve earned. i.e. McKenzie, Functional Manual Therapy, Dry Needling.
It’s helpful to think with the mindset of the healthcare consumers. They usually have no clue what our certifications mean nor do they really care. It’s more helpful to identify yourself with practice types that consumers are looking for.
Business archetypes are your business’ personality. It’s how consumers make sense of the plethora of choices they have for healthcare. You’ll have a greater chance of being noticed if you fit into a category that already exists in consumers’ minds.
The concept of an archetype is based on Carl Jung’s Personality Archetypes, which describe the roles and personalities that we all draw from our own unique personalities.
At its very core, there are three basic business archetypes:
- Product: a tangible good sold on a one-time purchase (or license) for an upfront fee
- Service: intangible work paid for on a per-use basis
- Trade: Connecting a buyer with a product they seek. Money is made on the difference between the sale price and the cost of acquiring the good.
For the most part physical therapy functions largely as a service archetype. From here, archetypes refer to behavior in specifics, literally exploring how a business interacts with its customers and the marketplace.
If you do a quick Google search on “business archetypes”, you’ll find that every website and resource has a different name and description for anywhere between 7-12 different archetypes. For the sake of this conversation, here’s an example of:
8 basic business archetypes
- The Healing Touch: An expert in manual therapy
- The Fitness Guru: An expert in personal training
- The Traveler: Specializes in workplace or in-home therapy
- The Athlete: An expert in sports or art medicine
- The Therapist Mommy: A therapist that works from home
- The Teacher: A therapist that makes money from content (i.e. seminars, books, courses)
- The Coach: A therapist that makes money helping others build businesses
- The Freelancer: A therapist that makes money selling products directly to consumers
You don’t have to choose one of these archetypes to characterize your practice, rather use them to get the wheels turning in your brain. Use archetypes to shape the way you offer your services, reach our to your clients, resolve conflict, and provide exceptional customer experiences.
How To Get Started
To get started with taking control over your career I suggest taking a therapy entrepreneur out to lunch. Find out how he or she is living life. Follow the lessons they share. Expect to learn what these pioneers are doing to make their careers stand out and more meaningful.
Take a moment to write down your “who and do what statement” then talk it over with someone who knows you.
Second, write down one way you can express your unique personality in your practice. There is only one you. Your unique talents, experiences, and personality are your greatest assets. Capitalize on them.
Lastly, choose a business archetype that will make your practice more appealing to consumers. Step into the shoes of your patients to turn your expertise into services that are marketable and consumers are willing to pay for.Get Your Remarkable Brand Checklist
What are you going to do to have a remarkable brand? Please share your action step in the comment section or on social media.
Paul Potter is a physical therapist and mentor who lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, with his wife, who is also a therapist. They have four daughters. For more than 35 years he successfully managed his own private practice. He now shares his knowledge and experience through teaching and mentoring therapists who want to have their own practice.
He has authored On Fire: Ignite Your Passion with a Cash Therapy Practice and the Cash Practice From Scratch Course. His website PaulPotterpt.com is dedicated to helping therapists achieve professional and personal and financial freedom.
Please connect with me
- Read Paul Potter’s blog about, cash practice, at home practice, productivity, functional testing and keeping a work-life balance.
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As therapists, we have tremendous opportunity to use our abilities, education, and expertise to enhance client’s lives. What a privilege? If you are in the therapy business to serve people, then my new book On Fire: Ignite Your Passion with a Cash Therapy Practice might help you. The healthcare industry has undergone so many changes lately and many therapists are overwhelmed, overworked and confused on where to turn to for help in the battle.
On Fire takes a close look at innovative therapists who are using alternative ways to deliver high-value care to their patients. Cash therapy services have emerged as a viable alternative to accepting business as usual.
If you are intrigued by the attention that cash-based practices are attracting On Fire is a great primer to help you get up to speed on the key issues and how if might impact your practice. The book is available on Amazon. If you are interested in getting your own copy join my email list and I’ll keep you up to date on the special pre-order bonuses I’m giving away.