Episode 1: Welcome to the Functional Medicine Business Podcast

Debra
December 13, 2021

Dr. Deb is a functional medicine practitioner and entrepreneur. A pioneer in functional medicine, scheduling, leadership, and practice management, Dr. Deb has a wealth of knowledge and is eager to share to help functional medicine become more productive and live better lives. Our podcast shares the good and bad of our industry because Dr. Deb knows the pain you live every day building a functional medicine practice. With practical tools on how to manage money, taxes, and patient care, she will discuss it all.

You're listening to the Functional Medicine Business Podcast featuring Dr. Deb, one of the most creative functional medicine business practitioners in her industry. She shares the wisdom and knowledge that she has gained over 25 years of functional medicine, a pioneer in functional medicine, scheduling, leadership and practice management. Dr. Deb has a wealth of knowledge and is eager to share to help functional medicine become more productive, and for the practitioners and patients to live better lives. Our podcast shares the good and the bad of our industry, because Dr. Deb knows the pain you live every day building a functional medicine practice with practical tools on how to manage money, taxes and patient care. She will discuss it all with you. 

Welcome to the functional medicine business podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Deb. You know, I have been in podcasting for a few years now. And when I told my team, I wanted to start a second podcast, they thought I was crazy. Like you're so busy, you have so much going on. Why do you want to take on another podcast show. And what I realized is, there are lots of podcasts out there talking about health and wellness and my own show does that as well. But there's very few people talking about the business side of functional or integrative medicine. We talk about marketing on various podcasts. We talk about client development, and how to use different tests and things like that. But nobody's talking actually about the business side of things. And I realized many years ago when I went into private practice, that we learn everything to be experts in the health side of things. We learn very little, if anything, about the business side of things, how to run a business, what do we do with our business? How do we grow our business, all of those things are pushed to the side. And we're just supposed to learn them as we go. Well, I learned when I was in business for the first time with a partner, that it's difficult to learn as you go. If you learn as you go, you make a lot of mistakes. And you don't really have anybody to mentor you, unless it's been somebody that's been in business for a while. And just because they've been in business for a while, doesn't actually mean they're running a business, correct. I mean, they're running a clinic. And they may be doing fantastic with their patients or clients. But they may not be profiting very much in their business. And it was in that first practice that I really learned what not to do in business, and what to do in business. You see, I joined a practice. That wasn't existence for about 30 years before I joined it was very established, had great clientele, loyal, loyal patients that had been with the practice for all but 20 or 30 years. So it was a very seasoned practice. And I was going to buy into that practice. And I was so excited because I never thought I'd be buying into a practice and partnering with a medical doctor. And, and I don't say that from a negative side of things. But it's, it's really from where I grew up that business wasn't something that we were taught in my family. So that's why I say I was so excited and never thought I could do it. But I did. And I remember getting to the point where I was going to buy this practice. And I thought, you know, I better look at their books and see what they're doing. And I would go to the meetings with the accountant every month or every quarter. And we'd have lunch and we'd have great conversation and I tried to bring up a question about business or books and they would poopoo me, and they'd go on talking about their vacations and their families and their golf trips. And I kept thinking this is odd, if we're meeting with our accountant shouldn't be Shouldn't we be reviewing the aspects of what's going on in the business? But that's not how their meetings were. And so I decided that I needed to take a deep dive into that business. And I wanted to know like, who are our payers, how much do they pay us, how much do we write off? How long does it take for us to get paid? How many cash patients do we have versus insurance patients? How much money is in the checkbook at the end of the month? And all of these were questions that were not discussed inside the practice on a regular basis, if disgust at all, I think the original two partners would look at the look at the p&l and throw it in a drawer. And that was that and they'd go about their business. And then later, I found out that the senior partner, who was a fantastic mentor for-, to me, I mean, he taught me so much. But he loved what he did so much that if his patients couldn't afford the tests, he would just pay for them out of the practice. Noble, but not good business sense, right? And I, I get, we've all done that for people. But you can't do that if your business is not making a profit. You can't do that if your business is not in a good place. And so as time went on, and I got further into purchasing this practice, I realized that the day I wrote the check for my portion of the practice, which was $8,000. Yeah, you heard me, right. I paid somebody $8,000 for a practice that had been in existence for 30 years. And there was .68 cents in the checkbook. And I watched my new partner, cut a check, to buy out the other partner directly from the corporate checkbook. So he didn't pay personally, he paid corporately. And at the time, I didn't think too much of it. And I guess it's easy enough to offset his income down the road. Now that I understand how things actually work, but at the time, I thought, well, that's kind of odd. What I started to realize very quickly in this practice, is there was someone skimming money, and quite a bit, when we let this person go, we instantaneously found $30,000- $40,000 worth of checks in the safe that were never cashed that she never add to the books. And we don't know how much she ever totally skimmed from the business. And so this happens to a lot of people. But I'll tell you, the only reason it happens is because you're not keeping an eye on things you're not, you don't have processes set in place. To protect you from having that happen. You trust people too much. And when you give people an opportunity to take advantage of you, not all, but some may do that. And so you really have to have something in place where they don't take advantage of you, there's no way they can take advantage of you. And if they do somehow figure out a way around your process, you're looking at things often enough and cross-checking things often enough that you catch it sooner than later. And that's a good business person that makes a good business person. But it's hard sometimes right? When we're seeing clients all day, every day in and out. The last thing you want to do is open up your QuickBooks file and take a look and try to run reports and figure out what's going on. But I'm going to tell you if that is not your forte. It needs to be someone's forte in your practice that you truly trust that can run those reports give you those reports, and you can keep an eye on them. And you know exactly what's happening, where and when. So these are the things that we're going to talk about within the FM bi podcast here because nobody else is talking about them and we need to talk about them. We need to dig deep into what gives us our business strategies. What makes us a better practice than the guy down the road that may not be making money. What keeps us from being gobbled up by the big organizations. And better yet, what creates a practice for us that's worth selling someday. That is my goal for you guys. I want you to have an exit strategy. That is different than the exit strategy for my partner that I bought out 40 years $16,000 And he walked away. Now, I know most of you that's drop, jaw-dropping right? I mean it is incredibly complicated. Think about that. But that happens more times than you believe or understand. And so I want you to have your business set up. So that it is worth a million, 5 million, whatever that goal is for you, I want you to have that goal. Not only do I want you to have that goal, but I want you to be able to reach that goal. I want you to be able to grasp it, and see it and have it at whatever stage you're ready to check out. So please follow us like us, share us and get ready to learn some amazing business tactics. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed this episode and you'd like to help support the podcast, please share it with others. post about it on social media, or leave a rating and review. To catch all the latest from me. You can follow me on Facebook at FMBI, join our free group where we support one another and share our struggles. Thanks again and I'll see you next time!

Dr. Deb is a functional medicine practitioner and entrepreneur. A pioneer in functional medicine, scheduling, leadership, and practice management, Dr. Deb has a wealth of knowledge and is eager to share to help functional medicine become more productive and live better lives. Our podcast shares the good and bad of our industry because Dr. Deb knows the pain you live every day building a functional medicine practice. With practical tools on how to manage money, taxes, and patient care, she will discuss it all.

You're listening to the Functional Medicine Business Podcast featuring Dr. Deb, one of the most creative functional medicine business practitioners in her industry. She shares the wisdom and knowledge that she has gained over 25 years of functional medicine, a pioneer in functional medicine, scheduling, leadership and practice management. Dr. Deb has a wealth of knowledge and is eager to share to help functional medicine become more productive, and for the practitioners and patients to live better lives. Our podcast shares the good and the bad of our industry, because Dr. Deb knows the pain you live every day building a functional medicine practice with practical tools on how to manage money, taxes and patient care. She will discuss it all with you. 

Welcome to the functional medicine business podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Deb. You know, I have been in podcasting for a few years now. And when I told my team, I wanted to start a second podcast, they thought I was crazy. Like you're so busy, you have so much going on. Why do you want to take on another podcast show. And what I realized is, there are lots of podcasts out there talking about health and wellness and my own show does that as well. But there's very few people talking about the business side of functional or integrative medicine. We talk about marketing on various podcasts. We talk about client development, and how to use different tests and things like that. But nobody's talking actually about the business side of things. And I realized many years ago when I went into private practice, that we learn everything to be experts in the health side of things. We learn very little, if anything, about the business side of things, how to run a business, what do we do with our business? How do we grow our business, all of those things are pushed to the side. And we're just supposed to learn them as we go. Well, I learned when I was in business for the first time with a partner, that it's difficult to learn as you go. If you learn as you go, you make a lot of mistakes. And you don't really have anybody to mentor you, unless it's been somebody that's been in business for a while. And just because they've been in business for a while, doesn't actually mean they're running a business, correct. I mean, they're running a clinic. And they may be doing fantastic with their patients or clients. But they may not be profiting very much in their business. And it was in that first practice that I really learned what not to do in business, and what to do in business. You see, I joined a practice. That wasn't existence for about 30 years before I joined it was very established, had great clientele, loyal, loyal patients that had been with the practice for all but 20 or 30 years. So it was a very seasoned practice. And I was going to buy into that practice. And I was so excited because I never thought I'd be buying into a practice and partnering with a medical doctor. And, and I don't say that from a negative side of things. But it's, it's really from where I grew up that business wasn't something that we were taught in my family. So that's why I say I was so excited and never thought I could do it. But I did. And I remember getting to the point where I was going to buy this practice. And I thought, you know, I better look at their books and see what they're doing. And I would go to the meetings with the accountant every month or every quarter. And we'd have lunch and we'd have great conversation and I tried to bring up a question about business or books and they would poopoo me, and they'd go on talking about their vacations and their families and their golf trips. And I kept thinking this is odd, if we're meeting with our accountant shouldn't be Shouldn't we be reviewing the aspects of what's going on in the business? But that's not how their meetings were. And so I decided that I needed to take a deep dive into that business. And I wanted to know like, who are our payers, how much do they pay us, how much do we write off? How long does it take for us to get paid? How many cash patients do we have versus insurance patients? How much money is in the checkbook at the end of the month? And all of these were questions that were not discussed inside the practice on a regular basis, if disgust at all, I think the original two partners would look at the look at the p&l and throw it in a drawer. And that was that and they'd go about their business. And then later, I found out that the senior partner, who was a fantastic mentor for-, to me, I mean, he taught me so much. But he loved what he did so much that if his patients couldn't afford the tests, he would just pay for them out of the practice. Noble, but not good business sense, right? And I, I get, we've all done that for people. But you can't do that if your business is not making a profit. You can't do that if your business is not in a good place. And so as time went on, and I got further into purchasing this practice, I realized that the day I wrote the check for my portion of the practice, which was $8,000. Yeah, you heard me, right. I paid somebody $8,000 for a practice that had been in existence for 30 years. And there was .68 cents in the checkbook. And I watched my new partner, cut a check, to buy out the other partner directly from the corporate checkbook. So he didn't pay personally, he paid corporately. And at the time, I didn't think too much of it. And I guess it's easy enough to offset his income down the road. Now that I understand how things actually work, but at the time, I thought, well, that's kind of odd. What I started to realize very quickly in this practice, is there was someone skimming money, and quite a bit, when we let this person go, we instantaneously found $30,000- $40,000 worth of checks in the safe that were never cashed that she never add to the books. And we don't know how much she ever totally skimmed from the business. And so this happens to a lot of people. But I'll tell you, the only reason it happens is because you're not keeping an eye on things you're not, you don't have processes set in place. To protect you from having that happen. You trust people too much. And when you give people an opportunity to take advantage of you, not all, but some may do that. And so you really have to have something in place where they don't take advantage of you, there's no way they can take advantage of you. And if they do somehow figure out a way around your process, you're looking at things often enough and cross-checking things often enough that you catch it sooner than later. And that's a good business person that makes a good business person. But it's hard sometimes right? When we're seeing clients all day, every day in and out. The last thing you want to do is open up your QuickBooks file and take a look and try to run reports and figure out what's going on. But I'm going to tell you if that is not your forte. It needs to be someone's forte in your practice that you truly trust that can run those reports give you those reports, and you can keep an eye on them. And you know exactly what's happening, where and when. So these are the things that we're going to talk about within the FM bi podcast here because nobody else is talking about them and we need to talk about them. We need to dig deep into what gives us our business strategies. What makes us a better practice than the guy down the road that may not be making money. What keeps us from being gobbled up by the big organizations. And better yet, what creates a practice for us that's worth selling someday. That is my goal for you guys. I want you to have an exit strategy. That is different than the exit strategy for my partner that I bought out 40 years $16,000 And he walked away. Now, I know most of you that's drop, jaw-dropping right? I mean it is incredibly complicated. Think about that. But that happens more times than you believe or understand. And so I want you to have your business set up. So that it is worth a million, 5 million, whatever that goal is for you, I want you to have that goal. Not only do I want you to have that goal, but I want you to be able to reach that goal. I want you to be able to grasp it, and see it and have it at whatever stage you're ready to check out. So please follow us like us, share us and get ready to learn some amazing business tactics. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed this episode and you'd like to help support the podcast, please share it with others. post about it on social media, or leave a rating and review. To catch all the latest from me. You can follow me on Facebook at FMBI, join our free group where we support one another and share our struggles. Thanks again and I'll see you next time!

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