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Clinical Solutions Blog

The 4-Hour Grow Your Clinic Challenge: What Would the Experts Do?

Posted by Rick Lau on Oct 21, 2015 9:59:00 AM


What if you could get close to successful clinic owners from coast to coast across Canada and ask them something that could change your business?

Well listen up…

As physiotherapists, chiropractors, and massage therapists, the clock always seems to be against us.

When it comes to running our clinic and growing our business, most of us don’t seem to have the time to plan and execute an effective physiotherapy marketing strategy for continued growth.

But treating patients and running an effective business at the same time is possible – many experts have done it and started in the same place as you. But there’s much more to it than giving away free consultations, or relying on winning doctor referrals.

This led our team to the simple question: is it possible to grow your clinic in just a few hours each month?

We reached out to 9 incredible clinic owners from Newfoundland to Ontario, Quebec to British Columbia, and even Australia - Justin Whittle, Alain Scheldeman, Jason Bellefleur, Wendy Coombs, Rick Lau, Tanja Yardley, Mark Cho, Darryl Yardley, and Paul Wright.

We asked them a simple question:

“If you could spend only 4 hours this month to grow your clinics, what would you do?”

Let’s see what they have to say.


Justin Whittle: "Get your team's input" 


Location: Newfoundland, Canada.

Justin Whittle is a physiotherapist and the founder of ProActive Physio. He’s been focusing on building a healthcare company that will make a difference in the lives of his team and in the communities in which the company works. Over the past 10 years since 2004, ProActive Physio has continued to grow and is now operating 8 multidisciplinary clinic locations in Newfoundland.

Justin’s top tips:

“I'd spend that time with my team(s) that work at the clinics. I'd spend my time getting their input on the clinic operation, strengths & weakness' and also spend my time getting to know them better as professionals and as members of our community.

Once I've learned more about them, I'd do my best to communicate all about my amazing team to clients and potential clients who may reach out for our services. I need to believe in my team and our clients need to believe in our team!“

Alain Scheldeman: "Implement your systems"


Location: Quebec, Canada.

Alain Scheldeman is a physiotherapist and the founder of Action Sports Physio – Quebec’s largest network of physiotherapy and sports medicine clinics, with 16 locations across Canada that employs around 350 multidisciplinary health professionals. They have been specializing in physiotherapy and sports medicine for more than 25 years for professional athletes and the general population alike.

Alain’s top tips:

“If I could spend only 4 hours this month to grow clinics, I would ensure 
that all my systems are in place, that they are being reviewed by the 
people responsible for them and that actions are taken accordingly.

I would review that the clinics overall are operating well overall and at the individual levels. I would also review the marketing actions to be taken 
and see how these will help us get closer to our objectives.”

Wondering how to get patients to stick with your treatment plan?
Check out this handy patient compliance form

Jason Bellefleur: "Hire a business coach"


Location: Ottawa, Canada.

Jason Bellefleur is a multi award-winning physiotherapist, owner and founder of Bellefleur Physio. His awards include the 2011 Young Business Person of the Year award, the 2012 Healthcare Professional of the Year award, and 2014 Business Person of the Year award from the Orleans Chamber of Commerce. Jason is a highly dedicated physiotherapist and believes in offering ‘Higher Standards of Care’ for the highest levels of patient care and results. Jason has recently been elected the Chair of the Orleans Chamber of Commerce.

Jason’s top tips:

“Having only 4 hours a month to grow a business requires proper planning and execution. I would spend 1 hour on each of the following activities: talking with my business coach on a current strategy and meeting with my mastermind group where we chat on various business related topics.

I would then spend the other 2 hours implementing the strategies, knowledge or plan that were developed/acquired during the previous 2 activities.”

Wendy Coombs: "Find new referral opportunities"


Location: Calgary, Canada.

Wendy Coombs is a physiotherapist and very successful businesswoman. She was a finalist for the RBC 2009 Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Award in the Trailblazer category, and is the CEO of Momentum Health, a company with 6 multidisciplinary Calgary rehabilitation physiotherapy clinics. She is the current Education Chair for the Calgary Entrepreneurs Organization Lead and was a prior Chair of the Private Practice Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association.

Wendy’s top tips:

“I would call up fitness clubs that have new trainers and medical practices that have had new doctors. I would ask if I could bring lunch and discuss some of our new programs and services.

With the doctor’s office I would ask if they see any gaps in community services and if they have any suggestions as to how we could serve their patients better. With the gym I would ask if they would like us to come in and provide free educational injury prevention to their clients. The highest ROI on time can be to get out the clinic door and build new referral relationships!” 

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Rick Lau: "Train your team to convert more phone calls" 


Location: Vancouver, Canada.

Rick Lau is an entrepreneur who loves healthcare and co-founded two healthcare companies including Clinic Supplies Canada and a physiotherapy group with over 100 locations in Canada. Rick is really good at digital marketing, sales funnels, buying/selling clinics, practice management, e-commerce, call center operations, leadership development, and business transformation. He also like mentoring founders who want to scale and automate their healthcare business.

Rick’s top tips:

New patient phone calls can make or break your practice. Start measuring how many phone calls your front desk is missing and whether they are converting new patient phone calls into appointments? 

If they were not booking, I’d be questioning why not? Does it have something to do with your schedule? Is it because you don’t offer massage therapy or shockwave?  

Now, if a client asks your staff about pricing, how are they trained to respond? Hopefully, they’ve been taught the importance of reframing the question. Don't give them the price but instead get them to talk about their pain.

You can use these reframing questions: “How long ago did the pain start”, "What have you been doing", "What happened", "How do you feel".   

Spending time to train and help your admin team with scripting and how to handle call objections will significantly boost the number of new patients into your clinic. This is a quick win every clinic owner should implement today to stop wasting your marketing dollars.”

Tanja Yardley: "Create professional development plan" 


Location: Vancouver, Canada

Tanja Yardley is physiotherapist and vice president of British Columbia’s outpatient services at CBI Health Group – the largest privately-owned Canadian healthcare company,  comprised of a multidisciplinary team ofnearly 10,000 clinical and support professionals. Tanja is also an executive member of Canadian Physiotherapy Association - Private Practice Division, and previous board member of Physiotherapy Association of British Columbia

Tanja’s top tips:

“Focus on growing the people in the clinics first. Create solid professional development plans that include identification of areas of strength, areas of passion, and areas of influence.  Imagine the level of engagement and impact that comes from the collective efforts of your entire team. When each flower in the garden is blooming and thriving, it attracts more notice, creates more “buzz” (literally) and harvests abundance.”

Mark Cho: "What should we stop and start doing?"


Location: Hamilton, Canada

Mark Cho is a physiotherapist and founder of one of the fastest growing healthcare companies in Canada – ptHealth – a multidisciplinary clinic network that now operates in over 250 locations Canada wide. Mark is also on the advisory board for Direct Traffic Management, and Cardiogo.

Mark’s top tips:

“I would do an exercise that will not only improve communication and culture (which I feel is the cornerstone of every successful organization), but also review operational issues of the previous month AND set rudimentary strategy for the following month. 

The exercise I would do is a stop start continue exercise... What should we stop doing as a clinic? Is anything negatively effecting our clinic?  Is anything negatively effecting our staff? Is anything negatively effecting our patients? What should we continue to do that is working for us? What are some of the things initiated last month that are improving the clinic, staff, and patients?

What should we start to do that will positively influence our clinic, new revenue generation ideas?  Better treatment programs for more patient satisfaction and compliance?

This exercise can be done with as little as 2-3 people on your staff. Its amazing how many great viewpoints a leader will receive when their employees speak openly and honestly.”

Darryl Yardley: "Manage through Measurement"


Location: Ontario, Canada.

Darryl Yardley is a physiotherapist, educator, and multi-award winner. Currently he is the operations manager and practice advisor for DSD Management, a network of 15 multi-disciplinary clinics throughout Ontario. Darryl  is also chair of the Private Practice Division at the Canadian Physiotherapy Association. Through lecturing and invited speaking engagements, he has educated hundreds of practitioners about clinic operations and performance management.

Darryl’s top tips:

“I would offer more time helping my team members identify and apply their strengths to better themselves and the overall business. In order to do this, I need to spend time each month evaluating my performance management approach to ensure it is aligned with the operations of the business, motivating for employees, and suitable for growth in a changing industry.

Growth in a business relies on collecting data (measurements), determining how measurements will be expressed as a standard (metric), and comparing metrics to a benchmark to evaluate performance. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) help an organizationand its employees define and measure progress toward its/their goals."

Paul Wright: "Follow-up Phone Calls" 


Location: Australia

Paul Wright is a physiotherapist, previous clinic owner at Get Active Physiotherapy, and is now a successful health business consultant at Health Business Profits. His main priority now as a speaker and educator is to teach health business owners how to earn more, work less, and enjoy life.

Paul’s top tips:

“The most powerful and effective growth strategy any clinic can use is a structured and systematic past patient "follow up phone call" system.

Here is the easiest way to do it:  Lets say it is the first week of August - you get your admin team to create a list of past patients who had a consultation in the month of June - but did not have a consult in the month of July. You then allocate these patients according to the last therapist they were treated by - and that therapist then makes a personal phone call to the client to check on their progress and to make sure all has gone well.

The exact wording of this call can take some training and review - but as long as the therapists asks the golden question - "Are You Now 100%" - then the calls will give an incredible return on investment.

In the clinics we work with this simple call should result in a 20-30% re-booking rate - which in the marketing world - is an unbelievable result. So go ahead and set up your one month call system.” 


There you have it, tips from the experts, and it seems the more you focus on your team, the more they shine, and the more return on investment that will bring to your clinic.

So now your task is to go and implement this 4-hour challenge into your business and you’re guaranteed to see results!


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