Ronda Nelson: Well, hello, my friends and welcome back to The Clinical Entrepreneur. I’m your host, Ronda Nelson and this is Episode 44. We are cruising right along with all kinds of great information about growing a profitable and thriving practice. It’s one thing to be a clinician, and you can be a great clinician, but sadly, nobody taught you how to run a business while you’re in school. That’s what I’m here for, to help you do that. I think I’ve really come full circle in my journey. I started as a business consultant and I did accounting work, bookkeeping, and small business consulting. Then I had a little crisis with my oldest daughter, who was diagnosed with bone cancer at 10 years old. And that was the game-changer.
Once that happened, I realized that helping business owners was probably not where my focus needed to be. So, I dove into the world of alternative medicine because I knew there had to be a different solution. I went back to school, got my degree, and really loved my life as a clinician for almost 20 years. I had a full-time practice, built a multi, multi, six-figure practice, and I loved every minute of it. Then I realized that there were so many clinicians struggling with the business side of things. They didn’t know how to structure a business that allowed them to serve and have the impact that they wanted. There is the struggle with cash flow or knowing how to move from an insurance-based to a cash-based practice, how to hire the right people, or how to put systems and processes in place. It is just the basic kinds of things, that happened to be things in my “former life” that I knew how to do and did well.
When I built a practice, I was able to integrate all of that business training into my clinical practice. I realized that as I started traveling, teaching across the country, and had the opportunity to meet thousands of practitioners, that almost every single practitioner was a stellar clinician. They knew their stuff, just like you know your stuff, but they didn’t know how to run a business. So, that’s really why I have come full circle. I’m still seeing patients and still consulting with practitioners across the country, but now, what I’m really passionate about is bringing it back home to say, “What do you need as a practitioner?” You, if you’re listening to this right now, there’s a reason. The title of this podcast, The Clinical Entrepreneur, is not a coincidence. I named it that because as clinicians, we are business owners as well. We have to have that entrepreneurial business-type mindset to really thrive.
All of that to say, that’s why I show up every week for you guys because I love sharing tips and strategies about how you can grow your practice. This week, I want to talk to you about something very important. Before you tune me out, listen, these core values that we’re going to talk about are absolutely crucial for the success and growth of your practice. Here’s why: when you have core values, those core values are like guardrails. I want you to think of them as a guardrail or a guiding principle in your practice. Now, I’m going to take a step back and I’m going to give you a little bit of info about me. I have a few pet peeves, and I’m sure you probably do, too.
So, one of my pet peeves is poor customer service. When I’m paying for something, I don’t want to be treated rudely and I don’t want anyone to talk to me like I’m stupid. I don’t need that because I’m not stupid. Do you hear it in my voice? Like I automatically just get irritated. Do not provide bad customer service. I think that when I’m in the store, “I’m paying your salary here by buying this thing in the store. Do not be rude to me.” I know, I know, don’t judge me. I tell you, it’s just my thing. So when I think about the things that, as a business owner, really irk me, I know I want good customer service. So guess what? That is a core value for me, and then becomes a core value in my business.
Customer service. Why would I have a business that’s doing something or behaving in a way that’s against who I am? What I need for my business or my clinic is to be a reflection of who I am. We all can understand that. So what are your core values? What are the things that you just get irritated about in a New York Second? And that’s probably going to be a core value for you. The flipside of that is, what are the things that you say, that no matter what, you are committed to? I don’t care what happens, this particular X, this is the thing that will happen in my business every single time. What are those things that feel like they’re just such an integral part of who you are as a human, that have to translate into your business as a CEO of your company, of your business?
These core values are not just a flippant topic. I want you to put some thought into how you frame up those core values. Why did you choose them? What do they represent to you? Eventually and ultimately, the buck stops with you, my friend, because you as the business owner have to set the guardrails of your practice. They are like a bridge, they force you to stay in your lane. Now, this becomes even more important when you begin hiring your staff because you can’t teach core values to someone. Either the person has customer service as a core value, i.e., they’re always going to be very kind or they don’t, you can’t teach that. Someone either has integrity or they don’t have integrity. You can’t teach that.
Knowing what your core values are well ahead of hiring will prevent you from bringing the wrong people into your company. When you have those core values defined, it will give you the ability to hire the right people that have the right core values. This will align with who you are as a person because having a business is like creating a little mini-community. Your business community, you and your team, you have to rally around the same core values because that forms the identity of who you are, your bigger purpose, why you do what you do, and how you do it. When you’ve got those core values, everyone’s working towards the same goal, everyone has the same agenda and the same guardrails. We don’t have one person over here on this road that doesn’t care about customer service, and then another employee over here that’s really good at customer service. Can you see how that’s going to create a conflict? It’s a big, big problem. And you can’t have that inside a thriving company.
It’s been found that even job satisfaction is a part of having those core values. So, employees that are working in a business where everyone is really clear about what those guardrails are, are so much happier when those are set out. In fact, there were even a couple of studies that I found where companies that had core values clearly established had an increase in their bottom line of over 10% just by having alignment in core values. So, how do you figure out these core values? Well, I’ve got a worksheet for you in the show notes. You can download it from the show notes or go to RondaNelson.com/corevalues, and it’ll help walk you through the process of identifying those core values.
There are a few things that I want to talk to you about before you go off and decide your core values. I like to say choose between 6 and 8, no more than 8. Now, you’re probably going to start with maybe 12 or 14 because there’s a lot of things that you’re going to naturally say, “Oh, well, we definitely have integrity, and we’re honest and we’re compassionate. We have empathy. We are kind. We are grateful.” You’re going to choose all these core values, and they’re all going to be very important. Once you choose those 12 or 14, all of the ones that just tug at your heart, then you’re going to look at those again and you’re going to whittle them down a little bit. Go okay, out of these 12, how do I cut that down to 6? Of these 12, which ones are the most important to me? Which ones would I, like die on that mountain, I would put my stake in the ground, and say, “I will die on this hill, these are the things that are non-negotiable for me in my practice.” What are they?
Once you decide what they are, I want you to think about how you would describe them. Let’s say one of your core values is fun. Well, what does fun really mean? Does that mean you’re funny? Does that mean you make fun of people? I don’t think so, but what does fun mean to you? It might be something like your core value is fun, and then you might write something like having fun isn’t just for kids, we place a high value on laughter or not taking ourselves too seriously, and looking for ways to have more fun while working while at work or at home.
Now, that took fun as a core value and we gave it life. We now know what that means and so does your team. It means we don’t take ourselves too seriously, we don’t take life too seriously. We place a high value on laughter because we want to have fun while we’re at work and while we’re at home. Knowing that fun is one of your core values when you’re hiring someone, can you see how that is going to influence the type of person that you hire? If you’re going through an interview process and you’re interviewing someone who never smiles, doesn’t have a lick of personality, they could look great on paper, but when you’re watching a video of them or you’re doing an interview, are they going to be a good fit on your team? No, they’re not. Even if they’re perfect on paper, if they don’t have that core value of fun in this instance, then they’re not going to be a good fit.
You want to recite them often, that’s another thing. I recommend that you use something like Canva. Create a little infographic that has all of your core values written down, and you can make it really fun and colorful. Put an image on there and make it enjoyable because you as a practitioner and everyone in your business need to be reminded of what your core values are. Create a little infographic and then write down your little sentences to describe each one, and put it underneath each one. Once you have created that little infographic, give it to every single person on your team and make sure everyone has a copy of it. That way they’re constantly reminded and can look at it when they are on the phone with someone, it’s getting intense, and the patient is a little grumpy and cranky on the phone, your front desk person can gently and quickly look at that core value, and one of those core values is kindness. And he or she can say, “Oh, yeah, I remember, kindness, the thing is never the thing.”
That’s a huge core value for me is compassion and kindness, because when you’re talking to someone and they’re grumpy and snappy and not happy, it’s not me that’s the problem, because the thing is never the thing. It’s always something else that’s bothering someone. So for me, that’s a core value, kindness and compassion, because the thing is never the thing. So your employee on the phone can see that little core value and she’d go, “Oh, yeah, kindness.” It just helps to refocus, re-engage, and make sure everyone’s staying within those guardrails, those defining core values, that describe who you are as a company. Not everyone is going to have the same core values, and that’s completely okay.
Your job in the next week before I release my next podcast is to fill out the core value worksheet. Go to RondaNelson.com/corevalues and fill that out. If nothing else, do it for yourself so that you can get really clear about who you are as a human, who you are as a business owner, and who you want to be for your patients. What do you want your business to be out in the world?
Core values are so much more than just an exercise that we do. I never understood that before. You know, they would say, “Well, what are your core values?” And I always thought, “well, I don’t know, I like being profitable and, I don’t know, showing up for work on time, maybe that’s it.” They’re so important because it defines who your business is and will allow you to hire the right people on your team so that you can embody those core values at every single step along the way.
Be sure you get to work on that free resource, my friend. And if you need help and you’d like to know more about how to grow your business, I would be happy to chat with you. All you have to do is go to RondaNelson.com/strategy, and schedule a free call with me. I would love to just help you focus on what is tripping you up right now. Then we can get you marching in the right direction so that you can grow a thriving and profitable practice because the more solid your business is, the better able you are to serve the people that you’re called to serve. And that’s what it’s all about.
As a clinician, we’re here to make an impact and make a difference in people’s lives. And you’ll be able to do that much better if you have a business that supports your vision, your mission, and allows you the freedom to be able to serve in the biggest way possible because you are profitable. You’re able to make money so you will be able to serve more people. So, thanks for hanging out with me this week. Take care, bye-bye!
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