When you first start your practice, you may still be figuring out what you love to do. You know you want to help patients get healthier, but you haven’t found that one thing that lights you up.
As a clinician, you’re trained and able to treat a whole host of health concerns. Whether it’s thyroid, digestion, or diabetes – you’re skilled at helping patients live their healthiest lives. Because of this, you may feel tempted to keep your practice broad and offer a one-stop-shop approach for your patients.
But you may find that soon your phone stops ringing, and your appointment book starts resembling a ghost town.
If this sounds like you, it could be that you’ve designed your practice like Walmart – where people can get everything they want in one spot, but they’re not so sure it’s the best quality every time. While one-stop-shops are great if you want to grab batteries and butter on the same trip, when it comes to healthcare, patients may want something different.
It begs the question: What do patients really want? And how does this impact how you shape your practice? Let’s take a closer look.
What Does It Mean to Have a Walmart Mindset With Your Practice?
You probably didn’t expect to hear the phrase “Walmart mentality” when thinking of alternative medicine practices. But the reality is there. It’s something that happens over and over again with well-intentioned clinicians.
Think of the last time you went to your local Walmart. What was on your list? A wide variety of items, right? Walmart is great for this. It’s a place where you can find toenail clippers, oil for your car, a nice pumpkin-scented candle, and a gallon of milk – all in one spot.
But now, think about when you bought your last laptop. What was your approach? This is a big-ticket purchase, so you probably searched online, looking at different models and pouring over online reviews. Eventually, you decided it was time to take a look in-person. Where did you go? Probably a place like Best Buy or Apple, right? When you want quality, you’re looking for a place that will give you the best – with help from professionals that know what they’re talking about.
The same is true in healthcare. By offering to treat everything, you’re also sending a message that you don’t specialize in anything.
This can lead new patients to believe that what you offer may not be the best quality option for them – which is certainly not the case. But nevertheless, this perception can cause them to look right past you in their search for a practitioner.
Patients and Specialized Care
Let’s say a patient has a specific issue they’re dealing with, such as a thyroid condition. When they’re looking for a practitioner to help them, they’re searching for someone who knows the thyroid really well. They aren’t looking for a general practitioner – a one-stop-shop Walmart approach. They’re looking for a specialist.
So, if they find your website, and it’s talking about how you treat digestive issues and cognitive health and nutrition and offer chiropractic care, the patient is likely going to get overwhelmed. When they see a long list of everything you’re an expert in, it doesn’t reassure them that you know how to fix their specific thyroid problem.
Patients who want help with a specific health problem will find the practitioner who specializes in that problem.
How can they tell what you specialize in? It starts with the content on your website. Using the thyroid example, the patient begins to notice that you refer to the thyroid multiple times on your website. It’s mentioned in your services, blogs, articles you share, and so on.
But before we get too far down that road, you first have to figure out what to specialize in.
How to Identify Your Niche
Knowing what you want to specialize in can feel like a huge undertaking. If the thought of having a niche causes your chest to tighten and your shoulders to tense up, it’s okay. Take a deep breath, and let’s start with these seven questions:
1. What are you naturally super good at? In other words, what’s your superpower – what comes so naturally to you that you don’t even have to think about it? Maybe you’re a great communicator or you come alive when working with the digestive tract. Think through and pinpoint what you really love helping patients with.
2. What do your patients see you for that you’re naturally drawn to? When you look at your patient schedule, there are probably some that excite you while others may fill you with dread. Pay attention to which appointments give you an extra pep in your step.
3. What personal health challenges have you overcome that you’re now super knowledgeable about? Maybe you’ve had a family member who had cancer, or you’re going through menopause. Think about the challenges you’ve successfully overcome or have experienced with friends or family.
4. What are your passions and interests when it comes to alternative medicine? This question isn’t so much about skill – it’s about what piques your interest. Look at what blogs excite you or what social media accounts you follow. What are these folks talking about?
5. What is the dominant topic or theme of the books on your bookshelf? Go in and take a look at your books or thumb through your e-reader. What are some common topic themes? This may provide a hint as to what your niche could be.
6. What are the most common questions you get in your practice? Think about what people come to you and ask. Of those questions, think through which ones irritate you and which ones you could talk about for hours.
7. What’s your niche based on all six of these questions? Bring all your answers together and look for commonalities. Start to narrow it down and see what emerges based on your passion, superpower, skills, experiences, and also, what repels you.
Finding your niche can be fun. But it’s a whole other ball game to actually implement it in your practice.
It’s perfectly normal for it to feel scary. But take some comfort – know that just because you’re focusing on one area doesn’t mean you can’t offer other services. Once you attract the types of patients you absolutely love working with, you can then introduce them to the other wonderful services you have to offer.
Niching Is a Necessity – but You Don’t Have to Do It Alone
The thought of niching down may make you nervous. But it’s ultimately designed to help you build a practice centered around the patients you love. And all while becoming a stronger authority in your field.
Finding a niche will help you attract the patients that feed your heart and soul and let you be the superstar practitioner you are.
If you have any questions or need some extra help, that’s what I’m here for. Feel free to set up a 15-minute strategy call so we can talk through your challenges and get you headed towards a growing practice!