From building a practice to building a business

On a recent podcast episode, Glenn and I had an opportunity to talk with Dr. Christopher Loo. Here are some of the ‘takeaways’ from that interesting conversation about how to go from building a ‘practice’ as a professional to building a business.

Many entrepreneurs start out working for someone else first. Before you own your own medical practice, you work in a practice. Before starting your own CPA firm, you often work for a CPA firm. You get the gist. 

That leap from working in a business to working on your business can seem an impossibility. The truth is, most people never make that leap, content to work for someone else. But for those of us who want to build something greater than ourselves, there are a few key steps that make the leap feel just a bit more manageable and ensure that you don’t make it alone. In a recent conversation, we sat down to talk about the path to entrepreneurial success in an episode with Dr. Christopher Loo.

Stay in your own lane

This doesn’t just apply to the road. Each profession has an area of specialization. You wouldn’t ask a CPA to diagnose your cough just like you wouldn’t ask a doctor about filing your taxes. One thing that can be difficult to let go of as you start your entrepreneurial journey is the desire to be it all and do it all. Initially, you might have to wear a few hats, but eventually, smart entrepreneurs know that they either need to learn how to run a business or get someone who does. 

You don’t know it all, and that’s ok. Most doctors who work in a practice don’t have to worry about insurance codes and medical billing. Their expertise lies in treating patients. The shift from filling a position to business owner is much easier with a team of experts surrounding you, lending you their expertise, holding you accountable, and helping to ensure you succeed.

Empower your team

So you have a team, now what? The next step toward entrepreneurial success is all about others, but it starts with you. Before you can empower others to step into their greatness, you first have to understand what you are asking of them. Define your vision and goals. This gives the team a clear path. 

Everyone wants to move towards something. Give each person a specific role. Be transparent, honest, and communicate. Not only does this give clear guidance as to responsibilities within the company, it also helps establish a positive culture in the workplace. Present a united front with your business partner or leaders. An inconsistent message is like chinks in the armor – weak spots that can circumvent the change you are trying to make and the culture you are trying to establish. 

The team at your workplace isn’t the only partnership that matters. The relationship between an entrepreneur and the spouse that loves them needs clear communication and a consistent message too. Being an entrepreneur can be such a lonely world. The ideas, dreams, and fears that live inside your head don’t always seem apropos for “the real world”. Trying to decide what to say and how to say it can leave you tongue tied. This leads to frustration on both sides. Often, just hearing “I’ll work hard for us” or “We’re gonna be ok” is enough to bring the spouse to your side. In return you’ll hear “I trust you” and “I support you” which can be all the impetus needed. With a supportive partner on your side, there is almost nothing a business owner can’t accomplish.

Know your worth

Most entrepreneurs by nature are helpers. You went into business for yourself to fill a need, whether that is helping construct the home of your client’s dreams or improving the health of your patients. This emotional tug is what allows you to build strong relationships with clients and empowers you to solve problems. But it is also what can stand in the way of pricing your services appropriately. 

It’s important to remember that you are running a business and most likely your primary goal is to make a profit and provide for yourself and your family. When you undervalue your business you are taking away from that profit. Bottom line: take the emotion out of your business. 

The best way to determine your pricing is to reverse engineer. Start by determining how much money you need to take home after taxes. Remember, you still have to make a living. Then you can figure out the pricing per service and the number of clients you need to see. Look at the current market, what pricing will it allow? Reverse engineering allows you the freedom to determine how you spend the rest of your time. You have the freedom to choose to take on that client pro bono or take that extra time with family. 

It takes time and energy to build a successful business. And it’s not about being perfect. Just make sure you are trending in the right direction. With a team of trusted advisors, you’ll be confident in where your journey is going and held accountable to keep moving forward. Remember to give yourself and your team grace. After all they call it a practice for a reason; there is no right or wrong.

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