UCM 204: 8 Mistakes to Avoid When Opening a 2nd Upper Cervical Practice!

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Dr. Bill Davis joins us on the Upper Cervical Marketing Podcast from UCM Practice Growth Systems. In this UCM Podcast, Dr. Bill Davis talks about the 8 most common expansion pitfalls, giving you the knowledge to sidestep them and build a thriving second practice.

What you are going to learn today…

  • How to effectively DUPLICATE YOUR PRACTICE CULTURE in a second location
  • What you need to do to make sure you DON'T HURT YOUR ORIGINAL LOCATION as you build the new one
  • How to BE SURE YOU NEED TO OPEN A 2ND LOCATION to continue to grow
  • Where you need to be WITH MONTHLY COLLECTIONS & TEAM SIZE to effectively pull this off
  • How to build a 3 YEAR BRANDING AND MARKETING PLAN to consistently build the second location
  • How much of YOUR TIME & YOUR KEY TEAM MEMBERS TIME will be required to effectively launch a second location
  • How to PICK THE NEW LOCATION so both locations continue to grow and thrive
  • How to effectively BUDGET & PLAN TO OPEN A SECOND LOCATION without crippling yourself financially
  • What you need to FOCUS ON NOW to grow to the next practice growth stage... and much, MUCH More!

Links discussed in the show:

Talking Points
Audio Transcription
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  1. Opening a second upper cervical practice location
  2. Mistakes to avoid when opening a second location
  3. Maximizing the potential of your first location
  4. Developing a practice culture plan for the new location 
  5. Creating an extensive 3-year marketing plan for the new location
  6. Underestimating the work and costs involved with a second location
  7. Spreading locations apart geographically 
  8. Spending adequate time at the new location as the clinic director

Dr. Bill Davis

Well, hello everyone, and welcome to the webinar for today. Very excited to be with you. I'm Dr. Bill Davis with UCM Practice Growth Systems. 

Thank you for joining us today on the live webinar, or if you're watching this back later, I'm glad that you found the replay. 

So today I'm going to help you build a plan to thrive in 2024. In the past 10 years, we've helped hundreds of upper cervical specialists build their practices. 

And today we're going to pull back the curtain. We're going to take a look and give you an inside look at how we do it. 

Specifically today, we're going to be focusing on building a second location, opening a second location after you've had a successful original location that is thriving. And what are the steps that you need to take in order to do it well? And specifically, what are the mistakes to avoid when opening a second location? 

So one of the questions to ask is, why two locations? 

What is the point of opening a second location? 

Well, one reason is if you do it right, you can duplicate your growth. You can increase your impact, your influence, and your income. And you can really scale to build your legacy in your community if you do this in the right way. 

So who we're talking to today really is people who are in Practice Growth Stage 4 or 5. And if you're unfamiliar with our practice growth stages, I encourage you to go over to our website, UCMPracticeGrowthSystems.com to find your current practice growth stage and learn more. steps you can take to grow to the next stage. 

But Practice Growth Stage 5 is growing from one location to two locations. And that's really what we're going to be talking about today. 

And so when we're looking at this situation and what we're going to be focusing on in this webinar today is how to effectively duplicate your practice culture in a second location. This is huge. If you don't do this right, you can have two completely different practices. 

You also want to know what you need to do to make sure you don't hurt your original location as you build the new one. Because that's definitely not what you... You don't want to do that. 

You want to be sure... We're going to talk about what you need to do to be sure to open a second location to continue to grow, where you need to be with your monthly collections and team size. This is really important to effectively pull this off. 

How to build a three-year branding and marketing plan to consistently build the second location. 

How much of your time and your key team members time will be required to effectively launch a second location? We're going to talk about how to pick the new location so both locations continue to grow and thrive. 

We're going to talk about how to effectively budget and plan to open the second location without crippling yourself financially. And, you know, really, what do you need to focus on right now to grow to the next practice growth stage? 

So if you have a plan to open a second location this year or next year, we're going to talk about the steps you need to take to make that happen. So let's get going. So what we're gonna be focusing on today is eight mistakes to avoid when opening a second upper cervical practice. 

Now, these are things that I've learned over the years with working with upper cervical practices, working with doctors who have done this well when they've opened multiple locations and doctors who haven't done it as well. 

And so I'm gonna give you the experience that I have and give you these mistakes to avoid. And those eight mistakes that we're gonna be talking about is, failing to maximize the potential of your first location, thinking that the second location will be just like the first, not developing an extensive integrated marketing plan for the second location, underestimating how much work this is going to be and how much money it's going to cost, underestimating how a second location may impact your current location, not effectively spreading your locations apart geographically, not developing extensive SOPs for all aspects of the practice, not prioritizing enough time for you and your key team members to be at the new practice in order for it to grow. 

So that's the overview of the eight mistakes we're going to go through today. And let's get started. 

So mistake number one, failing to maximize the potential of your first location. 

And this is a huge one. This is the one that we probably see the most is not focusing on the original location to make sure that it has reached its potential. It's always easier to add more associates, purchase a bigger space, add more support staff than it is to open a second location. 

We highly recommend only opening a second location if you have done everything possible to maximize the impact of your original location. I've seen many successful three, four, five doctor single office locations. And it's much easier to control the culture, the systems, everything about it when you have one location. 

And so that's the first thing to always keep in mind is maximize the potential of your first location before you ever even think about adding a second location.

I wouldn't recommend adding a second location unless you had at least a three to four doctor practice. That would include the clinic director and adequate support staff. So, you know, a two doctor practice doesn't need to add a second location, right? It's something that you want to focus on that main location, keep building it and building it rather than adding a second location. 

I also wouldn't do this unless I was collecting at least $120,000 to $140,000 per month. So this is a US-based location. You have to modify this slightly if you're outside of the US, but your original location, if it's not doing at least $120,000 to $140,000 per month, there's still potential there. There's still things that you could do to maximize that location. And it most likely would be related to your systems, your team, your marketing, and so forth. 

So that's the first mistake is you want to avoid failing to maximize the potential of your first location before you open a second location. 

Mistake number two is thinking that the second location is going to be just like the first. 

And this is something that I've seen quite a bit over the years as well, is that, you know what, I've done this once, I can do it again. It's, you know, it's basically, it's just going to be just like my first location. 

You have to think of this new location as a new business, right? It's a duplicate. You want it to be a duplicate of your original location, but it's a new business. It's the same type of intention and focus and work that went into starting your original practice. You're going to have to put that into this new practice. Now you're coming with additional experience. You're coming with things that are going to help you accelerate the growth curve, but it still has to be thought of and respected in such a way that it's a new business. 

So one of the ways that you gotta make sure that you do this is you gotta overemphasize the culture. of your practice and your team, or you can end up with two completely different cultures. And that's not what you want. When you have a thriving practice, the last thing you want is a second practice that's completely different when it comes to the culture. What has made your practice successful? You have to take that and put it into this new practice in order for the second practice to be successful as well. 

And that really starts with a practice culture plan. Your culture is the collection of values, expectations, and practices that guide and inform the actions of all your team members. And so making sure that you have a plan and that you are communicating that plan consistently is key. 

So, you know, questions to ask yourself to know whether or not your culture is number one, strong in your original location, it's being communicated effectively. But then also take that into the second location is do you consistently communicate your core values to your team? Does everyone on the team know what your core values are? Do you reward your team members based on your core values? How do you set expectations for your team members? Do you have position agreements? How do you hold team members accountable to your expectations? Do you have job scorecards? 

These are ways that you can ensure that your practice culture is effective at your original location, and then it will help it to be consistent at the second location If you implement the same type of things, if you are communicating the core values, rewarding based on core values, if you have position agreements, job scorecards, and so forth in place. 

So mistake number two is thinking that the second location is going to be just like the first. It's not. You've got to put in the work to get the practice culture to be unified between both practice locations. 

So if you are thinking about doing this, if this, you know, in 2024, 2025, whatever it is, you're thinking, you know what, it's time. I want to open a second location. Highly recommend scheduling a practice growth session with us, a growth strategy session, just to get us started. You know, have a conversation with us. See if we can help you in some way. We've helped a lot of doctors over the years do this. And I highly recommend you schedule it just so we can have a conversation with you and start this so that you can make sure that you're doing everything you can to make this successful. 

You can get that free practice growth strategy session over at UCMPracticeGrowthSystems.com. All right, let's move into mistake number three. This is failing to develop an extensive integrated marketing plan for the second location. 

As I mentioned, the second location is a new business. So you have to think of it like a new business. You have to make sure that you have a marketing plan in place to build that location from the ground up. 

And so this... requires a three-year marketing plan in order to be successful in my experience right you have to be thinking about this and really laying this out for three years right if you're going to open a second location this year you should be thinking about what are we going to do in 2024 2025 2026 and so forth so that you have a plan in place of what the plan is to grow this new new location so year one what is extremely important. 

And we tell all doctors that are starting practices this as well. You have to emphasize external marketing in year one, because you don't have enough patients to do a lot of internal marketing, right? You want to start obviously with patient education from day one and begin to build that group into referrers, but you've got to emphasize external marketing in year one. 

You got to focus on things like building your health practitioner referral network. We have a ton of resources on the website about that. You want to focus on serving in your new community. Get out there. Get people to know who you are and that you're there. You're there in the community to help. 

Do things like business surveys. Getting into your local community is where the second location is located. Meet the other entrepreneurs in the area. Meet other business owners and help learn about their businesses and what they do so that you can begin to build that network in the area. 

Build a target market community, right? This is something that, again, is really important. If you identify your target market for this second location, focus on building a community, always having something to invite people to, having monthly events and different things that are happening in your practice to make sure that people know who you are, what you do. Doing things like community talks, spinal screenings, etcetera. 

This is all part of that external marketing plan, that year one plan that is so, so important at a second location. You want to emphasize digital marketing all three years though, right? So starting with year one, you want to be thinking about digital, even before you open. We have a Start Right program that is, I mean, ideal for this. It's designed for that. It helps you get everything in place digitally and also even offline in many ways, but it helps you to get things lined up. 

It's a great, great way to get things started for you. Make sure your online branding is right. Make sure you have a co-emphasis on your website for both locations. You also want to make sure that you're building up your Google reviews for the new location as quickly as possible. 

You're going to have two different Google local listings. And so this new local listing for the second location is going to have at first zero Google reviews. And so you got to build up those reviews as quickly as you possibly can. also want to be doing things like Facebook ads, Google PPC things like that that we can help client that we can help you with when it comes to attracting your target market attracting the right kind of people into the new practice is a key thing as well so inter internal marketing.

As I mentioned, you want to be focusing on patient education from day one, but in year two, as the practice begins to build, that's when you want to focus more into internal marketing. 

You got to have enough new patients over the first 90 days to be able to start building referrals, then in year two, you can emphasize more internal marketing events. Things like a friends and family day or a PAD, doing quarterly contests, food drives, backpack drives, toy drives, those types of things are good ways in year two to start building your internal referrals, building that practice out even more. 

So this is what we are probably most known for is helping doctors with their integrated marketing plans. And we love helping doctors grow. We love helping them help more sick and suffering people find hope and healing in their communities. That's what we're all about. And so between our Practice Growth Systems and our practice growth sessions, we got you covered. But, you know, here's just a few examples of doctors that we've helped with this specifically. Like Dr. Rick Means in Florida has multiple locations and, you know, he talks about how they help us not only bring in new patients, but qualified leads, not some low hanging fruit, qualified condition specific leads that are, that are great quality. 

We have, Dr. Jennifer Taylor, who says, it's like having another employee without having to pay for another employee type of price. It's very worth it. Dr. Pat Linn, since starting with UCM, he's more than doubled his practice to over 1.2 million. Dr. Mercedes Cook, having record months, lots of new patients coming through the door. 

So these are some of the examples of doctors that we're helping right now. And we would love to have the opportunity to help you too. If you need help with your integrated marketing plan, either for your original location or for your second location or both, again, a great reason to schedule a free Practice Growth Strategy Session over at UCMPracticeGrowthSystems.com. 

So mistake number three was failing to develop an extensive integrated marketing plan for the second location. 

Mistake number four, underestimating how much work this is going to be and how much money it's going to cost. 

This is a big one. If you think you understand how much work this is going to be and how much money it's going to cost, you can probably double that and then you'll be getting closer because it is going to be a lot of work. 

Opening a second location will be a lot of work. You gotta find a commercial real estate agent, you gotta research demographics, research locations, visit potential office spaces, negotiate leases with landlords, purchase equipment, oversee tenant improvement constructions. 

All of this for the second location is going to distract you from your current location. It just will. I mean, you can't be doing all this stuff and not be distracted in some way, shape, or form. So knowing that, knowing in advance that that is going to happen is important so you can plan ahead for it. 

The other thing is the money it's going to cost, right? It is likely going to cost you more than you think it will. We highly encourage you to not go into debt for this, right? If you think you want to open a second location, I encourage you to save to open the second location with cash, right? Consider the risks and not just the upside. 

So many times we go into it thinking, well, you know, if everything works out great, then this is going to be a huge financial win for me. But things happen. And if you're in a cash position versus a leveraged position with debt, you're in a much worse position. And so I highly recommend not going into debt for this, but instead saving up and doing this with cash. 

So mistake number four is underestimating how much work it's going to be and how much money it's going to cost. 

Mistake number five, underestimating how a second location may impact your current location. This is another big one. 

And it's one that, again, a lot of people don't think about really. It's, you know, oh, I'm just going to, you know, open a second location. It's going to be awesome, but it may impact your current location and probably will in some way, either at least in the short term. So, you know, some things to consider when it comes to opening a second location is some people will choose to go to the new location. which may decrease your patient volume at your original location, right? If you, depending on where you place your locations, we'll talk more about that in a minute, but there's gonna be people that are kind of right in between and they'll say, I think I'll go to the new location, right? And so you may see a decrease in patient volume at your original location. 

As I mentioned, you're going to have a divided focus for at least a while while this is really getting going. Your other team members will also have a divided focus while this is building. And a divided focus could impact your original location. So these are things to keep in mind and prepare for. And again, another reason why it's so important to do this with cash rather than with debt. 

So mistake number five is underestimating how a second location may impact your current location. 

Mistake number six, not effectively spreading your locations apart geographically. 

This is a big one right this is probably the one that people think about the most when it comes to a second location is well you know where do I put it what what do I want to you know consider when I'm I'm adding a second location to the community that I'm in so some things to keep in mind with a second location is you want to consider traffic patterns. 

For instance, if you are in a large metropolitan area and there's people that drive, say, from the suburbs into the city, those are things to consider. If you have a location that's in the city and you put one in the suburbs, then your traffic patterns may affect the patient flow and the patient volume that you can see at that particular one. 

So you really want to focus in on different areas. If you're in a large city, you may want to focus in on different neighborhoods, different neighborhoods that you can serve that are separate enough from each other. But there are also good neighborhoods that are places where traffic flows towards. If you're in a little bit more of a rural area, it may be that you spread those locations out throughout a county. Right? Or even throughout a state, depending on how many locations you're opening and what the goals are, or a province if you're in Canada or another area of the world. 

But yeah, so those are some of the things to think about. Where can I spread these out? What are the traffic patterns? What are the demographics? All those types of things to really effectively set up the second location. 

So mistake number six is not effectively spreading your locations apart geographically. time and attention and focus and research to really do this effectively. 

And it's, again, a great reason to schedule a Practice Growth Strategy Session with us so that we can help you really lay out these two practices effectively. Because, you know, you can't go back and change this, right? Once you say, this is where I'm going to go, and you build a new location or you rent a new location, it is going to be very difficult to go back on that. 

Mistake number seven, not developing extensive SOPs for all aspects of the practices. So everything, and I want to emphasize this, everything about your original location must be thoroughly documented for this to be successful in a second location. You have to be able to replicate what you did at the original location, and that comes down to systems. 

Your systems have to be clearly documented so they can be applied in a new location. So you have to be thinking these things through: do you have clearly defined systems with checklists, milestones, scripts for the entire new patient journey, existing patient journey? Are your systems documented? Do you consistently update those processes where you know were they last updated three years ago, right? Do you utilize your systems in your weekly trainings? Are you doing weekly trainings? I sure hope you are. Do you use your systems to hold your team accountable to the standards as we talked about? Are you using job scorecards, position agreements, those types of things to make sure that people are doing the systems? 

So this is key. If you want two locations to thrive, the systems have to be the same. That is a huge part of the culture being the same at both locations is the system needs to be the same. and that's that's why a lot of second locations fail is because the systems are not solid at the first one and so they can't be transferred to the second one effectively so one of the most important systems you can have in your practice is the new patient phone call and we have a great checklist this for for you for this if you want to go over to our website and look at our practice growth tools our new patient phone call checklist can really help you with building this system. 

This is a system that we see a lot of our clients when they first come to us is not great. And so we've built this to help the entire industry hopefully do new patient phone calls better because if your office isn't doing new patient phone calls well, then you're missing out on tons of opportunities with new patients to come into your practice and get the help that they need. 

So mistake number seven is not developing extensive SOPs, you know, standard operating procedures for all aspects of your upper cervical practice. 

All right. Last mistake to avoid. Mistake number eight. This is a big one. As I mentioned, you know, practice growth strategy sessions. You can always get that over at UCMPracticeGrowthSystems.com. 

Mistake number eight, not prioritizing enough time for you and your key team members to be at the new location to get it going in the right direction. Right. 

This is this is probably, again, one of the most common mistakes. You got to make sure that you and your key team members have enough time to do this. It has to be strategic in the way that you split your time between the two locations in order for this to work. 

And so what we recommend is hiring a full-time CA for the new location, right? That's right off the bat. When you, as soon as you have a new location, you've got it picked out, it's getting ready to open. You hire a full-time CA for that new location. We have a great, we have great resources on the website to help you with that hiring and CA hiring and training made easy. Great, great course that you can purchase over there, but hiring a full-time CA for the new location is your first goal when it comes to this new location. 

Second, your clinic director, that's you, the senior associate, which is most likely the person that is eventually going to be the one that is leading this second location, your office manager, each need to spend significant time at the new location so you can emphasize culture, so you can focus on mission and team and marketing and systems. 

As I mentioned, even if the eventual plan is the senior associate to be the clinic director at the new location, which is probably the most common way that upper cervical specialists do this, you want to expect to be there two or three days per week for at least six to 12 months, right? 

That sounds like a long time, but I'll tell you, if you want this to work, that's what I've seen work best. is you've got to be there. You've got to be in that practice. You've got to continue to emphasize culture. You've got to continue to train. 

If not, your senior associate can take this practice in a completely different direction and it can no longer be part of your culture. It can be part of a completely different culture that is not going to generate the results that your original location did. 

And so thinking this through, thinking about how you're gonna split time, what you're gonna do in order to make sure that the culture is strong at both locations is key. 

So as the clinic director, as I said, expect to spend, at least three days per week at the new location for a while and two days at the original location, right? So that is the best way to do it. Start out three days a week at the new location, two at the original. Eventually, you can start to shift that. You can go down to two at the new location, three back at your original location, that type of thing. 

Eventually, four at the original, one at the new location but the the goal is that you're still there you're still checking in on things you're still seeing how the systems are working you're still making sure that culture is emphasized and what I would make sure that you're always there for is the weekly trainings. 

Even if you get down to just one day a week at the second location, be there when they're doing their weekly trainings because you want to be checking in on systems. You want to be checking in on the team. You want to make sure that your senior associate is doing what the system requires, right, when it comes to training. 

Also, you want to expect your senior associates to spend extensive time at the new location while you're getting it going. And so this is, again, you've got to make sure that you have enough doctors in place to handle the new patient or the patient volume at your original location. because your senior associate is not gonna be there near as much. And so if they're seeing an extensive number of patients, then you have to have a plan in place to absorb that in order to make this work. 

And that's why three, four doctor practices, five doctor practices even work best in this scenario because they have enough people to serve all of the patients at both locations. so for the senior associate starting out you know four days at the new location one day at the original you want to keep them connected you know to the mothership connected to the original so that they still still feel that culture still still understand it again a great day for them to be there is when you're doing training at the original location right so they stay connected to the training they're reminded of the systems they're reminded of how you do training that's going to help them to stay connected to the culture most effectively. 

Another thing, another big part of this is you gotta make sure that you have a strong office manager if you're looking to build a second location, because the office manager is going to be key to train the new CA and oversee the execution of your systems. 

So again, you want them to be at both locations for a while as well. Three days of the new location, two days of the original. Eventually, maybe they're there only on the training day. But again, the training day at the second location, if it's my practice, I would always be at that training day at the second location every week, right? 

Even if I'm only there a half day or whatever, I'm still connected to that second location on a weekly basis. My office manager is, and we go there to make sure that the systems and the team are moving in the right direction. 

So, That was mistake number eight, not prioritizing enough time. And I'll tell you, this one is key. If you don't do this one right, it's probably not gonna work very well. And this is how you emphasize culture. 

This is how you emphasize systems from one practice to the other is make sure that you, your office manager, your senior associate are connected to both practices for as long as possible, maybe indefinitely in order to keep both practices humming along, continue to build together. 

So I want to encourage you, adding a second location successfully is possible, but you got to have the right plan and the right execution. 

And so if you avoid these eight mistakes, as we've talked about, these eight mistakes are the ones that are going to get you. You've got to make sure that you go and learn these so you can not make them because this is what's going to make that second location not be successful if you make any of these mistakes. 

And so making sure that you are avoiding these eight mistakes is key and we want to help you you know we would love to help you we want to help as many upper cervical specialists as possible bring hope and healing to sick and suffering people in their communities and that's a great way to do it is opening a second location where you can duplicate your impact, influence and income. 

And so if you have a plan or you wanna do this, you have a vision to do this, a dream to do this, reach out to us. 

Schedule a free practice growth strategy session at UCMPracticeGrowthSystems.com. 

We can help you with this. We can help you put a plan in place. 

We can help you to execute on that plan so that this is going to work successfully for you. And everything that we do with our doctors is focused around these four upper cervical practice building blocks, mission, team, marketing, and systems. 

This is what we found is key to growing an upper cervical practice through the growth stages. 

And so wherever you are in this growth stage spectrum, we want to help you continue to grow. And so schedule a free practice growth strategy session at UCMPracticeGrowthSystems.com if you haven't already. Let's help you grow. And as always, we always say, Go Team Upper Cervical!

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About the Author: Dr. Bill Davis
Dr. Bill Davis is the Founder and CEO of uppercervicalmarketing.com. His goal is to spread the word about the best-kept secret in health through Upper Cervical Specific Business and Marketing Solutions.
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