The Practice Challenge PT Owners Aren’t Prepared For

By Jayme Schrier, Founder and CEO, Practice Freedom U


We PTs are a highly skilled group. We trained for years to deliver exceptional clinical care. We spent countless hours preparing for exam after exam, making the highest grades, having all the answers, getting things right

That rigorous training paid off. But it didn’t prepare you for owning a physical therapy business. Most PT practice owners are missing THE skill that’s essential for growing a successful physical therapy business. 

Today I’m talking about that missing skill and how to cultivate it, for the benefit of your practice and your life outside work. 

None of us are born knowing how to run a successful business. And our clinical training definitely didn’t teach us the business skills we need. The business lessons you need to learn are easier than you think. Start with my FREE guide to 3 Simple Things That Will Get You More Patients and Make You More Money Right Now, a guide to the fundamental business strategies that can put your PT clinic on a more profitable path. 

Physical Therapists Today are Not Prepared to Run a Business

Prepared for what?

It’s not success. It's failure.  

PTs are not prepared for failure, and it’s failure, and overcoming failure, that it really takes to ultimately know how to run a physical therapy clinic and have it be a success. Now, I'm probably not saying anything you don't know. Of course, we all have to overcome failures in life. 

But we’re not prepared for that because . . . well . . . how long has it been since you failed? Think about it. What grade point average did you have to get into school? I doubt it was C’s, so it must have been A’s and A's mean top of the class. It means not getting things wrong, but consistently getting things right. Then you got into school and you learned all this great stuff and you got out of school and you were smart. You are smart. You’re a talented clinician. You’re revered by a lot of people in your community as a leader, as a thought leader, as a helper and caregiver.

I don’t see any failure there. Unless maybe you played sports, if you had time between all the studying, maybe then you've experienced a little bit of failure. But all in all, most of us never experienced real failure until we go into a physical therapy business. 

Owning a Physical Therapy Businesses Means Confronting Failure

You see, business is mostly about failure, and that’s hard. For many of us, high-achieving perfectionists—me included—it’s hard for us to handle that. I had trouble handling it. Heck, I still have trouble handling it. Being wrong, and trying to look at that as a lesson to learn from, is difficult. That skill—the ability to not necessarily accept failure, but be okay with it, to learn from it—that skill alone is going to help you get to that next level as you consider how to run a physical therapy clinic. Too many people are struggling to get to the next level and they’re searching for the answer.

Now, maybe you haven’t found the answer. From what I see, it’s not the answer that is escaping you. It’s the ability to deal with the failure. It’s an ability to deal with the uncertainty. It’s the ability to handle the identity shift that happens from becoming a clinician only to also owning a physical therapy business. You see, PTs aren’t prepared for any of this. See, in PT schools you’re told just how great you are. When you get out of PT school and start treating patients, you’re told how great you are. You cultivate great doctor patient relationships so patients love you. Once you get into how to run a physical therapy clinic, you don’t have that support system anymore.

Handling the Business Side of a Physical Therapy Business

Your staff wants what they want. Often there’s a lot of angst there. (That’s for another conversation.) As the owner of a physical therapy business, you’re by yourself dealing with this idea of, I’ve been so good and so right and so perfect for so long, I don't know how to deal with this now. If you’re familiar with the idea of managing your emotions, then you understand that how you manage your emotions—how you react to things in your business—those are the lead indicators of the success that you have in your practice.

So how can you deal with this idea of failure, deal with this idea that you own a physical therapy business and are not just a talented clinician? Those are the questions you have to answer, and once you answer those questions results are going to come much easier to you as they have for anyone that's been able to do that. Because I have never met nor has there ever been a leader, a successful business owner or leader of any kind that didn't have to overcome failure. So embrace failure embrace the change, learn from it and keep moving forward.

BetterPT is helping to bring convenience and increased access to patients. If you are interested in improving the efficiency of your business and creating easier access to care for your patients, please email us at to join the BetterPT community.

Dr. Jayme Schrier, PT is the Founder and CEO of The Practice Freedom Method, a business training for physical therapists. His book, The Practice Freedom Method: The Practice Owner’s Guide To Work Less, Earn More, And Live Your Passion, has been an Amazon #1 best seller.

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