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 running a business. Most PT practice owners are missing THE skill that’s essential for growing a successful 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.

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 be successful. 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 business.

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. 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 a business owner. 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. Your patients love you. Once you get into business, you don’t have that support system anymore.

Your staff wants what they want. Often there’s a lot of angst there. (That’s for another conversation.) As a PT owner, 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 are a business owner and 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 efficiency to your business by providing tools and technology to help you succeed. If you are interested in learning more, please email us at to join the BetterPT community.

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