What are planning to share at the first annual Forward Thinking Chiropractic Alliance Conference in Kansas City this summer?
Dr. Nemchenko: I'm going to be speaking about how to ethically create an evidence-based way do pregnancy and pediatrics. When I first started in practice I felt like a fish out of water because my husband was a medical doctor and I’ve been a paramedic. Most of the people I practiced with had a natural lifestyle. I've had two kids with two epidurals and two inductions so I felt a little out of place. I found a niche with my practice it had 50% athletes and 50% pregnancy. I started seeing pregnant mothers because when I was pregnant with my daughter the physicality of chiropractic made it so I couldn’t practice. I learned that if you get hurt while you're pregnant it really messes with your mind and it makes you feel weak.
I created a program that helps mother take care of their kids and to be able to do things. This is called bloom. I lot of people said its not safe to see a chiropractor. My doctor told me not to see a chiropractor and so they let me be in severe pain sleeping in a recliner for the last part of my pregnancy.
A lot of women in my niche don’t want to hear about lifestyle choices they just want to be functional. So I took the strategies I use to get a high level sports athlete back on the field and applied that to pregnancy so women can get back to taking care of their kids.
I specialize in working with my kids, but a lot of medical professional think that kids don't deserve chiropractic or they don’t need chiropractic. Yes they are resilient, but structurally they are not built like adults and they don’t have the infrastructure to handle an impact like a car accident. They have nowhere that they can go when they have 10 out of 10 pain. Everywhere else they go treats them unethically and runs up a huge bill. I have them do four units of therapeutic exercise. I have objective findings that I can use for a baby in a car accident that will substantiate the functional deficits that need to be addressed.
I’m also going to be talking about how to build a kick ass practice. I don’t think gender has anything to do with your ability to build a practice because I'm the one that handles the big situations. We have a 5,000 square feet office and when sales professionals come into the office and I'll walk up to them between patients because I really don't want my front desk dealing with that and I’ll say, “Can I help you?” “I’m here to speak with the boss.” I say “okay” and they're like I'm going to wait for the boss. So I go back to my office to take care of things until the front desk calls me out and I walk out and they say “that's the boss?” And they've missed their chance.
I interviewed an associate recently on a day that I'm not working so I could talk to him and spend time with him. I see him arrive and he comes in my office after 45 minutes and says you’re the boss. He didn’t get the job. I’m going to talk about how to have a practice and a family. What to do when your kid calls in the middle of a high volume tide. Or how to handle marketing events. Or how to include your kids. It’s hard to run a professional practice and be a good mom or a good parent.
We have a very clear chain of command.
I met my husband when we worked in a hospital and we quit our jobs and gave up everything to go to Cleveland Chiropractic College in Kansas City. Now everything is paid off, but there was a number of years where I was worried that we made the wrong decision. It was a struggle.
Noah: This show is devoted to helping students not make the mistakes. I really applaud your candidness and your honesty because the fact that you have to say in your presentation that you are a woman business owner is unfortunate.
Dr. Nemchenko: I hope that students can avoid the struggle and get to the point where they are proud of what they have and they don’t care what other people think. I don’t have a million dollar house because I would never do something that would compromise my ethics. I’m not willing to sell myself to make a buck and that fact that we have thrived with that mentality, I am really proud of that. It was harder. At least ten times harder to do it right. There were certain things like marketing where I wouldn't lower myself.
You are the most expensive thing in your office. Your expertise. I'm very passionate about teaching chiropractors how to become profitable and to have systems.
Noah: Let's talk a little bit about the systems. As a student I want to create a system like that or be a part of a system. What do you recommend?
Dr. Nemchenko: It’s all about considering your team as the most important part of the system. Even though I am the boss my team is the most important part. As a team we can turn people’s life around.
For those of you who are struggling with your practice I want to help you. There will be times when you need to do superhuman things for your patients. If you can set aside your ego then you can help the highest number of people. I don’t care who gets you better. All I care is that you get better. That is because we love our patients. It’s about more than economics. Our patients are awesome. They're caring and they love people and they love helping people and they don't care how that happens they just want to help.
Noah: Thank you for being so proactive with your team and with your patients. You have really built a lot of responsibility into your system.
Dr. Nemchenko: Our patients know that we are goin to take care of them. We will tell them to see the neurologist or to seek out concierge care because we have a relationship with the. I have built relationships over years and I share those with my patients. My patients trust me because I’m not over treating them. I’m not tricking them. I’m taking care of them and by doing that I’m building my reputation within the community. The level of care for every patient is extremely high. It is really remarkable. Sometimes that includes drugs. I am not against drugs. I’m against drugs as a lifestyle. So many problems can be fixed with lifestyle. Drugs have side effects but sometimes they are necessary.
We are not the end all be all. Yes we can help a lot of people and it’s awesome, but sometimes the patient needs something else. It is our job to connect them to these other options. It's about giving the patient what they need. If they need a solution outside of your office and you give it to them they are going to love you for that because you went above and beyond.
I refer to a lot of doctors and I’ll even ask doctors to prescribe drugs to patients. It’s a foreign concept to most doctors. Some of those doctors have pulled me aside and said, “The reason we work with you is because you don’t discuss vaccines with any patients.” We tell our patients that vaccines are not discussed in our office. It is not a chiropractic issue, it is a parental issue.
Most patients can educate themselves on both sides using the internet. I will sometimes suggest Sears book if they keep pressing me because he shows both sides of the argument. I’ve written a book called what to expect when you are expecting. It’s coming out in the spring and it talks about all the decision you have to make as parents.
Noah: I like what you said above drugs having there place, but rarely being a long term solution to any problem.
Dr. Nemchenko: There’s so many opportunities to be real. It connects you to your patients. We all struggle. We don’t know everything we can’t. So it’s important to know your limitations and to guide people the best you can. You work with them so that they can make the best choices for their life with their whole self.
Noah: With so many different techniques and modalities and trainings out it’s easy to want to learn everything. You did it differently, you got really good at one thing and then let other people fill in the cracks.
Dr. Nemchenko: That’s why I am on the board with other chiropractors. When I first started people thought I was really cocky because I have a giant practice. Now they know how much I struggled. But I worked through the ADD. I have executive function disorder but I compensate really well. I don’t make excuses for disabilities. Instead I created systems. To the degree that you can create a system with your practice the more freedom you will have. I was worried that I would become a robot and my practice was going to be cookie cutter. It isn’t that way. There is stuff that happens differently, but to the degree that you can systematize your practice and make it lean and make it work fast then you can treat people.
Get a system and work that system then you can treat people instead of doing everything by the seat of your pants. One of my key principles for running a practice successfully is to have a system because then other people can follow your system instead of trying to guess what you're going to do next.
Find a mentor, they don’t have to be a genius, they just have to be a workhorse. Not someone who will exploit you. We don’t exploit our team. I don’t like the word staff. I don't own them, they're my team and I can pick them and train them and they support me and without them I would not be the same.
Having one boss, with one vision, with one team, with one system that’s where success is. I have a roadmap that says at this level you hire this person at this level you hire this person. My plan is to have five offices in the next five years. Then I’ll know if I can replicate what I have slowly one person at a time.
What I’m doing today is creating longevity and this is important because my goal is to hand this off someday because everybody needs an exit plan. You guys are just getting out so the whole thing is right in front of you, but you have to start thinking about it. I want my associates to be successful. I care about them so much. He takes great care of his patients. It's a team and I learn a lot from my associates.
We are getting our first preceptor this year and we are going to teach them everything. I’m still learning 16 years later. If you have a good associateship, if you have a good mentor they're going to teach you everything. I would be upset if my associate left, but I’m not worried about that because I want him to be successful.
I really care about his progress and his growth and I’ll do everything I can to make sure he is happy.
Our office is open for teaching. If you want to call the office and you need help with your insurance or you need help with marketing or anything you can talk to the person that does that.
Noah: There may be some things wrong with chiropractic but one thing that I’ve experienced is that chiropractors are generous beyond your wildest dreams. So, thank you for extending your generosity to to everyone.
Writing with originality, generosity, compassion and purpose, Dr. Noah Volz imparts valuable lessons in an entertaining, engaging and snappy way―backed by a wealth of experience. As an author, chiropractor, and entrepreneur, he has started and run multiple companies and has been the host of the DC2Be Revolution YouTube channel and podcast.