Noah: Welcome to DC2Be Revolution. Helping chiropractic students think big in order to live large.
I'm your host Noah Volz and today I'm here with Dr. Ankur Prakash. He has been actively fulfilling his sole purpose by creating solutions for people at his “Living Well-Balanced” Centers located in both New York and North Carolina. In addition to offering excellent care at his different centers he's also expressing his passion for entrepreneurship as Chief Medical Officer of Perform Stretch. I really wanted to get you on the show today because Garrett Gunderson told a story about how you accelerated your success in a really short amount of time.
Dr. Prakash: Garrett's way too humble, he thinks it’s all me, but he did a huge part of that.
Noah: I was looking at your bio and you did something original. You mentioned Wealth Factory, mastermind groups, and other programs that you're part of. This showed that you didn’t do it all alone and that you had coaching and mentorship all the way through. Can you talk about how your realized that was necessary for you? And how you got through the roadblocks to get where you are right now?
Dr. Prakash: Since you mentioned Garrett, he said “successful people are just dumb enough to follow what all the successful people did before them. What I'm good at is taking from people who have done some serious awesome things in society. So when I list that on my bio I’ve always payed homage and expressed my gratitude. It's one of my core values. I have to give a shout out to my wife. She's number one. But the company's, the consulting firms, the seminars are all part of my success. I didn't choose chiropractic, it chose me. I was at a parents weekend at SUNY Binghamton and my roommates Dad said “Hey have you ever thought of chiropractic?” I've no idea what that is. We just kept walking. So, it started there and I bought the philosophy hook line and sinker. So, I'm a young kid, I'm 18 years old, I'm an undergrad. I invest all my free time outside of partying, girls and studies to being around chiropractors. I worked for a chiropractor for three years in undergrad and literally did everything. I found someone that had me do everything for three years then I went to Life West for four years.
Most of the time, three and a half years, I worked for another chiropractor in Hayward at Atlas chiropractic. With those six years under my belt I had a license and student loans I was ready to go. I had gotten so much out of those six years and those two bosses had invested in me because I put everything into their companies, they took me to seminars, they involve me in CA programs, and taught me about insurance, about taxes and corporate structure. So, when I graduated, I had plenty of knowledge to start out on my own. So I started from scratch in New York and I joined with the masters circle. I was with Bob Hoffman and Dennis Perma staring in 2005. Bob and Dennis taught me how to walk well. I was like this chiropractic infant and one of their coaches said that you've done a great job with the volume in your practice, but you're working your butt off and making very little money.
It’s like eating soup with a fork.
That analogy totally paralleled my first year in chiropractic practice. I was gung-ho. I had above triple digits a week within two-three weeks in practice. It was non-stop. I was always hungry. I could never fill up with a fork. These guys taught me:
“This is for you, my boss and my friend. This is to help you build your financial pyramid right-side up.” I had no idea what she was talking about until I read that book.
So, I jumped on board with Garrett's program. At that time it was called Freedom Fast Track. I bought the highest tier package because I wanted to jump all in. I was the first Indian in the program and I wanted to be the poster child. It changed my practice. Even though my volume stayed the same. This wasn't like any other chiropractic coaching program. It taught me that if you are giving a lot and you have to receive a lot for that. There has to be this give-and-take relationship and I've been giving a lot. So my debt went down dramatically. Even, though my volume was the same.
I learned how to restructure employee arrangements and agreements to make my business profitable. I had forgotten that I had to make a profit instead of just paying bills. The words “soul purpose” were new to me. You've got all these unique talents, abilities, and skills and all these different ways to express them. When he told me that I wasn’t born to be just a chiropractor that rocked my world. Every one told me that my purpose in life was to be a chiropractor. Now that has changed.
By going through Garrett’s exercises, programs and events I learned that my sole purpose is; “to create natural solutions for people.” This released me from the roles that had confined me in the past. I realized I didn’t have to do a whole bunch of stuff. I don't have to be the adjuster. I don't have to be a hands-on chiropractor. I can create natural solutions for people. I can structure my business and organize it in a way that works for me. Let me train and educate and inspire other people under my purpose and let them take care of my business. Then I can accomplish more. I did this over the course of three years.
After that I stared my primary practice in Raleigh, North Carolina. I’m only in my New York practice two days a month. Now I’ve also stared Perform Stretch as well. I just keep building on that momentum.
Now that I recognize that my soul purpose is creating offices where we create customized health care programs, and of course chiropractic is the main component, but it’s is not the only service we offer. There's massage, personal training, yoga, esthetician services, cryotherapy, and all these things.
It used to be that people go to a chiropractor and then they get exposed to all this stuff but we have turned that funnel upside down. We bring people in for massage therapy and our massage therapists are aligned with chiropractic philosophy so they refer to the chiropractors. That is the same thing with the personal trainers, same thing with the nutritionists. Everything centers around chiropractic.
Noah: Thank you so much for sharing your story and trajectory. Garrett was really impressed with you. He said you made a decision that you weren't going to be like every other chiropractor that's out there. You made a decision that your sole purpose was to reach the maximum number of people and one thing that I really gleaned from the living well-balanced website is that you focus on customer service in the form of customized care plans. There's plenty of centers out there offering all these different services but I get the impression that you do It differently. Is that true?
Dr. Prakash: It all started at one of the seminars that I went to at the master circle where I met a guy named Joseph Michelli. He wrote The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. He was talking about how Ritz-Carlton is 90% booked all across the world because they reach the same key customers. This is similar to Starbucks. The average Starbucks customer goes there 18 or 20 times a month. RitzCarlton was the same thing. I read his book and I heard him speak and I said I've got to make my office like the that. The experience when they come has to best part of peoples day. Everyone knows that when they come into a chiropractor’s office they leave better than when they first came in. Although very few people love going to their chiropractors office. So I had to make sure that they have an amazing experience while they are in the office. When people come in here they know that this is a relationship based office; we make them feel like they're family and that this is going to be the best thing that they've done and will do for the rest of their life.
We have a lot of stress in our world today and it doesn’t matter when you live. You've got stress and technology isn't helping. You think.It's helping because it streamlines things and it’s awesome what we can do with technology but we all have a constant inundation of chronic, long term stress. Our bodies aren’t designed for that. Everyone's got stress, it doesn't matter whether you're black or white, old, young, in pain or symptom free. You deserve to have a body that can handle and respond to stress appropriately. We've got all these services that can help you.
Noah: I remember that Garrett said you modeled everything after the RitzCarlton to bring customers service to a whole new level. When you come in it’s like seeing your old friends and you want to go to the chiropractor as opposed to needing to go to the chiropractor.
Dr. Prakash: I let them know that this office isn't a luxury, it's a necessity and even just yesterday when I signed up someone after report a finding she was saying this is going to be a lot for me I'm used to only getting adjusted once a month. I'm like that hasn’t worked for you so once a week has to be the minimum. She’d asked how long does an adjustment take and I said some people are here for three minutes, some people are here for five, some people are here for 30, not because I need 30 minutes to adjust them, but because they don’t want to leave, they want to hang out in our rest and relaxation room, they want to talk to my front desk, they want to have a glass of wine. So, I don't know how long you’re going to stay here but you're not paying for the adjustment, you’re paying for the experience.
We've got bourbon and wine if people want and we don’t charge for it. We have a. massage chair they can sit in. We are telling their subconscious that they don’t have to come in and leave they can actually stay awhile.
Noah: That shows your passion for entrepreneurship. You're proactive, you're engaged, and it feels to me like you're always looking for the next thing that you can do to make the experience better for people. So let's talk a little bit about your philosophy on entrepreneurship. What does it mean to be an entrepreneur and how do most entrepreneurs succeed?
Dr. Prakash: There's two types of entrepreneurs. I have 13 employees in New York and five employees here in their Raleigh. I don’t consider them employees, I definitely don't call them staff, it just sounds like an infection. They are owners of my company. Even though on paper I'm a hundred percent owner I treat them as if this is their company.
In terms of entrepreneurship it is a horizontal hierarchy. I am at the same level as everyone in my office. I sign their paychecks and I have the ability to hire and fire but we do things as a team, it's a team driven environment and that level of entrepreneurship is the same thing as health care. I mean, I love getting adjusted but getting adjusted is not all I do. I have a huge team in my wellness corner. I get massage, I take nutritional supplements. I've got trainers and all that other stuff.
You have to constantly learn. You have to surround yourself with successful people. You have to read books, take notes and get a lot out of them. I am part of a weekly accountability group with five other chiropractors, every week Wednesday morning 5:00 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. since 2011 we've been meeting.
So, treating your team like entrepreneurs, as if they own the company, is one answer to that question.
Number two is always investing in education you have to constantly invest in education whether it's seminars, books, or webinars. Then share what you learn with your accountability group. Now you're starting to trade secrets on patient procedures or day two visits or how's your office sells the experience.
I opened up Raleigh six months ago and I am working my butt off. Three years prior to that there were weeks where I had at three days with no technology. I would have productivity days, my buffer days, and then my three days without technology where I would do whatever I want.
Noah I’ve always thought that the chiropractic offices that really seem to work have a great team. I've often thought as the owner you are the coach of that team because it the coach’s ultimate goal to make all the players of the team better and to see those players succeed in each of their individual roles.
Dr. Prakash: I am ultimately the responsible person for the rise and fall of this company.Ultimately when push comes to shove it's me. I give the employees full permission for raise their standards, raise their energy, raise their vibrations. That way they are in charge of changing the atmosphere around them, so it's not just the owner, they have responsibility in this –
Noah: I'm here to support you if you want to make the choice to bring your energy up so that the rest of the team can jive with you and we can work together and make things run smoother. You know we're all for it but ultimately you have to make that decision. I'm not going to strong-arm you into doing anything. So can you talk about how your are using this leadership style in your new business perform stretch?
Dr. Prakash: One of my practice members and we call them practice members not patients. But she/he signed up for chiropractic massage and stretching. We've done that for several years in our office. So its assisted stretching, she came out of this first stretching session and said what was that? I've never had that! It's not just a five minute post work out stretch by a trainer. It’s much more than that.
He gets inspired and says let's go into business together and he’s got that big picture CEO mentality and he was like let's take your stretching protocols and make them more accessible. Let's make it in-house for in their gym am service especially in the Raleigh area and let's bring stretching to you so we've got our Express 30 minutes stretch or we have a full body. It's got to be customized, it's got to be unique, and so people feel like they are really getting something amazing.
Noah: Awesome! Really appreciate the value that you offered today, I really appreciate your approach to leadership, your approach to entrepreneurship, your commitment to really providing as much value as you possibly can to your practice members.It’s been really great getting to know you better and seeing where you're going with things.
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.