Physicians have a lot of hurdles to clear in order to get into practice and also to stay in practice. It is no easy feat; and not many even attempt it. So why then is it that many physicians find themselves feeling overworked and undersupported? Why is it that they love their profession, but find their “job” grinding them down?
Over 25 years of helping physicians has revealed an odd thing: the physician who has practiced about 10 years and who is realizing that he/she cannot keep up the same pace and the same stress and who has not come to understand this simple fact:
IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO ESTABLISH A PRACTICE, GROW IT AND PRODUCE ALL OF THE REVENUE
Runners know they cannot run a marathon like a 100 yard dash. And sprinters know there is a limit to how many successive 100 yard dashes they can run.
The key to having a very long professional career lies in marrying business principles with professionals accomplishments. A physician must bring business practices into his/her work or risk working only because he or she has to! Some key signals that a doctor views (or has viewed) his/her day as a profession and not also a business include—
●He or she is a sole practitioner
●There are no corporate documents that pertain to the practice
●The corporate documents do not address slowing down or retiring
●There is no financial plan or product in place to fund BOTH slowing down and retiring
●There is no plan to hire anyone to help carry the load
●They have no business plan
●They don’t take time with any third party to step back and see if what they’re doing will help them accomplish what they want
There are two little secrets about business that many physicians have not been taught. The first is this: businesses are like sharks. If they are not swimming forward and growing, they are dying. Staying stagnant is not a sustainable option in the business world. The second is this: if there is no exit strategy, it’s just a job. It may be a good job, a satisfying one, but that the end of the day, the doctor will have given far more to it than vice versa.
At the end of the day, physicians must be as invested in caring for themselves as they are in caring for others. And getting good advice is critical to ensuring that the give and take is more balanced and that a doctor can enjoy practicing as long as he or she wants.