In 2006, a phenomenon was spreading throughout the U.S. based on a book by Rhonda Byrne called The Secret. Through a combination of her Australian accent that research suggests Americans attribute a special credibility bias and of course appearing on Oprah Winfrey, the book became a mainstream success. The Secret posits that there is a natural law of attraction whereby that as we think and feel, a corresponding signal is sent to the universe and this attracts back to us on the same wavelength. For example, if we hate middlemen like MisAligned Network, it will result in them sending us an unattractive contract. The Secret was neither original or for that matter insightful but it was packaged brilliant enough that it became a best seller. Much to my dismay, we are seeing the The Secret re-packaged in physical therapy marketing.
Some recent examples that are by no means complete:
-PR-RX: the PT Business Model Transforming Healthcare
-The Next Evolution of Patient Care: How to balance your practice with this Little Known Secret
and by the way, you better act fast as 463 territories have been blamed, LOCKING OUT 632 (and counting) private practice clinics FOREVER
Cash based practice gurus who definitely appear to try to make their money teaching you how to be a cash based business rather than their own cash based business. They offer seminars that have time ticker imploring you to reserve your seat now or you will never learn the business secrets. By the way, to qualify as a guru, you have to offer a free download, e-book, or blueprint before they then try and extract money from you (all have apparently taken a course or page from the inventor of this direct marketing approach).
And lastly, for those PT’s who lack confidence in their business acumen several are now offering The Business Course that they didn’t teach you in PT school! Of course, you do get a few free downloads on this as well. The claims of the course remind me of the troubles that Trump University is experiencing.
Granted, it is a free world and I am all for the capital markets so to each their own. My genuine hope is though is that PT’s will be highly differentiating in their desire to attain competitive advantage and not be driven by fear or fear of missing out (FOMO). Physical therapy as a profession has worked incredibly hard to become evidence based and we need to extend this out to all aspects including the science of business. In the words of Atul Gawande’s recent powerful commencement speech, “Science is not a major or a career. It is a commitment to a systematic way of thinking”.
Perhaps I have become a codger, but I can tell you there is absolutely no secrets to the practice or business of physical therapy. Whenever I am asked for advice, my mantra is this:
-find a successful practice mentor. There are plenty of them who have stood the test of time and one of their hallmarks is that they love to give back.
-join the Private Practice Section of APTA. Yes, it is the most expensive Section and you won’t get any initial free downloads or an e-book but you will get opportunities that will shortcut learning curves and add tremendous value to your practice including their member mentor program.
Hopefully, the marketing techniques around the notion of The Secret will eventually go the same route of the 2006 book.
The thoughts in this blog are not necessarily shared by anybody affiliated with EIM