By Jeff Russell, Author of Secrets to a Successful Practice & Executive Director of the IAPAM
Your Purpose: The KEY to a Successful Practice
Like it or not, it all starts with you. You set the tone, culture and ultimately the success of your practice. We’re going to cover four leadership skills that you have or need to develop in order to have a smooth-running practice. The investment in time to get clear on these skills is going to make your life much easier in the future. The biggest monthly expense for most practices is payroll, so it is critical to invest time in developing a team that functions well, whether you are there or not.
In Simon Sinek’s groundbreaking book, Start with Why, he introduces the concept of the “Golden Circle,” hypothesizing that the most successful leaders and companies connect the What, How and Why of a company and this connection inspires both team members and patients. I’m sure you know what you are going to do. This may be to provide aesthetic procedures like Botox®, fillers, and/or tattoo removal procedures. You will most likely know how you are going to do it—you will use a laser to remove tattoos, or RF energy to tighten lax skin. If you don’t, IAPAM’s Aesthetic Medicine Symposium can help get you started with hands-on CME Botox Training in one accelerated program. But you need to be very clear on why you are getting into medical aesthetics, and this why needs to motivate and inspire your team to follow you and direct your patients to come to your practice.
Your purpose should revolve around making a positive difference in peoples’ lives. How can you make their lives better? Can you improve their self-esteem by improving what bothers them on their face or body? Why does doing what you do matter?
Let’s be clear though, money is critical if you want to operate a successful business and make a difference. Without profits from your practice, you will not be able to invest in newer equipment, support your local economy with taxes and jobs, and reach your financial goals. As Jim Collins wrote in Built to Last, ” Profit is like oxygen, food, water, and blood for the body; they are not the point of life, but without them, there is no life.” Profit is not the end goal, but successful leaders and companies connect profit to purpose.
Finding Your Purpose
When developing your purpose, keep in mind that it shouldn’t change. Your business operations, procedures and/or unique selling propositions will all change, but your core purpose should not.
Your purpose needs to be deeply internal for you and your company. It should be used in team meetings to guide conversations toward making constant improvements. For example, if your purpose was to “improve the self-esteem of our patients,” you could ask your team for ideas on how they can do that. “How can we improve the self-esteem of ten new patients we haven’t met before?”
“Humans are wired to seek meaning in everything we do, whether we’re sitting in an office, hiking the mountains, or eating dinner with the family. Passion for a cause fuels energy, intelligence, and creativity.”1 – Annie McKee, Harvard Business Review
“You need to explain your company’s purpose and outline expectations for internal and external clients alike. Make it unique to your company, make it memorable, keep it real, and, just for fun, imagine it on the bottom of a coat of arms.”2 – Richard Branson.
Questions to Stimulate Finding Your Purpose
- Why does your practice exist?
- What difference do you want to make in your patients’ lives?
- What difference do you want to make in your team members’ and their families’ lives?
- What difference do you want to make in your community?
- If you closed down, would anyone miss you?
Ultimately, your practice’s purpose will give your team a reason to get out of bed in the morning beyond simply getting a paycheck.
You should also be deeply passionate about your purpose; if it is going to keep you motivated day in and day out, you want to make sure this is something you really believe in. Your purpose should come from something deep inside of you.
Don’t worry about getting it down perfect; it’s not just the words that are important as much as it is the meaning and the actions you take that demonstrate daily to everyone what your purpose is.
Check out the IAPAM’s annual Practice Growth Symposium, where leaders come to learn the keys to a profitable practice.
 McKee, Annie, “Happiness Traps”, Harvard Business Review, September–October 2017
 Branson, Richard, “Crafting Your Mission Statement”, Facebook, August 6, 2013 at 10:06 am