By Dr. Jeffrey Lee

HERO’s stands for “Helping Everyone Realize Opportunities.”

This is the passion of Andy Belanger, my mentor and lead instructor for HERO’s Business Solutions.

I met Andy back in 2000, when I was a first year student at Bastyr University near Seattle, Washington. He taught practice management workshops to prepare students for the “real world” after completing their studies. Andy was the first person who was honest about the challenges of starting a medical practice. I really had no idea how difficult it would be to start a practice. I assumed that once I graduated, with my degree in hand, my practice would grow automatically.  I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn about the business side of my profession, so early on in my studies.

During my time at Bastyr, I attended every workshop taught by Andy. One of the most important lessons I learned was to have the mindset of both a physician and an entrepreneur. As a physician, my true calling came out easily since I loved helping people achieve their health goals. The entrepreneurial side of me did not come as naturally. I had to learn how to think like a business owner and Andy’s “4 Pillars” gave me the focus that I needed. As I reflect back over the years, it was the 4 Pillars that helped me reach the level of success that I have today.

The 4 Pillars

So what are the 4 Pillars?

The 4 Pillars are the main 4 areas that you need to focus on in running a well-balanced business:

  1. Leadership
  2. Administration
  3. Operations
  4. Marketing

1. Leadership

The “Leadership” workshop is the first one in the series.  The goal of this pillar is to be clear with your personal and business vision.

  • Who do you want to become?
  • Who do you want to help?
  • What would your ideal practice look like?
  • What area of health am I passionate about?
  • What are my strengths?

Andy reminded me to keep these goals in front of me as a “guiding beacon,” because they would help “direct the work” and keep me on track.

2. Administration

The next pillar is “Administration,” which has to do with the finances of running a business. We learned about important financial habits every business needs, from creating a budget, to monitoring expenses, to understanding financial reports (such as balance sheets, income statements, profit and loss).  Prior to taking Andy’s workshop, I had never learned these financial concepts before. The analysis of financials is now such an important part of my practice. With this knowledge, I have been a lot wiser with my equipment purchases and my business growth.

3. Operations

The “Operations” pillar focuses on organization and systematization. Our office has systems for managing inventory to minimize product expiration, systems for re-booking patients, systems for patient follow-up, etc. Over the years, we have created hundreds of systems to improve efficiency. With systems in place, it is much easier to operate when new staff join us, and to ensure consistent and positive outcomes for patients.

4. Marketing

The last pillar is “Marketing,” which to me is the most exciting of all. Andy taught me to shift the focus from marketing my “tools” (acupuncture, Naturopathic Medicine, etc.) to marketing the positive “results” of working with me. For example, while most practitioners talk about how they might treat pain or injury with acupuncture, I was sharing with my patients how I could help them get back to playing tennis or gardening. This inspires patients to take responsibility for their own recovery.

Over the coming months, my goal is to share with you some lessons I’ve learned from implementing these 4 Pillars that has helped me build a successful practice.