Chiropractic + Naturopathic Doctor

Keys to Your Practice: Recipe for success

Angelo Santin   

Features Business Marketing

Most of us never get the chance to get out of our offices and observe how others become successful.

Most of us never get the chance to get out of our offices and observe how others become successful. Some may be happy with the status quo, or worse they don’t want to come to terms with the fact that they are struggling. 

I highly recommend getting out of your offices and talk to and observe a variety of successful chiropractors. 


I have outlined what I believe to be an ingredient list to success, which comes to us from Dr. Ken deHaas, a very successful chiropractor who soon became financially independent, allowing him to retire from full-time practice at a young age. But he couldn’t stay away from chiropractic totally so deHaas is now dedicated to doing locums and gained many experiences working in over one hundred clinics in the past few years.

He kindly shared his thoughts with Canadian Chiropractor. What follows is my conversation with the good doctor:

What are the common elements you see in a struggling practice?
KD: There are too many to list.  The successful practices seem to have many things in common. However, the unsuccessful ones, from what I have seen, have discovered over a hundred ways to mess up. Unfortunately with struggling practices, there seems to be a common need to re-invent the wheel. 

What are common elements you see in a thriving practice?
KD: In general, the successful chiropractor uses extreme self-care when it comes to their health; you can only give what you have inside. They also focus on making their money by growing their practices by at least five to ten per cent per year, rather than relying on the stock market or other sometimes distracting forms of income growth. 

The business-savvy chiropractors commit to learning one new thing per year that involves running a business (how to invest their money, taxes, real estate, estate planning). They also figure out quickly what high-leverage activities are and do them well. For example: networking, public speaking, creating non-expensive marketing tools or getting together regularly with other like-minded chiropractors. These are things that give big returns with little cost out-of-pocket. They also tend to get out of the starting blocks quickly with the help of a mentor.  

When it comes to practice specifics, the successful chiropractors have the best techniques in town and they don’t hurt patients. Their exams demonstrate to the patient the need for care. Their reports of findings are short and concise, and patients are always on a schedule of care with progress evaluations done regularly. Even if these doctors do everything well, they are still completely relaxed and make it safe for a patient if they choose to discontinue care.

There is always extreme professionalism demonstrated around every corner. They keep things very simple so they can concentrate on delivering very high-quality adjustments. The entire staff is trained on the systems and procedures in place. This includes everything from treatment times to patient scheduling. There is a lot of automation so there is less time spent on the mundane things. Successful chiropractors understand that referrals arrive when you are out of exchange with the patient, which means you give them much more than they expected.

How important is chiropractic philosophy when it comes to success? 
KD: Very important. I have seen so many versions of chiropractic and have noticed the successful clinics are very clear on what they do and how to best help their patients. There is no wavering during the reporting of findings or with recommendations of care, because they are certain of what chiropractic is. This type of confidence is palpable when I observe with them.

Any other advice that can help every chiropractor?
KD: Set priorities and make plans for a compelling future. In the meantime, take extreme care of yourself and your family and take enough holidays to recharge your batteries. After all, your practice only gets better when you get better.

I can say, without a doubt, that when done well, these key elements will lead to a lot more success professionally and personally. Unfortunately, none of these things create instant results. This all takes time and a little elbow grease on your part.

The big question is, are you passionate and diligent enough to make the necessary changes? 

After all, when it comes to your practice, you need to work from the inside out.

Angelo Santin, DC, operates a busy subluxation-based family practice in Thunder Bay, Ont., and is president of the Thunder Bay Chiropractic Society. Dr. Santin is also a Carter Universal proficiency-rated chiropractic coach. He can be reacahed at or 807-344-4606.

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