In Fort Collins, Colorado, Dr. Jim Anderson runs the Poudre Valley Foot and Ankle Clinic. He has been a podiatrist for more than 14 years, and for the last seven years he has had the help of Sterling to make his practice grow.
“After I’d had my practice for about seven years,” says Dr. Anderson, “I felt I was hitting a bit of a plateau. Things were a bit out of control, just because I didn’t really know how to run a business. And I wanted to be in control, and I wanted my practice to grow.”
“So when I got a brochure, I went to one of their introductory seminars. I’d heard of and experienced consultants from other companies taking over part of the practice, and that didn’t appeal to me. But the Sterling speaker talked about how they’d give you the data to grow and you could apply it, be the boss of your own practice and run things more than before. It made a lot of sense to me, so I called some other podiatrists who had done Sterling’s program. One even turned out to be a former classmate of mine. And what they had to say turned me on.
“Well, I was determined enough then,” says Dr. Anderson, “that there really wasn’t an option. Life’s too short to not be growing, expanding and having fun. So I went out to Sterling’s headquarters in Glendale, California “I liked the Management by Statistics Course, and Basics of Organization.”
“And I went right back and applied it–I put statistics into the office, hired an office manager, got more good help, and the production statistics started going up right away.”
“I had gotten a loan to pay for the Sterling training, and I paid it back in about four months, out of the increased production.”
“I have people ask me about how the staff responded,” says Dr. Anderson. “But really, we wanted the practice to grow, and this was the way. I wouldn’t want anybody around me who wanted to hold me back anyway, and with my staff there wasn’t any problem. In any practice, you have to create the vision; some doctors may have a problem communicating that, but Sterling will even help you with communication.
“So, we used statistics, proper financial planning, and a workable organizing board, as the main pieces of Sterling tech right off.
“Although I think any business would benefit from Sterling, podiatrists in particular sometimes need to promote themselves more than they think, not just get referrals from M.D.s. They want to be part of the ‘good old boys’ network, get 90% of their referrals from M.D.s. It’s fine to get those, of course, but you need to get more referrals from your patients and your friends.
“Some podiatrists think if they promote they won’t get the M.D. referrals. They should realize the M.D.s are fighting over the same patients you are; you better watch out for your own organization first.
“Another thing,” says Dr. Anderson. “Sterling is a very ethical organization. Nothing they ever told me went against my own beliefs about patients, and how I treat them. In fact, it has helped me treat my patients better.
“A warning though: with the Sterling program, if you don’t implement it, it won’t work for you. On the other hand, the more I implement the program, the better it works. That’s so much so that if someone is doing better than I am, it’s usually because I’m only implementing 60% and they’re implementing 80% of what Sterling gave them!”
That implementation, says Dr. Anderson in conclusion, has helped him build a strong office team. “I’ve heard some other doctors talk about conflicts with their staff, and I’m sometimes amazed at how condescending they can be. Sterling helps you to be a better boss, and a friend to your staff. Then your staff respect you and themselves, and they do better at their jobs. “