#006 How to use Community Organizations to grow your practice with Dr. Seth Hudson
October 22, 2018
If someone were to ask me, “What is the number one, number one piece of advice I would give to anyone running a business?” My answer would always be the same no matter if I were talking to a chiropractor, a dentist, a florist, a banker, candlestick maker … heck, anyone who has a business, and that is to get involved in your local community.
Join a civic organization. Most cities have a Lions Club, a Kiwanis Club, a Rotary Club, BNI organization, the Chamber of Commerce. There’s lots of opportunities and there’s lots of ways that you can serve your community in a variety of different ways, so get involved.
In today’s episode of Chiro Business Builders, we are talking just that with Dr. Seth Hudson and how he used his community connections to help him grow his practice and become the chiropractor of the year in his city. Let’s check it out now.
You’re listening to the Chiro Business Builders podcast, giving you behind the scenes access to the world’s top chiropractors and how they built and scaled their business. Here’s your host, Tabitha Thomas.
Tabitha Thomas: Welcome to the Chiro Business Builders podcast, the podcast with an inside look into the most successful chiropractic practices and how they got there. Today I’ve got with me Dr. Seth Hudson with Hudson Chiropractic in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
Tabitha Thomas: Now, Dr. Seth does an amazing job doing Facebook Live to show client appreciation and to give them a little inside view of what’s going on in his practice. He serves his community through a variety of organizations, and he was selected as Southeast Missourian’s Newsmaker, and he’s won the people’s choice award for best chiropractor in his area. So welcome to the Chiro Business Builders podcast, I am thrilled to have you on the show.
Dr. Seth Hudson: Thank you for having me. It’s always good to be on things like this. It’s an honor to be asked to be on this podcast and just thanks for having me.
Tabitha Thomas: Yeah. Well, let me first say congratulations on the people’s choice award.
Dr. Seth Hudson: Thank you.
Tabitha Thomas: That was pretty incredible. I mean, of all the chiropractors in your area, there’s a lot in Cape Girardeau, so …
Dr. Seth Hudson: Yeah. There’s many reasons for that, and a lot of it’s hardworking staff and learning over the years, you kinda learn by trial and error. We’ve had a lot of success and there’s been many reasons for that. A lot of starts with hiring good people and trusting your instincts.
Tabitha Thomas: Well, awesome. We’re just gonna go through a few questions here. I love hearing everyone’s background story on how they become a chiropractor, so what’s your story? Let’s hear it.
Dr. Seth Hudson: Well, hell. It’s kind of a funny one. I was a college athlete, played baseball at Murray State in Kentucky, and had a slight injury diving for a ball and woke up the next day with some arm pain in my right arm and some numbness. Never had anything like that.
Dr. Seth Hudson: When you’re 20 years old or 21, one of the two, you feel like you’re 10 foot tall and bulletproof and invincible, and that’s just not the case. I tried to ignore it and finally, the team physician, which was a medical doctor, ended up sending me to a group that had a chiropractor and physical therapist and they ended up with some therapy and chiropractic, that was a good combination work, and it was good collaboration to get me better quickly.
Dr. Seth Hudson: I really liked how that side of healthcare outside of medicine, which there’s a time and a place for that, but when you’re young and healthy like I was, it was cool to see the alternative healthcare get me back on the field as quick as possible. So it was a slow process, but that’s what pointed me in that direction.
Tabitha Thomas: Nice. Where did you go to chiropractic school?
Dr. Seth Hudson: Went to Logan College of Chiropractic in St. Louis.
Tabitha Thomas: Oh, nice. Okay. When you got out of chiropractic school, what then? Did you start your own practice or did you go work for someone else?
Dr. Seth Hudson: I worked for someone else here in Cape Girardeau to get me back here, and learned a lot of things about marketing, what to do, what not to do, and decided to start my own place and learned from an older chiropractor in my office as well. It’s just been awesome to grow and help them slow down and take over the business side of things. They’ve been a good mentor to me, which is something I really recommend, and we’ve really flourished from there.
Tabitha Thomas: Oh, wow. You’ve got an opportunity that not many have, it sounds like. Helping someone else.
Dr. Seth Hudson: Right.
Tabitha Thomas: Yeah, that’s incredible. How long have you been in your business?
Dr. Seth Hudson: We’re going on year five.
Tabitha Thomas: Year five. Congratulations.
Dr. Seth Hudson: Yeah, thank you.
Tabitha Thomas: Passed the hurdle of the first few years.
Dr. Seth Hudson: Right.
Tabitha Thomas: Who would you say, in your office, is your target market? I know I ask this question a lot. A lot of chiropractors say, “everyone.” Everyone. Well, of course, we help everyone, but a lot of times when we target a certain niche, we seem to see a lot more.
Dr. Seth Hudson: Right. With my background and with a master’s in sports rehab as well, I have a few different target markets. Some are very healthy, younger athletes. You know, college age, high school age. But I’m also really involved with the running community here. We have hundreds of runners in this area that are very serious about training, as well as I am. I got suckered into that. Now I’m a runner and I’m addicted to it, over the years.
Dr. Seth Hudson: So it’s a very active, younger population that trains all the time and then also, the typical chiropractic is, you know, women and men 35 to 55 that are busy working, raising kids, and they’ve just had some general aches and pains, and that utilize not only insurance but they’re busy and they incorporate it into their monthly healthcare and it’s just to be able to help that population, because they’re busy and definitely need care.
Tabitha Thomas: Yes. What would you say is the thing that you’re really good at, that makes you different than all your competitors? Besides the running community.
Dr. Seth Hudson: Well, I think, for the most part, we do a good job at communicating well with the other healthcare providers in the area, which Cape Girardeau, we’re lucky enough to have two regional hospitals and many different types of specialties. I would say we have a referral relationship that is a lot different than most chiropractic clinics in the area that I know of.
Dr. Seth Hudson: We really try to focus on what we’re good at, and that’s chiropractic, and not try to focus on other types of weight loss and supplements and stuff like that, which can really help people, but I think kind of isolating on what we’re good at and getting them better as quickly as possible really helps get referrals from other practitioners and we’ve really grown in that regard, from those referrals.
Tabitha Thomas: How did you get started getting referrals? Because somebody that’s turning right out of chiropractor school, they’re starting their own, how did you go about getting people to start referring to you?
Dr. Seth Hudson: Well, I think something that really worked for me is, I set up lunches at the clinic. Who turns down free lunch, you know?
Tabitha Thomas: Yeah. Nobody.
Dr. Seth Hudson: Right, so you’d be surprised how open physiatrists, even some physical therapy clinics, you name it. If there’s some pain management clinic, they don’t always … just because they prescribe medicine, just because they do injections, doesn’t mean they always want to do that with people, so they think it’s not necessary.
Dr. Seth Hudson: Even if it’s two or three times a month, if you have five or six clinics sending you that many people for a month, that they think chiropractic or some therapy would help, that grows your business quickly. So I think getting in the door, introducing yourself to them, bringing them some cookies from a local bakery from time to time, saying thank you for their referrals.
Dr. Seth Hudson: It just kinda keeps you on their mind and they always have a few patients to send your way. You do a good job with them and it just kinda grows from there.
Tabitha Thomas: I love it. Not being scared to go out there and ask for it.
Dr. Seth Hudson: Right, yeah. [crosstalk 00:08:11]
Tabitha Thomas: A lot of people are scared to just ask, you know? Ask for a referral.
Dr. Seth Hudson: I was that way too at first, and once you get over that, it’s amazing how quick it can help you grow.
Tabitha Thomas: Yes. Yes, yes. This is a question that I love asking everyone. Is there a marketing or business trick or technique method that you could teach our listeners? Anything that you do that has been really successful for you?
Dr. Seth Hudson: Honestly, there’s two things. One is, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there online. People get scared to do videos and do giveaways to a certain extent. It doesn’t have to be big giveaways. Just getting the community involved in your practice, doing talks at some of your patients’ churches. A lot of churches have health seminars or they try to have fundraisers and they need some speakers.
Dr. Seth Hudson: One thing that one of my friend’s dad is a local judge, Judge [Jumbal 00:09:10] here in town, his dad used to always say, “Never pass on an opportunity to speak in public.” Like with you asking me to do this, I would never turn something like this down, just because you never know who it could reach.
Dr. Seth Hudson: You just always, always say yes if you have time, and go speak in public. As uncomfortable as it makes you, if you’ll reach somebody and they remember you being there and it just helps you a ton when you’re growing, especially early on.
Tabitha Thomas: I noticed … and that’s one of the things that drew me to ask you to be on the podcast, was the fact that you did a lot of Facebook Lives, that you weren’t scared to do that.
Dr. Seth Hudson: Right.
Tabitha Thomas: And you walked through your clinic and were showing what it looks like to open up the clinic, and you were doing giveaways. So tell me about some of the ideas and some of the things that you do on your Facebook Lives.
Dr. Seth Hudson: Well, the videos a lot of times, when you’re running a small business, I think it always … even though you’re helping patients and you’re in it for the right reasons, you still have to be smart with your money and budget, especially in chiropractic and marketing budget, you need to be very cognizant of the bottom line and how much you’re spending.
Dr. Seth Hudson: It needs to be a certain percentage of your collection, and that is a very inexpensive way to reach a lot of people and to get people involved. They can share it if they like it. Other people see what they like, and it gets on their phone. Everybody’s on their phone or tablet these days, so it’s very intrusive. They’re looking at it. They remember what your office looks like. They get to know you before they’ve ever even been there, if that makes sense.
Tabitha Thomas: That makes total sense, and that’s why I like it so much, is it takes the scare factor out. I know what you look like. I know what the practice looks like. I’m gonna somewhat know what to expect.
Dr. Seth Hudson: Right, right. They feel like they’re comfortable with you before … exactly like you said, before their first visit. In the past, even 10-15 years ago, healthcare providers or any business, they never had the opportunity to reach people in an inexpensive way. It’s free, really.
Dr. Seth Hudson: They just didn’t have that technology, so if you’re not taking advantage of it, you’re missing out on hundred and hundreds of people that you could reach that you wouldn’t have if you didn’t do it.
Tabitha Thomas: Exactly.
Dr. Seth Hudson: So to me it makes sense.
Tabitha Thomas: Yes. It takes a little while to get comfortable being in front of the camera.
Dr. Seth Hudson: Oh yeah, for sure.
Tabitha Thomas: But once you get past that hurdle, it’s smooth sailing after that.
Dr. Seth Hudson: Exactly.
Tabitha Thomas: I noticed when I was going through some of your stuff that you’re in a lot of boards and different organizations. That’s something that was really important to us when we started things. I worked for a chiropractor and that was one of the things he was very involved in, all the community events and all of the organizations. He was a Lions Club and a Kiwani and he joined all of them. I noticed that you did that as well.
Dr. Seth Hudson: I did.
Tabitha Thomas: How much has that impacted your business?
Dr. Seth Hudson: Huge, especially if you’re in an area like … I guess you’re in Poplar Bluff … Cape Girardeau, Missouri. They have some big city features but it’s still a small town to where, if you’re involved, people are very loyal in areas like this and if you’re involved and show that you care, and I’m not near as involved as I used to be now that we’ve gotten so much busier, but the first at least three years, I went to everything.
Dr. Seth Hudson: Lions Club, I was on the board at Southeast Hospital. I’m on a bank board now, and it’s just good to be part of a bank like First Midwest Bank, Southeast Hospital. We’ve had great success over the years, and to have trust to be on something like that or in Lions Club, they have good reputations that you can use that to grow your practice because you’re just part of it, and you’re part of that good reputation. So it’s just good to go to those things because you meet tons of people that know every aspect of business in your area, so it just puts you into good company, if that makes sense.
Tabitha Thomas: It does make sense and I love it. Anytime somebody asks me for advice, that’s the one I say. Go and be involved in the public. That can never go wrong for you.
Dr. Seth Hudson: No. It only helps.
Tabitha Thomas: Yeah, exactly. Who would you say has taught you the most about how to build a successful chiropractic practice?
Dr. Seth Hudson: Honestly, I always pick my dad. He’s county treasurer here in Cape Girardeau county. He’s been part of the business forever. I would say using my dad’s common sense tactics and really conservative management of money, and just the business side of things, my dad has taught me probably the most over the years, kind of mimicking what I think he would do.
Dr. Seth Hudson: And then, in regard to the business decisions, then I think Jack [Roof 00:14:00]. He’s an older chiropractor. He’s not old or anything. He’s 59. He’d probably kill me for saying he’s old, but yeah. He’s awesome. His dad was in the first graduating class at Logan, and his practice is still ongoing. It’s probably the oldest practice left in the state of Missouri if I had to guess.
Dr. Seth Hudson: Just seeing how he treats patients and the respect that they have for him and how massive of a practice they’ve grown up since 1939, it’s crazy and I’ve learned so much from the patient aspect of it. And the business aspect from myself and my dad, just learning over the years. So that’s a long-winded answer, but that’s how I feel about it.
Tabitha Thomas: No, I like it. I like it. Everybody always says that going to chiropractic school is great. It teaches you how to be a chiropractor. It doesn’t teach you how to run a business.
Dr. Seth Hudson: Oh my god, yeah. It’s definitely trial and error for any healthcare provider. I have physical therapy friends that I have good business relationships and friendships with here, and they’re the same way. Optometrists are the same way. It’s trial and error when you get out and you just hope that someone can take you under their wing and walk you through a situation, because it can be difficult. You don’t necessarily need a mentor, but it sure helps.
Tabitha Thomas: Yes, it does. This one is my absolute favorite question to ask. If you could talk to anyone who’s coming right out of chiropractic school and you could give them one piece of sound advice, advice that you wish somebody had given you, what would that one advice be?
Dr. Seth Hudson: I would say, don’t be afraid to start your own business. I know that seems really cliché, and I wish I would have. It would have been even worse trial and error wise, but if you’re in an area like … There’s really two things that come to my mind, is that, don’t be afraid to start your own business. Someone’s gonna help you. There’s gonna be a bank willing to help you if you need money, because you’re gonna join the Chamber, join Lions Club, stuff that we talked about. You’re gonna build a practice. You’re gonna build some business. Just don’t be scared like I was. Do it right out of school, because it’s very rewarding.
Dr. Seth Hudson: And then number two is, if you’re in a bigger area or even in an area like Cape, I would say live as close as you can to your practice, or at least in the same community, because if you’re traveling … Say you live in St. Louis but you live 50 miles away or 40 miles away, you’re not quite as part of the community, and I don’t think you build quite as fast. So I think if you live in the town of your practice, that exponentially helps you grow.
Tabitha Thomas: I would agree completely, wholeheartedly. Being a part of the community is make or break, I think, for a lot of small businesses.
Dr. Seth Hudson: Yeah. I agree. Actually, some people in big areas, like a couple million people like St. Louis, Atlanta, it’s cheaper to live 40-50 minutes out of the city, but you don’t really know what’s going on where your practice is inside the city.
Dr. Seth Hudson: So I think they struggle with not only competition, but also getting to know the community and there’s kind of a loyal factor that the community has, and they’ll support someone that lives there and that’s always involved in that area. If you’re driving home every night and you’re not going to those meetings at Lions Club, it just makes it a little bit more difficult on yourself.
Tabitha Thomas: Yup, yup.
Dr. Seth Hudson: It’s already difficult enough.
Tabitha Thomas: Exactly. Exactly. I’m gonna throw another one out there. What’s the one thing that you love most about chiropractic?
Dr. Seth Hudson: Honestly, it is meeting the new patients and being able to be up and actively trying to help them. You can’t always help everyone and that’s why you need to develop a good referral relationship with other types of specialties in healthcare, but the fun thing about chiropractic is you’re up on your feet.
Dr. Seth Hudson: Every room you go to with patients, you could be treating a shoulder and someone with some neck injuries and neck inflammation. In the next room, it could be knee pain, ankle pain and low back pain. It’s always different, and you’re always trying things.
Dr. Seth Hudson: Every patient, you get a patient with the same age, same build come in, and one thing works for one patient and it doesn’t work for the other. So you’re always tweaking what you’re doing and it makes it fun. Every visit can be different.
Dr. Seth Hudson: That’s probably what I like about it the most, that you’re up moving around. You’re not sitting at a desk, and you get to run a business at the same time. That’s the American dream, isn’t it?
Tabitha Thomas: Yeah. I love it. I love it. Thank you so much for being on the podcast. I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.
Dr. Seth Hudson: I do. I enjoyed it, and thank you very much for having me. It is an honor.
Tabitha Thomas: All right. Well, if you like what you heard, make sure to subscribe below. We’ll see you next time.
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