Completely out of the blue a chiropractor phoned me to say that she was renting an office suite in the next street which she was going to convert into a clinic for alternative practitioners. She wanted this to be multi-disciplinary, and would I like to join them?
She told me that she had recently qualified as a chiropractor and her husband was renting the property for her, providing she made a good business from it. She talked about advertising campaigns, open days, drumming up business; each practitioner was responsible for bringing so many new clients into the clinic on a weekly or monthly contract. She was confident that everyone would benefit and soon the place would be thriving. The new clinic would put all the little front-room, makeshift clinics out of business, she said.
At first I was carried away with her enthusiasm. After all, it’s not often as a homeopath that you get head-hunted for a job. Then I began to feel anxious. It was beginning to sound like either I joined her or she would put me out of business. I had one of the little front-room clinics she referred to. Whichever choice I made, I might regret it.
I decided I would reflect on it using, “what if?”
What if this was a wonderful healing community of alternative practitioners. I would be working among like-minded people and together we could advertise more efficiently and help more people. But how could I know if the other practitioners were dedicated? Maybe they were just part-timers without any real commitment.
What if this was the perfect opportunity to decrease the amount of desk work I do? I could gain a lot more clients with the advantage of group advertising and having a secretary to make bookings.
What if I was asked to advertise the new clinic to my mailing list on a regular basis? That would only increase the amount of desk work I do. I am also uncomfortable with combining the roles of salesman and health practitioner, although I guess it happens elsewhere.
What if I don’t join the climic and they find another homeopath? Potentially there are enough patients out there for both of us. But I would be very upset if a rival practitioner tried to poach my current patients.
What if I join the clinic and it folds after six months? I would look pretty silly moving to the next road and back again. Maybe I would lose some patients. At the moment it is only the confidence of the manager that makes it sound like a successful business.
What if I join them and my business decreases? Perhaps my patients won’t like the atmosphere at the clinic or it is too noisy? I would also lose money through room rental, when working from home was free.
Conclusion: I’ve found six variables in answer to my dilemma and there are probably more. I have decided there is an element of blackmail in this business-manager’s proposal. She says she will put me and my front-room clinic out of business. But this is only a threat. I need to remind myself of my patient’s loyalty. They won’t be enticed away from me just for a cheaper fee. I have decided not to join the new clinic.