12 Week . Challenge

Week 11 – Think of Your Business Like an Iceberg If You Want to Be More Profitable

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Sabrina Pelech, Chief Profiteer
July 2020


How often have you gone into your practice, completed your daily requirements, and called it a day? The last appointment of the day has left, so you do too. Many practice owners do the same thing. They get lost in the “What I See” mentality and become employees in their practice. They start to forget about the critical work of running the business.

We have all heard the story of the Titanic. In this tragic and avoidable accident, a great ocean liner, deemed unsinkable, sinks on her maiden voyage to New York after striking an iceberg. When we dig deeper into this story, we remember that it was not the visible part of the iceberg above the water that sunk this great ship, but instead, it was the part of the iceberg hidden beneath the water which they could not see.

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A financially healthy company is a result of a frugal business owner not a cheap one.
Mike Michalowicz, Author Profit First

Icebergs are an excellent analogy for practice. What you see is just the surface, but if you go below the surface of the water, there’s a lot more happening. The same is true for practices – there’s more to them than you see on the surface. To be more profitable, you need to understand how what’s below the surface impacts your practice. Don’t fall victim to the “What I See” mentality. You need to also focus on what’s below the surface.

“Success is like an iceberg, What people see is only whats on the surface.”

What’s above the surface?

Standing tall above the water is the most visible part of your practice. Everyone sees this part of your practice from your staff, partners, investors, and most importantly, your patients. This exposed part of your practice is what tells the world who you are, what you do, and why you do it.

There is so much more to your practice than what’s immediately visible. Have you ever noticed that when building a great ocean liner, they complete the hull first? They complete the hull before they install any lavish furnishings on the interior. The same should be the case with your business. You may have a beautifully appointed office ready to take patients. Have you thought about the foundation of your business, the hull, so to speak? These are the process and procedures that allow your practice to sail smoothly. Like the iceberg, what’s under the water keeps the top afloat.

Hitting an iceberg with a ship above the waterline may cause some damage. It may even take the vessel out of service for a while. But at the end of the day, the ship still floats. However, take the Titanic, for example, that hit the iceberg below the water. Well, we all know what happened. We can say the same thing about your business. While it is true that no one wants to ride on a rundown ocean liner. It’s also true that no one wants to ride on a beautiful ship that is poorly run.

What your customers experience

Let’s look at the mid-section of the iceberg, which is the part that is just under the surface of the water. It’s only visible once you dive into the water. Patients only experience this part regarding your practice after getting acquainted with your business. Such as after completing a few appointments.

Unfortunately, this is an often overlooked aspect of the business. However, this is an easily exposed portion of your business. Past customers can easily expense any inefficiencies they experienced in the form of reviews, references, ratings, and social media. These reviews can easily sway potential patients, and you could miss out on new business.

The mid-section of the iceberg dictates how your practice delivers its skills and services to your patients. It controls how your staff interacts with your patients and formulates their entire experience. You can have excellent service, be highly skilled in your field, and have the most beautiful offices. Still, poor customer service or poor quality of service makes for a very unsustainable business model.

This section of the iceberg carries more weight than the tip of the iceberg. Think about it like this. You can always sell an image of a stuffing office and friendly staff. The idea of excellent service in a beautiful setting will always sell. However, if the experience does not match what you sold, you will likely experience failure.

The foundation of your business

The most significant and most complex part of the iceberg is its foundation, the part that is buried far beneath the water’s surface.
However, this is the part that holds the most responsibility. Without this foundation, the rest of the iceberg can’t stay together.

The nuts and bolts of your practice are the foundation that keeps you running. This section includes policies, procedures, marketing plans, software systems, product inventory, and accounting business plans – all necessary for success! This part of your business is known only to you and your staff. However, this is what gives your patients the best possible experience. The foundation of your practice allows you to stay agile and ahead of the competition by constantly innovating and becoming more streamlined. You can run faster, better, and cheaper than your rivals, making you the go-to choice.

Unfortunately, this is the part that many business owners struggle with, and it’s these things that are what can make or break your bottom line. After all, the failure of the Titanic’s foundation caused the greatest ship of her time to sink.


A weak foundation leads to vulnerable business.

If your foundations aren’t working effectively, then it doesn’t matter how much revenue you pump through the system. The cash-eating monster (your operating expenses) will eat through it without batting an eye. Leaving you left standing there wondering what the heck you’re doing wrong. Everything may look great on the outside. But you’re still struggling when it comes to paying your obligations. What’s worse, you may even be struggling to pay yourself. 


Many business owners are chasing shiny objects, focusing all their budget and resources on improving surface-level parts of their business. They tend not to realize they are already starting to go down by the head and sink beneath the water. Please don’t follow their path but change course and examine your foundation.

Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of your business

Gain Clarity

Too often, business owners believe what they want about their numbers. They think their profit margin is higher than it is, or their costs are lower. But at the end of the year, they often wonder why they still have not gotten paid or drawn a profit – or worse, lost money.

To prevent this, it’s essential to know your actual numbers. Get accurate information about your profit margin and costs, and don’t make assumptions. This way, you can be sure you’re making wise business decisions and strategizing effectively.

Numbers don’t have to be scary – they can be pretty helpful in steering your business in the right direction. By formulating a plan and regularly reviewing your performance indicators, you can correct your course without risking a collision with an iceberg. Remember, a ship never leaves port without a compass. So, why are you running a business with no performance indicators?

Be Agile

To stay ahead of the competition, it is essential to have a continual improvement strategy in place. This means always planning, checking, and acting – repeatedly. Making doing things better than everyone else a priority ensures that your business remains superior. However, be prepared to change course if your competitor comes up with better and more innovative solutions. We cannot overemphasize the importance of a continual improvement strategy cannot. In the end, it is this willingness to keep improving that will ensure success for your business.

Streamline Streamline Streamline

The quickest and easiest way to increase profits and save money in any business is by streamlining workflows and processes. This makes staff more productive, and work gets done faster, cheaper, and with better results. Business owners should regularly review procedures to adapt to new technologies and focus on doing less to enable them to scale what works well and change what doesn’t. Remember, Cheapness is not the goal. The goal is to get the best result using the least resources possible while maintaining a high-quality level.

Master Your Money Management

If you’re like most small business owners, you don’t have an accounting degree and don’t find hours of analyzing financial statements enjoyable. However, it’s imperative to any business that you keep accurate accounting records.

So what’s the more straightforward way for small business owners to manage their cash flow in real-time and know if they’re turning a profit? Adopting the Profit First for Chiropractors cash management method takes the guesswork out of your bottom line and provides you with a quick start to improving your profitability immediately.

Grow an Empowered Team

Many small business owners struggle to find the help they need to be successful. They often feel like they can’t trust anyone to do the job right or worry about how much it will cost. But successful business owners know that having a support team is critical to their success. And it doesn’t have to be expensive – plenty of affordable options exist. So if you’re struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You’ll be glad you did.

Like most chiropractors, you don’t want to be stuck in an office running reports and doing daily paperwork. You want to do what you’re good at – helping your patients. But you can’t do everything yourself. You must let go of that fear and allow your staff to help you. If they can do 80% of what you can do, that’s better than having nothing done because you couldn’t get to it. So give them a chance and see how they can help you take your business to the next level.

You want to focus on what you love and have a team of skilled, competent people to support you. This is key to achieving your goals. Empowering your team members will make them responsible for the outcomes instead of just task completion. One way to do this is to give them the tools needed to get the job done and leeway for decision-making authority so they don’t need to interrupt you with every little issue.

Empowerment is key to scaling and growing your business quickly while avoiding burnout. By setting goals and objectives for your team and holding them accountable, you can remove yourself from the micromanagement decision-making process. This will allow your business to grow more quickly without unnecessary delays.


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