Physical Therapy Business School Podcast

By Paul Gough | Reviewed by Anthony Sinacore, PT, DPT

When I was a traveling physical therapist working in the home health setting in rural Texas, I spent a lot of time driving on dusty backroads. With cell phone service scarce and a lot of time to myself [and boy is there a lot of open land down there], I realized that my time could be better spent learning something rather than listening to the same old iPod playlists. So I started pre-downloading various physical therapy podcasts, particularly those that discussed my goal of becoming an entrepreneur or private practitioner. This is how I stumbled across Paul Gough’s Physical Therapy Business School Podcast.

Initially, I wasn’t sure what to think. The first few episodes were bleak and for the most part, I had absolutely no idea who this person was or how credible his words were. But I had nothing to do but drive and listen, and within three episodes I was hooked!

It turned out that Paul Gough was a cash-based private practice owner from the United Kingdom, which has a free healthcare system. Paul had been competing with physiotherapists whose services were free. With mindful marketing tactics and a tireless work ethic to bring quality care to the customer, Paul was able to grow his business into four freestanding clinics, his “Paul Gough Physio Rooms,” before crossing the pond and bringing his knowledge to the United States.

He explains it in one of the first episodes: He spins the customer-driven experience on its head and tackles their problem from a different angle.

Take, for example, his strategy of understanding why a customer arrives at his clinic. When someone schedules an initial evaluation, they obviously have pain and that pain could be coming from anywhere. Let’s say it’s from someone’s back. Paul would be quick to say they didn’t come in because they had back pain. They came in because their back pain is preventing them from doing something that they love doing. Whether it’s playing with their kids or grandkids, playing basketball, gardening, or making it all the way to the 18th hole on Sunday morning, each of our clients comes to us because they have lost something special to them. While Paul’s clinical skills get the job done, his focus is on selling the customer an experience that revolves around their particular situation. With successful care, his marketing tactic will always keep the client coming back for their problems.

Paul advises the podcast listener to dive deeper into our conversations with our patients and figure out why they came in that day, even when you have to take a quick subjective impression. He reiterates that focusing all of your care on “back pain” may only give the client enough satisfaction when you take away their pain. Instead, by making the end result about them and their goals, you will find that the benefits might include:

  • adherence to their scheduled visits
  • compliance with their home program
  • willingness to recommend your clinic to a friend or family member who is seeking individualized care

A simple point he makes is that when it comes to a person’s true goals, the patient will always be willing to spend whatever they need to spend in order to get balance back into their life.

Along with a stacked collection of valuable episodes that include just as many guest speakers as there are personal experiences and philosophies, Paul is now touring across the United States. I’m not sure how he finds the time to hold seminars and weekend workshops helping so many private practitioners add value to their clinic while also remotely managing his clinics back home.

Even if you aren’t an owner or working in a cash-based clinic, listen to his episodes that discuss his direct-to-consumer marketing strategies on getting therapists more patients without doctor referrals. You’ll notice an immediate return on your investment in your treating mentality, free of charge, and that’s well worth 1 hour of your listening time. Go check out his podcasts and put some extra knowledge into your daily commute, too!


J. Anthony Sinacore, PT, DPT, is a licensed physical therapist and certified athletic trainer in the state of Delaware. He earned his BS in athletic training from Indiana University in 2012 and his DPT from the University of Pittsburgh in 2016. He is currently an orthopedic resident at the University of Delaware. He has been an editorial board member for Impact magazine since 2016, and his interests include PT private practice startups and entrepreneurship in the outpatient orthopedic/sports settings.

Copyright © 2017, Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. All Rights Reserved.

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