Entrepreneur vs. “Anti-preneur”


Which one are you?

By Michael Vacon, PT

The word entrepreneur comes from the 13th century French verb entreprendre, meaning “to do something” or “to undertake.” By the 16th century, the noun entrepreneur had emerged to refer to someone who undertakes a business venture. Today, the word is used more to define individuals willing to take risk for financial gain.

If you have ventured into owning your own private practice, then you have most likely had your “entrepreneurial” moment. Despite a number of other practices or hospitals in your area, you decided that you could do it differently and carve your own place in the market.

After the thrill of opening and starting up a business, growing through the lean times, and then having some success, there is sometimes a lull. Do you grow? Do you open a second location? Do you move to a bigger space? As we are currently buffeted with change in rules and regulations, changes (usually decreases) in payment and growing competition from larger hospitals, many people will start to circle the wagons and try to just hold on to what they have. Others will stare into the abyss and try to continue to grow.

I do not know who originally said it, but I have often repeated it: “If you are not growing, you are closing.” Now that is not entirely true, but the spirit of the statement has some teeth. If you are not trying to add new programs, if you are not staying current with trends in the profession and in your market, and if you are not constantly trying to find new referral sources, you may find yourself closing—little by little. So sometimes growing is not necessarily getting bigger or adding more locations, sometimes growing is just staying competitive.

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I am sure you have heard the statement “Don’t just stand there, do something!” Are you doing that? Are you just standing there and assuming because you have been getting patient referrals from certain places that they will always continue to come? Do you assume that the medical doctors referring to you will not move, will not retire, will not get acquired by a bigger group and then not be able to send you patients? These things can and do happen and if you are not actively working on finding replacements, you could be in trouble.

So, instead of being an “entre-preneur” you are slowly becoming an “anti-preneur”—one who does nothing. Is this you? Have you started to notice that you do not have the fire you once had and you get caught up in the issues of running your practice instead of growing your practice? If this is the case, snap out of it! Chances are that you have surrounded yourself with some good people as you have developed your business—people that have some ideas of their own. When was the last time you asked your team what they thought about programs, or new doctors, or the direction of the office?

As a leader, sometimes you might feel like it is your job to always have the good ideas, to always be the driving force. . . sometimes it might be your job to ask some questions and listen. You may find that your next entrepreneurial moment comes from an “intraprenuer” in your very own clinic! Starting the conversation is the first part, developing the ideas is the fun part.

So, if you have been finding that you are more of an anti-preneur than an entrepreneur, do not just stand there, do something about it—before it is too late! 


Michael Vacon, PT, is the managing partner of Blue Hills Sports & Spine Rehabilitation in Massachusetts, which is part of the Pinnacle Rehabilitation Network. He is a PPS member and also a member of the Impact Magazine editorial board. He can be reached at mvacon@bluehillspt.com.

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