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52. Managing Change in Your Speech Therapy Private Practice

With the onset of COVID-19, I talk about making changes in your your Speech Therapy Private Practice. With sudden change comes anxiety, but in this episode, I look back at other events in my life that gave me the abilities to make good solid changes in our business so that patients can get their treatments and employees can receive a paycheck during these difficult times.

Resources for Small Businesses:

The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act

In this episode:
02:15 – Space for Perfect Student
02:45 – Change happens
05:30 – Adapt and Change
08:30 – Teletherapy
09:48 – Shutting doors to take care of family and staff
11:10 – Change comes with opportunity

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I remember I was on a business trip in Vegas about four weeks ago, and we were talking amongst ourselves, some other big clinic owners and we were talking about the same thing, we’re hearing on the news about this Coronavirus. And I said, I started thinking about that Teletherapy thing and I said, we got to get ready for this. We need to go to our pandemic plans and get this thing moving.

[Commercial]

Well, Hello everyone you’re listening to the Speech Therapy Private Practice StartUp Podcast. This is episode number 52. My name is Kyle Meades and I’m a Speech Pathologist since 1993. And these podcasts are designed to help you improve your business and your life one Podcast at a time.

Welcome back to the show, everyone. Thanks again for all the emails and all the questions. And as of today. Today’s Friday, March 27th, 2020. We have well over 64,836 listeners to the show. And I’m super glad you guys are out there and getting good, valuable information. You know me, I said every single podcast value is what you get in the absence of money and these podcasts are free for you. So if you wouldn’t mind, just please go to your Android or iTunes platform of your choice and leave some good 5-Star feedback. That way other people just like you can get the same valuable information that you are receiving right here today. And I’d like to welcome those around the world who are listening to the podcast. We’ve got Australia, Japan, India, Canada, the U.K., Germany, South Africa and the Republic of South Korea just to name a few countries. So those are popping up on the list right now. So it’s just really nice to have you guys out there. And if you have any questions, you can also just reach out to me at privateslp.com.

I wanted to let you guys know that we still have space for the perfect student. And if you want some one on one coaching with me, you can also get that head privateslp.com/coaching. And for those of you who are starting out and you are working with insurance companies, if you need some help with your billing or credentialing, you can always just go to privateslp.com/billing and I can help you there.

Well, today is one of those topics that we all need to talk about. It’s really the 800 pound gorilla in the room, right? It’s called change. And change is something that happens whether we like it or not. And, with this whole coronavirus thing, I mean, I was forced to change, 47 employees, 48 employees, and we had to move thousands of patients over to a new platform and we had to do it quickly. And so I wanted to talk to you about that today.

I just got off of a live webinar with our all access community members. And we were speaking about the same thing that I’m talking to you about here right now. And that’s just really how to adapt to an online platform so we can continue to help those that we serve, with speech or occupational or physical therapy or even a B.A. therapy. So, I get many calls from around the United States, e-mails, communications about people starting, different kinds of clinics.

And so, we just have to get used to that change. And it’s just really a crazy time in the world right now. And it’s everybody. But it really got me thinking about when I was a kid. I remember I was in a Middle-Class home. And my mom and my dad were hardworking people. And my dad was a plumber. This was back in the 80s. For those of you who are old enough to remember the savings and loan bust back in the 80s.

And that’s when pretty much interest rates went sky high. And values of properties went low. And my dad was a plumber. And I remember at that time, he had about 100 employees and he was worried. And I just remember I didn’t know what was going on, but I know that it wasn’t good. I remember my dad. He had some land down the way and he built a couple of duplexes. And I remember he couldn’t sell our house. I just remember that Century 21 real estate sign was just in our yard for the longest time. I remember asking my mom, why isn’t the house selling? And she gave me some answer, but I really didn’t understand it. But I remember my mom and my dad. And now we moved out of that house and we moved down to one of our duplexes. And so, looking back, I saw that what my dad was doing is, he was consolidating and kind of, riding out that storm at that time so other people would pay rent and he could use that money to pay the mortgage. So, that’s one of the things my dad did.

But, I just remember that and how we had to adapt and change. You know, we had a Middle-Class lifestyle. We used to take trips, used to go out to eat. And I remember for the most part, all of that stopped and then I remember I had to go to work. I remember my dad and I’ve spoken about this on some of my earlier podcast. I had to go to work on my dad’s plumbing trucks and I had to wash cars and run gasline and dig ditches. But I really understood the value of money. And then fast forward to, the early 2000s and I just moved back from New Zealand and got back into New Orleans. And then, a few months later, here it goes, Hurricane Katrina. And I just remember going through that natural disaster. I lost my job overnight. Yet I had no income. But I did have about eight to ten thousand dollars in the bank. I do remember that. And I remember just all the devastation, all the doom and gloom. I had a hospital pass because I worked at a major hospital, Ochsner Hospital in New Orleans.

And I remember I was able to come back a little bit early. My buddy Bobby was in the National Guard, so I got back into the city earlier than most. And I just remember seeing all the flooding. And there’s a Web page that I put up on privateslp.com. If you want to see some of those images, just the destruction that I saw. And it really did something to me. It changed me just like that event that changed me when I was a kid in the 80s.

This event changed me in the early 2000s, Hurricane Katrina. And I remember, I had a couple duplexes at the time and I was living on top and renting the bottom out and that was paying for that mortgage. And then down the street, I had another couple, two bedrooms, one bath place, and that was paying for their mortgage. And all of a sudden, after one day there were no more tenants.

And that students at Tulane, they were gone. And the students said all the major universities, the whole place to shut down overnight. And I remember getting back to my house and it was just gross. It was a lot of water. And I remember walking my roofs and I needed a couple roofs and called my friend. He was a contractor. And I said, hey, can you hook me up with a couple roofs?

And he says, yeah, I do two roofs for it’s going to be about fifty five hundred cash on. Said you got a deal. Next day, I had two new roofs on my house and I remember right then and there I learned this lesson again. My neighbor comes over, he says hey wait insurance company do you use. And I said, oh, that’s the Bank of Kyle. I just pay cash. He goes, Really?

I said, Yeah, I don’t have time to wait for insurance companies. I mean, why would you do that? Because when you need to get things done, you got to move quickly. You got to get it done and get it done fast. So I made that phone call and I had two new roofs that next day the roofs were on my house. The top of my house, put a new roof on, so I was grateful I had that money saved up.

And here it is the Coronavirus. We got 48 employees, we see about thirty eight hundred patients a month. And then all of a sudden, boom, I remember I was on a business trip in Vegas about four weeks ago. And we were talking amongst ourselves, some other big clinic owners. And we were talking about the same thing, we’re hearing on the news about this Coronavirus. And I said, I started thinking about that Teletherapy thing and I said, we got to get ready for this.

We need to go to our pandemic plans and get this thing, move in. And so we got into action. And a couple of weeks ago before all this hit, on our terms. And, because I was seeing all these states being closed down and people, stuck at home and couldn’t leave their house and in quarantine and stuck at home and people were dying at hospitals, this is really getting bad.

And so I said, on our terms, let’s get a plan for this. Let’s go and get online and get an online platform and let’s go ahead and start talking to our families and patients and staff and getting them ready, because again, I want to do this on my terms. So that’s what we started doing. I’ve got some wonderful staff here who helped me get this done. And I mean, really worked hard to get all this coordinated.

And we got it done. We communicate with staff and family members. And I remember this past Monday, I just decided to shut the doors because really, look, this is not about money and greed. And, I still see businesses open right now who are still seeing patients one on one. And look, I’m not judging. I’m just saying for me and only me speaking for myself. I want to take care of my families, my staff and things that I’m directly in control of.

So that’s what I did. I chose to shut my business and have everybody work from home. And I promised everybody I said, I’m going to pay your insurance. I’m going to pay for your dental, your vision. I’m in a match your 401K and you may not get 100 percent of what you normally make, but you might get about 60 to 75 percent. And that’s what I did. We made some changes in watching our payroll and watching our expenses right now.

But I promised everybody you. Will have a place to comeback, too, to continue to work. And as a leader, as a boss, as an owner, as a clinic owner, it’s my job to make sure that we all have, during this moment of crisis. So that’s really what I wanted to talk to you guys about today. And, if you’re one of our all access community members, you know how I am.

You’ve got direct access to me to bounce all these ideas off of the same thing you’re going through. You can talk to me. We have that private coaching thread where you can work with me one on one. Nobody else will see it or read your comments. But we also have the community of people who are working hand in hand to get through this crisis. So that’s what I wanted to talk to you guys today about it. It’s about change.

And with change comes opportunity. And it’s an opportunity to improve and grow and just get better because it forces you to do things you really wouldn’t do. I get comfortable over time and I’m always used to doing this. And I drive the same way to work and I eat the same foods and I wear the same clothes. People who know me have always got a white Costco t-shirt on, and vans or whatever. I just do the same thing over and over.

But boy, when this change happens, it’s always good to have a plan. So I’d like to know what you guys are doing to manage, the Coronavirus crisis around the United States. If you’ve got a clinic or you’re in private practice, comment below this posting and let me know what you’re doing to take care of yourself and your family and your patients. So I hope this has been helpful for you. And if you have any questions, you can always reach out to me at privateslp.com. And thank you for listening.

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