Is your business everything you dreamed it would be when you were first starting up? Do you still wake up with the same drive to impact your community and create your future? How about those “New Year” resolutions you set, do they still exist?

If you identify with any of the underlying frustrations prompted by these questions or if you’re having serious doubts about your ability to press on and continue, we’ve got some advice for you.

It’s not for everyone. Maybe your dreams are set just a little too high. Life is hard, and sometimes there’s nothing you can do. Did you seriously think that you could accomplish anything you set your mind to?

This might not be easy to swallow, but someone has to say it:

It’s time to burn the ship!

Spanish Conquistador, Hernando Cortes

Burn the Ship!

In 1519 Hernán Cortés, a Spanish Conquistador, led a group of 600 men across the Atlantic Ocean to take on the powerful Aztec Empire. Legend has it that upon arrival his men were fearful and wanted to return back to where they came from. They were afraid to risk everything. Cortés had one thing to say to his team:

“It’s time to burn the ship!”

The crazy thing? He did. The ships they arrived on were set ablaze. There was no turning back now!

Fear is a powerful emotion fueled by doubt.

Cortés’ men agreed to embark on this journey united under one common goal: to defeat the Aztec Empire. They dropped everything in their life to get on a boat and spend several months crossing the Atlantic Ocean. One can imagine the entire time they were on the water they were dreaming of the new found riches they were going to claim. Yet, when they arrived to their destination — they wanted to abort the mission and return to the safety of their vessels. Comfort creates complacency.

600 Men, 1 Leader

Can you imagine making a decision that directly contradicts the desires of 600 men — All of whom have put their lives in your hands? Making the decision to go “all-in” is never easy. It’s human nature to want to protect yourself from harm, hedge your bets, or have a back-up plan… you know, just in case.

But those who reach the highest levels of success will tell you the same thing: there’s no plan B!

Make A Decision

Now, it’s your turn. You can choose to stay comfortable, retract, and search for safety. Or, you can dig deeper, train harder, dream bigger and spend every waking moment pursuing your ultimate desires.

If you ask us?

It’s time to burn the ship!


Double Crush Syndrome is a hypothesis that states one nerve can be irritated in two separate areas resulting in a cumulative, increased negative effect. For example, some episodes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome have shown nerve compression not only in the wrist but also in the neck or elbow. Double Crush Syndrome is important to understand for proper diagnosis and treatment.

At SIDECAR, we’ve discovered a different form of Double Crush Syndrome that exists and plagues many business owners. This form of Double Crush Syndrome states:

“Stresses at home and stresses at work can result in an overall cumulative, negative effect.”

In this piece, we will help you diagnose Double Crush Syndrome in your life and guide you through treating and preventing this phenomena.

Your Reality

The reality of entrepreneurship is that every business is a family business. Regardless of if family members are working in your business or not; your business’s performance will have a definite, measurable effect on your family. It’s incredibly difficult to operate a struggling business without feeling the effects at home. Troubles within the home also tend to lead to troubles in the business. It’s rare to have a good day in one area and a bad day in the other. Because of this cumulative effect, it’s important to establish proper boundaries and have the right mindset in both situations.

Here’s our best advice when dealing with these issues:

  1. Leave your personal baggage at the door.
    When you enter your place of business you must have the ability to leave behind any outside issues you may be dealing with. These problems will still be there when you leave, but the only way they can enter your business is if you allow them in.
  2. Take care of your needs (and your family’s needs) first.
    If your personal needs aren’t being met; you can’t expect that your business will be able to help meet the needs of others. This is the self-serving reality of human nature. A battery can not give off that which it does not have. In order to, be all-in at your business serving your customers; make sure you are getting your needs met. For some people it’s exercise, others may need to meditate prior to arriving at the office. Whatever you need to do to make sure you are at your best once you begin your day.
  3. Be where your feet are.
    The ability to be present in every situation allows for you to be at your best regardless of outside circumstances. When you are at work, be at work. When you’re home with your family, be at home with your family. It’s natural to allow your brain to wander between the two but with proper focus and discipline you can remain in the moment and serve the purpose at hand.
  1. Take a proper amount of trips and vacations.
    As the saying goes, if you think you need a vacation… it’s too late! At SIDECAR we’ve developed a rejuvenation system designed to allow you to take sufficient time off without stalling or stopping the momentum of a growing practice.

Your family shouldn’t suffer because of your struggling business. Your family should thrive alongside your business.

You can have it all. We can help you get there.



Van Halen knew that the execution of great performances lies in the details.

The Story

The great American rock band, Van Halen, is well known for several chart-topping hits and sold-out concerts. The impact they can have on your business involves a story about Brown M&M’s..

Back in their prime, Van Halen traveled the United States putting on concert productions larger and more spectacular than had ever been seen before. Hours of preparation and proper execution by hundreds of people was required to pull off these events. This is where the brown M&M’s come into play. Van Halen’s performance contract to the promoter included a section containing the band’s requirements. If these requirements were not fully met, the promoter would forfeit the show at full pay. One requirement in the contract stated that no brown M&M’s were to be found backstage. The band required M&M’s as part of their agreement; but, the brown ones needed to be removed prior to their arrival.

The brilliance of this story lies in the band’s reasoning behind the brown M&M’s. (If you want to hear the story straight from the horse’s mouth check out this link!

Why the Brown M&M’s?

The band created this requirement as a safety measure. They knew that the production they were putting on was state-of-the-art. At the time, Van Halen traveled with the biggest lights, sound equipment, and stage than had ever been seen before. If proper installation was not done; the band and fans would be in serious danger. Thus, the brown M&M’s requirement was born. The requirement was included in the middle of the installation safety instructions. If the band arrived to brown M&M’s backstage, they knew that the proper safety measures had not been taken and would require a more thorough examination prior to the concert. If the promoter did not go through the safety checklists provided by Van Halen, they would definitely miss the brown M&M’s but more importantly they could risk putting people in harm’s way.

Your Business

The moral of the story is this: Van Halen utilized a checklist that contained step-by-step instructions to ensure that the performance they put on was the best it could possibly be. They went a step further by utilizing the brown M&M’s as a safety measure to gauge whether or not the checklist had been followed correctly.

Your business needs checklists. Your team needs the tasks they are responsible for specifically documented and laid out to be followed every single day. It doesn’t matter how long you have been doing things or your team members have been with you. We are all human and we all forget. Design your checklists to be all-encompassing and don’t forget the specific details.

Without checklists, the bathrooms are forgotten, garbage cans remain full, and tissue boxes empty.

Exceptional patient experiences are executed in the details.

Dr. Nathan UnruhDr. Nathan Unruh, CXO SIDECAR

Imagine how simple it would be to report your findings if all of your new patients came with a USB port. Then all you would have to do is stick in a flash drive and transfer your findings along with the appropriate studies validating your recommendations. Well that day may come but not fast enough to make a difference in your practice right now! If you want more new patients you must take your good patient communication skills and make them great.

The Problem

The problem with most Report of Findings is that they don’t work. They fail to get results for the patient. Allow me to repeat that statement, They fail to get results for the patient. Most reports do not cultivate trust, deliver meaning or move the patient to follow through. Reports too often leave the patient dazed and confused and a confused mind always says no. This has real consequences for both you and your patients. The patient misses the opportunity to get the care they want and you lose the opportunity to serve!

You probably think (hope) that getting a patient to accept your recommendations is pretty straight forward. You gather the history, do the appropriate exams, formulate a plan and boom they start care. And of course the most famous bromide of them all, “They stay, pay and refer.” Too often reports are heavy on facts and light on human touch. Data-dumping does not get the results the patient needs. A doctor-centered report of findings focuses on what the doctor needs to say. A patient-centered approach focuses on what the patient needs to hear, it “relates” to the patient.

Stop reporting your findings and start “Relating Your Findings” using the following three steps.

  1. Personalize the report
  2. Give the patient your best recommendation
  3. Make the decision process easy
Personalize every report.

Begin your presentation with, “As I understand it, the most important thing for you right now is to be able to_____.” Never use dogmatic platitudes like “You need to come for the rest of your life,” or weak avoidance tactics like “If you’re not better after five adjustments then chiropractic won’t work for you.” Both are cookie cutter one size fits all positions.

Make your best recommendation your only recommendation.

Interpret the examination findings then stand firmly upon your clinical opinion, best available evidence and experience to date. This is your point of view; you are the expert. Is it always right? Of course not, but it is the best you can do with what you know right now. Changing your recommendation during the report when you sense resistance is not patient-centered. It is, in fact, doctor-centered and fear driven behavior. Too often the fear of being criticized, or the need to make everyone happy makes us people pleasers not patient leaders.

Make the decision process easy

You must make the decision process easy. Address the patient’s problem in the context of how it is limiting their life. Make the cause of their symptoms tangible. Instead of saying misalignments are caused by toxins, thoughts and trauma, tell them exactly what you think. As an example you could say, “Spinal misalignments can occur as a result of accumulated stress and injuries. In your case I suspect ____.”        And make the care plan simple. As an example, “In order to get the results we are both looking for you will need a concentrated course of care over the next ____”

The reality is that patient non-compliance is a source of frustration for all health care providers. Yet chiropractors need to be better because our margin for error is a whole lot less. People always pay for services they value and value the services they pay for. And in today’s stingy economy, chiropractic care needs to be affordable and valued. You can take charge of your practice but only if you take responsibility for your role in patient non-compliance.


Sunday nights tend to have a somber mood to them. For most people, Sunday evening marks the end of a fun, stress-free weekend and the beginning of a dreaded work week. This is especially true for someone who doesn’t love his/her job.

Guess what? Most people don’t “love” their job. In fact, one study found 70% of people are unsatisfied with their career choice.

Whether you love your job or not, it’s important that you put the right foot forward.

The First Step

In basketball, the first step dictates whether a player gets past the defense or not. During the work week, the first step is also the most important. To make the most out of your first step it needs to come from the right emotion — gratitude.

What’s great about your job? If you can’t find an answer to that question, try this one: what’s positive about your job? Do you get paid? Do you enjoy any relationships you have with those around you?

What impact does your job afford you to have?

We’ve found that the best direction to take your first step is usually backwards! 

Take time to think, pray, reflect, and love. The beginning of the day carries so much weight for the rest of the week.

Only you can control your attitude.

It doesn’t matter what you do, carry a great attitude through it… no matter what!



When is it over? It’s over when you say it is. The only failure in life is quitting on your dream and/or deciding that the work required to reach it is too overwhelming. We all hear the same inner voice when we face adversity. When your perceptions are clouded with negative emotions the self-deceptive, survival voice tells you that you need, even deserve, a break. The fact is that if you want to excel you have to work smarter, play harder, sharpen your skills and be more disciplined than your competition. It’s not over ‘til it’s over.

“Think Outside the Box”

Have you heard the tired bromide that in order to be successful you have to “think outside the box?” Well, that’s half right. Actually, it’s just as important to “think inside the box.” If we equate “outside the box” as right brain thinking and “inside the box” as left brain thinking, we get the whole view. Inside the box is working on the strategic organizational aspects of your practice and outside the box is working on your leadership skills.

Most Chiropractors think outside the box when it comes to revolutionary health care strategies but when it comes to their businesses they tend to resort to ‘OLD-practice’ thinking and entrenched beliefs. One of the most costly is the belief that the strategic work of a practice can be fixed once and for all. This strictly linear thinking leads to practice distress and personal frustration. The result is a process of decline, beginning with stagnation, followed by mediocrity, roller coaster numbers, free fall and eventual extinction. Business remains a work in process and it’s not over until it’s over. It simply is not possible nor is it desirable to attempt to fix the practice once and for all. All attempts to eliminate innovation and creativity will lead to boredom and failure.

A prime example of this “fixing the practice mentality” is how many doctors deal with the challenges associated with recruiting, hiring and training staff. Too many doctors fly by the seat of their pants or on the wind of their emotions and avoid the rigors of leadership. Once they finally wake up and terminate the employee, or wait for him/her to quit, they go on a search to find the perfect assistant and assume this will solve the problem for good. This assumption is a costly repetition of a systemic (whole brain) flaw in thinking. Leadership requires consistent vigilance and investment of your time, energy and money for training.

What is Excellence?

Another common example of this fixer mentality occurs when the doctor puts all of his/her attention on the task of organizing the systems of the business and neglects the human aspect of patient care. As in life, being a Chiropractic Entrepreneur is a cyclical process, not a linear event. Just when you have attended to one aspect, another one is calling for your attention. You must develop the mental agility to hold the entire Business of Chiropractic in your head at once. This includes the Clinical Department, the Financial Department and all the systems involved in each. Excellence means performing at your peak every day, all day.

An example of a manmade cyclical process is the care and maintenance of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. Anyone who has seen this inspired mega structure close up will notice that it is always in a state of repair and maintenance. As a matter of fact, before the painting crew finishes one end of the bridge, they set up the scaffolding on the opposite end and the painting cycle is started again. In business we call this consistency and innovation.

The reality is that you must work on your business and on yourself simultaneously. That’s why SIDECAR is designed with coaching accountability, not feel good, pat-on-the-back chats.

It’s not over till you say it is.


This message was inspired by a talk given by Eric McDonald, CEO of DocuTap during a presentation he gave at BRAINSPA 2017. If you’d like to hear his full presentation (trust us, you do) you can check it out here.

As a business leader, you dictate exactly how your team behaves. You set the standards and are responsible for holding your team to them.

How high do you set your standards? Perfection.

What happens when your team doesn’t meet them? Grace.


Setting standards that are anything less than perfection is a mistake. Standards need to be set in an “ideal world” environment. In business, the standards you set are one of the few things that you can control and remain largely unchanged.

Here’s the kicker – you’ll never reach perfection; but you have to shoot for it. The second you lower your standards you send a message to your team that it’s okay to be average. Lowering the standard and achieving it with minimal effort never creates growth or improvement.

So, you set perfect standards and your team fails to meets them. What now?


First and foremost, understand that you are working with people. Flawed, complex, unique, wonderful people. Every single person on your team is completely different. No person should ever be capable of meeting your perfect standards; but every person on your team should be in a constant pursuit of them.

What happens when they fall short?

The questions you need to ask are:

“Was the shortcoming a product of good faith done in pursuit of a perfect (unachieveable) standard?”

“Where is there room for improvement and growth?”

“What leadership does this employee need from me?”

Perfect employees don’t exist. Perfect standards must. Navigating this dichotomy is where you as a business leader need to live and thrive every day.

Press for excellence, give grace.



If you want to reach your personal business best whether that’s 100 patient visits a day or 100 patient visits a week, you need to let go of the “myths of success” that most management systems perpetuate and embrace evidence-based management.

The preponderance of psychological evidence indicates that experts are made, not born. Successful Chiropractic Entrepreneurs are experts in three key areas:

  1. Clinical expertise
  2. Leadership charisma
  3. Managerial acumen

Decades of research by University of Florida’s Andres Ericsson proves that exceptional performance doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it determined by innate talent. Here are the cliff notes:

  1. Ten year rule
    It takes approximately 10 years of daily, deliberate practice, about four hours a day, to become an expert.
  2. Training trumps talent.
    Experts train effectively and efficiently and have direct access to the best techniques through coaching, skilled peers, books and seminars. They never miss an opportunity to train.
  3. Relentless pursuit for excellence
    Once achieved, exceptional performance can’t be maintained without continued effort.
  4. More effort, not more success
    Exceptional performers do not have a higher success rate, they simply do more.
  5. Effortful study
    Challenging yourself beyond your present competencies makes room for growth. Jim Collins says, “Comfort and complacency are the enemies of greatness.”
  6. Successful people don’t have hot streaks.
    The period when they produce the most successes are also the times when they produce the most failures.
  7. A higher source of motivation
    Experts are intrinsically motivated to be the best they can be. They are not motivated by fear of failure or by greed.

I can only imagine how incredible it will be for you when the person you are today meets the person you are destined to be!

Remember, it’s not what you are born with, it’s what you have in you to become!


So how do we become familiar? 

How many times has a patient asked you for the name of another D.C., either because they were moving, traveling or wanted to refer a friend? How do you find that D.C.? If you’re like me you first check to see if you have any friends or acquaintances in that city or one close by. Referrals are personal. Chiropractic is not familiar to most people, so you, the Chiropractor, must become the familiar gateway. There are three components to becoming familiar: contactability, interpersonal skills, and image.


Contactability is how approachable you are in your community. Do you go to the gym and put a force field up around you? When you go to church do you bolt out the side door as soon as services are over? When you attend your child’s athletic or school events are you one of the untouchables? If we attached a monitoring device to you and followed your activities throughout the week what would we see? Home to office and back again? You know it’s really tough to meet people when you don’t even give yourself the chance.

Interpersonal Skills

How do you behave at a restaurant? Do you tip appropriately? Do you treat the wait staff with respect? You see; wherever you go there you are. You are your message! Are you willing to discuss subjects outside of your interests? In other words, are you boring? Are you always talking about health and healing? The number one complaint that spouses have is that the doctor (technician) never leaves the office and has cloistered his self/herself in a protective cocoon from the world of allopathy. Now I don’t want to get off on a rant or anything but get a life outside of adjusting. Learn to be interested in others and they will be interested in you and your message.


Like it or not you have 7 seconds to make an impression with a stranger. Do you look like a professional? Do you dress with pride for yourself and respect for others, or have you decided that comfort means “I don’t care what others think?” Do you realize that people respond to what you feel and think more than what you say? When you say to yourself, “I don’t care what people think about my image,” they only hear I don’t care. Remember, every one of us has an unconscious attraction or repulsion that impacts our choices. What are you sending out?

Successful Chiropractic Entrepreneurs like you have one thing in common: a single- minded dedication to their patients. They have a passionate commitment to understanding everything they can about the people they serve. They have an innate sense that patients are to be served not converted, served not needed, and served not controlled.



For most Chiropractors the completion of this “if only” sentence is quite predictable. Can you hear the strident voices shouting in unison, “If only. . . I had more new patients?” It is a striking contradiction that a profession that espouses the benefits of an inside-out approach to health is addicted to an outside –in philosophy when it comes to growing a business. We routinely take the path of least resistance looking for the quick fix event and shun the hard work of building through process.

It is a fact that all businesses need to promote their services to potential customers if they are to succeed. As small business owners we must do the same. How you promote your business determines whether or not you build a flash in the pan practice or a solid profitable self sustaining business.

While everyone can benefit form Chiropractic care, the brutal fact is that unless you are a non- profit organization (by design that is) you have a limited market. Now before you judge that statement consider what constitutes a viable Chiropractic patient. First they must be aware of their need and made aware that your services could help solve their problem. Second, they must be willing to do something about it and accept your solution. And third they must have the ability to follow through with care. The word I chose is limited, not limiting. The fact is that there is an ample supply of patients who fit these criteria.

When most Chiropractors think of marketing they think advertising. The two are quite different.


Advertising is the promotion through public announcements on Facebook, radio, television, and the internet of something in order to attract interest to it. The game of buying patients is costly, risky, and less profitable. Most importantly it requires more selling on your part. Advertising, by its nature, adds more steps in the decision making process. Purchasing a series of Chiropractic care is nothing like buying a vitamin or paying for a massage because Chiropractic is a high impact and risky venture for people. The decision process is already demanding, so more steps equals more stress. You will have to make the potential patient aware and then eager to buy. More selling is needed because you have to create urgency and attempt to convince them to buy your Chiropractic solution and your brand of Chiropractic. It’s inefficient and requires a huge personal energy expenditure that eventually leads to burnout.

“Marketing is an Attitude not a Department” – Phil Wexler


Marketing, on the other hand, is the business activity of presenting products or services to potential customers in such a way as to make them eager to buy. Marketing is everything you do to attract and retain patients. It is how your business is perceived by your staff, your patients, your bank, your accountant, your attorney, your church and, of course, your business advisors/coaches. Marketing creates referrals. Everyone agrees that a referral practice is the ultimate goal. These patients are already interested and therefore aware and eager for a solution. A recent Chiropractic survey asked the question, “Where do most of your new patients come from?” 68.4 % of those surveyed answered, “from existing patient referrals.” Why then are we so obsessed with spending most of our time, energy and money outside looking in?

Chiropractors will buy just about anything and they line up with credit cards in hand for the next “killer gimmick.” Do they work? Yes and No. Yes, a flush of new patients come in. No, because 90 days later the numbers are pretty much the same and you need the next “fix” because nothing has changed in the way you do business. Well, that’s not entirely true, your image may have been tarnished by the type of promotional event, rushed exams, rushed reports, overburdened staff, system break downs, and lengthy office visits for the “regulars.”

If the foundational work is skipped and systems are anemic the results are always the same; an influx of new patient euphoria that dulls your logic while your inside voice screams “Finally, I am on my way,” sadly followed by the cold gray reality of a practice plateau. Foundational work is so critical. The Chiropractor who is a skilled entrepreneur never abdicates the responsibility for growing his/her business to others. He/She embraces the leadership challenge of marketing without resentment or hesitation.

Join us next week as we continue this conversation and dive further into how you can improve your marketing ability!