Dr. Zach Pope is a graduate of the University of Western States College of Chiropractic in Portland, Oregon. Extensive postgraduate training from the Spine Research Institute of San Diego has afforded him specialized training in the care and management of car crash victims (whiplash, mild traumatic brain injury, etc.). Other special clinical interests include work related injury, helping patients achieve their health goals and streamlining healthcare delivery.
Dr. Zach enjoys being involved in his local church and homeschooling his children with his wife Rachel. He follows professional soccer, speaks Spanish, cold water surfs and is and avid trail runner.
Dan: So I am sitting here with Dr. Zach across the table from me. How are you?
Dr. Zach: I'm doing well. How are you?
Dan: Doing great; excited to do this with you. We've been trying to do this for a week now, so I'm glad to be sitting across from you.\
For The Business Growth Podcast, one of my personal goals is to provide at least one directly actionable tidbit that a business owner, a manager or someone within a particular part of their industry can take and use and grow their business from it; whether it's through self-improvement or through improvement on their business. So I'm hoping in this podcast we can provide something that will be useful.
So first off, tell me a little bit about Pope Chiropractic and what your role specifically is in the company.
Dr. Zach: We're a smallish chiropractic clinic on Camano Island, Washington, and we've got about 10 employees. We've been around the community since 1991. I joined the practice about seven years ago and I'm a chiropractor / half owner and am just having a good time helping people out and growing the business little by little.
Dan: You're more than just a chiropractic clinic. Can you tell us a little more about that?
Dr. Zach: Sure. We've got a motto that says "injury recovery and wellness restoration for children and adults". So that's the idea. We want to provide a healthcare option for people in our community that not only helps people go from injured to well again, but to stay at a well-optimized physical ability level.
Dan: What all do you guys offer outside of chiropractic? Obviously, it's Pope Chiropractic so everybody kind of gets that part, but I know you offer more.
Dr. Zach: Yeah, we have kind of a three-pronged approach. Chiropractic is the majority of what we do, but then we also have four massage therapists who do primarily injury recovery-type therapeutic massage. There's also some "get your wife a Valentine's Day gift card" type stuff too. We also have a weight loss program that we send people through that helps them achieve the goals they have for their lives.
Dan: So speaking of goals, that's my next question. Pope Chiropractic has specific goals, but what are your personal goals? Are they intrinsically entwined with Pope Chiropractic. Do you have some that are not? Tell us a little bit about your goals.
Dr. Zach: Yeah, from a business standpoint, I think it's to build the business to a point where it's self-sustaining to a certain extent. That there's synergy within the departments to the point where everything's kind of feeding into itself in a virtual cycle. We're getting there more and more as time goes on as we invest in different departments and develop things. I don't know if you can ever fully arrive at that, but we're making progress. Then personally, finding the balance between work and church and family. That's also elusive, but the more of that the better.
Dan: Yeah, I agree. That work-life balance thing is, at least in the way some people understand, is a complete myth, but there still is a balance to be had.
I know you've been working on some cool system things and have actually implemented quite a few new systems. What challenges have you faced in joining and then moving forward with the business?
Dr. Zach: We've undergone a lot of growth. Some of that is just inherent challenges: keeping a good team happening all the time and making sure everyone's on the same page. We've also scaled up some of the technology that we use – sometimes with good results; other times with a lot of wanting to throw the computer out the window.
Recently, we had a breakthrough where we changed some of our patient flow systems. One of the big challenges with what we do is when we see many patients over the course of the day – and that's good; from a business standpoint you want to stay busy – but it's always something like you start the day maybe a little behind, and you end the day way more behind than when you started. So we changed some of the way we process and chart our visits to be in compliance with insurance companies and stuff like that. It seems like a small change but it actually has made a huge difference.
Dan: So you definitely call that a success.
Dr. Zach: It was a success. Yeah, it was a long time coming, and oddly enough, it came down to one little piece of technology, a switch, so that we could use one computer but switch between displays. It cost $10 on an online reseller, and it changed my stress level from breaking through the roof to really really minimal now. A lot more efficient, better care for patients, and it's kind of opened up some other things. So that's really cool.
Dan: So with what you do, where do you find the most joy in your business? I know you have lots of joy in life; you have great kids.
Dr. Zach: I actually really like telling patients they don't have to come back.
Dan: So you find joy in shooting yourself in the foot, right?
Dr. Zach: Haha! Well, I do a lot of care for patients that have been in car accidents. Recently, we have had quite a few that got in car accidents a few months ago, and it seems like the last few weeks I've been able to say, "Hey, you're better. You don't have to come back; maybe for maintenance here and there just to stay well, but that injury part of what we're offering you or guiding you through is done," and everyone gets a high five and then off you go.
Dan: From a business standpoint, a lot of people think about, "How am I going to make more money? How am I going to increase?" Even with Brand Shouter, I look at my existing clientele and it's not about milking them for more but it's how much more can I offer them so that I can also increase. Yet when you look at doctors, chiropractors, dentists and people that are in health fields, really the joy should be in the fact that the patient doesn't have to come back or has to come back far less frequently than they were.
Dr. Zach: Sure, or we can change the services that we're offering them. You know, that's one of the reasons why we have the injury recovery portion of our practice where we want to see you only as much as we need to get you out of this injury phase. Then you go on your way and live your life until you're injured again, or if you want to keep things going at a more optimal level then you slide into our Wellness Recovery portion of what we can offer you.
Dan: So one more question: if you had one piece of advice from your seven years of doing this, what would it be? What would be that tidbit or nugget of knowledge you could offer?
Dr. Zach: About two or three years ago I started listening to Audible books and I noticed a big shift in my outlook towards the way I treat patients and then the way I look at the business and our mission. Just because it broadened my horizons and made me realize, "Hey, I don't want to just always work IN this business. I want to work ON it and really make it something that's meaningful in the long term and really helpful for people that way.
Actually, one of the side benefits of this little switch that changed the way I chart and the monitors that I use, has kind of slotted in with one of the books that I read on Audible recently. It was about time management: optimizing different things that you do during different times of the day. One of the things they talked about was having periodic breaks between tasks and having that act as kind of a reset. So this switch allows me about a 30-second break between each patient. Prior to having that switch I just ran from one room to another frantically all day long. Now, I have that thirty second break between each patient. I can actually spend more time really focused on each patient in front of me even though technically, I'm spending 30 seconds less with each patient, but the quality is much higher.
Dan: The "quality" over "quantity of time" thing.
Before I let you talk more about what you do and "pitch yourself," if you like; I've been a customer of yours for I don't know how many years at this point. When I was in high school, living down in Arizona at the time, I played some flag football and somebody grabbed me by the neck. Ever since then I've had back pain, which sounds strange but everything is connected. You would be able to know that better than anyone. Probably about four years after I moved here I had the first instance of "my back going out." That can mean a whole lot of different things to a lot of different people. But for me, it can actually be pretty severely crippling. I can hardly move and oftentimes the slightest movement causes my back to basically seize up and tense up. Between using your chiropractic and massage services I was able to overcome it and actually start strengthening my back a little bit.
Massage specifically I have on a monthly schedule now because I just know that if I start skipping, my back starts to have pain. Between that and any adjustments that I get I've been actually able to keep most of it at bay. It comes back but on a very much lesser scale. I'm still able to move around although a little hobbled over [when it goes out]. I'm a firm believer in you; I can't speak to other chiropractic offices because I just never went to the chiropractor before, but I can definitely speak to what Pope Chiropractic does, both as a testimonial but also having full-on experienced it myself. It's a huge deal. It's changed my life completely. So there's a little plug for you based on my experience.
Why don't you let the listener know whatever you want them to know about your company, if there's any more you want to add.
Dr. Zach: I really appreciate what you said. That's one of the reasons why we do this.
So, a plug for the team because we've got a great team going on right now. Also for my business partner, who you know is my dad, for the way he set the practice up and contributes and leads in terms of vision and his immense knowledge and hope for patients.
Dan: All right guys, that's Dr. Zach Pope with Pope Chiropractic. Thanks for listening.