If you want to grow your medical practice, you need to read.
I know med school can make you tired of scanning pages, but reading is the ultimate business hack. It gives you knowledge in an instant that would normally take a lifetime of trial and error to learn.
Because I want to help you get the most out of your business now, I put together this list of must-read books for naturopathic doctors. Some are super practical. Others are really fun. All of them will help you grow your practice.
Start crossing off the ones you’ve read and make sure you order the rest. A few chapters later and your business could be headed for new heights.
1. Profit First by Mike Michalowicz
Profit First will always be my number one must-read book.
I have seen this book transform businesses over and over again. It’s taken my clients and thousands of others from barely getting by to being consistently profitable. Doctors that felt crushed by their practice read this book and rediscovered the joy they’d had when they first graduated med school.
In Profit First, Mike Michalowicz flips the traditional accounting formula on its head. He coaches you to stop making profit an afterthought and instead, put it first. That strategy is counterintuitive and it’s a radical shift from how most businesses operate. But it works.
Michalowicz coaches you through the psychology behind Profit First. He shows how it works and why. And his writing is so fun and innovative that you’ll actually want to keep reading.
Profit First is the ultimate accounting hack. It’s simple but makes a huge difference in your take home pay. That alone is why every naturopathic doctor needs to read it.
3 things I like about Profit First:
- Entertaining to read
- The system works!
2. The E Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber
Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It has sold over a million copies. More than a few of those books were bought by people based on my recommendation.
I tell business owners about this book because it lays bare many of the pitfalls they’ll face. Gerber covers the whole entrepreneurial journey, stage by stage — from just starting out to mature and well-established.
At each stage he talks about the mindset of franchising your business. Even if you’re not planning on franchising, Gerber provides lessons that will help you set your business up to scale.
A franchising mindset helps you look at everything you do for your business. When you read this book you’ll discover the roles and responsibilities you need to keep the doors open. Then when it becomes time to hire support staff, it becomes very easy to pass those pieces off.
3 things I like about The E-Myth Revisited:
- Makes distinction between working on your business and working in your business
- Exposes misconceptions about owning a small business
- Contains lot of stories with well-paced narration
3. EntreLeadership by Dave Ramsey
Dave Ramsey is a household name in finance. His Total Money Makeover has helped millions of people get out of debt and get ahead on their personal finances.
But Ramsey knows more than personal finances. He also runs a wildly successful business and has a lot of advice for your practice.
Like the subtitle says, EntreLeadership is good, practical wisdom. Reading it is like sitting down with Dave Ramsey himself — you get clear guidance from a warm friend. And along the way you cover everything from setting goals and time management to marketing and sales.
One of my favorite pieces of advice is “don’t let crazy in”. Ramsey says you want to be slow to hire people. Take time to make sure they’re the right people. When you hire someone, you’re inviting them and their family into a huge part of your life. If the person is not the right fit, they’ll do more harm than good. If you have a growing medical practice with just a few employees, this becomes even more important.
Gold nuggets like that are why EntreLeadership is a must-read book.
3 things I like about EntreLeadership:
- Super practical
- No nonsense
- Quotes and references some of the best business books of the last decades (get the main points without reading all of them!)
4. Covert Cows and Chick-fil-A by Steve Robinson
I love Chick-fil-A. Yes, their food is amazing, but I’m even more into their business model.
Steve Robinson is the fast food giant’s longtime CMO, so this book gives you the inside story of how a chicken sandwich grew into a 7 billion dollar brand. Robinson shares many of his personal interactions with Truett Cathy, Chick-fil-A’s founder and a man who inspired Dave Ramsey and many others.
Covert Cows shares the secrets of what Cathy did best — create good culture. You learn how they developed the company’s corporate purpose and successfully wove their values into the fabric of the brand.
One of my favorite stories in the book revolves around hiring. Robinson explains that it took forever to hire people in the early days. Cathy was slow to hire because he insisted on finding the right people. He was hard on them in the interview process, but afterward showed them incredible grace and patience. That paid off when Robinson later made a costly marketing mistake. But instead of firing him, Cathy showed him grace. He knew he hired the right person so the mistake became a great learning opportunity.
Culture like that doesn’t happen by accident, so be very intentional about how you shape your practice.
3 things I like about Covert Cows:
- Refreshing candor
- Faith-based perspective
- Insight into one of the most successful brands around
5. Making Money is Killing Your Business by Chuck Blakeman
Chuck Blakeman’s book has a pretty provocative title, but the ideas inside are profound. I believe they can help business owners like you love your business and your life at the same time.
Making Money helps you think through what you want to create with your business. The focus isn’t on making a quick buck or falling in line with the 30-year grind. Instead, Blakeman wants you to establish a business you can keep forever — one you don’t have to sell when you retire. One that makes you money when you’re on vacation.
This is some much-needed advice. I’ve found that most doctors just open the doors and start running forward. But this book helps you rethink your business and build a plan. In doing so, it takes your business from survival, through success, to significance.
Every naturopathic doctor I know wants their practice to matter. And that’s why I think every naturopathic doctor should read this book.
3 things I like about Making Money is Killing Your Business:
- Is built on “profoundly simple ideas”
- Balanced focus on producing time and money
- Teaches you to create a plan
6. Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller
Donald Miller is a writer turned marketing guru. His Wall Street Journal bestseller is all about harnessing the power of story in your company’s messaging.
Building a StoryBrand explains that the key to great marketing lies in telling a good story. The principles that novelists and screenwriters have used to capture attention also work for your brand. If you want to clarify your message and attract the right clients, you need to put the elements of story to work for you.
One of the most important ideas in Building a StoryBrand is simple: your customer is the hero. Too often businesses like to talk about themselves — how great they are, how they were founded, etc., etc. But customers don’t buy into your story, they buy into brands that become part of theirs. If you want people to listen, you need to position your business as the guide that helps people overcome their problems and reach their goals.
3 things I like about Building a StoryBrand:
- Easy to read
- Uses popular movies as accessible examples
- Helps you talk about what you do and why
7. The Pumpkin Plan by Mike Michalowicz
Most naturopathic doctors find themselves in a particular niche. They serve a particular type of client in a particular way. But instead of being a limiting factor, your niche can be a great catalyst to success.
The Pumpkin Plan helps you with niche strategy. It teaches you to identify what you do better than anyone else — and then build your company around that. As you read, Michalowicz helps you understand who your best clients are and how you can serve them better.
By nurturing the “winners” and weeding out the “losers”, your practice is primed to grow no matter how small your field seems. I’ve found this strategy is the best way to charge what you deserve and increase your profit margins.
3 things I like about The Pumpkin Plan:
- Has a step-by-step plan
- Inspiring AND sensible
- Really engaging
8. Cadence — a Tale of Fast Business Growth by Pete Williams
Cadence is different from the other books on this list —it’s a parable. Rather than using the straight forward nonfiction approach, it uses a story.
The story revolves around a business owner named JJ who leaves his stable job to pursue his entrepreneurial dream. At first JJ struggles, but then he learns about seven key “10% Wins”: suspects, prospects, conversions, average item price, items per sale, transactions per customer and margins. Increase these items by 10% and you’ll double your business.
The approach could sound gimmicky, but Williams makes it super effective. Cadence is fun and easy to follow. It makes more complicated ideas very accessible.
I also think it meets a major need for naturopathic doctors and business owners. Often we don’t know what to measure or how. And scant margins keep us from loving our work. But after reading Cadence, you’ll know what things are most important to your bottom line. And by making a few simple adjustments you can really grow your business.
3 things I like about Cadence:
- Narrative approach
- Uses dialogue to tell story
- The math works!
How Many of These Have You Read?
Each title on this list is a must-read book for a reason. I believe that if you can apply the lessons in them, your naturopathic practice will be set up for long term success.
Read for more recommendations? Feel free to give me a call at 602.330.4450.