For years I’ve struggled with the word “investment” as it relates to my practice.

Sure, I understand it from a financial perspective.  I mean, of course I invest money into mutual funds for retirement, kids college and to build a nest egg for the future.

However, what does it mean to invest in your business?  What does it mean to invest in your staff?  What is the difference between spending money on your practice and investing money in your practice?

Well, it’s taken many years to try and figure out this financial word-play puzzle, but I think I got it (at least a working understanding that seems to be working for me).

According to my best friend in the world, Siri, the definition of investment is:

“a thing that is worth buying because it may be profitable or useful in the future.

That’s a pretty good working definition, but when I dove deeper into other meanings, I got one that is even better:

“an act of devoting time, effort or energy to a particular undertaking with the expectation of a worthwhile result.”

Okay, now that we’re clear on investment, what about spending?

The definition I found is “to use up or to consume wastefully”.

Now that we have working definitions for each word, how does one’s thinking and understanding of these words affect their business?

Here it is in a nutshell:

So many times I used to say the word “cost” in the same manner as “spend”.  How much will it cost me?  What will I have to spend?

As you can see by the definition, my mindset was immediately thinking “to use up or consume wastefully”. This type of thinking affected my decision to make good hires.  If a PT was going to “cost” me more money then I should hire someone less expensive or I should spend less on a PT.

“Cost” became my main criteria for hiring.  Trust me, not a good way to hire “A” players to your practice.

I started using the word “investment” instead when referring to my employees.  I began viewing my employees, my team as investments or “a [person] worth [hiring] because they may be profitable or useful in the future”. 

I also took the attitude of “devoting time, effort [and] energy to [them] with the expectation of a worthwhile result.”

Look at the difference!  One is negative and the other is completely positive!

Not only that, but it also helps guide you to what you – as the leader of the business – should be focusing on…devoting time, effort and energy to training and teaching your investment (ie: new hire).

I can tell you that I used to put barely anytime in hiring or training my staff, and my results were a direct indicator of the crappy job I did.

Today, my results are incredible.  I am able to take vacations without worry, spend less time in patient care and more time in leadership activities and help empower my staff!

Understanding the language I was using with these two simple words has made a huge difference in my practice.

I hope it will in your practice too!


Jamey Schrier is a Physical Therapist, PT Owner and Coach that spends much of his time helping clinic owners create an efficient, well-run practice that allows Owners more time to work “On” the business rather than “In” the business.  He is passionate about teaching and inspiring other PT Owners to achieve a greater level of success.

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