The Four Types of Physical Therapy Owners

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Recently, we talked about the four types of business owners. Each of these owners has their own strengths and weaknesses and characteristics. If you are able to identify which type of owner YOU are, then you can beter identify your strengths and weaknesses in terms of managing your practice and being the best executive you can. 

Physical Therapy Private Practice owners often struggle with their business, not because of external influences, but rather internal influences. It has often been said that one can only change that which they can identify needs to be changed. Unfortunately, we live in a society today or far too many people are only interested in talking to those who agree with their position and tell them what they want to hear. When in reality your true friend is one whose transparent and willing to tell you what you need to hear in such a manner that is in manners so that you have an opportunity to confront your weaknesses and demand for change. Too many owners drop-down and are angry because they are not being agreed with resulting in them digging their heels in and justifying for their shortcomings just in order for them to feel right. Let’s identify these four most typical types of PT practice owners so that we can better help each of them to succeed in private practice.  


This owner is typically a good therapist. Because of this, opportunities to become a Private Practice owner tend to fall in their lap. They blindly move forward with practice ownership without much thought.

This owner is usually kind hearted, openminded, well liked and easy to work with. They are bright and capable but unaware about what they need to know to be successful in practice ownership. They will often compensate for this lack of knowledge with hard work, but eventually understand that this is not the answer. However, they are willing to receive help and training without pushback because they are aware of what they don’t know and will eventually seek modes to obtain this knowledge.  


This owner is more entrepreneurial in spirit. Before they go into private practice, they working as an employee while likely creating their future in private practice in their mind. This owner is all about the hunt and what can be created for their future.

This owner will typically seek out help prior to opening their first clinic. They know in advance what they don’t know and are not afraid to go get that information. They will not shy away from investing time and money in themselves because they have the self-confidence and capabilities to apply and pull off what they set their mind to. These owners will pursue SBA financing or silent partners to help fund their practice operations, knowing that as they become more successful their profits will rise. 

These owners will show up to training with open arms, ready to soak up all personal and professional training that is available. They seek out growth in every aspect of leadership in order to drive their practice forward towards success.


This is the owner who goes into private practice thinking almost exclusively like a clinician. Every decision in every policy falls in line with what is in the best interest of the patient with very little regard to the other key elements necessary to running a successful organization. 

Because this owner prides themeselves on patient care, they will often fall passionately for their practice and refer to it as “their baby.” They are highly complimented from patients and often referral sources. This strengthens their assumption that treating one patient per hour is the ideal treatment model (hint: it’s not). 

This owner will typically seek help but be unwilling to examine themselves or their current systems of operation that need change. They will only want to talk about the symptoms of the problems in their practice not the root cause (which is often them). They will justify ways to hold onto their failing strategies so they don’t have to say no or base their decisions on numbers. 

Additionally, these owners often skip paying themselves or pay themselves an extremely low salary that they would never offer to another for the same amount of work. This owner often takes the martyr role within their practice suffering from an out-of-balance work/life experience. They avoid confronting this until the pain point gets high enough where they are forced to.


This owner is the last to reach out out for help at any point in the business cycle. They often serve as a roadblock to the staff’s efforts to bring about change in the practice. Staff will be the first to think about getting an expert/consultant or coach involved because they know it increases the likelihood that the owner may be willing to stop and listen.

This owner has typically done well at some point which gives them a false sense of security. The reality is that they have likely fallen behind on the strategies and tools necessary to meet today’s challenges.

However, this can be turned around if presented to the owner as a means to enhance the staff in order to up their game. Be careful to not make the owner feel wrong or challenge their knowledge of their superiority in private practice management.

Each of these types of owners have pros and cons and challenges to overcome to be the best manager. Owners need to undrstand that they need to have everyone – including their own – working in the same direction towards a common goal. If you think that you or your practice may benefit from a review of your systems of operation, please do not hesitate to contact us.


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