The WTS Method is not just for struggling businesses where the owner has plateaued. Often times owners like Matthew Dairman work with WTS because they want an edge over the competition and a new “tool” that will take their good business to greatness! In this interview Matthew showcases how business building can be satisfying, profitable, and fun.
Josh Fonger: [00:00:17] Welcome to the Work the System podcast where we help entrepreneurs make more and work less using systems. And I’m your host Josh Fonger. And today we have a special guest. We’ve got Matthew Dairman. Dr. Matthew Dairman is the founder sole owner and visionary of One Foot Two Foot the first podiatry practice to include a comfort shoe store and spa under one roof. He has grown his multimillion dollar company to three full time locations six physicians and 40 support staff. He loves to share his often different vision of podiatry as nationally recognized for his expertise in foot surgery, practice management, office culture, and branding. He is a pioneer in ancillary integration of retail and spa services. Pod…. I can’t even pronounce that word podiatric. Is that right, Matthew?
Dr. Matthew Dairman: [00:01:02] That is correct.
Josh Fonger: [00:01:03] Podiatric attract practices and has extensive experience and exponential Practice Growth badges as much as Matthew enjoys growing businesses. He stresses the importance of giving back and has created the goody two shoes program that in part donates one dollar for every patient visits charities. It seems like at the beginning of each year. Alright Matthew So I’m really looking forward to diving in to what you’ve done in the podiatry field and since you were a previous client of mine. We’re just hearing about the systems you put into place before we dive into all of that. How did you get into this line of work that give us the backstory.
Dr. Matthew Dairman: [00:01:36] All right well thank you for having me. It’s a great opportunity a great honor. I’ve enjoyed the coaching process and working with you. So the invite was a surprise and honor. So thank you for having me. Getting you to podiatry is kind of a long story but I’ll shorten it. I was halfway through a master’s degree at epidemiology and looking to figure out what to do with my life. And sitting in front of a computer didn’t seem to work. And I wanted to help people I was looked at all the different branches of medicine out there and podiatry seemed to just hold a nice ring to it because I was able to do dermatology, radiology, surgery with less stress because it’s a fullnagel and then that allowed me to expand on my business mindset of growing a small business and then ultimately the enterprise that we have. So it’s really been a wonderful ride.
Josh Fonger: [00:02:30] Yeah, and you definitely have done it differently than most in terms of your multiple locations. You get the retail you get the spa and so that’s more complex than the standard podiatry practice I’m assuming.
Dr. Matthew Dairman: [00:02:41] Yeah yeah. When I had originated the concept in med school that I wanted to have a a not only a full scope practice but to have a place where people can get safe pedicure so people you know all that the docs my attendings and everybody was. Why do you want to give pedicures. I said I don’t. I just want a safe place for my patients to go. Then I said you know I want a shoe store to in there. Why do you want to sell shoes. But I don’t necessarily want to sell shoes. I want a place where my patients can go to get the right shoes. So why not put it under one roof. And sure enough years later we’ve been doing it and others are following suit with spas and shoe stores cropping up all over the country.
Josh Fonger: [00:03:21] That’s very interesting. So that kind of innovation right there. So let’s let’s dive into the past okay. So before we sort of working together I’m assuming there was some reason why you wanted to sign up for the programming get involved with building systems. Was there some some triggering event that happened?
Dr. Matthew Dairman: [00:03:38] Kind of. I’m an avid reader so I read for personal I read for business all non-fiction stuff and I was at a point in my career where practice was good but the systems in place weren’t quite running as smoothly as I wanted. I had my own personal systems but the business itself the staff how they were running specifically my administrative was just overwhelmed with stuff and I came across the work the system book read it clicked automatically because I do think in systems and it was like yes this is this is exactly it. I don’t want to whack any moles anymore I want to kill them before they grow. And I thought this would be perfect for my administrator Tink to to really dive into and learn how I kind of think because it was more or less talking to me. In that process of of trying to figure out how do we institute more systems how do we get the staff more engaged and involved. That’s where really kind of dug in and found the coaching program that you guys offered. And that’s where we linked up.
Josh Fonger: [00:04:45] So how did that work? Because it felt like she thought it was a good idea but she wasn’t able to actually put it in action. Did she make time for it or do you change her job description or how did you actually make that transition?
Dr. Matthew Dairman: [00:04:56] Well she made time for it but what we both did was we kind of assigned individuals in the practice to be our backups to be our projects managers. So I’ve got one of the clinical side and then she has one a person we identified. So we use Colby the Colby assessments in our practice when we hire people. It’s a way that we can assess what their strengths are. You know if you’re a fact finder, follow through, a quick start, or an implementer. So when you’re looking for someone like a projects manager you want someone with a lot of follow through because those are the ones that can really put together the the system in stages and see it through. So we identified one person in our organization who was perfect. She was like a nine follow through and she was already pretty much a step below where Tink was so she responded reported to Tink as it was. So she was the just the perfect person to do it. So between taken I doing kind of the coaching aspects of it and involving our project manager Mel in the process we were able to really get things going.
Josh Fonger: [00:06:03] Ok. And for those who don’t know maybe I glossed over it you do have a sizable staff. Right. So it’s like 40 people or so.
Dr. Matthew Dairman: [00:06:11] Between 40 and 50.
Josh Fonger: [00:06:13] OK. And then multiple locations and so for organizations that big you can’t just hope it’s going to get done. You do need to actually be pretty structure and organized about that. So what was it like trying to take a system you know maybe the way you greet them at the front door the way you pass the bill keep it consistent across multiple locations? Was that a challenge?
Dr. Matthew Dairman: [00:06:33] Very much so because either of the three offices that we have I only go to two. So there’s one office I rarely if ever go to. So me being the one to implement any systems is very difficult. My administrator my project manager they can go occasionally but it’s not like an easy way of doing it. So we needed to find a way to get the systems out there so that people would understand what they were and a nice consistent place to do it. We looked at all different options and we ultimately settled on creating a hub or in an intranet for the organization. And we did it with Google. So as we had already had our Google Gmail and we did everything on sheets and documents. So it’s kind of the perfect follow through for that was to create a intranet with Google sites and on that we’re able to put every system we’re able to organize it easy access whether an individual employee is at home or at work they have access to all the tools they need.
Josh Fonger: [00:07:34] Perfect. Yeah. I like how you chose the solution that kind of integrated with everything else. Oftentimes people pick and choose 15 different pieces of technology and try to duct tape them together. But if you just have one that does make it easier. So what about the team so we get started and I’m assuming people on the team. Not everybody was bought into it maybe not the physicians entirely. Did you have to push hard to make them stick with it or what happened?
Dr. Matthew Dairman: [00:08:02] It’s a gradual process and I would say that not everybody still sticks with the systems that we created but at least we have them and I can always go back to them and point out no. This is how we do it. This is what we do. So one of the systems is writing a thank you notes to our patients for any new patient we see we want to write a thank you note because it’s a privilege to see them. And I try to do it with every new patient that comes through the door and I want my associate doctors to do exactly the same because it’s just polite. It’s good practice and it stimulates happiness. So what I see that they are doing and it’s great when they’re not. I can easily pull up the system on the on the hub and say this is what we really want to do with this is why we want to do it. And I expect you to do it. But again you can’t necessarily rely on them consistently do it.
Josh Fonger: [00:08:53] Yeah that’s probably also worth messing some optimism nuances. So if you are working with a bunch of physicians a higher level staff a little bit more challenging to make them follow certain things like that especially in your practice. Because we started off when you were already three locations in whereas maybe a new recruit a new assistant a new employee a lot more control maybe over someone like that.
Dr. Matthew Dairman: [00:09:16] Exactly. Yeah I mean we have some older docs we have some younger docs and it’s just not easy necessarily. And most doctors in general have some form of ego of some sort. I love them all. And you know you have to work with everybody that that you have so you find their real strengths and try to play to those strengths. But not everyone is going to follow and you just have to as a leader I’ve learned I have to just kind of pick the battles figure out which ones are worth fighting. But ultimately you know it’s the war you want to win.
Josh Fonger: [00:09:48] Right. So with this hub how many systems do you have in there right now? Is there a third number you’re trying to hit or is it?
Dr. Matthew Dairman: [00:09:55] Oh No. You know I had I was thinking about that before. Lord knows I think we we have we must have over 200, variations of systems and protocols and stuff if you include all the patient education because everything’s on there. All of our handouts that we give to patients the way we dispense a certain product. It’s all just there. So I should go back and really count that but it’s it’s rather enormous.
Josh Fonger: [00:10:22] So for those of you who have small companies let’s say five employees though this is where you want to be. I’m assuming Matthew that people aren’t asking you questions about all those things because they know they’re there and you’re not getting interrupted hundred times a day about where is this form or where is that thing. Because it’s already.
Dr. Matthew Dairman: [00:10:37] It is definitely cut down on that for myself for my administrator. And people know where to go the first page on the Hub actually has our organizational chart. So if there’s a new employee they know exactly who they report to and if that doesn’t work. Who to report to be on that’s. And we have our are just our office manual is linked to their our strategic objective and our operating principles that game changer for. For work the system was creating their strategic objective and operating principles. You might remember doing it with me and it was bear to do but it’s been fantastic.
Josh Fonger: [00:11:16] That’s good. Well it seems simple right just a single page for the strategic objective but the thought and the energy goes into it. And then you know when you release it you want to be right. And so it does take some time to get that done. That’s good. I’m glad you’re still still using that.
Dr. Matthew Dairman: [00:11:31] Absolutely. It’s one thing to have core values but when you start putting it it’s more like the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of your practice as opposed to just the standard core values. And yeah we. That’s what actually when we created the operating principles that’s when I recognized one of the real talents of one of my docs because he was a follow through and he’s able to put pieces of puzzles together like I’ve never seen before. And he was able to take the operating principles and separate them so that there’s basically four principles for each of our motto which is to be a live specialist to learn. Always be learning always be impactful always be mindful and always be better today than you were yesterday and he was able to take the the operating principles that we collectively wrote and organize them so that they fit nicely into one of those four LIMB kind of categories. And it was wonderful.
Josh Fonger: [00:12:31] So what what does your team think now. I mean today are they excited by the future that they think the culture is more defined or refined? How would you describe it?
Dr. Matthew Dairman: [00:12:41] I think we’re more on the same page than we were which is which is nice. I think we’re we’re definitely heading in the right direction. We always have a ways to go. That’s kind of the fun part of a practice is always building it making it better. Health care is always changing. So trying to step ahead of the curve is always a challenge. And having all the systems in place and creating new systems as we go just helps us get better as we go forward.
Josh Fonger: [00:13:11] So what’s the what’s the next step for you now. Now that you’re going to have the structure in place and we’re talking a little bit off line before the start I mean is the next step to to sell, to open new locations? Maybe you can’t say but what were you going to do now that you have this structure in place?l
Dr. Matthew Dairman: [00:13:29] Create more structure. We have so many systems now that we really have to take a step back and really organize it. So I think there was a book called predictable success that talks about kind of the wave of every business that it goes through. And we were in Whitewater for a while and putting the systems in place gets you into that predictable success but then you have too many and they become a little convoluted then you end up in treadmill. So you have to kind of dial back. So we’re in that process now kind of dialing back a little bit of the really organizing what we have to make sure that if we do expand which we expect to expand whether we do it with ourselves or through another organization we’ll be able to use the processes that we’ve put in place. So it’s it’s kind of like a set and go set and go set and go everybody will be on the same page.
Josh Fonger: [00:14:22] So what is the stress level like in your new office now? Is it more stressful than it was before or do you feel like people are more calm and they know what to do?
Dr. Matthew Dairman: [00:14:31] It depends on the day. I have to be honest because there are if things run smoothly and patients show up and it’s really patient driven and it’s how the schedule is run and that’s one of the systems where we’re really honing in on I actually brought it another person to help us with the efficiencies of patient flow to make sure we’re running on time to make sure that if patients don’t show up on time. How we handle that to really streamline those processes. So if if everybody is scheduled appropriately the day goes smoothly we’re all having a great time. We call it One Foot, Two Foot because it’s just a fun place to be. We wanted to be that way. There are the days that it just gets stressed. Everybody every leader I think wants to to work less and make more. What I find is that the work that I’m doing now. I don’t mind doing. In fact I enjoy it so I’m not necessarily working less but that’s a choice that I’ve made. And I like that choice. So I think more what leaders are after is having the opportunity to do it not so much the I’m going to do it just like what I say Someday I’m going to retire. It doesn’t mean necessarily going to just retire. It means I’m going to do what I want to do what I want to do it.
Josh Fonger: [00:15:45] Right. Defiantly. A lot of people I work with. That’s the whole thing is they want more control over the business but they actually enjoy the work so they’re not necessarily trying to retire tomorrow.
Dr. Matthew Dairman: [00:15:55] That’s kind of a fun little bonus.
Josh Fonger: [00:15:58] Yeah.
Dr. Matthew Dairman: [00:15:59] I expect that I’d put all these things in place and want to work less and reality is I enjoy what I do.
Josh Fonger: [00:16:04] Right and you enjoy more or less Moles popping up.
Dr. Matthew Dairman: [00:16:08] Yes!
Josh Fonger: [00:16:08] I think it’s also helpful.
Dr. Matthew Dairman: [00:16:09] I love that analogy. I use it all the time.
Josh Fonger: [00:16:12] So what I mean you do some coaching is welfare for podiatry practice. What do you usually coach them through because you’re learning all this stuff and you’re applying it and you’ve kind of built around that workshop. Are they having the same same kind of problems you used to have or what kind of problems do they have?
Dr. Matthew Dairman: [00:16:26] Yeah that’s that’s really the fun part. So I work with a company called Foot and Ankle Business Innovations it was created by a well-known podiatrist Lowell Weil Junior and it was create about six years ago and it was basically a place where podiatrists can go to learn how to create better patient care and profit at the same time is more of an entrepreneurial kind of thing. And again kind of like reading work the system. It was just all the stuff that I was doing and nobody was laughing at me for doing it they were asking how I was doing. And within two or three years or so they invited me as the instructor one of their instructors to do it. So now we have a mastermind group. We meet three times a year and then a fourth time at an annual event and we go through all the issues that are ongoing in your typical podiatry practice. And we have doctors from single practitioner older who are looking for exit strategies to young start up single docs who are looking to grow the practice. We have practices that are multimillion dollar practices even bigger than my trying to figure out what the next step is. They’re all having the same problems in one form or another. You know the world has seen pretty much all of the same problems and there’s answers out there. You just have to know where to get those answers. So going through things like work the system have put me in a position where I can pass on a lot of the knowledge of the mistakes that I’ve made and the successes that I’ve had. And it’s transformational for me. But hopefully more so for the attendees of the FABI system.
Josh Fonger: [00:18:08] Well that’s great you’re giving back. I’m sure that most people they learn things then they forget them and it sounds like in your case you’re learning them and there’s a framework of what you all did to make them so successful.
Dr. Matthew Dairman: [00:18:19] There’s a mantra that we always learned in residency. See one, do one, teach one, right so I know if that goes beyond sure your medicine in general but that’s always what what we do so we train our staff to do it the same way you see it you do it then you teach it and the more you teach it the better you get at it. And then the more you learn so great system.
Josh Fonger: [00:18:40] I Like that like that. So I want to ask you about the putting all the services under one roof because it’s interesting strategy. And I’m wondering if that would work with other industries. What have you found with the pros and cons of taking three, shoe store the spa services and the podiatry all under one roof?
Dr. Matthew Dairman: [00:19:00] So the way we designed it was so that the shoe store and the spa were not really set to be profit centers. So when people come to me and they ask oh I want to open a spa How do I do it or I want to open a shoe store. What’s the first step? I ask him what their intention is with it and if their intention is I’m looking for another profit center. I try to steer them away because it’s not necessarily what they think it is what it is though is it’s a wonderful referral source. It’s a wonderful place for my patients to get services that they otherwise could not easily find in our area. So though I may not be making a lot of money on it in fact and I basically break even but I employ five people gainfully employed happily employed and I provide a service that nobody else does. And if they happen to send over a new patients it’s great. And so it’s hard to quantify when you when you have those types of businesses because when you’re looking at other organizations that they’re trying to figure out where the profit is and they don’t want things that aren’t profitable you have to be able to really find. Why it’s profitable and in this case it’s just keeping us first in mind for Foot and Ankle care. So if you’re buying shoes you’re thinking about your feet. You can not see if you’re getting a pedicure. You think about feet you’re already there.
Josh Fonger: [00:20:27] Right. OK. So you can really own the on the knowledge or the mental space in people’s minds in your area and anything involving feet, this is where you go and that’s a good. Its kind of part of your marketing budget I suppose right?
Dr. Matthew Dairman: [00:20:42] We keep everything separate and so everything runs as its individual business so it’s kind of fun to say you know I owned three businesses four businesses all this stuff but for the most part you know it’s a nice cross marketing reference. Everything goes flows from one to another. We just have gotten more into clinical trials now too which is a big boone for us to provide even additional services to people who necessarily can’t afford certain health care things and we can provide it through a clinical trial so that the more you grow the more recognition you get the more recognition the more opportunities come the more opportunities come the more you can serve.
Josh Fonger: [00:21:24] That’s very neat. I think what you’ve really done in your marketplaces distinguish yourself from the standard podiatry practices and so that you actually have some PR buzz associated with it as well. Which I think is good.
Dr. Matthew Dairman: [00:21:36] I’ve tried I’ve tried. There’s always competition there’s always people trying to either replicate or do something that would disrupt what we’re doing but we have a very clear mission as to just serve our community the best that we possibly can and have fun doing it.
Josh Fonger: [00:21:51] Have your customers notice the difference over the last few years when you tried to put these systems in place or is it all behind the scenes and they didn’t really know the difference?
Dr. Matthew Dairman: [00:22:00] I think a lot of it’s behind the scenes because. Their internal systems their how we greet a patient. We’ve always gotten compliments on our service. But I would say they’re more consistent now that the staff is more in line with the strategic objective and operating principles.
Josh Fonger: [00:22:24] Yeah. The phrase that Sam I’d like to say is a dysfunction is gold and I usually don’t work with companies they’re really really dysfunctional and don’t think they could have gone to three locations or like one location dysfunctional way. And but when you came to me and you had these three locations they’re all humming along pretty good. I realized that it was gonna be more about finding and fine tuning and the measurements you’ve done now and really solidifying that because a lot of stuff you had figured out we were working together.
Dr. Matthew Dairman: [00:22:52] Yeah I like to say we’re in a good place. We’re in a better place since working with you. Again I am thankful for that because it definitely put another tool in my box. You can never have too many tools if it’s going to improve patient care if it’s going to improve employee satisfaction or it’s just going to improve the bottom line.
Josh Fonger: [00:23:14] Definitely. Well good. Matthew I really appreciate you taking your Friday afternoon before a long weekend to share your experience with putting systems into place. This is really useful for me hopefully for those watching just to kind of hear about the experience and the sometimes dramatic and sometimes it’s just simple framework simple results more fun work environment for the owner.
Dr. Matthew Dairman: [00:23:36] Absolutely.
Josh Fonger: [00:23:37] Which is great. Well good thinking. Thank you very much. And thanks everyone for watching the podcast today. Check us out next we love another interview either with a previous client of mine or business expert with you. Some kind of tip, trick, secret some way so you can make more work less with systems. And if you would like a copy of Sam Carpenter’s book right there behind me hopefully I’ll get it signed. Make sure to leave his review on wherever you’re watching or listening to this little review. Send this and send us a picture of that review to info work the system dot com. We’ll be drawing out one name a week and mailing you a copy of the book. All right thanks everybody.
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