Rising From The Ashes – Arlan’s Unbelievable PT Success Story

  • a couple of years ago
  • / By Chad

What would you do…?

In 2010, Arlan suffered a terrible tragedy (one that I would never hope to happen to any owner)

His PT practice burned to the ground…

His years of effort were destroyed and turned into ashes…

He was distraught and on the brink of giving up and closing it all down.

I know most of you have high aspirations and lofty goals that you want to achieve in PT private practice.

And most of those goals are easily achievable with the right strategy in place.

But for just one second, imagine what you would do in Arlan’s situation….

Would you just give up and throw in the towel?

Or would you persevere through it all?

Luckily, Arlan chose the latter.

Instead of giving up, he came back and implemented *three key systems* that took him from ground zero to opening up three different practices (in less than 6 years)

In this short video below, he shares with you exactly what he did.

Watch the video below to hear Arlan's amazing story.

Chad:  Hey everybody, Chad Madden here.  I'm your host and I have a very special guest today. 

This gentleman was nominated for Private Practice PT Owner of the Year here within BPTM by his colleague private practice owners. 

He has done an awesome job. 

Some of my favorite stories we will get into in a little bit…  But basically he took everything that we are doing in the Back Pain and Sciatica Workshop and he applied it to Balance and Dizziness. 

He is doing an awesome job there and absolutely crushing PT workshops. 

He is a private practice owner in Indiana, a suburb of Chicago. 

It is Mr. Arlan Arlburo.  His clinic is Orthopedic and Balance Therapy.  They are absolutely knocking it out now. 

Welcome to the call, Arlan.

Arlan:  Hey Chad, thank you for having me.

Chad:  Can you fill in the blanks there and by the way are you a DPT or are you…?

Arlan:  Actually, no, I'm a Bachelor’s of PT.  That is it.  No DPT here.

Chad:  No DPT here either.  If you do have a DPT, I always like to say Dr.  but nonetheless, can you fill in the blanks a little bit for us? 

How did you get started in private practice PT? 

Where are you at now? 

What is going on in your Physical Therapy practice?

Arlan:  I always like to start by saying I came to this country in 1994 originally from the Philippines. 

I'm a legal immigrant by the way.  I have to put that in. 

I came here in ‘94 and opened my own practice in 2003.  That was my very first location.

Then in 2012, we opened our second one.  In about a few months here, we are opening our third one. 

Approximately a year and a half ago, we joined Breakthrough PT Marketing.  It has been a wild ride since.

Chad:  Congratulations, first, on your third location.  That is awesome.  Can you walk us through a little bit about what changes you have seen…I opened up the same exact year, 2003…what changes you have seen in Indiana in private practice PT over the last 14 years or so?

Arlan:  Back in ’03 it was mostly doctor referrals, completely dependent on doctor referrals.  The only way, I'm speaking for myself, back in those days the way we marketed was you went to the doctors brought lunch, brought breakfast, brought meals. 

I hated it but I guess that was the name of the game.  The only way I knew how back then.  And we somehow, we grew. 

Then around 2007, we kind of started hitting a rough patch where we just leveled off.  Then I did some additional…I kind of got into marketing and into organizations and stuff like that.  So, we started going again. 

But then at the same time doctor referrals started dropping off. 

Doctors have kind of been gobbled up by hospital systems and then physician-owned physical therapy practices started mushrooming all over the place. 

We were fighting a pretty tough battle. 

At one point, back in 2011 or late 2010, I thought about even closing my practice.  It just didn’t seem worth it anymore. 

You are putting in a whole lot of hours, 50 to 60 hours a week and you are just not making it. 

Then I started doing some marketing and in early 2011, we started doing well. 

But then in 2013, my practice was involved in a horrific accident where our building, my main location, was involved in a fire. 

We were closed for 7 months.  A lot of anxiety there.  The fact that doctors were already starting to not refer as much and we were closed for 7 months, in the back of my mind was I wondering if they will still remember us?  Will the patients remember us? 

That is when I started looking into more direct marketing stuff and found Breakthrough Physical Therapy marketing.  It has been such a blessing.

Chad:  So let's talk about how you were thinking at that point.  So 2013, what things were you trying in marketing?  Physicians were drying up, what were you looking at doing or what did you try and either fail or work with in the past?

Arlan:  During those times, we did a regular monthly newsletter to patients even back then. 

Every now and then we would send some marketing reactivation letters to patients.  Mainly it was still reactivation kind of things to patients. 

But nothing to the general public at all.   I mean zip.  Zip. 

The physicians we would write the equivalent of what we know as the physicians newsletter.  So we did something like that every month.  It was not always effective. 

I still had an external marketer that would go out to physicians and do the usual stuff.  So it was somehow working but not as well as it should be compared to how it is now. 

Chad:  So a lot of the beginning stuff that we go over in Killer Marketing, you already had built out.  I think that you had testimonials in place. 

You were doing like a Green Ink Letter equivalent, patient newsletter, physician newsletter. 

The one thing that I heard you say is we weren’t doing anything that was public facing, nothing for Direct Access, direct to the consumer. 

Was that the big turning point for you as you were going through Killer Marketing is the workshops?  

What did that look like?

Arlan:  That was the biggest one, Chad.  I signed up for the course.  I remember it was October 2015 and the course actually was not going to start until January. 

But we were so excited, we did the workshop in November just to try it out.  The workshop for us is the biggest one and of course the BPE. 

The Biggest Promotion Ever has always been a killer for us. 

Workshops for sure.

Chad:  So how did that first workshop go since that is usually the worst one?

Arlan:  It is crazy because my first workshop, it was not even back pain. 

Because I had not gotten all of the stuff, all the steps from you yet. 

I was like ok, why don’t we just try it out and see, just to get the ball rolling. 

I did a neck pain workshop. 

I probably had maybe 10 people in the room and mostly patients already.  I just wanted to get that out of the way. 

My first back pain workshop was actually January 2016. 

I believe we got 18 new patients that very first time. 

And we were hooked since. 

Chad:  Now how often do you have workshops right now?

Arlan:  This is crazy, Chad, you are probably not going to believe this.  I host 2 workshops a week now. 

Chad:  Wow!  I didn’t know you did that.  So one at each office?

Arlan:  One in each office every week.  One on back pain then the following week one on balance. 

Then the following week, one on neck and the following week, one on rotator cuff. 

Then we sprinkle a total knee in there. 

Plus, of course, we have captive audience workshops. 

So far, we have one scheduled for February, one for March and one for April. 

We would like to do another captive audience every week too. So far it is only once a month.

Chad:  Are you doing all of the workshops yourself?

Arlan:  So far, I am the only one.  But the third location, the PT that we are hiring there, I have already informed him that he is going to be doing workshops eventually. 

He is all for it which makes me really excited.  I just have to train him.  I don’t know.  How many months should I give him, Chad?  Maybe 2 to 3 months?

Chad:  You and I can have another call on that but we do…they watch me do it once, anybody that wants to do a workshop.  Then we record them run through a mock workshop with however many staff we have available. 

So a full one hour workshop.  We record them, give them critique. 

We do another run through without real people in the room. 

Then the third time is they do it live.

Arlan:  Neat.  I will take notes on that. 

I'm thinking, we are opening that third location in April and I am actually hosting a workshop there already in March on March 8th. 

Our opening date is April 3rd. 

I'm hosting a workshop March 8th, March 15th and March 22nd and March 29th.

Chad:  Super smart.  You are way ahead.  Now that you are doing one a week and by the way, we ramped up to 2 a month. 

This year, actually February is the first month that we are doing one back and one balance. 

And by the way, I just used almost your same exact copy that I have hanging on the wall here.

Arlan:  I hope that works.

Chad:  Me too.

Arlan:  It has worked for us.  I hope it works for you too.

Chad:  I will try to beat it. 

You are the control, know that right now.  That is awesome. 

I read through the copy and I read through both versions, the copy that you had posted in the BPTM Inside Circle and then also the newspaper that you brought me the day after the Cubs won the World Series which was super cool. 

So we talked about the BPTM community and how you were recognized. 

What is your favorite part of the BPTM community for you yourself?

Arlan:  it is just…to me it is a community. 

The BPTM community in the real world, the real essence of it is a real community.  That is what I like the best about it. 

Everybody willing to help each other out. 

Lee Sowerbutts, the very first person that I spoke to over the phone.  Just people willing to help each other out. 

You can post anything in there and ask for help.  People are more than willing to help and share what they know.  To me that is the most powerful thing. 

You will also find out that you are not the only one. 

At one point or another, we will all struggle. 

There will always be some bumps on the road. 

It is kind of good to know everybody is kind of going through the same thing.  I just have to tough it out and find a way. 

If they have done it, Chad has done it, hopefully I can do it too. 

Chad:  Now it is the other way.  The shoe is on the other foot.  If Arlan has done it, I can do it too.

Arlan:  No, Chad, no.  we are…you are up there…that is how it is supposed to be.  We will keep following that.

Chad:  Thank you but that is not true at all. 

Don’t listen to anything that Arlan just said there about me. 

But thank you for that. 

So you were struggling, you were thinking about closing, you have the fire, you closed down for 7 months.  Now you know how to go to the general public. 

Is your business better now than it was in the past?

Arlan:  2016 was our best year yet. 

Chad:  Awesome.  What did that mean for you? 

Arlan:  That is amazing. 

I have pulled back from pretty much treating every day to treating 2 days a week. 

I have an amazing team.  It is because of them that we are able to pull this off. 

That is really what it means to me is being able to really have a big impact not only on our patients but also on our team where we are all working together. 

When your team members can see that the business, the practice, is doing well, it also makes them feel better about themselves and better about their future.

Chad:  Stability is key. And knowing that you can control it. 

Arlan:  Yes and that is another thing. 

It has given me confidence. 

I would not have thought of opening a third location.  But after all of these things, yeah. 

When we did our annual planning meeting back in late August, we got together and we set out 10 year goals. 

We are going to open one this year and we are going to open 2 next year. 

We are already entertaining thoughts of maybe accelerating it a little bit and opening that fourth one later this fall.  So we will see.

Chad:  Wow!  You are on it.  That is great!  Any parting words of wisdom you have here, Arlan, before we hop off?

Arlan:  The main advice that I would give to the BPTM owners especially the new members is don’t reinvent the wheel just basically copy off of what Chad has done and what everyone else in the BPTM community has done. 

There is already pretty much a step by step process for everyone through Killer Marketing. 

I am the living proof that it works. 

It works. 

Maybe the first time you do a workshop, it may not be as successful as you were looking for.  My first PT workshop was like that. 

But every workshop after that just gets better. 

Everything you implement, it will just make your practice even stronger and better. 

I'm pretty sure you guys will knock it out. 

Just like Lee Sowerbutts. 

Just like Travis Robbins, Frank Cauley, Robbie and everybody else, Frank Garza, Jerry Pittman. 

All of these guys, Stacy, Kim, all of these people you see who are posting all of the time, you guys can knock it out like everybody else. 

Like I said, I know you will do it.

Chad:  Thanks, Arlan.  Thanks for being on the call.  I appreciate it.

Arlan:  Thank you Chad.

Chad:  See you soon.

Arlan:  Have a good one.

Look out for my next PT webinar… we'll have another success story from one of the amazing PTs that was nominated for Practice Owner of the Year 🙂

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