Dr. Joe Esposito starts off Season 2 discussing the harsh realities of opening a practice. His guest, Dr. Bryne Willey from AlignLife of Springfield, IL, shares his own experience and struggles of launching his clinic a year out of school. With only $4K in his account, how did he get funding? How did he end up paying half of the asking price? Find out those answers and more on this first episode of the season!

About the Guest:

During Dr. Willey’s studies at Logan College of Chiropractic, he was trained in several chiropractic techniques as well as becoming certified in acupuncture. Along with his Doctorate of Chiropractic degree, he successfully earned his Master’s in Sports Science and Rehabilitation. He also earned the Red Badge Award for Excellence in Clinical Application of Rehabilitation for his work at the BIOFREEZE Sports and Rehabilitation Center. With these three qualifications, Dr. Willey is able to not only diagnose numerous conditions but also successfully treat the problem with the goal of helping the patient obtain optimal health.

Dr. Willey and his wife, Kellie, continue to be active in their church and service in their community. Kellie, a former collegiate soccer player, is currently a third-grade teacher at Chatham Elementary and a high school soccer coach for the Chatham Women’s team. Together they raise their daughter named Ava Lynn. They enjoy leading active lives and spending weekends with their family and friends.

About the Host:

Dr. Joseph Esposito,CEO

Dr. Joseph Esposito, D.C., C.C.N. C.N.S., C.C.S.P., D.A.B.C.N.,

F.A.A.I.M. C.T.N., is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of AlignLife. As such, he is responsible for the direction of AlignLife as it expands further across a dynamic and rapidly changing healthcare landscape. Dr. Esposito has more than 20 years of experience in a broad range of businesses, including chiropractic, nutrition, technology, and internet marketing.

Dr. Esposito has extensive post-graduate academic accomplishments, as well as 15 years of experience managing successful chiropractic clinics in multiple states. He also is the founder and CEO of Aceva LLC, a service-based nutritional company providing products and services to the AlignLife clinics. As the former CFO of an internet publishing company, Dr. Esposito understands the power of leveraging the internet to impact the lives of millions of Americans.

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Dr. Joseph Esposito:

Welcome back to line your practice with Dr. Joe Esposito. We're excited today to have Dr. Bryne Willey in the studio. We're gonna be talking about starting a new practice, Brian, how are you?

Bryne Willey:

Fantastic, man, I'm excited to talk about the journey, I understand that it's gonna be a lot of students and new Doc's listen to this. So I mean, this would be a worthwhile conversation for them to have some context and onboarding of what's possible for him.

Dr. Joseph Esposito:

Yeah, so we're talking doctors, that may be an associate for a decade, there could be a doctor that's never thought about this, like you told me in your story offline. I'm not planning to open a practice right off the bat. Think 10 years down the road being a practice and being like, I think I want to open my own. Like, that's a daunting feeling like what do you do or a student? So let's kind of break this down. How do you want to approach this because I know you've done it, if you want to go back to that time, I know, you are an associate Lightlife practice,

Bryne Willey:

yeah, I only had a year to learn the systems. And then I was gonna move back to practice amount hometown and one of those and just knew that I wanted to be home. And if that was gonna happen, I had to open my own practice. And so I had the amazing blessing of having a year to be in the systems, but I only had a year to be in the system. So it was, it was kind of a daunting, or scary proposition. But it's something that I just knew I had to do.

Dr. Joseph Esposito:

So you add down the practice that we helped you purchase, was that the first opportunity? Or do you look at empty buildings or go back to

Bryne Willey:

the job, that was the opportunity, that was the only opportunity and so this doc was getting ready to retire? He was seeing, I think 25 people a week, you know, couple days a week in the practice and just in the afternoons. So it was a great opportunity to have a physical space that was built out, you know, for a chiropractic office already, then have some sort of patient base to work off of, but I mean, walking in there, there were no computers, Joe. I mean, this is, I know, for some of these young guys listening, they can't even fathom that. But this is 1000 out of 10 years ago. And I mean, there was a major technological gap. But there was some substructure to work off of there. And it was like the only opportunity that I had. And so I asked you to help me out. And with that transition, and, you know, a year out of school on, I've been a chiropractor for a year, I know how to adjust and see patients, but the the idea of like trying to buy a practice and the idea of like trying to negotiate a lease, and the idea of all these other pieces that I was not flowing in was terrifying, and you were amazing. You are a big help on that space.

Dr. Joseph Esposito:

Yeah, it's interesting, when you're buying a practice, most doctors sell the practice based on how much money they need to buy their boat or to retire. And they pick a number, that's a number they used to sell. So many of the deals that I've helped doctors do literally is about 50% less cost than what the price was. But I would never ask, if I was buying a practice, I would never try to negotiate 50% off, because I wouldn't know what value was, unless you're in the market of buying practices. And you know what an authentic value is, you know, what the market value is, I can authentically look at someone and say, it's worth half of what you're asking, no matter what anger, they have value as value. And it's important to, for us to help you as a student or a doctor that's looking to practice because those first six months of the getting into new practice, the amount of mistakes, the amount of cost and amount of time of those mistakes are wrong sign of a lease of five years. It could be troublesome. That's five years your life, purchasing a practice overvalued, that could put you in bankruptcy, there are really serious issues and risks that occur that I've realized over that first six months that I've come to commonplace for me, because I've done it many times. But when I really sit down to list them out, there's a lot of potential for mistakes enough early on of the first stages. Right?

Bryne Willey:

And yeah, and pause there for a second. So as chiropractors like, we're very passionate people. So when you get into that space, you're thinking, yes, yes, sign wherever, yes, right here. So I can open my door so I can start seeing patients and you know, I can have vivid memories of being in that space. And like you're negotiating back and forth like Joe, can we just get this done, man, I want to I want to go. And you know, and you start to make bad decisions, because you're so excited to help people and start and build a practice, that you don't have somebody in your corner who was formed in these conversations and who have your best interests at heart to set you up to be as successful as possible, not just in the moment you open your doors, but like you said, potentially five and 10 years down the road depending on the deal you're signing.

Dr. Joseph Esposito:

It's funny I just had recollected back then I didn't have this vision, this vivid thought, vivid image, but I remember you've been uncomfortable because Goshi ating the price and it's like we're a chiropractor so we hug everyone we love ya Wow. Sounds like a good price. Give me a hug. No, it was very uncomfortable because you're a lover as well. So it was kind of like, yes, you uncomfortable like, oh, not. So yeah, so we got, we purchased the practice. And I really like that style of a practice to purchase just some open advice to those that are listening. I like a practice that's well built to a good part of town, that may not be successful, I know our systems work. And if we implement them in the right location, we don't have to pay top dollar, we don't have to pay for the booming practice with the high cost because there's risk especially if you're a student, there's a lot to learn. So I'd rather you, us find you, if we team up together or if you go out on your own, we'd love to, you know, give you that guidance to buy something that may be smaller, but it's a nice layout, and then using the systems you can build your own practice doesn't have to be large, like Bryne, if you bought that, and it was a million dollar practice and I push you to get a loan for 600 grand and even if you got it, you would have shrunk it down to the size of what you think you could handle. Right? Would you agree,

Bryne Willey:

definitely try it and then and then you're then there's you have issues of authenticity, you know, you're trying to fill in shoes of somebody that was their doctor before serving as as the new doc you're trying to, you know, blend between you know, what you think that you're paid these patients want to hear and feel and experience versus what you may be able to deliver. So I completely agree with you, man I was seeing, like I said, I think the practice like 25 over four days. So it's like, extending the day. But you know, it's it was it was really helpful to be in the rhythm, you know, and be adjusting patients on a daily basis and be able to, you know, feed that beast, you know, in the chiropractic mindset and being able to serve and be and be a doctor. But then it also gives you a lot of opportunity, you know, in downtime or you know, other shifts to be able to go out and try to grow the practice and market as well. Because that can be daunting, man, I I didn't experience this. But I imagine there's some Doc's when they open their doors, they have no patience. So like that the urgency at those marketing events can be really hard, especially when you're hearing no a lot. So being able to step in and being able to have that, you know, adjusting rhythm while you're building your practice was very, very helpful for me.

Dr. Joseph Esposito:

So it aligned, like when we launched a new practice, we have three tracks that happen at the same time. So if you're a doctor opening your own practice, it's hard to do all three because it's probably just you and maybe one staff member so that the leverage the the line life to actually scale and get to profit as soon as humanly possible. Because the reason 80% of businesses fail, the first five years is cashflow, they run out of money. So we have to really be on purpose to get to a point of of driving profit. And we do that by handle it three ways. The first is the build out or the conversion, making sure the rooms are set up well, we have to take down a wall or we do the front desk, and computers, whatever we have to do to make that center efficient for growth. That's one flow, we have a team of people that do that. People that looking at leases, purchasing, build out construction, all of these components, that's one. The second one is training, making sure that you're trained, you're scripted, you know flows and process efficiencies of communication. And, and your staff as well. That's the second one. And the third one is marketing, building your website, you and your social media, get all those things, your Google My Business, everything set up, everything's unified with the same congruent information to scale to do all three of those by yourself at the same time, I don't know how you could, because first you have knowledge and you don't have the skill sets to do it's just a lot. So it's a little more refined, actually a lot more refined over the last 10 years, Brian so you may not have had that refinement as of expressly now. But you probably remember the onboarding cycle that there was a checklist that we went through, talk us through some of that, or your thoughts. And I'm saying at least through all

Bryne Willey:

of it. Yeah. Like you don't know what you don't know. And like I said, I'd been, you know, in the system for a year but in the role of an associate doc not as you know, a clinic owner. And so you're 100% right about you know, the setup and the layout of a practice like you don't know what you don't know and you know, when when somebody you know as experienced as you are, you know, people on the team are saying now this is how the flow should go and I think this is where you know, a report room should be and this is how you should set it up. It lets you not learn from failure and have that scar tissue to be able to say okay, this is the best way of doing this then let's focus on something else and in the beginning these new Doc's you know, you have a whole lot of time, and it's easy to rely on that time. But like you said, I love what the word you said efficiency, that's one of our core values is a practice and being able to focus on how to be as efficient as possible, even if time is something that you have a lot of is a great mindset to be in for From day one, the second piece you said about no training, you know, it's one thing like I said, I'd had a year to learn scripting and you know how to communicate effectively with a patient and do a console or new report of findings. It's another thing for your team to know how to do that, and be able to communicate and how to answer a phone and how to handle objections and how to, you know, handle adversity, you know, on a daily basis was huge deal. And like you said, when we started, as one team member, I mean, we have six now. So it's amazing that, you know, once you get into that rhythm and have everybody on the same page and training the same way and saying the same things, the quality control, there is amazing. And as you continue to scale and build your practice, that's what everybody wants, they don't want, you know, their finger and thumb for on everything, they don't want to control everything, they just want consistency, you know, and they want to make sure that they have transparency in what's going on. So I totally speaks to it, I can vividly remember, you know, that piece of it as well.

Dr. Joseph Esposito:

Yeah, and it's interesting, because looking at some, I've been in the profession, over 25 years, I've talked to colleagues, and one of the issues they run into even those that are very successful, is their operations manual, is not updated, because they're busy running a practice that their managers busy. So it's, it's good, it's like 70% accurate and about 30%, it's not updated with all their dynamic growth and changes they've made. But once you lose more than 5% of value inside of the manual, you just don't use it anymore. Because you have to tell the staff Well, that's not updated. You know, we do that a little different. And you know, this is kind of like that, but we don't kind of, you know, do the full thing here. Then when you onboard a new staff member, you don't even use it. So now, the your manager is training someone at the front desk, and then the front desk is training the next person. And it's okay, right, when you're trying to do the telephone game and the story changes, then you're like, what did they say at the front desk? Where did that come from? Yeah, it's right. It's transmitted through. So one thing, we're proud of a line life as we update the operations manual literally every 90 days, to make sure that it's 100% accurate, that you follow it? And that's something How do you feel about that in that? Are you going back to the manual? Or is that a struggle? Or how do you feel with that?

Bryne Willey:

The beauty of having an amazing team is that you don't have to be awesome at everything, you just have a team that's awesome, and everything. So I can't personally speak to you know, being in the people, but our office manager does and trains within that space, and we just onboard somebody literally last month. So I mean, I know that that's happening on an ongoing basis, and ensure it's quality control that everybody's doing the same thing the same way in the right way. And that's critical as you continue to grow and to have quality control and to make sure you're delivering at your absolute highest level. Yeah,

Dr. Joseph Esposito:

that's great. So you're finishing up with launch the launch process? There are we're talking about purchasing practices like those you are on the call you may not have you think I don't have enough finance, I've never trained a staff. You know, there's gonna be a lot of doubts in your mind. I just want to spend a moment on the mental journey, the top track that that we have, I know I had in my first practice, I was just literally paranoid. That was the word I would use. I'll tell you a quick story of my 25 years ago, there's a funny story. But I remember I was in Gold's Gym. It's my first practice, they opened that you played some time and they sat in the room. And this is, you know, before we even use computers for notes, and we sat on the floor because I didn't have any chairs. And I had two staff I hired. But I didn't know what they were going to do. I'd have job descriptions, someone told me to hire two. So I hired two. So we're sitting on the floor and I said, can you take notes? She says, Well, we don't have pens, like okay, well, remember to get pens, call? Can you call to see if office depot's up and she says we don't have phones. So I'm like, Okay, well, all right. Let's have a meeting next week, when we have. So it taught me from that first day that what if you look at the onboarding process of a lion life now it's literally like 300 steps, a line life does 200 of them. We do the 200 the work, but you know what we're doing. We know what you're doing. And it's checklist. And it's a long checklist. But it's every little piece from your opening a merchant account to getting the phones and it's all in the right order. So I can't tell you how much time effort and scar tissue when someone just sees this list. Oh, it's a checklist. I'm like, no, no, no, this is perfected


is the success list. Yeah.

Dr. Joseph Esposito:

You got a pain that we removed from that list to make sure it's in order at the right time. You know what I mean? So it's yeah, there's a lot behind the scenes on that.

Bryne Willey:

Go back to hold on go back to what you were talking about, about, you know, it made Doc's me and I have like, the finances setup on that front end, because what was what you were a big help with in the franchise was just, you know, when I open our practice, I thought I was like doing amazing, and I had 4000 bucks saved up to be able to, like, open this practice. And then, and then was like, Well, you know, we can probably open it for you know, X amount, I want to say it was like 30 grand, and that's that was like razor thin at that time, too. But, you know, you brought in another doc, which was a complete foreign concept to me that somebody, you know, a chiropractor wants to be a part of helping another chiropractor be successful, and became a partner, you know, as we open spring, but it would have never happened. And I can remember being, you know, at a restaurant with you and this partner, and like jotting down, like what our organization was going to look like in the structure of it. And having conversations that I felt like, I was an alien like an outsider, like, how, what is that? So like, were you speak to a little bit about like, yeah, not not necessarily specifically, and you know, how you helped us. But that there is a network of Doc's that are literally ready to be able to support and help somebody if they decide, like, I want to branch out. And I want to open up my own practice, as opposed to starting as an associate.

Dr. Joseph Esposito:

We just did one in Canton, Georgia recently, and a doctor allied life funded another doctor. And don't get me wrong, the doctors are funding are making a great return on their money, it's a fair return. So it's an investment strategy. And I only invest in things that align with my core values. So most of my investments are in health in some way, shape, or form, because that's my belief system. So a lot of chiropractors same way, especially in our tribe, I really enjoy seeing that. Because I see the heart of the giver. Through the journey when they watch that person succeed. And no matter who they are, they're touched that they help that person launch and then the appreciation from the doctor. And I love it being inside of one family who is committed to serving serving the world to better health. So yeah, Brian, I can't say enough about that. I actually like doing that more than I like getting them to a banker, and going through nine months of paperwork to try to get the banking. It's just so so cool to have that opportunity. But yes, we have outside investors, we have chiropractic investors, we have SBA relationships, we have many other different sources of money doing this for 25 years, I've taken people from bankruptcy to million dollar practices. And you can't do that without having some way of getting money. Because they just don't have the experience. So so if you're on the call and you're looking for that's a gap, it's not that you can show up with nothing, you either need a credit score, you need experience, you need a few dollars you need there's the you have to show up with some component, and we'll help massage it into a plan to generate or locate cash to help you open your practice. But to me, society's doesn't have enough chiropractor, when I see we're gonna go on a tangent because it's my vision mindset is, you know, I see the pain and the suffering in the world, the lies the abuse of medication, the unnecessary surgeries, it just fuels my fire to, to help. You know, and I use the line life as a vehicle, I'm not just a line like centric, I'm a servant for this profession, of the board of one chiropractic, you know, just wanting to serve the world with better health care tell the truth to people. So anything I can do inside alumni for outside of my life to help doctors get into the ability to serve, is extremely meaningful to me.

Bryne Willey:

And that's and that's possible through what we're talking about within, you know, this investment structure. Because not only is you know, a doctor able to go out and we get to add more chiropractors to the profession and be successful. But then a lot of times that investor, you know, especially in my case, that investor is invested in not just the success of you as a person as a business, but as the practice and helping the practice grow. And if you have outside investors that are people in chiropractic, they just want to see the business grow. But when you have chiropractors investing in the success of not just for the profession, like that's amazing place that everybody wins, like the investing doc wins, the new doc wins the professional patients when it's it's a it's a cultural growth that I think, I don't know, I don't know it exists in a lot of places. And I was amazed to even see that that was something that was a possibility.