Do you ever catch yourself just going through the motions when you adjust your patients?

Do you run out of things to say?

Do your patients appear apathetic?

Well, there is a solution and that is to stop the small talk and learn how to Smart Talk. Having visited several offices in the USA and Ireland in the past several months it has become painfully obvious that many of you have overlooked developing the number one skill that guarantees success. That is the ability to express yourself and communicate your ideas during the adjustment. And the price you pay is lack of referrals and the frustration associated with non- compliance. My promise is simple and profound, if you accept the challenge and commit to mastering the art of Smart Talk, you will build a massive practice wave.

Smart Talk is the robust dialogue that occurs during your chiropractic assessment and adjustment. This dialogue must be vigorous, brisk and lively. It can not feel or sound ‘canned’ or scripted. Be prepared to open with a question, listen to their responses and then respond. Begin each adjustment with a willingness to let go of your pre-adjustment agenda.

In sharp contrast, small talk is lifeless, lethargic and lengthy. Small talk is filled with gossip, weather reports, sports updates, TV Guide chit chat, celebrity news and political commentary. Small talk imprisons the doctor and bores the patient because it is product oriented, not patient oriented. Techno- babble like, “Your C5 is posterior and lateral,” belongs in a seminar with your peers, not in a business. And dogmatic slogans like, “The power that made the body heals the body” belong in church, not in a business.”

Small talk wastes time and time = life.

Smart Talk is passionate, enthusiastic and deeply rooted in your purpose. Remember, patients are more attuned neurologically to respond to your feelings than to your words. If you are bored and simply clicking or pounding the high spots, then they will vote with their feet.

Smart Talk is your opportunity to shout your message, talk your walk and be both witty and amusing. You’re right, it is not easy to blend clinical decision making and dialogue simultaneously. Yet it is possible to learn.

You must use your whole brain in order to be an effective communicator. Learn to think like a master by developing these three core thinking modules.

  1. Problem solving is the linear, ‘in the box’ thinking associated with our left hemisphere. Focus on the patient’s problem and offer your solution. Your chiropractic assessments must be accurate and meaningful. And your technique needs to bolster your post adjustment confidence.
    Tips for developing problem solving:
  • attend seminars regularly
  • read peer review journals
  • read a book a week and download at least one book so that you can listen to it while driving and exercising
  • become fascinated with human anatomy and neurophysiology
  1. Creative thinking is the imaginative ‘out of the box’ and intuitive thinking associated with our right hemisphere. It is the ability to recognize patterns and apply new solutions. It is the ability to see connections and build concrete analogies.Tips for developing Creative thinking:
  • act on thought flashes and write them down
  • learn to mind map your ideas
  • write in a journal
  • listen to baroque music
  1. Self expression is the ability to draw upon your life experiences and pass on your wisdom. It is the bold expression of your point of view. You are your message.Tips for developing self expression:
  • have some fun!
  • take an art appreciation course
  • experience live concerts
  • visit museums and historical sites
  • learn to play an instrument
  • learn to draw, paint or throw pottery

It’s as simple as that!


Instant Gratification.

It’s a term that has become synonymous with the life we are now used to living. In society today, it’s easier to satisfy our wants and needs than ever before. Thanks in large part to technology; the world is literally at our fingertips. Instant Gratification has completely changed what the consumer expects. Has your office adapted?

Instant Gratification presents new opportunities and challenges to business owners. Your customers have become accustomed to being instantly satisfied. This can seem like an additional everyday stress and another obstacle to adapt to. However, with a little due diligence and a great team behind you, your business can upgrade into the realm of instant gratification. Here’s a few tips that you can implement immediately to enhance your customer experience in today’s world.

Instant Gratification Tips
  1. Sweat the small stuff. Now, more than ever, every detail matters. A customer should utilize every sense (sight, touch, smell, sound, taste) during a visit t0 your office.
  2. Establish and build meaningful relationships. Remembering customer’s names and stories goes a long way in creating meaningful interactions on every visit.
  3. Deliver on your promises. Your office should have established “We Believe” statements. Remember, these are tangibly observable outcomes. Every “We Believe” statement should be encountered by every customer on every visit.
  4. Eliminate wasted time. Instant Gratification has reprogrammed society to despise waiting time. If customers are spending time waiting in line or sitting around your office… It won’t be long until they find a new place to visit.
  5. Don’t get complacent. If you find you and your team in a groove, don’t allow yourself to become too comfortable. Your consumer is constantly evolving and adapting new tastes and expectations. Continue to drill down on your fundamentals and improve your customer experience in all areas

The bottom line? Nothing beats exceptional customer service. Instant Gratification is here to stay and you need to find ways to incorporate it into your place of business. If you think your business is impermeable to it, it’s only a matter of time until you find yourself on the outside looking in!

Dr. Nathan UnruhDr. Nathan Unruh, CXO, SIDECAR

Your business is made up of a set of core beliefs — just like a baseball. 

If you’ve paid attention to the sport of baseball over the past few years you may have noticed that players are getting bigger and stronger. This has resulted in baseballs traveling further distances at rates faster than ever before. What hasn’t changed is how a baseball is physically made.

How A Baseball is Made

At its core, a baseball is composed of a rubber ball in the center called the “pill”. The pill serves as the beginning of the baseball. This is then surrounded by rolls of twine and covered with two pieces of leather. Finally, everything is stitched up together with red thread.

Just like a baseball is made up of individual components; so too, is your business.

What is Your Business Made of?

At the center of your business is your vision – the why behind what you do. The twine surrounding the pill is your mission. This states how you will accomplish and execute your vision. The layer of leather is your company values. These values define your central belief system and set the expectations of behavior for you and your team. Finally, stitching everything together is your Code of Honor. Your Code of Honor is a set of rules that defines exactly how your team conducts itself on a daily basis.

“I’ve Got It!”

Another rule in baseball is that when the ball is in the air the only thing you can call as a fielder is “I’ve got it!” Never, under any circumstances should the phrase “You’ve got it!” come out of your mouth. The only proper call to make is one owning possession of the ball.

You can’t pass the buck in your business either. When the ball is in the air, you’ve got to take responsibility and go get it!

Let’s Play Ball!

Dr. James Staciwa, Transitions Chiropractic, SIDECAR Client


Are you working as hard as you think you are? 

Work Ethic

Rate your work ethic. On scale of 1-10, rate your work ethic. Seriously, choose a number.

What number did you give yourself? Typically, people answer comfortably in the 6-8 range. Let’s put that into perspective. If you were taking a test: 8 out of 10 would be a B, 7 out of 10 a C, and everything below that… well, you get the idea.

This is a great exercise to do with your team. Open yourself and your team up and be vulnerable. Remember, in our businesses we only get what we tolerate. Your team’s work ethic drives what you all can accomplish as a unit. We encourage you to be honest with yourself; where is your work ethic right now?

What is Your Why?

If your answer isn’t as high as you would like it to be here’s my question for you, what is your why? Is your why, the reason you do what you do, big enough? When your why truly is big enough, the how’s will take care of itself!

We know that in order to execute on every patient experience we have to be 100% present with 100% effort. This needs to transcend from you, the leader of your business, down to your techs.

I have asked techs that worked for me in the past, “If you had a car and it only started 7 out of 10 times, but you never knew exactly when it would or wouldn’t start, would you keep that car?”

Take a look in the mirror. How’s your work ethic?

Dr. Nathan UnruhDr. Nathan Unruh, CXO SIDECAR

Is your business everything you dreamed it would be when you were first starting up? Do you still wake up with the same drive to impact your community and create your future? How about those “New Year” resolutions you set, do they still exist?

If you identify with any of the underlying frustrations prompted by these questions or if you’re having serious doubts about your ability to press on and continue, we’ve got some advice for you.

It’s not for everyone. Maybe your dreams are set just a little too high. Life is hard, and sometimes there’s nothing you can do. Did you seriously think that you could accomplish anything you set your mind to?

This might not be easy to swallow, but someone has to say it:

It’s time to burn the ship!

Spanish Conquistador, Hernando Cortes

Burn the Ship!

In 1519 Hernán Cortés, a Spanish Conquistador, led a group of 600 men across the Atlantic Ocean to take on the powerful Aztec Empire. Legend has it that upon arrival his men were fearful and wanted to return back to where they came from. They were afraid to risk everything. Cortés had one thing to say to his team:

“It’s time to burn the ship!”

The crazy thing? He did. The ships they arrived on were set ablaze. There was no turning back now!

Fear is a powerful emotion fueled by doubt.

Cortés’ men agreed to embark on this journey united under one common goal: to defeat the Aztec Empire. They dropped everything in their life to get on a boat and spend several months crossing the Atlantic Ocean. One can imagine the entire time they were on the water they were dreaming of the new found riches they were going to claim. Yet, when they arrived to their destination — they wanted to abort the mission and return to the safety of their vessels. Comfort creates complacency.

600 Men, 1 Leader

Can you imagine making a decision that directly contradicts the desires of 600 men — All of whom have put their lives in your hands? Making the decision to go “all-in” is never easy. It’s human nature to want to protect yourself from harm, hedge your bets, or have a back-up plan… you know, just in case.

But those who reach the highest levels of success will tell you the same thing: there’s no plan B!

Make A Decision

Now, it’s your turn. You can choose to stay comfortable, retract, and search for safety. Or, you can dig deeper, train harder, dream bigger and spend every waking moment pursuing your ultimate desires.

If you ask us?

It’s time to burn the ship!


Double Crush Syndrome is a hypothesis that states one nerve can be irritated in two separate areas resulting in a cumulative, increased negative effect. For example, some episodes of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome have shown nerve compression not only in the wrist but also in the neck or elbow. Double Crush Syndrome is important to understand for proper diagnosis and treatment.

At SIDECAR, we’ve discovered a different form of Double Crush Syndrome that exists and plagues many business owners. This form of Double Crush Syndrome states:

“Stresses at home and stresses at work can result in an overall cumulative, negative effect.”

In this piece, we will help you diagnose Double Crush Syndrome in your life and guide you through treating and preventing this phenomena.

Your Reality

The reality of entrepreneurship is that every business is a family business. Regardless of if family members are working in your business or not; your business’s performance will have a definite, measurable effect on your family. It’s incredibly difficult to operate a struggling business without feeling the effects at home. Troubles within the home also tend to lead to troubles in the business. It’s rare to have a good day in one area and a bad day in the other. Because of this cumulative effect, it’s important to establish proper boundaries and have the right mindset in both situations.

Here’s our best advice when dealing with these issues:

  1. Leave your personal baggage at the door.
    When you enter your place of business you must have the ability to leave behind any outside issues you may be dealing with. These problems will still be there when you leave, but the only way they can enter your business is if you allow them in.
  2. Take care of your needs (and your family’s needs) first.
    If your personal needs aren’t being met; you can’t expect that your business will be able to help meet the needs of others. This is the self-serving reality of human nature. A battery can not give off that which it does not have. In order to, be all-in at your business serving your customers; make sure you are getting your needs met. For some people it’s exercise, others may need to meditate prior to arriving at the office. Whatever you need to do to make sure you are at your best once you begin your day.
  3. Be where your feet are.
    The ability to be present in every situation allows for you to be at your best regardless of outside circumstances. When you are at work, be at work. When you’re home with your family, be at home with your family. It’s natural to allow your brain to wander between the two but with proper focus and discipline you can remain in the moment and serve the purpose at hand.
  1. Take a proper amount of trips and vacations.
    As the saying goes, if you think you need a vacation… it’s too late! At SIDECAR we’ve developed a rejuvenation system designed to allow you to take sufficient time off without stalling or stopping the momentum of a growing practice.

Your family shouldn’t suffer because of your struggling business. Your family should thrive alongside your business.

You can have it all. We can help you get there.



Van Halen knew that the execution of great performances lies in the details.

The Story

The great American rock band, Van Halen, is well known for several chart-topping hits and sold-out concerts. The impact they can have on your business involves a story about Brown M&M’s..

Back in their prime, Van Halen traveled the United States putting on concert productions larger and more spectacular than had ever been seen before. Hours of preparation and proper execution by hundreds of people was required to pull off these events. This is where the brown M&M’s come into play. Van Halen’s performance contract to the promoter included a section containing the band’s requirements. If these requirements were not fully met, the promoter would forfeit the show at full pay. One requirement in the contract stated that no brown M&M’s were to be found backstage. The band required M&M’s as part of their agreement; but, the brown ones needed to be removed prior to their arrival.

The brilliance of this story lies in the band’s reasoning behind the brown M&M’s. (If you want to hear the story straight from the horse’s mouth check out this link!

Why the Brown M&M’s?

The band created this requirement as a safety measure. They knew that the production they were putting on was state-of-the-art. At the time, Van Halen traveled with the biggest lights, sound equipment, and stage than had ever been seen before. If proper installation was not done; the band and fans would be in serious danger. Thus, the brown M&M’s requirement was born. The requirement was included in the middle of the installation safety instructions. If the band arrived to brown M&M’s backstage, they knew that the proper safety measures had not been taken and would require a more thorough examination prior to the concert. If the promoter did not go through the safety checklists provided by Van Halen, they would definitely miss the brown M&M’s but more importantly they could risk putting people in harm’s way.

Your Business

The moral of the story is this: Van Halen utilized a checklist that contained step-by-step instructions to ensure that the performance they put on was the best it could possibly be. They went a step further by utilizing the brown M&M’s as a safety measure to gauge whether or not the checklist had been followed correctly.

Your business needs checklists. Your team needs the tasks they are responsible for specifically documented and laid out to be followed every single day. It doesn’t matter how long you have been doing things or your team members have been with you. We are all human and we all forget. Design your checklists to be all-encompassing and don’t forget the specific details.

Without checklists, the bathrooms are forgotten, garbage cans remain full, and tissue boxes empty.

Exceptional patient experiences are executed in the details.

Dr. Nathan UnruhDr. Nathan Unruh, CXO SIDECAR

Imagine how simple it would be to report your findings if all of your new patients came with a USB port. Then all you would have to do is stick in a flash drive and transfer your findings along with the appropriate studies validating your recommendations. Well that day may come but not fast enough to make a difference in your practice right now! If you want more new patients you must take your good patient communication skills and make them great.

The Problem

The problem with most Report of Findings is that they don’t work. They fail to get results for the patient. Allow me to repeat that statement, They fail to get results for the patient. Most reports do not cultivate trust, deliver meaning or move the patient to follow through. Reports too often leave the patient dazed and confused and a confused mind always says no. This has real consequences for both you and your patients. The patient misses the opportunity to get the care they want and you lose the opportunity to serve!

You probably think (hope) that getting a patient to accept your recommendations is pretty straight forward. You gather the history, do the appropriate exams, formulate a plan and boom they start care. And of course the most famous bromide of them all, “They stay, pay and refer.” Too often reports are heavy on facts and light on human touch. Data-dumping does not get the results the patient needs. A doctor-centered report of findings focuses on what the doctor needs to say. A patient-centered approach focuses on what the patient needs to hear, it “relates” to the patient.

Stop reporting your findings and start “Relating Your Findings” using the following three steps.

  1. Personalize the report
  2. Give the patient your best recommendation
  3. Make the decision process easy
Personalize every report.

Begin your presentation with, “As I understand it, the most important thing for you right now is to be able to_____.” Never use dogmatic platitudes like “You need to come for the rest of your life,” or weak avoidance tactics like “If you’re not better after five adjustments then chiropractic won’t work for you.” Both are cookie cutter one size fits all positions.

Make your best recommendation your only recommendation.

Interpret the examination findings then stand firmly upon your clinical opinion, best available evidence and experience to date. This is your point of view; you are the expert. Is it always right? Of course not, but it is the best you can do with what you know right now. Changing your recommendation during the report when you sense resistance is not patient-centered. It is, in fact, doctor-centered and fear driven behavior. Too often the fear of being criticized, or the need to make everyone happy makes us people pleasers not patient leaders.

Make the decision process easy

You must make the decision process easy. Address the patient’s problem in the context of how it is limiting their life. Make the cause of their symptoms tangible. Instead of saying misalignments are caused by toxins, thoughts and trauma, tell them exactly what you think. As an example you could say, “Spinal misalignments can occur as a result of accumulated stress and injuries. In your case I suspect ____.”        And make the care plan simple. As an example, “In order to get the results we are both looking for you will need a concentrated course of care over the next ____”

The reality is that patient non-compliance is a source of frustration for all health care providers. Yet chiropractors need to be better because our margin for error is a whole lot less. People always pay for services they value and value the services they pay for. And in today’s stingy economy, chiropractic care needs to be affordable and valued. You can take charge of your practice but only if you take responsibility for your role in patient non-compliance.


Sunday nights tend to have a somber mood to them. For most people, Sunday evening marks the end of a fun, stress-free weekend and the beginning of a dreaded work week. This is especially true for someone who doesn’t love his/her job.

Guess what? Most people don’t “love” their job. In fact, one study found 70% of people are unsatisfied with their career choice.

Whether you love your job or not, it’s important that you put the right foot forward.

The First Step

In basketball, the first step dictates whether a player gets past the defense or not. During the work week, the first step is also the most important. To make the most out of your first step it needs to come from the right emotion — gratitude.

What’s great about your job? If you can’t find an answer to that question, try this one: what’s positive about your job? Do you get paid? Do you enjoy any relationships you have with those around you?

What impact does your job afford you to have?

We’ve found that the best direction to take your first step is usually backwards! 

Take time to think, pray, reflect, and love. The beginning of the day carries so much weight for the rest of the week.

Only you can control your attitude.

It doesn’t matter what you do, carry a great attitude through it… no matter what!



When is it over? It’s over when you say it is. The only failure in life is quitting on your dream and/or deciding that the work required to reach it is too overwhelming. We all hear the same inner voice when we face adversity. When your perceptions are clouded with negative emotions the self-deceptive, survival voice tells you that you need, even deserve, a break. The fact is that if you want to excel you have to work smarter, play harder, sharpen your skills and be more disciplined than your competition. It’s not over ‘til it’s over.

“Think Outside the Box”

Have you heard the tired bromide that in order to be successful you have to “think outside the box?” Well, that’s half right. Actually, it’s just as important to “think inside the box.” If we equate “outside the box” as right brain thinking and “inside the box” as left brain thinking, we get the whole view. Inside the box is working on the strategic organizational aspects of your practice and outside the box is working on your leadership skills.

Most Chiropractors think outside the box when it comes to revolutionary health care strategies but when it comes to their businesses they tend to resort to ‘OLD-practice’ thinking and entrenched beliefs. One of the most costly is the belief that the strategic work of a practice can be fixed once and for all. This strictly linear thinking leads to practice distress and personal frustration. The result is a process of decline, beginning with stagnation, followed by mediocrity, roller coaster numbers, free fall and eventual extinction. Business remains a work in process and it’s not over until it’s over. It simply is not possible nor is it desirable to attempt to fix the practice once and for all. All attempts to eliminate innovation and creativity will lead to boredom and failure.

A prime example of this “fixing the practice mentality” is how many doctors deal with the challenges associated with recruiting, hiring and training staff. Too many doctors fly by the seat of their pants or on the wind of their emotions and avoid the rigors of leadership. Once they finally wake up and terminate the employee, or wait for him/her to quit, they go on a search to find the perfect assistant and assume this will solve the problem for good. This assumption is a costly repetition of a systemic (whole brain) flaw in thinking. Leadership requires consistent vigilance and investment of your time, energy and money for training.

What is Excellence?

Another common example of this fixer mentality occurs when the doctor puts all of his/her attention on the task of organizing the systems of the business and neglects the human aspect of patient care. As in life, being a Chiropractic Entrepreneur is a cyclical process, not a linear event. Just when you have attended to one aspect, another one is calling for your attention. You must develop the mental agility to hold the entire Business of Chiropractic in your head at once. This includes the Clinical Department, the Financial Department and all the systems involved in each. Excellence means performing at your peak every day, all day.

An example of a manmade cyclical process is the care and maintenance of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. Anyone who has seen this inspired mega structure close up will notice that it is always in a state of repair and maintenance. As a matter of fact, before the painting crew finishes one end of the bridge, they set up the scaffolding on the opposite end and the painting cycle is started again. In business we call this consistency and innovation.

The reality is that you must work on your business and on yourself simultaneously. That’s why SIDECAR is designed with coaching accountability, not feel good, pat-on-the-back chats.

It’s not over till you say it is.