on business

i was in yesterday for physical therapy. i've been doing this for about a month.
John works on my arms, shoulders, and neck mostly. some days it's like having a personal trainer. yesterday it was just massage, because i'd been brazing for a few hours in a tight spot to get a project done for the end of the school year.

we got to talking about his business, and the one i want to start eventually.
he said if a client says she can't afford her co-pay anymore, he says "no problem, do what you can", and continues to work on them. John calls this good business: "better to get 80% than nothing", but it's also being a good guy. and the business side works well enough that John runs an office, supervising 2 other therapists, and they all work all of the time. he has no referral relationship with a doctor, as most therapists do; he relies on word-of-mouth and a few small ads.

John does his own administrative work. he says he doesn't want to hire someone because "they'll probably spend 10 minutes not working for every minute they do work." so he takes an hour every week for administration and uses spare time to do the insurance paperwork.

this sounds so common-sense reading over it, but it's so rare, especially in the restaurant industry. i've waited tables at maybe 10 places, and only one approached what i'd call good management.
i worked for a summer at an Italian place that had just opened the previous winter. the owners were rumored to do a lot of coke. everything they bought for themselves was nice, but the restaurant equipment and furniture was of the used, barely-good-enough-to-get-it-done variety.
John talked about a lot of business owners falling into the trap he described thusly: "i'm the owner of such-and-such. now i get to drive a nice car, and have a big office, and whatever else i want". John's whole facility is just four small rooms, about the size of a 2-bedroom apartment.

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