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5 Tips From Per Wickstrom To Becoming A Successful Entrepreneur

Would you model your small business after a drug rehab clinic? My first thought was, "Wait, what?" The more I thought about it, however, the more I realized just how many aspects of any small business could be improved by studying a rehab clinic's best operational practices.
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Would you model your small business after a drug rehab clinic? When a colleague recently asked me that same question, my first thought was, "Wait, what?" I did a double take. The more I thought about it, however, the more I realized just how many aspects of any small business could be improved by studying a rehab clinic's best operational practices.

Recently, I sat down with Per Wickstrom, the founder, and CEO of Best Drug Rehab in Manistee, Michigan. I was curious to gain Per's insights into business operations based on his business's successes.

These are his top five takeaways:

1. Genuine Help = Genuine Success

What Per has to say:
"When you're working towards the goal of genuinely helping your clients/customers, you're setting your business up to achieve genuine success in the form of long-term growth and a strong reputation. Addiction, for example, genuinely changes the brain. I wanted to address this at my rehab center, even if that meant some patients needed longer stays. My goal is to genuinely help people, not shuffle them through a system."

What this means for your business:
Care more about making a quick buck than filling a genuine need? You won't stay in business for long. Companies that fail are those that are only trying to make a quick buck off of people without providing a product or service that's helpful.

2. Serve an Unmet Community Need

What Per has to say:
"When you look at what we did with Best Drug Rehab, it's obvious that we were fulfilling a major need in our community - addressing local drug addiction. The same goes for any business. Find an unmet need and meet it."

What this means for your business:
When you start a company that benefits others, you build a loyal and appreciative client base. Plus, by tapping into an unmet need or solving a common problem in a new way, you're carving out your very own market niche and easily differentiating yourself from the competition. That's a win-win for everyone.

3. Believe in your Business Model

What Per has to say:
"In the beginning, I had a lot of doubters who did not believe I would make my dream of opening rehab centers a reality. Luckily, I ignored those doubters and followed through with my original plan. Now, the recovery center and the community are reaping the rewards."

What this means for your business:
There are always going to be people who want to offer well-intentioned advice. Some of this advice will be beneficial. But other advice from doubters and naysayers is downright negative. Their hurtful comments and doubts can be a serious mental energy drain. Learn how to put up a wall between their negativity and your mission. If your immediate family and friends don't support your business plan, seek support from other small business owners or entrepreneurs in your community who have been there, done that. Don't let anyone discourage you from fulfilling your potential!

4. Pick the Right Location

What Per has to say:
"If I had opened my first rehab center in an area that already had several similar centers available, it is unlikely that Best Drug Rehab would've been as successful as it has been. Instead, I chose an underserved community."

What this means for your business:
It's Business School 101: don't open your store next to your direct competitor. Market saturation can sink your business before you ever get it off the ground. Be savvy when choosing a location, market, or niche in which to operate.

5. Operate with Morals and Ethics

What Per has to say:
"The entire time we were building the center from the ground up, I never lost sight of my main goal: to provide a safe place where addicts can effectively combat addiction with the help of professionals. I never put anything above that goal, because I knew that doing the right thing would lead to the best outcome for everyone in the long-term."

What this means for your business:
All you need to do is turn on the nightly news to see a new company being accused of ethics violations or acting with impunity towards its employees, customers or the environment. If you want to build a sustainable small business, you must respect your community. This means operating with a strong moral compass and going above and beyond for your customers."

Bottom line:

The rehab industry is very specific. But while many people may struggle to imagine how running a rehab center translates into other business operations, the fact is each small business is built on similar principles: provide a genuine service, meet an unmet need, believe in your business model, be savvy about your location, and operate with morals and ethics. Follow these operational guidelines and your business will be off to a strong start.