“Nick” is a recent graduate Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa, who returned to his hometown in Southern California, opening an office.To Succeed, Small-Business Owners Need to Put Their Own Finances First
“After I hung out my shingle, it was clear that I needed to attract a patient base — preferably personal injury, auto accident victims as that’s where the money is and why I am calling you. Can we discuss my how-to-get-business plan?”
I have always had a great relationship with chiropractors and was happy to help, as Nick needed my advice more than he could ever realize.The Pay-to-Play Business Plan
“I have friends — such as ambulance drivers, EMTs, E.R. nurses, police officers and lawyers — who come in contact with auto accident victims. My idea is to give them my business cards and encourage handing them out to these people, telling them that I will help them get better, and a nice insurance settlement.
“Naturally, I will pay very well for these referrals, either per referral or a commission — a percentage of fees I earn on the case. Or, if they did not want to be paid, I could arrange for a great weekend in Las Vegas, a dinner at a nice restaurant, just ways of showing my appreciation for their help.
“Does this make sense?” he asked.
On the Surface it Makes Sense, But ...
“Most people, looking at Nick’s business plan would say, ‘Yeah, that seems reasonable. People refer cases to him, and he gives them a little something by way of showing appreciation,” Southern California-based attorney Shawn Steel told me.
“However, what Nick wants to do is clearly illegal,” Steel points out, and he knows, for in addition to practicing law, he has developed a niche specialty, educating chiropractors in laws that apply to them. He is on the faculty of Palmer West Chiropractic College in San Jose, Calif., Life-West Chiropractic College West and Southern California University of Heath Sciences.Getting Paid for Referrals Violates State and Federal Rules Don't Go it Alone: 4 Benefits of Having a Financial Adviser
You can’t turn on the TV without seeing ads for law firms who want your personal injury case. Millions of dollars are spent on television ads by a handful of lawyers — which is a good