Interview with Dr. David Norris

This week on the PNC podcast, John discusses the importance of treating your practice like a business with business coach and consultant Dr. David Norris.


David also describes his journey to financial consultant, author of The Financially Intelligent Physician, and business sales broker.

Throughout his clinical training, David was always fascinated by the financial and business aspects of running a practice. He asked his teachers and mentors about this, but was told that he would learn those things during his residency.

After completing his residency, David joined a practice and worked his way up to partner and then board member. Once he was privy to the financial workings of the business, he questioned some of the business decisions. But he was not informed enough to know what to do about them.

“I had eighty-something families depending on me to make good financial decisions.”

Dr. David Norris

However, he continued to study and learn. And he decided that he needed to get a real grip on the business side of running a practice. So, he pursued his MBA at Wichita State, filling in most of his knowledge gaps.

Business Practices

While working on his MBA, David created a survey and sent it out to physicians to gauge their financial knowledge. He quickly realized that many doctors did not have a good grounding in finance, despite owning and managing their own practices.

From the survey feedback, David identified three key areas in which physicians lacked expertise:

  1. Financial intelligence,
  2. Negotiations, and,
  3. Change management and process improvement.

He recognized a real need for physician-focused financial and business training and began producing educational materials. This led him to start speaking on the subject, and taking consulting gigs while still practicing.

Our Sponsor

We're proud to have the University of Tennessee Physician Executive MBA Program, offered by the Haslam College of Business, as the sponsor of this podcast.

The UT PEMBA is the longest-running, and most highly respected physician-only MBA in the country, with over 650 graduates. Unlike other programs, which typically run 1 – 1/2 to 2 years, this program only takes a year to complete. And Economist Magazine recently ranked the business school #1 in the world for the Most Relevant Executive MBA.

University of Tennessee PEMBA students bring exceptional value to their organizations. While in the program, you'll participate in a company project, thereby contributing to your organization.

Graduates have taken leadership positions at major healthcare organizations. And they've become entrepreneurs and business owners.

By joining the University of Tennessee physician executive MBA, you will develop the business and management skills you need to advance your career. To find out more, contact Dr. Kate Atchley’s office by calling (865) 974-6526 or go to

Writing the Book

David had been thinking about writing a book on finances for physicans since receiving the results of the survey. A few years into doing consultancy work, he formed a training company with three associates, and recognized the need for good training materials.

“I would save all your money and spend it on the editing.”

Dr. David Norris

This was the impetus for his book. David dedicated himself to writing the book and completed it within a year, carving out one hour every day to devote to it. Recognizing this as a niche market, he decided to self publish through Amazon, with good success. Looking back, David noted the importance of spending money on good editing.

The publishing of the book was a catalyst for David's consulting career. He decided it was time to commit to being a business coach and consultant and he formed an LLC. He wanted to go part-time in his clinical work to support that. Unfortunately, staying on part-time at his practice was not an option.

To complicate things, David was offered an opportunity to set up a perioperative clinic. While he was tempted, it did not line up with his mission and purpose. So, he left his practice and took a part-time position so he could focus on his consulting.

Becoming a Business Coach and Consultant

Consulting now takes up most of David's time, although he still practices clinically. Through his consulting, he was also introduced to the world of mergers and acquisitions. The Vista Group, an M & A brokerage, recognized his acumen and brought him in as a partner to handle their healthcare division. In addition to consulting and practicing part-time, he oversees the buying, selling, and funding of medical businesses.


Asked about his perfect career balance, David acknowledged that he would still like to cut down on his clinical work further, with more hours for mergers and acquisitions, and the majority spent on his consulting business.

“My mission and purpose is to help my fellow physicians become stronger through business education.”

Dr. David Norris

Before our interview ended, David had a few key pieces of advice for any of our listeners that want to pursue a new career or find other sources of income:

  • Even if you're passionate about your niche, make sure there is a market for it.
  • State a clear mission and purpose.
  • Develop a business plan.
  • Don’t be afraid to get help. 
  • Admit your weaknesses, and don’t think you know everything about building a business.


David's discovery that most physicians do not fully understand how to run a practice properly is probably not a huge surprise to most of you. Physicians are trained thoroughly on medical concepts, but not the mechanics of running a business.

Thankfully, there are growing numbers of consultants like David to support physicians in making good business decisions. If you are interested in learning more about managing your practice as a business, or becoming a business coach and consultant yourself, David is happy to share his experiences. You can connect with him via his website using the links below.

Links for today's episode:

Thanks to our sponsor…

Thanks to the UT Physician Executive MBA program for sponsoring the show. It’s an outstanding, highly rated, MBA program designed for working physicians. It might be just what you need to prepare for that joyful, well-paying career. You can find out more at

I hope to see you next time on the PNC Podcast.

If you enjoyed today’s episode about this business coach and consultant , share it on Twitter and Facebook, and leave a review on iTunes.

Podcast Editing & Production Services are provided by Oscar Hamilton.


The opinions expressed here are mine and my guest’s. While the information provided on the podcast is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge, there is no express or implied guarantee that using the methods discussed here will lead to success in your career, life or business. 

Many of the links that I refer you to, and that you’ll find in the show notes, are affiliate links. That means that I receive a payment from the seller if you purchase the affiliate item using my link. Doing so has no effect on the price you are charged. And I only promote products and services that I believe are of high quality and will be useful to you, that I have personally used or am very familiar with.

The information presented on this blog and related podcast is for entertainment and/or informational purposes only. It should not be construed as medical, legal, tax, or emotional advice. If you take action on the information provided on the blog or podcast, it is at your own risk. Always consult an attorney, accountant, career counsellor, or other professional before making any major decisions about your career. 

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