As a long-term entrepreneur with the benefit of a few great mentors, the best advice I have ever received is: “Operate your business like it’s for sale.” The idea that you should run your private practice or medspa like it’s for sale is another way of saying you should begin with the end in mind. That means regularly asking yourself an important question: “If I wanted to buy an existing practice, what would I be looking for?” The corollary to that is: “If I wanted to sell my practice tomorrow, what would I need to improve to get the maximum value for it?”
Now take a minute to create a working audit of your practice—think about your practice in terms of profit, people, processes and tools. In addition to reviewing your profit and loss statements, vendor agreements, and current treatment and procedure offerings, focus your attention on your staff, including the processes, protocols and tools they use to do their jobs. Is everyone in the practice working together the way you expect and the way you had originally envisioned? If not, what needs to change? For example, an inefficient team may benefit from written protocols and team meetings to review problems, share concerns and improve working relationships with one another. The key is to recognize the problem and then gather the information you need to address it.
When it comes to staff, there is something that owners and managers hate to consider, yet it is critical to success: If you bought your practice today, would you hire and keep everyone on the existing staff? If you find that the answer is no, think about what changes you would make by listing what you like and dislike about your team as well as each individual employee. This can guide you in implementing advanced training for your staff when needed, and provide insight into areas where employees could be shifted into different positions that are more in line with their goals and personalities. If change is necessary, make a change.
The next area to review is your protocols and processes. You likely have clearly defined protocols for all medical procedures that are delegated to staff members, but does your practice also have clearly defined processes for the nonmedical aspects of the business? These may include:
- How to answer phones and greet patients as they come into the office
- How to address the most common patient concerns
- How to increase patient conversion rates
- Incentives or strategies to increase referrals
- Processes to gather email addresses, obtain positive reviews and encourage patients to follow the practice on social media
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If you feel your practice is not functioning the way it should, particularly in terms of patient care and follow-up, think about which areas need to change and what is preventing you from addressing these concerns. Once you’ve identified the problems, think about the best time to begin making changes and set a timeline. This might involve bringing in new long-term or temporary help, reaching out to other practice owners to learn what has worked for them, or simply setting up a new process, creating a timeline and then gathering staff to share the new protocols with them.
When reviewing your equipment inventory, think carefully about the tools and technologies inside the practice. Do you have a complete inventory of all technologies—including practice software and computer systems—that have been purchased or leased by the practice, and are these tools being fully utilized? Review your workflow for patient care as well as scheduling and book keeping to make sure you are maximizing all treatment technologies as well as the marketing, scheduling and billing capabilities of your software systems. Your goal is to maximize efficiency while also using all the tools and support at your disposal to create a world-class experience for your patients.
All business owners will benefit from considering these simple hypotheticals: If you were going to buy your own practice, would you be completely satisfied with the way it is performing? If not, what needs to change and when is a good time to get started? There is great value in auditing your medical practice or medspa as if it were a potential purchase—it allows you to look objectively at all components of operation and address shortcomings that are preventing your practice from achieving the success and outcomes you seek.
Adam DeGraide is the CEO of Crystal Clear Digital Marketing. Contact him at 888.611.8279, www.crystalcleardm.com.
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