5 Key Steps To Grow Any Practice

There is no cookie-cutter approach to practice growth.  Each practice is individual.  Everyone has different goals, so the same approach won’t work for two different practices.

However there are certain basic principles which apply to a majority of practices.  This week we give five key steps anyone can take to grow their practice, no matter who they are.

These are so important that you can almost use these as a checklist of basic actions to grow your practice.  You may be doing some of them, or may be doing all of them partially.  Each of these five points below is a make-break for a smooth-running practice, and they give you a way to make your life saner and more productive.

1.  Make sure your practice is visible to your clientele.

This doesn’t just mean having good road frontage.  This means being “present” at all of the different points a person would check who is looking for your services.  It just means being able to be found.  People are looking for your services—sometimes they live right around the corner.  Make sure that you are letting them know you’re there.  This includes signage, web presence, phone book presence, etc.

2.  Market to your existing patients.

Your existing files are always your best source of future business.  Don’t ignore these when you’re focusing on new patients or clients.  The people in your files already know you and how you operate.  Continually market to them to remind them that you’re there.  Whether a newsletter, reminder cards or something else, all of your files should get mailed to at least once every two months.

3.  Actually ask for the money owed to you.

No, seriously.  We see this all the time.  Practices don’t even send out bills sometimes.  You do a lot of work–a lot of hard work.  You provide good service.  You deserve to be paid for it.  You don’t have to be pushy or demanding, however your office staff can’t be so timid that they don’t even ask to receive payment.  It’s just a mechanical fact—people pay when they are asked to.  If you don’t ask, often they won’t pay.

4.  Get an office manager that works well with you.

You need a right-hand man, a Friday, a Tonto.  If you don’t have a sidekick that you get along with and who you trust, then you won’t delegate.  If you don’t delegate you’ll become overwhelmed.  If you’re overwhelmed, your practice won’t grow—and might even shrink.  A good office manager handles all of the day-to-day decisions and tasks that will eat you alive.  Every practice needs one.  If you have an OM that you know and trust, do everything you can to keep them.  If you don’t have one, keep looking—you’ll find one.  They’re out there.

5. Learn about practice management.

You went to school for years to become a doctor.  You’re an expert.  You really are.  People pay good money for that expertise and value it.  However, the second you hang out a shingle, you become something else—a business owner and a manager.  Are you an expert manager?  Are you expert to the same level that you are as a doctor?  In fact, are you anywhere NEAR that level?  Most practices fail to grow, not because of poor patient care, but because the owner simply didn’t know how to be one.

Learn management.  It is a science.  Too many people throw opinions around as facts.  Francis Bacon had it right; apply the same Scientific Method you would use in studying physiology to studying management.  The test is: does it work?  If you’re going to run a business, don’t resist learning it.  Treat it as a serious endeavor and become good at it.  It will be well worth the effort and, in fact, will ensure that you’re well-paid for the effort you’re already expending.

Conclusion

Each of these points are a subject in their own right.  They aren’t necessarily easy or quick fixes.  But they are the basics and if you stay on them, you will be rewarded by a soundly expanding practice.

In future weeks we’ll have articles which explain more about each of these points, so if you saw something you had a question about, stay tuned—it might be answered next week.  As always, if you ever have a question that wasn’t specifically answered here, feel free to email us.  We’ll do our best to steer you in the right direction.

 

Have a question about your practice?  Try our free “Ask a Consultant” service.  Just send us your question in the form below.  We’ll email you back as soon as we can.

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