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The real truth about promotion is simple: any promotion is better than no promotion.

This might seem to be a ridiculous oversimplification at first and only marginally useful, but this one statement solves all sorts of ills in business and very few professionals honestly live by it.  What is meant by this is that any promotion a business owner engages in—“bad ideas,” “poor content,” “low-return” advertising, etc.—is better than not promoting.  It is ALWAYS better to do some form of promotion than think about it, make a plan about it for later, or worse yet, just ignore it.

The number one problem with promotion in any business or marketing scenario is that folks just don’t do it.  Whether they consider it a waste of money, feel they couldn’t handle the extra incoming traffic flow, feel like they don’t really know what to do, etc.—when you get right down to it, they are all just excuses of why one doesn’t have to promote.  And if there were one piece of advice that could completely change a business’s income range it’s just this: send out regular, consistently high-volume promotion.  If a business were to follow just that one piece of advice, they’d be in clover.  Leave all other parts of management out, drop any ideas of organization, lose all semblance of orderliness and if you did just that one thing—consistently, regularly sent out high-volume promotion—you would have an income like you wouldn’t believe.

This holds true whether a person lives in New York City or a farming community in Iowa, regardless of whether the surrounding area has a population of 10 million or 10 thousand.  The truth is that if a community is large enough that it can sustain a practice at all, it is large enough that promotion will have a profound effect on its prosperity.  Even in a tiny town, if the owner was able to start a practice and limp along there, with enough promotion, people hear about the place and start to come from other nearby towns.

Sometimes people may think that due to the median income of their area, it won’t do any good to promote.  In truth, the income range of the surrounding people has nothing to do with it.  This will apply to a practice in Beverly Hills or a practice where 50% of the clientele is on public assistance.  Again, if the practice is able to charge any money and people are paying anything at all, then the practice will be able to greatly benefit from regular promotion.

Promotion drives in the business regardless of where the practice is located, regardless of local demographics or income and regardless of how old or new the building is.  People come to that practice because it is well promoted.  Assuming that the practice is routinely delivering excellent care to its patients, at the core of the issue, there really is no other reason people come in.  Even if they heard about it from their brother, that’s word of mouth—a form of promotion.

In example after example a practice owner felt like their situation was unique—their demographics were bad, or their local area was small, etc.  Yet in those same areas when the practice owner finally bit the bullet and just started promoting regularly, magically there was more business.  In fact, this happens so routinely it is almost funny.  The business owner believes that they’ve tried every form of promotion and none of it works—or if it does, it isn’t much.  They “know” that in their scenario to some degree it is “wasted money.”  In truth, the quantity of promotion they’ve sent out is typically quite sporadic in actuality.  They tried it a couple months and then gave up.  Real promotion takes months and months of persistence and must be done at a high volume level to see real results.

In most cases where the business owner sees too few people coming in to the practice and they don’t even see who else could come in, it is an internally-created situation.  It’s a “chicken or the egg” proposition.  In other words, the business owner sees few people coming in for services.  They then see quite “obviously” that there isn’t anyone to promote to anyway and that the people who need their services are already coming in.  In actuality, the people who are coming in are just the trickle that are still managing to show up despite poor promotion and themselves are still a product of promotion—if only word of mouth as a result of excellent services rendered.  Basically, the lack of promotion creates a very small traffic flow within the business.  This small traffic flow then “proves” to the business owner that there isn’t any real pressing need to promote anyway!  Funny?  Welcome to the business world.

Now, what is promotion?  Well, promotion is just sending things out into the environment that make people know about and want your service or product.  Fliers, advertising, letters, e-mails, websites, door-hangers and word of mouth are all different types of promotion.  It really doesn’t matter what sort of promotion.  Any promotion at all is better than no promotion.

The main trouble folks get into with promotion is just not doing it and, after that, just not doing it enough.  The amount of promotion sent out is far underestimated by most business owners.  Traffic doesn’t just walk in; it must be driven in.  The way this is done is by sending out communications regarding your business into the world around you.

In truth, the only real mistake one can make in promotion is not to do it.

How does one apply this in the real world?  Well, there are a lot of different marketing strategies, promotion plans and the like that a person could do.  And of course there is internal marketing, external marketing, referrals, advertising, etc., etc.  However, in the real world it works like this:

1.         Look through any past marketing you did, internal or external.  Find which promotion or marketing was even marginally successful.  Make a list.

2.         Even if none of these were wildly successful, pick the top three types of promotion.  If it comes down to it, just pick whichever one was most successful.  The idea is to keep it simple and doable.

3.         Look at the volume of this promotion when it was being successful.  What was the range in terms of numbers each week?  How many went out?

4.         Double this figure.

5.         Sit down with your Office Manager or other staff and work out how to get this quantity of promotion sent out for 8 weeks straight.  Just stick with it for 8 weeks and don’t quit until the 8 weeks are over.  This might seem like a minor point but it’s huge.  If you quit too soon you won’t see the results.  It must be stuck with for a full 8 weeks.

6.         Push through all stops and barriers and just doggedly ensure that this promotion goes out.  It really doesn’t matter if it was a referral campaign, an advertising campaign, appointment reminders, internal marketing, etc.  Whatever it was just make sure that you have enough fortitude to stick it out and get it done.

On the most basic level, this is promotion in the real world.  Over simplistic?  Well, in a way, yes.  This would be promotion at its most basic level.  It comes down to persistence and volume.  But even at much more complicated levels, even the best marketers forget the most key information: any promotion is better than no promotion.

The applications are limitless.  When applied to the more advanced levels of web promotion, e-mail promotion and social networking, it still has very real inherent workability.  No matter how good a person’s marketing program, it can always be stepped up and, in reality, that’s the game of promotion: ever-increasing quantities, reaching ever-larger numbers of people.

And while there is a whole lot more to promotion, while it is far more complicated than just the couple paragraphs above—in the end it comes down to…just do it.  You’ll win, your practice will win and your patients will win.  Why?  Because you deliver good service or else you wouldn’t still be in business.  And as many people as possible deserve to hear about you so that they can have an opportunity to receive that service and be helped by you.

And that’s what it’s all about.

Sincerely,

Mark Hanses

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“To Have an Office Manager or Not to Have an Office Manager?”

Some people might not think this is really a question at all, but in a large percentage of health care offices, this is a major issue.  Often times there is an “Office Manager” who is really a receptionist and, many times, no OM at all.  Even in those offices where there is an Office Manager on the job who has assigned duties, many things are left up to the owner that could be handled the OM.

The most major bottleneck in any practice is always at the top.  The practice owner is typically the chief executive as well as the primary patient care provider.  As a result, anything that needs to be done in the practice—decisions, problems, confusions—will all float up to the top if a lower level was unable to handle them.  Besides the already overwhelming demands of routine duties, the practice owner now has to handle completely random emergencies and make decisions without adequate information.  To top it off, somehow the owner is supposed to stay bright, happy and expansion-minded….  Not likely.

All too often, the grind of everyday production is itself a chore.  When unexpected problems are added into the mix, it is simply too much.  The owner just tries to survive the day and get home to “decompress.”  However, the future survival of the practice and its ultimate expansion depends on the owner’s attitude, planning and foresight.  Those plans set in motion today will result in more business and a more organized practice tomorrow.  What if the owner is too harassed by the everyday problems of the practice to even establish plans?  What if they are so harried that their outlook on the future isn’t all that good?  Sometimes, even if they do have a good viewpoint of the future, they simply don’t have the time to implement their plans.

It is against this backdrop that we can see the ultimate success of the practice depends on the owner having a good outlook and enough free time to plan and build for tomorrow.  How does one achieve such a thing?  In the middle of pressure and confusion, how to possibly free up the owner’s time and attention?  There is one surefire solution: train a strong Office Manager who actually runs the practice on a day-to-day basis.

After the delivery of good technical results on patients, having a strong Office Manager is the single most important component of any practice.  Having an OM who does their job can make or break a practice.  This is the missing link in countless practices.  There must be someone on the job every day who is able to make the right decisions, direct the staff and handle the practice’s problems with no further attention from the owner.  This last part is important.  The owner has to be able to do whatever it is that they want to do without having to have their attention on the problems.

An OM has to be trained enough that they can themselves handle any administrative problem that arises.  They have to know what to do in stressful situations and they have to handle things in such a way that the doctor would trust them.  They have to be the kind of person who can actually manage the practice.

If the practice owner honestly has someone on the job who can make the decisions, handle the problems and steer the ship, he has an Office Manager.  If he has something less than this…well, he might have a front desk person.

In many practices the “Office Manager” really isn’t one.  They are just a glorified receptionist who either doesn’t know how to handle their job, or conversely, who isn’t allowed to fully do their duties and so feels their hands are tied.  Though they might be capable of handling things on their own, they aren’t given enough leeway to make decisions and so everything (yet again) winds up on the owner’s plate.

So long as the owner has to make all the decisions… so long as the owner has to handle the problems, the practice will not grow.  No matter what fancy marketing they do, the practice will stay pegged at that level.  A practice simply cannot expand past the level of one overwhelmed owner who is also the doctor and handling parts of everything.

The solution to all this is just to get a stable OM on the job at all costs.  If you’re in the unlucky position of having no OM, do whatever you can to get one.  Any OM is better than no OM.  If it comes down to it, blindly select your best staff member and convince them to be the Office Manager.

If you already have an Office Mange, ask yourself these questions:  When a problem comes up, who handles it?  Who do the staff really report to?  Does the Office Manger actually have the leeway to make decisions on their own?  Would the Office Manager honestly be able to run the practice if you weren’t there?

That last question is probably the most important one as it is really the most telling.  It is sort of the acid test: can the office still run if the owner isn’t there?  What if there were a different doctor or an associate there and you were gone for a day?  What about a week?  What about a month-long vacation?  The answer to these questions will tell you the strength of your Office Manager.  If the practice could continue to run, you’ve made it!  That’s the ideal.  This would mean that your Office Manager would be capable of handling everything they should.  If this isn’t the case, then it is a guarantee that you are being pulled into the OM role on a regular basis—and as a result, having less time and energy to be the business owner.

Now, this sounds ideal and great, but how does one get there?  How to actually bring this to fruition in the real world?

All too often, the “solution” of the practice owner who is facing incompetent staff or an Office Manager who can’t do the job is to just to blame them.  Even if not done overtly, it might be done internally to themselves.  It takes the form of frustration or upset at being the only one who can get anything done.  It takes the form of blaming the OM for not “stepping up to the plate.”  There are many versions of this phenomenon, but they all boil down to one thing: the owner—being the brightest one in the office—gets frustrated with others around him not being up to proper standards.

Is the problem that the owner’s standard are too high?  Not at all.  This is the only way to honestly expand a practice.  Those standards better be kept high.

Is it that the owner just doesn’t have the right staff?  Sometimes, but not often.  Most of the time the staff who are there care about their work and would like to see the practice and owner succeed.

Most often, the problem lies in the field of staff training.  The amount of work it takes to honestly train up an Office Manager is usually very underestimated.  The amount of skill and know-how it takes to really get an OM to know their job can be quite daunting.

In truth, there are no perfect people.  Of course you try to hire the best you can, but in the end, a business owner always end up with someone who could be improved in some way.  They aren’t perfect, but here’s the main point: they can get better.  And this is where training comes in.  The owner must, must, must put a significant portion of their attention training their staff and their OM in particularly.

An OM can do the full scope of the job, but that job must be taught to them over and over until it is second nature.  And the person doing the training must have the skill and know-how of training.

Staff training is itself a skill and an art.  It has its own set of rules and laws.  It isn’t just a brush-off activity.  It is a precision drill and must be treated as such.  A business owner who has grasped how to actually train staff will be prosperous for the rest of their life.  Those who have trouble training their staff will always be hit-or-miss, hoping or relying on chance.

The ability to honestly train staff was never taught in school and is one of the most valuable skills a practice owner could have.  It is a far better guarantee of continued financial security than investments, insurance or annuities.  Those who can really train staff right are the masters of their destinies.  There is a whole subject of staff training.  Learn it well.

At Hanses Management, we’ve got decades practical experience applying the know-how of how to train staff effectively.  There really is a subject there to study and it must be treated as one.  If you have any questions about the best way to train your staff, or have any questions about how to get an Office Manager really doing their job, don’t hesitate to contact us.  We’re interested in your well-being.  That’s why we’re here.

Best,

Mark Hanses

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There’s a lot of talk about “management” or “staff management”.  One hears that they should be a better manager and pay more attention to management.  Some might even feel guilty because they don’t spend enough time on it.  But with everything else going on, most people are lucky just to get through the day and, frankly, don’t really want to spend a bunch of time on management after treatment hours.

But the fact is, with all this talk of management, very few people really define it or tell you how to get better at it.  It’s almost like it’s a mysterious commodity that few people possess and if you’re lucky enough to be born a “good manager”, then fate smiles on you.  If not… oh well.

Most business owners think, “Okay, okay.  I know I should be a better manager.  Fine.  I’ll try to do better from now on”—as though it’s a New Year’s resolution to “be a better manager.”  Well, if one is going to try to be a better manager, one should know something about it.  The first thing to understand about management is that it isn’t usually adequately defined.  People talk about it, but don’t really say what it is.  So, let’s get a workable definition for “management”—a definition we can USE.

Every business owner has goals—something they’re shooting for or would like to achieve.  Some owners are better than others at actually attaining their goals, but most everyone has got them.  Whether the goal is “grow the business 25% this year”, “save up ____ dollars for retirement by the time I’m 65” or just, “be able to leave the practice at 5:00 PM and not have to worry about it,”… everyone’s got some goal they’d like to be able to attain.

Every business owner also has barriers.  They have things that prevent them from arriving at their goals: problems, confusions, fears, blocks, frustrations, etc.  This is obvious because if no barriers were present, the business owner would already be at the goal—he’d have made it already.

Additionally, every business owner has got his business’s current situation.  This isn’t where he’d LIKE to be.  It’s the situation that he’s currently in.  It involves _____number of patients per week, ______dollars of collections per week, ______hours worked, ______staff employed, etc.  Every practice has a situation or position that it’s currently in, good or bad.  There’s a gradient scale here.  It can be in a bad position now, but it could’ve been in a MUCH worse position before.  The current situation is just how it’s all arranged now and what the business owner currently has to deal with.

So that’s the game.  Overcome the barriers in the practice in order to move it from the current situation to a more desirable one—so that the business owner is achieving his goals.  Simple right?  And it really is—IF one honestly has the know-how of management and organization.  Obviously the solution to almost anything a business owner is running into could be summed up in “overcome the barriers that are keeping your practice in its current situation and preventing you achieving your goals.”  And this…THIS is the problem of management.

So “management” could be defined as “putting the business owner’s goals into effect in the real world” or simply “the subject of how to bridge the gap between the business’s current situation and the attainment of the business owner’s goals.”

Now, this brings us to an interesting point.  Most business owners have a particular confusion.  They think they have only one major job in their company or practice—that they’re the “business owner” or “practice owner” and this sums it up.  But, that’s a pretty vague description and can mean a lot of things.  Thus, it’s actually best to break it down and separate this into what most single practitioners are actually looking at.  Most practitioners actually have three separate, distinct jobs. 

The first job of the single practitioner is just that: a practitioner.  This is due to the fact that they see patients every day.  This is a job unto itself—it’s them as a doctor.  It requires the correct care and technical handling of patients.  As associate doctors are hired on in a practice, the associates have similar duties.  The job of the doctor or practitioner is to provide excellent patient care, and that’s what they do.  A very large portion of every day is spent on this.

The next job is the “business owner.”  This is strictly the “chairman of the board” or “CEO” function.  A business owner has several major duties that include establishing the corporate structure, setting long-term direction, deciding on the overall goals and ensuring that the organization is staying true to those goals.  This is the ultimate “buck-stops-here” overseer, because after all…it is their company—their money and their neck is on the line.  Contained in these “business owner” duties are things like ensuring the ultimate success of the practice as a business, making sure there will eventually be enough for retirement, ensuring long-term “life goals” are being achieved, etc.

The last job is the “manager,” “Office Manager” or “Executive Director” duty.  This is often done partly by the OM and partly by the doctor, but not one particular person—though it should be.  The duty of any manager is to ensure that the goals of the business owner are achieved.  This is the whole reason he has a job.  This can include the minutia of making sure the phones are being answered correctly, or all the way to things like hiring the right staff.  This is the most key administrative job in the practice.  The reason the manager or executive director is so key is because this person’s job is to ensure the business owner’s goals are achieved.  The business owner makes the goals, the direction, the objective; the manager then runs the show to make sure these actually do happen.  These aren’t actually the same job and they’re often best done by two different people.

Here’s the rub: most practice owners put very little attention on their duties as “business owner” and “executive director” and put their entire focus on “practitioner.”  Now, it is a tribute to their skill as a doctor that this alone sustains many a practice.  You can have a practice with very few goals or oversight, you can be pretty poor at managing (or barely do any at all) and still, just based on the skill and production of the doctor, get by all right in the society.  However, it won’t necessarily be as prosperous as it could be, and it definitely won’t be smooth or worry-free.  In fact, it can be a downright mess.

Thus, the first major tool that can be applied to sort any of this out is just to separate each of these from the other.  First, take a look at your schedule the past week.  Look at how much time was spent seeing patients.  This is your “doctor” duties.  Then, look at how much time was spent running the practice to make sure that it went right.  This is you “manager” or “executive director” duties.  Lastly, take a look at how much time you spent planning the overall direction or making sure things were actually going according to plan.  In fact, while you’re at it check and see how much time you actually spent in the last month on this.  This will give you a pretty good idea of whether or not you’re even honestly doing the separate jobs.  That brief analysis above will tell you a lot.  Whether you’re doing them or someone else is doing them, someone MUST be doing each of those jobs: a) business owner, b) practice manager and c) practitioner (doctor).

The next thing to do is ask yourself if you currently have enough time in your schedule to do these different things.  If not, that has to be changed first.  For instance, perhaps you need to hire an associate so you have enough time as the manager to focus on the organizational health of the practice.  Or perhaps you need to get an office manager in there to really run the show.  Either way, each of these jobs must be done for any practice to really function efficiently.  So, the thing to do is determine if you honestly have enough time in your schedule to function as the business owner, the manager and the doctor all at the same time, then reorganize your practice so that there are people you can trust doing each of these jobs.

For the sake of argument, we’re going to assume that the technical aspects of patient care aren’t an issue for you.  We’re going to assume that you’re good at it and it is, for the most part, under your control.

The area of most interest to us here is the area of being a business owner.  Remember, a manager’s job is to make the business owner’s goals become a reality.  Thus, if the business owner doesn’t have clearly delineated goals, the manager’s job becomes very difficult.  So the next thing to do is sit down as the business owner and look over the practice.  Determine what the purpose of the practice is for you.  Why do you have it?  What are you trying to achieve with it ultimately?  What is its purpose and what is its product?  What are you trying to ultimately achieve in your own life, by having this practice.  Boil this down to a couple of key points that sum up the real-world goals of the practice.  These would have to be extremely practical and would have to really, honestly match up with what you want in life.

Once you have these goals, you’ve now got the standard with which to judge the current management.  So find out: if there is a different person than the owner doing the practice management role—does the practice manager (OM, executive director, etc.) know these goals?  Did they know them before?  Are these goals what they think they’re actually shooting for?  Now, you’re really entering the realm of analyzing your business’ actual management ability.

And, though there is a LOT more to the subject of management—with a lot of skill and know-how available—this at least provides a foot in the door.  Step one is to make sure that goals are set and clearly communicated by the practice owner.  Step two is to ensure there is someone actually running the day-to-day actions of the practice who can really control the practice.  Step three is to make sure this person honestly understands the goals and is really working toward them.

If you just sit down and do the above, you’ll find that the business slowly begins moving in the right direction—because it’s hard for a manager to efficiently steer a boat somewhere if the business owner never set the ship’s destination.

If you have any questions about management as a subject, or would just like advice, please don’t hesitate to call.  We’re always interested in hearing from you and that’s why we’re here—to help.

Mark Hanses

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How does a business owner have any hope of achieving financial stability and independence in today’s economic climate?  So many things are uncertain about what may happen next year—let alone two decades from now.  How can anyone feel secure or plan for the future when they don’t know what will happen in the world around them?

This is a problem that many of our clients—and business owners across America—are facing.  With today’s economic situation, there are so many things that a business owner can’t be sure of, it can make it impossible to plan for the future.  Besides an unstable economic situation, it seems that every day there are new taxes, new regulations and new penalties for violating any of these things—even if they weren’t known about by the business owner.  It can make for a dangerous operating climate.  In times like these many small business owners wonder why they’re even in business for themselves.  It seems like it might be easier just to go work for someone else or retire early—if they are even able to do such a thing financially.

One never knows what will be introduced next that they’ll have to keep track of.  And even if they successfully navigate through the maze of potential pitfalls, this doesn’t make for a happy, stress-free life.  In these times, one can be completely successful at solving the myriad problems that present themselves on a daily basis…but that doesn’t necessarily mean a happy quality of life or an untroubled mindset.  In fact, it often means the opposite.  The stress and constant attention can start affecting other areas of life more than the business owner even realizes.

But in the midst of this seeming confusion, it is yet possible to increase one’s security and control over the future.  There is a process by which any business owner can increase control over their life and future, and greatly increase their chances of success in the end.

Let’s look at it this way.  Any business owner is facing two sets of circumstances: those they can’t control and those they can.  The economy, new taxes, increased regulation, potential lawsuits—these all fall under the category of those circumstances they really can’t control.  Sure, they can write their Congressman or take up some political cause but this doesn’t create any avenue to solve their business problems on an immediate basis.  From the viewpoint of a business owner in his personal day-to-day functioning, we have to treat these as factors that are beyond his direct control.

Now on the other side, we have factors we CAN theoretically control.  These are things such as the quality of one’s patient care, the amount of promotion sent out and how effective it is at producing new business, the skill and efficiency of the office staff handling the flow of people in and out of the office, the tightness of the billing, etc.  While it seems that sometimes even these are beyond our control, if the business owner inspects their business carefully, they’ll see there are certain things that—though they may not be under their control currently—COULD be controlled by the business owner.  In other words, these are areas theoretically able to be controlled by the business owner or the office staff.

And thus we come to the first major tool in increasing the financial stability of any business: the business owner should sit down and determine which factors he can control and which factors he can’t control.

By ignoring all the factors that are beyond his immediate control, he is given only what he is able to do something about.  NOW we can get somewhere.  We can do something about it now.  By focusing only the factors he can control, the business owner can increase his profitability and business stability to the point where he has a much-increased likelihood of weathering any storm the rest of the world might throw at him.  In other words, in a rough-and-tumble world of uncertainties and potential disaster, he is able to absorb the shocks and problems thrown at him much more easily—simply by having a strong and healthy business, with an abundance of production, staff, finance and clients.

Now…that sounds great, but how to do this in the real world?

For the solution to this, let’s go back to our earlier exercise.  After the business owner sits down and figures out the factors that are under his direct control (or could be), he should have a list that would include things like: how well staff handle patients, internal and external marketing, financial planning and correct handling of money, the quality of patient care, etc.  Any business owner will come up with things that are directly under his control—or should be under his control.

Using only this list, one then goes out into the practice and inspects what’s actually going on in each area.  Literally, one sets aside 30 minutes to just walk around and check out the practice in each one of the areas he can control.  Just walk around and look at them.  Don’t correct anyone or interfere in anyway.  You can ask questions and talk to the staff, but remember that we’re just checking it out.  From doing this, a business owner will get a pretty good idea of what the good points and bad points of each area are.  The problems that need to be corrected will start to jump out at the owner.  Don’t start correcting them.  Just note them down.

After the inspection, sit down and make a list of what the most major problem is that is holding back each of the areas you looked at.  As a result of all this, you should have a list of each area of the business that can be directly controlled by the owner and what the most major problem is in each area.  Now that you have this, you can start to address these head-on.

Take a look at each area and simply write down a solution—any solution—that could improve each problem.  We’re not looking for a total fix here.  We’re just looking for a gradual betterment of the situation.  In other words, look at each problem that you now have listed out and ask yourself, “What could I do to make this a bit better, in the real world with the time and resources that I have?”  This is important because someone may have a great solution, but because of the lack of resources or time to handle it, really it’s impractical.  So we’re looking for the most practical, simple and direct way to move each one of these problems to a better situation.

Let’s look at an example in the real world.  Let’s say that the doctor goes out and finds that the staff at the front desk aren’t even really trying to collect for the services just rendered.  Maybe they indirectly mention it, but most of the time they just tell the person they’ll send him a bill.  Well, as you can imagine—this would have an adverse affect on that practice’s accounts receivable!  And while some may think this is an extreme example, it’s all too common in the world of small business.

In this example above, the business owner looks at this front desk problem again—let’s say he’s seen it before and it’s been eating at him.  So he sees this again and simply notes it down.  Now, this is a problem.  A definite problem for him, as it hasn’t been solved so far.  However, it technically fits under the category of “factors that are able to be controlled”, so we have to find some way to improve it.  We now have an area of the office that can be controlled: the front desk.  We have the problem: they’re not really trying to collect any money.  Now we need some solution that will make it better to some degree.

Let’s say that he has tried to handle this particular staff member before and she just keeps messing it up.  Well, what COULD be done to improve it a bit?  Maybe she could be trained on it.  Maybe some role-playing of different scenarios until she got her courage up.  Maybe implementing a bonus on all collections that she gets before the person walks out.  Maybe a sign on her computer reminding her to at least ask the person for payment.  Or maybe it would have to be as extreme as switching her out to a different job entirely.  Maybe everything possible has been tried before and the only option is to simply replace her.  The exact solution will, of course, vary on a case-by-case basis, tailor-made to address that exact situation.  The point here is just to get some solution that is practical and that works within the existing time and resources—something that would actually get some sort of improvement in the real world.  We don’t want The Ultimate Solution That Solves Things for the End of Time.  If you happen to come across that, great!  So much the better.  However, this is not what we’re looking for.

What we want to do is simply go through each of the areas and come up with a workable solution to improve the situation for each problem that was found.  Just cycle through each one of these problems and until you have some sort of improvement for each.

Then implement the solutions.  Take a small amount of time each day and gradually implement each solution.  This may take days, it may take weeks.  However, at the end of this time you’ll have greatly increased the health of your practice and improved your chances of success and prosperity.  And most importantly you’ll have improved you personal security for the future and peace of mind, allowing more time and energy for the parts of life that are important, not just “urgent.”

Try it.  See how it works for you.  And send us feedback on it.  We’re always interested in hearing from you.  If you run into any snags, shoot us a quick e-mail.  We’ll see what we can do to help point you in the right direction, just for free.  We always have time to answer questions like these.  We’re interested in your success, security and prosperity.

Best to you and your loved ones,

Mark Hanses

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