Whether you are in the first few months of starting out, or have been in the game for several years, there will come a time when you meet a big bump in the road.
Sometimes this may simply be an unwelcomed inconvenience. At other times, it can feel like a chassis-fracturing, end of the world crisis. Maybe you’ve felt scared/on the bread line/considered packing it all in and escaping to a waged job in the pharmaceutical industry (don’t you dare!)
I experienced a considerable bump in the road back when The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), decided to forbid hospitals with assisting with room and secretarial costs for Private Practice Consultants. I found myself in a bit of a tail spin. Just like many other folk in Private Practice, overnight I suddenly needed to be making an extra £40k per year, just to stay standing still. I remember feeling sick.
I had two options: either hide myself away in a cottage in the new forest and pretend it wasn’t happening, or, take affirmative action. I chose the latter.
Here’s the thing; sometimes when we’re backed into a corner, fear throws the paralysis switch.
Usually in our therapeutic world we have a vague idea of what to do if something isn’t working out for a patient.
But what if it’s about the business of the therapeutic world?
For instance, what if the clinic location you have been pouring your heart and soul into is frankly in the wrong place? What if you are spending all time trying to tease out referrals from a particular GP practice, and yet they refuse to engage with you, despite your best efforts? Or what if there is really no market for the kind of clinical service you want to offer? (That frost bite clinic in Bermuda could maybe do with a re-think.)
You can ride this bump, if you hold your nerve and address the following in your private practice …..
Know your figures, how much money do you really need to make?
If you are at more than one location, which is your best performing and most profitable? Is it time to ditch the rest?
If you are a therapist who is renting a room space, can you temporarily sub-let to someone else, or better still, form an alliance with another practitioner to make some instant cost efficiencies?
Look how you are spending your time. Are you failing to take action on those marketing activities because the few patients you do have booked into clinic are scattered throughout the day? Would you be better off compacting them into a half day and then ‘honestly’ spending your time targeting potential patients and the referrers you want to reach out to?
Sometimes we convince ourselves that we have to be available all the time or we might miss out on a potential patient. This is nuts when you consider what it is costing you to hire a costly room space.
Are you niching enough? Have you spent enough time considering the ideal patient you want to be attracting, and making yourself as the known g- to person for X, Y or Z?
Perhaps the biggest and most important is: Structure your day and build in accountability. This is so important so I will say it again…
…..Structure your day and build in accountability.
Here are my Ninja tips for efficient ways to spend your ‘in-betweener’ time.
These activities are small enough to slot easily into diary spaces, and yes, I’m going to recommend that you schedule them in your clinic diary.
Draw up a list of marketing activities that you can do each and every day.
For instance: Writing a weekly blog. The first draft takes around an hour. Polishing it up to a finished product, takes about another hour. Using a social media scheduling tool, such as Buffer and loading it up once a week takes around half an hour.
Generate a fully functional email list. Broadcast out your fabulous blog to your list.
Sketch out a Facebook Live informative and video. Press the red button and record it! I dare you!
Spending half an hour of generating a ‘Ninja list’ of people you need to connect with for potential referrals. Make email contact with them (or use LinkedIn to connect), and set a meeting time.
Share your goals with another clinical buddie and hold each other accountable once a week. It’s best to include wine or Ben and Jerry’s.
Literally schedule these slots of work into your practice management diary system and set up a OneNote or Dropbox set of files for all of these ‘little works in progress’. Pull them up when the diary calls, and you can instantly get to work on them.
Taking action is the best way to ease out the bumps in the road, and it it’s the perfect elixir for feeling stuck and overwhelmed.
Sometimes, we all need a little extra help in building our practices – from a business perspective, as well as a clinical one.
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