Starting a new allied health practice always begins with a wave of optimism and enthusiasm. But as things progress, too often young businesses will need to navigate a unique set of challenges. Here are our top five downfalls, that if dealt with early, can ensure your practice does not turn into a sinking ship.
Not seeing patients full time
You are a start up and you need to make as much money as possible to keep the doors open. Don’t hire someone to see patients so you can “manage”. You need to do that stuff between patients or after hours when you first start out. Nobody said this was going to be easy. Remember one thing – you want your assets and cash in the bank to be greater than your debt. Regularly review this position. It is called your liquidity ratio and won’t be above 1 at the start but getting to 1.0 liquidity ratio should be on your priorities list. This is one of the best measures of risk in a business.
Not taking your time when employing staff
One of the biggest killers of small business is consistently hiring staff with values that aren’t aligned with the direction of the business. Interview them with more than yourself (hopefully you have either a mentor or another staff member that can help you), this will help give another perspective. Make them work for the job and ask questions around their behaviour in certain situations. The time spent, although painful, during the interview process could be the difference between 100k per year billings and 500k.
Not engaging your team
Employee buy in is important. You won’t have huge internal marketing budgets (money to spend on marketing your business to your own employees) so how do you accomplish this? Being transparent with goals of the business, accurate figures in performance, social catch-ups and rewarding great team work and individual efforts are all pretty low in cost.
Not looking at data regularly
You need lots of different performance metrics! You need to be able to drill down in a number of ways. Most importantly, individual performance, clinic performance, best times of the year, worst times of the year and who are your best customers. Invest in smart allied health management software.
Focusing on new customers as a priority for growth
You are ten times more likely to get more business out of an existing customer than a new customer. This means if you are out and about looking for referrals from doctors you should be spending the majority of your time converting existing referring doctors from part time referrers to full time advocates of your business. In a nut shell, a doctor sending you 2 patients a week is far more likely to start referring 5 patients a week consistently than a new doctor sending you 3 patients a week consistently.
It’s cliche, but mistakes will happen throughout all stages of your business. By pre-empting a few key areas at a time, you’ll start to build up a resistance and foresight against future hurdles. For more on this topic, or if there are any specific areas you need guidance in, add a comment below and we’ll do what we can to help.