Early one morning on a recent vacation, I dashed down to the local Starbucks to get some much-needed coffee for my husband and me. Our hotel was enormous with several wings on each floor. When I returned with the giant cups of java, I noticed the door to the room was half-open.
I burst in announcing my arrival and quickly realized the half-clothed, rather large man coming forward was definitely not my husband. I caught a glimpse of the stunned look on his face and turned to run, spilling coffee all over his room on my exit. Believe it or not, this wasn’t the first time I have found myself in such a predicament. As I attempted to explain my seemingly bad luck to my husband, he gently suggested that these recurring events happen because I am always in a hurry and don’t pay enough attention to details. Of course, I am in a hurry! I run a business.
My typical behavior is running around with more things to do than time. Consequently, I have been known to overlook important details. Some of these things don’t matter – that man in that room in Vegas will never know who walked into his room – but ignoring other details can be disastrous for business.
When you own and work in a business, you have many hats and it’s easy to get overwhelmed between seeing patients, managing employees, creating marketing plans, nurturing referral sources, monitoring profit and loss and the list goes on and on and on … however, these details are critical and ignoring them can derail the business.
I was discussing the status of business with a colleague and shared that 2018 was a tough year for my practice. “You know, he shared, “High water hides the stumps. When business is good, it’s easy to let costs get out of control and when profitability declines, the stumps start to show”. I knew exactly what he meant. Past years have been kind to hearing health care practices. Demand for the services we provide and the products we dispense has been high and our profit margins have been good and now we are facing more and more competition, much of it at lower prices, and an onslaught of third party provider programs that are controlling what we can charge.
These challenges necessitate the need to pay attention to every detail in the business.
When is the last time you took a good look at how your employees are spending their time? It’s easy to hire more because everyone seems “busy” but every employee has to be adding to the practice, and if they aren’t then perhaps it’s time to reduce the work force.
- Are you charging for everything you should be charging for?
- Are your cost of goods in line with the cost of doing business?
- How’s the ROI on your marketing plan?
- Costs for telephone and internet services can vary greatly by provider. No cost is too low to investigate and negotiation is always an option.
- Check to see how much you are spending on little-used yellow page ads.
- Regularly investigate shipping charges, as many suppliers fail to notify businesses of small increases and those small increases can dramatically affect profitability.
As times get leaner in hearing health care, it’s critical to focus on the cost of running a business and to get rid of those stumps when they start to show.
Get more information on how to grow your practice by joining my Sapphire Society. I regularly distribute additional information and tools to Sapphire Society members for the low cost of only $99 per year.