Your Business Health Check: How And Why You Should Do It
Bear with me for a moment and think of your business as being a patient sitting under the watchful eyes of an investor.
Will he grant your business a full bill of health, being content that there are no major problems?
Or will he be concerned that there are signs of sickness inherent within?
Will he suggest improvements going forward, or would they call the emergency services, declaring that your business is in urgent need of specialist care?
Forgive my analogy, but if you are working in the healthcare business, then you can probably appreciate what I am trying to say.
By healthy, I mean the number of customers you have in your books. I am thinking of the profits you may or may not be making.
And I am thinking about the state of your business when compared to your nearest business rivals. Do you need a proverbial shot in the arm to boost your chances of survivability or are you the perfect specimen of good health?
If your business isn’t as well as it should be, especially if it’s in a precarious life or death situation, then you need to find ways to improve the health of your business.
Okay, that’s the end of our health-related puns. 😀
Here are some of the things you might need to do to save your business.
#1: Go back to your business plan
As with any business, a business plan must always be your place to start. You should have created one already, of course.
Assuming you do have one in place, however, give it a checkup (darn it, another pun) and ask yourself the following questions.
- Am I meeting my financial targets?
- Have I reached the demographics I wanted to target?
- Has my business grown in the ways that I hoped it would?
If your business isn’t reaching its financial goals, then you might need to make cutbacks in your business.
You might want to make an effort with your marketing too, or you might want to find ways to generate more income, perhaps by adding another service to your practice. These suggestions might also cover the other questions raised earlier.
By taking stock of where your business is now, in relation to where it was and where you want it to be, you will then be able to move on. This might include adjusting your business goals or creating new ones to accommodate any changes you want to make in the future.
#2: Attract new people
Businesses live or die depending on the customers they acquire. If you are attracting more patients or clients to your healthcare services, then you have a chance to grow.
If you aren’t attracting new people to your business, or if you are struggling to keep those people that you do have, then your business will start to suffer.
In any case, you must always look for ways to improve the patients’ experience. You can start by giving them an excellent first impression. This begins with your business website.
Does your site have evidence of the validity of your practice, perhaps with staff accreditations? And on a purely aesthetic and functional level, do your visitors enjoy the look and feel of your website?
Does it convey the services you provide accurately? Would your patients find the contact information they need?
Moving offline, think about your visitors when they enter your practice. Are there enough signs pointing them to the relevant areas of your business?
Is the waiting room warm and welcoming? Are your reception staff polite and helpful? The better the impression your visitors get of your business, both online and off, might determine whether or not they choose your business.
#3. Ensure they can make an appointment with you
How easy is it for your customers to make an appointment with you?
The easier it is, the better the experience. So, you might want to give them the opportunity to book an appointment through your website.
If you’re in the medical field, you might want to outsource to a healthcare call centre if you don’t have enough personnel to manage your practice phone calls.
Then consider the waiting times for your patients or customers. If the only appointments available are weeks away, then they might turn tail and use a more efficient business.
As a medic, you might want to increase your opening hours, take on more staff, or use one of these healthcare appointment solutions to improve the service you give to your patients.
The happier your customers are, the more likely they are to return to you in the future. You can also use them within your marketing, perhaps by encouraging them to refer other people to your business, and by asking them to write testimonials for your website.
You might also take out TV and radio ads, giving voice to some happy customers willing to showcase your business (and give themselves five minutes of fame).
Once positive word gets around about your practice, you can almost guarantee growth within your business.
#4: Concentrate on staff training
Of course, you should already have trained staff working for you. Your business would quickly falter if you hired medical staff without the relevant training and qualifications to care for your patients, for example.
But beyond your staff’s core competencies, you should make training an on-going affair. This includes training your team in new technologies and better ways of working within their roles.
You might send them on training courses or book them onto e-learning courses that can be completed at home.
You might also find mentors within your current personnel, asking your lab technicians to show new hires how to safely use a vaccine fridge, or getting the experienced ones to shadow those who have just started within your practice.
Role-play scenarios could be a part of your staff training sessions, perhaps in terms of customer relations when working with your reception staff, and high-risk situations with your staff when dealing with certain illnesses.
The better trained your staff are, the better your business will be, and that can only be good news for your reputation.
#5: Find ways to innovate
On a health-related level, new innovations in healthcare will better the lives of your patients.
On a professional level, the use of new technology will improve the work that you and your employees do.
And on a purely business-related level, when you start to use the latest innovations within your business, the more elevated your business will be over your nearest competitors.
To find out about the latest innovations in technology, you need to do your research.
This includes reading the relevant trade journals pertaining to your industry, visiting industry conferences, and attending trade shows.
If you’re into the medical field, you can also learn a lot by reading healthcare articles online.
You will then be better equipped to future-proof your business by investing in the latest tech and practices inherent within your industry, meaning that your survivability is all but guaranteed.
Of course, you don’t always need to rely on the innovations of others. You might have ideas of your own, and your employees might have something to offer too.
Think about how you could innovate then, and meet with your employees to hear their ideas.
We aren’t talking about anything major; you don’t necessarily need to invent an astonishing piece of tech to revolutionise the face of your business health.
But you might come up with a way to attract new customers that will give you a step ahead.
#6: Find ways to improve your reputation
You will improve your reputation by following the ideas on this list, but there is always more you can do.
If you notice any bad reviews or comments about your business on medical reviews sites, forums, or on social media, take note of them. Make improvements to your business, and respond accordingly to those who have given vent to their feelings.
You should also use feedback surveys within your business, perhaps through your website or forms on your reception desk, asking customers to fill them out. Then take actions based on their comments.
When your customers notice that you are making an effort, you will improve your reputation.
Another way to improve your reputation is to invite the media to your business. Give them the opportunity to share the good work you are doing.
You can do as suggested earlier by adding patients’ testimonials to your website. Alternatively, you could achieve the same with text or video messages from your employees.
You might also give a share of your business profits to charity. That, alongside the care you are showing your patients, will give your reputation a solid boost.
#7: Expand your business
You can do this in two number of ways.
For one, you might merge with another business to strengthen your position in the marketplace. This will give you access to new patients, employees, and increased services within your business.
You might also find ways to grow without merging with another business, such as taking on more staff so you can add new services to your practice, or by moving to another location and business premises to extend the reach of your business.
By finding ways to expand your business, you will increase the number of people who use your services. This will then increase your profit margin.
As with any business, you need to do all you can to survive in the face of constant competitions. I have suggested a few ideas for you here, and I hope you found them useful.
If you have any other pieces of advice for our readers, be sure to share your tips.
I wish your business the very best of health!