Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Business Resolutions for 2011

As the year comes to a close, many of us reflect and start planning for the future. Many personal resolutions are made, such as losing weight or spending more time with the family. But what about making some resolutions for your business? Although there are many unknowns looming our industry (healthcare reform, competitive bidding, ACO's and so much more), the biggest asset going for you is the demand for your services. Healthcare is a need, and with an aging population, the need is growing. Now is the time to take stock of what was successful this year and what efforts didn't live up to expectations. From there you can create new goals for 2011 to help drive a successful new year.

Proactive Planning
Many businesses take a haphazard approach to business planning. Owners and directors can get caught up in the day-to-day and forget the benefits of pre-planning. Review what programs work this year and what didn't. Why was one offering a success... was it the timing, the marketing message, or the offer itself? If a program didn't work, was it due to lack of customer interest, poor staff involvement, or non-supportive business partners? Review these ideas with your team. Create a list and decided which programs to launch this year. Being proactive makes the year less stressful, empowers your team, and gives you goals to strive for. The biggest benefit is keeping everyone on the same page. When you are all working from the same script, things come together.

Increase your Offering
These days one trick ponies aren't doing so well. By increasing what you offer to your patients and customers, you increase your value and customer retention by meeting more of their needs. If you are a DME, why not increase your retail line to add more complimentary products. These can include canes, braces, support hose or compression socks, or even lift furniture. This will increase your inventory investment, but retail products can turn a larger profit to help supplement medicare/medicaid reimbursement issues. If you are lab, expand your test offering, or a clinic, expand your hours of operations. Think of your target customer and how you can meet more of their needs. Again review your thoughts collectively with your staff. Ask for their insights and brainstorm ideas. Research each idea and evaluate its potential success. Pick your winning idea and roll it out for the new year.

Today more than ever businesses are pooling resources and working together. Talk to your neighboring businesses or other healthcare offices you work with. Try co-hosting an event to tie in both your services and drive businesses both locations. You could host a brunch or coffee clutch party. You can partner with a local hospital and offer a free educational seminar on various medical topics such as heart health, diabetes, or helping a family member who needs long term care. Provide an introductory discount offer, a small free gift, or free information packet. Promote the event with postcards and emails to your customer base and use local advertisement methods to get the word out. There is power (and profit) in teamwork.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. You will be amazed at what taking some time to reflect and plot out future goals can do. Setting a focused agenda for the year will keep you and your team on track to make a successful and profitable new year. Cheers!