First (and perhaps foremost), you must decide if you have the desire to expand the focus of your clinic. This is awfully “touchy feely” for a business decision. But, if you do not have deep seated motivation to grow your clinic in this way, don’t go there.
The Five Essential Questions You Need to Ask as a Clinic Manager
Adding new services to the therapeutic offering of your clinic is a high risk, high reward approach to growing your clinic. High risk because it requires a significant investment of time and resources to pave the way for delivering new services. High reward because it opens a stream of patient referrals that were previously inaccessible. Of the approaches to growing your clinic discussed in this series, this is the most strategic as it involves doing something new versus doing more of something you are already doing.
Elsewhere in this series I’ve discussed obtaining more referrals from existing customers and obtaining referrals from new customers. The marketing and sales tactics touched on in those blogs apply here as well. The focus of this blog is on key points to leverage in choosing to offer new services.
#1 – Do I really want to grow?
First (and perhaps foremost), you must decide if you have the desire to expand the focus of your clinic. This is awfully “touchy feely” for a business decision. But, if you do not have deep seated motivation to grow your clinic in this way, don’t go there. The process will be frustrating at times and the only thing that will get you through those periods is the motivation that this is a good and right thing to do.
#2 – What about my staff?
A second point to assess and leverage is the skill set and motivation of your staff. We have found that the surest path to a successful integration is for a clinic to identify a champion for the equipment. A clinic champion for the new services will share your motivation for launching a new service and will have the clinical skill set for implementing the new services. You’ll know you have the right person when they start pushing you for status reports on when the new service will be launched.
#3 – What is our market asking for?
Having the right person to champion and deliver new services is not enough. You’ll also need to conduct some market research to make some assessment of the demand for the new services. This market research can also be used to identify potential new services that can be mapped against your current staff to help you identify if you have the therapist resources to deliver a new service. The main point is that you must have both. There must be a market for your new service and, you must be able to deliver it with a high degree of reliability and quality. In some cases, you may find that you need to hire new staff members or invest in new certifications for your current staff.
For most clinics, the market is geographic and local. You’ll need to figure out the geographic boundaries of your market and then identify the demographic and organizational characteristics of it. For example –
- If your geographic market is characterized by upper middle income and upper income baby boomers, then you might want to consider wellness service offerings that cannot be had at the local gym.
- If your market has a number of colleges and high schools with well-established and supported athletic programs, then you might want to consider sports rehabilitation.
- If you market has a number of distribution facilities, then you might want to consider workplace and workers comp services.
Along with this analysis, consider the competition in place that is already providing the service you intend to offer. How good is their service offering and where is the chink in their armor that you can exploit to your advantage?
#4 – How do we get over the hump?
There is a sales issue that will rear its ugly head as you sell your new service. That issue will be skepticism. Skepticism is in play when your prospect questions the claims you are making about your ability to deliver the new service. They are not confused about what you are offering, they have doubts about your ability to deliver it. To address skepticism, you’ll need case studies, testimonials, references, or something from an outside, credible source that attest to your ability to deliver the service. You cannot talk your own way out through skepticism.
From a developmental perspective, this means that you will need to identify a beta partner for your new service offering. A beta partner is someone who has bought into your vision and the value of your service offering and is willing to work with you as you develop it and iron out the inevitable kinks. What you negotiate to give them in return is up to you. But, you must negotiate and make it clear that you want them to act as a reference/testimonial for you when other prospects express skepticism about your new service.
#5 – Are we open to unexpected opportunity?
This leads to my last point. Don’t dismiss serendipity. It may be the case that an organization or referral source in your market comes to you and asks if you perform a service that you presently are not. Do not simply say “no.” Explore why you are being asked and start the process of determining if this is an intriguing possibility for you and your clinic.
Launching a new service is a high risk, high reward endeavor. Pay attention to these key points and use your business network as a sounding board for problems and planning. If you’ve got the motivation, the process will yield nice results for you, your patients, and your clinic.