Apr 22 2014

Doctors, Therapists, Practice Managers, Hosp…

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 DOCTORS, THERAPISTS,

 

PRACTICE MANAGERS

 

 HOSPITAL EXECUTIVES

 

. . . ARE NOT

 

CORPORATE MUCKITY-MUCKS

 

You and your practice or facility are not likely to be a Fortune 500 corporate entity. So there’s no need to pretend being a marketing guru.

In fact, if you are feeling even a little bit over your head with marketing, you’re likely to be wasting money, time, and energy!

Maybe you’re unearthing a monster budget expense at the behest and/or persuasion of some big-time marketing company, PR firm or ad agency you’re working with or thinking of hiring? It can often feel (and be real) that such entities are simply throwing away your money to create a mumbo-jumbo branding program aimed at earning an award for themselves.

If you’re working with or considering  “experts” who are trying or promising to “position” you as the brightest star in the heavens . . . you may want to re-think it with a dose of reality.

Reality? Yes, you are a healthcare provider. That makes you an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs challenge the system. In healthcare, they use (or retain) innovative thinking to establish, re-establish and upgrade the authenticity of themselves and the “saleability” of their services, careers, investments, and reputations.

You can accomplish this with: much less expense of money, the same expense of time, and sometimes greater expense of energy. Oh, and –by the way– having and practicing a sense of entrepreneurial reality tends to get far better value and results than engaging one of the “big-time-expert” groups noted above.

Just to be sure we’re on the same page here, I’m talking about –specifically– how to increase patient volume, how to stimulate patient and patient-family loyalty, and how to strengthen referral bases, channels, and networks without having to bet the farm!. Is that what you’re looking to accomplish?

Stay with me on the next few weekly blog posts and I’ll tell you HOW… or call or email me (info below) if you can’t wait!

Let’s start with the idea that what truly “sells” people is to be entirely focused on them and not on ourselves. Chest-beating, posturing messages about how great you think you are and smiling-face billboards, ads, and Facebook pages –regardless of expense involved– make no difference whatsoever. In fact, they often do the opposite… annoy, antagonize, create doubt and distrust, and send the people you’re trying to reach galloping off to your quiet competitors.

So do you have to be “quiet”? No, but you do need to be your authentic self. You do you need to be more conscious of the training and talent and experience gifts you deliver in your vital societal role as a healer and healthcare provider. Because THAT is your best marketing!

Is that hard? Of course, especially given the volatility, misdirection, intrusiveness, and mismanagement of government agencies, insurance companies, and today’s Obamacare circus, but –in the end– difficulty (as most entrepreneurs learn) is a choice.

There is much more coming to you at this blog in the hands-on, specific-how-to-steps departments in the days ahead. So, do return for more on how to get started and how to re-start.

In the meantime . . .

CHECK THIS disarmingly true, insightful post

at www.HealthcareTalentTransformation.com  

by David Lee Scher, MD, titled:

Five Ways Physicians Can Change Patient Behavior

 

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Hal@Businessworks.US    931.854.0474

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Apr 16 2014

HEALTHCARE PROS’ MONEY WOES

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Healthcare Pros STILL

 

Flushing Money Down the Drain!

 

Thanks for your visit. We have recently relocated to Cookeville Tennessee (between Nashville and Knoxville), home of Tennessee Tech University. Return here often for new posts in this series for Doctorpreneurs©and Healthcare professionals.

 

Why not just open the window and throw your money out? Why bother spending it on meaningless, confused thinking about marketing? Why keep feeding the nonperformance of media, mobile apps, direct mail magazines and newsletters, social media and, oh yes, outdoor advertising? Can we look at this open-mindedly?

The business and sports worlds have fed your fires since childhood that you must be competitive at all costs in order to win… that’s 100% false for healthcare professionals! In fact, many healthcare pros have marketing success expectations as unrealistic as imagining that a heart attack can be treated with a BandAid®

REALITY: No one “buys” billboards with smiling doctor faces (or, even worse, the recent trend toward somber looks!). Most people are not so stupid as to think that hospital “magazines” and “newsletters” with feature (dressed-up PR) stories are interesting or meaningful enough to be worth reading. My guess is that –other than the few and far between genuine healthcare educational mailing pieces– most of these exorbitantly expensive items go straight to the recycle pail. All this nonsense came and went thirty years ago. [Interesting how America's healthcare institutions are accelerating these feeble old-fashioned attempts at marketing. Is it some kind of knee-jerk attempt to cope with the Obamacare muddle?]

BOTTOM LINE: No one cares! The public simply doesn’t care how great hospitals, doctors, therapists (or any professionals for that matter) think they are! Healthcare consumers may have more (and more personal) issues on the line than other kinds of consumers, but they really and truly only care about the same thing that every consumer cares most about: What’s in it for me? Period.

So if you’ve read this far, perhaps it would be useful to explore and reassess your current “marketing” practices, and decide if your money could be better spent on strengthening patient, patient family, and referral network relations. If you’re looking for a role model institution, consider the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center… you’ll find no shallow representations of professional skills… “Treatment” is their specialty, and it applies to everyone who enters their doors. Oh, and guess what? The only expense is training and training maintenance time.

Marketing –if it’s done right– might sometimes succeed at building brand loyalty for some products and services in some markets and marketplaces. But when the two end-results people seek most from healthcare professionals are 1) Reassurance and 2) Trust, it’s not likely either will ever be achieved with empty images or promises.

Doctorpreneurs© Copyright Hal Alpiar, 1994. All rights reserved.
BandAid® is a Registered Trademark of the Johnson & Johnson Company

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Mar 20 2014

MOVING – ONWARD AND UPWARD!

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“Got here safe & sound, Y’all!”

 

AND STILL UNPACKING AND SETTING UP NEW OFFICES . . .

GUESS WHERE?????  Email your guess: Hal@Businessworks.US  (“New Office” in Subject Line) Winning guesses entered in drawing for a FREE first edition signed copy of HIGH TIDE fictionalized account of America’s biggest drug deal! See www.HighTideNow.com

Thank you for your visit.

If you’re new to this blog, please mark your calendar to return on April 16th for the beginning of Tax Return Recovery, and to help kickoff an exciting new series of posts you won’t find anywhere else!

If you’ve been visiting here regularly since the birth of my blog in April, 2008 (and now closing in on 1500 posts), thank you even extra!

You, especially, will want to return April 16th to see what’s in store for innovative, spirited business and healthcare professionals. You’ll get  proven new ways of thinking to boost your sales and make the most of your leadership skills — for profit and nonprofit businesses and professions alike. You’ll get coaching that works in the office and meeting room, on the phone and on paper, on the smartphone and the computer. You will get specific how-tos for building and enhancing your leadership posture in your industry, your marketplace, and your community.

When you return here April 16th, you will get the beginning of an input stream that no one else dares to share . . . on ways to feel better about your SELF (no product or service sales pitches, no lectures, no gimmicks). You’ll get ways to be encouraged, ways to make a difference with your career and family pursuits, ways to rise above the clutter.

You’ll get solid substance based on more years of experience than you probably are old. Not just passive observations, you’ll get frontline/hands-on experience with over 2,000 business consulting and return engagements AND with more than 20,000 students and management training participants. PLUS –as incredible as it’s always been–it will be free on this blog. Try it. You’ll like it. Send your friends.

In the meantime, to better serve our Entrepreneurial Clients (Including Business Startups, SalesPropreneurs©, Doctorpreneurs© and Corporate Entrepreneurs©), BUSINESSWORKS.US and TheWriterWorks.com, LLC will be in the process of relocating to another State. You’ll get the details as soon as we’re settled. In the meantime, Happy Spring!

See you the day after taxes!!!

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Hal@Businessworks.US

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Feb 26 2014

Rebirth Your Business

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Every Entrepreneur

                                               

–And Every Business–

Experiences Exhaustion

The hardest part of being reborn, reinvented, revitalized is knowing when you need it, and then making the commitment to make it work.

For a business, the same entrapments lie in waiting. Does your business need help now? Are your organizational viability, adaptability, finances, and market position in lockstep with zooming technology changes? If they’re not standing tall, do they seem to be plummeting… or slowly disintegrating? Are you prepared mentally, physically, and emotionally to pick up the pieces and lead the charge?

The rate of business exhaustion will of course determine the pace and extent of your pursuit. And even if you’re thinking no special effort is needed, it’s never a bad idea to step back and assess where you and your business are headed. If the present path leads to a cliff, you’re going to want to have a pretty clear idea of  how long it will take to hit bottom.

Why? Because without some sense of the speed you’ll need to crank up, there’s no way to know whether you’ll have the resources, support, and personal energy it will take to get you where you’ll need to go. Being born the first time is pretty hard all by itself. Being born again is definitely not a matter of cruise control.

If you’re too entrenched or stuck or resistant to take the risk of jolting things back into place, or into an entirely new place, but know deep inside that some survival steps are, or will soon be, necessary, it may serve you well to begin thinking more about opportunities than about consequences. In other words, be aware of where you’re headed, but don’t dwell on the sunset. Take a hard look instead to the sunrise!

Avoid falling into a savings frenzy! Cutting back expenses does not make money. Only sales produce money.

So if you’re going to jump on something, jump on sales! Assuming you have a viable product or service and make it available at a price point that’s affordable for the market your business targets, then don’t waste time analyzing who did what to whom and when and why and what the circumstances were. Just jump on sales!

What can you be doing right this minute that

you’re not doing, to be able to help boost sales?

 

If you’re a true entrepreneur, odds are you’re good at representing your products, services, and business ideas to others. If this does not describe your skill set focus, find a great salesperson ASAP and tie her or him to a great reward system. Don’t give the farm away, but do pull out all the stops that bogged things down to start with.

Oh, and do remember when it comes to getting the support you need from others who work with you, that pulling teammates along gets MUCH more done than pushing them… every time… all the time.

If a bit of personal stress management or self-appreciation is in order to help your psych up for the task at hand, try clicking on a couple of links in this post. Good luck!

Catch you on the rebound

– you and your rebirthed business!

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Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Feb 10 2014

SAVING MONEY DOESN’T MAKE MONEY!

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 STOP TURNING OFF LIGHTS

 

AND START SELLING!

 

 

Reality: The economy still sucks, and no amount of government or media mumbo jumbo will change that. We are sunken into knee-deep muck in the worst of economic quagmires. Yet entrepreneurs continue to rise and fall with the sun as they position themselves to save every dollar possible.

But saving money doesn’t make money.

ONLY SALES MAKE MONEY! ONLY! SALES!

In other words, being thrifty is good, but being thrifty will not end the revenues nightmare, so adjust your spotlight. to focus on what’s important. 3 things:

1) STAY IN THE PRESENT “HERE & NOW” MOMENT AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY HOUR OF EVERY DAY.

2) INVEST IN YOUR SALES EFFORT.

3) MANAGE YOUR STRESS & TIME TO BE MOST PRODUCTIVE.

If you can’t do all three of these, quit trying to jamb your corporate or government brain into running a small business, and –instead– go flip burgers, sort mail, or get into politics. Anyone with some energy and half a brain can be a superstar in one of those roles.

Being successful as an entrepreneur takes gigantic amounts of gumption, endless hours of devotion to an idea, and willingness to take reasonable risks (which, contrary to popular myth, does NOT include “betting the farm”). It requires enormous sacrifice of family time and attention and the ability to ignite innovative thinking in a heartbeat!

No, it’s not a career for everyone. Mostly, because it’s not really a career. It’s a lifestyle. Entrepreneurs don’t shut down at 5pm, they don’t sleep and party all weekend, they don’t gamble or buy lottery tickets more than one or two a month, they don’t over-analyze, they take action and make ongoing adjustments and keep moving forward.

Entrepreneurs are passionate and inspired about what they believe is possible, and that overrides fear of falling or running off a cliff. They don’t get breaks in life. They make them. And they are needed now more than ever. This economy will NEVER turn around because of government. It will only turn IN SPITE OF government.

Government, after all, is what put us in the position of having to worry about saving money instead of earning money. Government is the instrument of uncertainty and the pile-driver that continually forces small business to take steps backward. The SBA? That’s a joke. SBA Advisory Boards are comprised of corporate executives!

So bottom line: Entrepreneurship requires internal spirit to start up and fan the fires of small business success. The road is always rocky. The quest has to rise above all else. But for those who have what it takes, they will leave their mark, and they will drive the economy back to reality. Encourage and support those who fight that good fight!

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Hal@Businessworks.US

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Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Jan 28 2014

STOP Healthcare Marketing!

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 Healthcare is NOT About

Billboards of Smiling Doctors

 . . . So STOP the nonsense and STOP wasting money!

STOP your healthcare marketing long enough to seriously

ask yourself if your public messages really make sense.

 

Healthcare is and has always been all about TRUST. Nothing more. Nothing less. Doctors and medical groups and hospitals and therapists and chiropractors and dentists and veterinarians who run smiling (or threatening) branding messages on billboards (or in print, online, and broadcast media) are wasting time and money!

Healthcare professionals are wasting their money. 

But they are wasting our time.

Huh? Why? Because NOBODY CARES!

The public today is not the public of yesterday – literally! We are no longer just Internet-savvy. We are Internet-addicted, Internet-crazed, and Internet-bamboozled. We are being micro-chipped to death!

  • Healthcare DOWNside: Rampant Google-dependency and new strains of attention deficit disorder.
  • Healthcare UPside: We can now know more about our ailments, disorders, symptoms, diagnostic and treatment procedures than ever before. And we can know it in a heartbeat.

Much of the problem lies with healthcare professionals who think they can knock out effective branding programs because they watch TV (or surf the Net, or read blogs, newspapers and magazines) and that makes them experts! But truly effective and memorable branding programs require special skill sets too . . . and those seldom parallel professional healthcare training. Creating marketing that works is not a hobby.

Oh, and if you are a healthcare marketing person, agency, group, or consultant: Before you jump up and down and run off copies of this post to pass around to support your credibility, STOP!

You may well be the other part of the problem!

  • Are you selling healthcare professionals on printing and mailing expensive magazines that no one reads or cares about?
  • Are you trying to package healthcare services and market them like hot dogs, popcorn, and underwear?
  • Are you pushing email blast campaigns and Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn as ways to market healthcare?
  • Are you saying: “We’ve got your back, Doc! We’ll make you famous! Patients will be standing in line, breaking down your door?

For a fraction of the money healthcare professionals are now spending on marketing, the right approach to building volume and referrals and growing patient and patient family loyalty needs to be considered. The right approach can reap two to ten times as much success! It starts with a diagnostic workup to generate a healthcare practice history. It ends with treating the practice appropriately to achieve the most positive prognosis imaginable.

It’s based on ways to build and increase trust levels, decrease and make the most of stress levels, enhance every level of communications, and make the best -most humanly possible- use of time each day with each patient, patient family, and referral source, as well as ensure proper EMR use and full reimbursement compliance.

It takes time and patience to get and keep patients – not fancy, ineffective and expensive marketing.

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Jan 15 2014

GOT YOUR BACK!

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Dear Boss: Do you know HOW and

 

WHEN to cover for someone?

 

If you’re reading this, my guess is the odds are you find it reassuring to hear that someone’s “got your back!” But let’s get real. That expression means a lot in life-or-death and potentially hazardous situations – no doubt about it! Thankfully, however, most of us are not putting our lives on the line every day as in police, fire and military combat.

So having someone “cover your back” is hardly of value in day-to-day business or family life. For most of us, reality dictates that no one else can really protect your interests except you!

If you want to make sure a job gets done that you are responsible for, either do it yourself or monitor progress to make sure the person you asked to do it, does it! Remember, we can delegate authority to get things done, but we cannot delegate responsibility for getting things done.

Does every assignment or request have to be a leap of faith? No, but until those involved have proven consistently that they can act responsibly, it’s a leap of faith, and how much of a leap depends on the sense of balance, trust, and intuition we practice. And there is no excuse for not checking up, following up, soliciting feedback.

Corporate accountability procedures make delegation slightly easier and more comfortable feeling than handing off tasks tends to be for entrepreneurs and in many family settings . . . and especially in family businesses. Q: When does a delegator step in and take charge, take back, or take over? A: When ultimate responsibility is on the line.

Oh, and not doing something the same way the delegator does something is not grounds for divorce, separation, or interference. In fact, the best leaders are those who see departures from their personal methods and techniques as opportunities to learn – possibly a better way to do something, or gain better input necessary to teach a better way.

But be careful here. “Better” is subjective. “Better” is not always quicker, or more thorough, or more efficient. THIS is one place where knowing when and when not to exercise leadership judgment comes into play.

WHEN DELEGATING – 5 SUGGESTIONS

1) Be observant – Keep things safe!

2) Withhold judgment pending seeing the results, but don’t hesitate to step in if you see evidence of physical, emotional or customer service hazard around the corner.

3) Suggest changes in process carefully and specifically – Criticize behavior or method or technique, NOT THE PERSON – Criticize in private and praise in public!

4) Don’t give a “Got your back!” attitude to someone else. Simply teach by example.  

5) Remember whose ultimate responsibility is on the line!

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Jan 04 2014

New Business? New Revenue Streams? New Attitude.

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 GUESS WHAT?  You don’t need

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

January 2014 to think NEW!

 

Seriously? Just because the new year has begun is no reason to start thinking about new business directions and goals. You can do that ANY time. It’s called attitude adjustment, and I’m not talking about some happy hour event.  It’s a fact that every one of your behaviors is your choice.

It may not be a conscious or present-moment choice. It may be the result of something you choose subconsciously (or “unconsciously” as scientists now define the phenomena) and may therefore be a choice you don’t recall or claim you never made, but the truth will out!

You chose your every behavior (and attitude)

and continue to make those choices every day.

 

So, what’s with the calendar programming? Many of the most successful businesses in the world were conceptualized or began or expanded or were revitalized in months other than January. I’m not suggesting you ditch your New Year’s brainstorm. I am simply saying it’s your choice to not limit your “NEW” thinking to any time period.

Playing the odds that your competitors are also planning some kind of new year launch right now can set you up for taking the best path to stand out from the pack — by planning to not be part of the pack. Any new business activities you kick off in January or start planning in January can get lost in the hubbub.

Besides, delaying your target date helps ensure you get it right. Being first is not always being successful.

Are you choosing to put undue stress on yourself? You can just as easily choose to make the implementation of your decisions be easy. In other words, it’s just as easy to choose for something (including a new product or service launch, a revitalization program start date, or a new business launch) be easy as it is to choose for it to be hard!

It’s your choice.

and

you become what you think about!

 

When you choose to push yourself and others to get something done by some imagined deadline, you are choosing increased stress for yourself and all involved. Stress is not always bad, but when stress turns into DIStress, emotional, mental and physical health become threatened. Choose courageously, but choose carefully.

It’s like driving cross country: stay alert!

# # #

God Bless You and Happy,

Healthy. Peaceful 2014!

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Hal@Businessworks.US   302.933.0116

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Dec 18 2013

Christmastime Business

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Watch where you’re going,

 

but think about

 

where you are.

                                                                                                                                                                          

We watched a blind man’s yellow Lab thread his master through the parking lot and into the giant retail outlet, through electronic doors and deftly around an oblivious woman who appeared cast in stone, at one with her shopping cart … surely not about to move.

The man and his companion worked their way around obstacles, displays, counters, other shoppers. They passed so briskly and so seemingly self-assured that only a few passerby even noticed just one pair of color-blind canine eyes leading three pair of legs.

But we did. And in a mere matter of seconds after the man’s best friend and the man were devoured by store traffic, my mind snapped to attention from its visual tracking trance and realized we had been witness to a man with no eyes. Mine began to fill with tears. Maybe it was being sad for him, or grateful for me, or simply the season, but …

All my weaknesses, complaints and woes went quickly off into space as I closed my eyes and considered for just a moment what my life would be like without ever or ever again seeing a crepe myrtle in full bloom, the ocean, a blue heron following with its body its spindly silent legs as it creeps along the shore, a laughing toddler, deep woods, a frolicking litter of puppies, snow-topped mountains, my family, a book, works of art, lightening, swooping seagulls, my toothbrush, a roaring fireplace, faces, a Christmas tree…

Who could possibly want a Christmas present who has full use of vision after seeing someone who does not?

So, I am left to conclude

that Christmas is truly not

about either giving or receiving.

                                                                              

Christmas is instead about consciousness-raising, celebration, self-renewal, and setting out once again on our annual trek to make the most of what we do already have, to better ourselves and the lives of those around us.

Christmas is a gentle wake-up call to remember we are here to make a difference on this planet, one day at a time, to focus on making what’s possible happen. Christmas is a time for melancholy, yes, but also for introspection. We remember that we have within each of us the ability to choose the pathways that make existence on Earth as worthy as what lives in the riches of our souls.

Here’s what I’ve learned (often the hard way, mind you) so here’s what I have to share: In both business and in life, watch where you’re going, but always think about where you are. Be grateful for all that is yours, and continue your work to grow your business so you can help others from a position of strength … because the greatest gift of all is love wrapped up in charity.

# # #

 

God Bless You One And All

And Merry Christmas To You!

 

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Dec 09 2013

Build Your Referral Base NOW!

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“Huh? Now? But it’s the holidays!”

                                                                              

“Well, Merry Christmas to you! But

                                                                         

after quality family time, remember

                                                                            

1st quarter 2014 is just hours away.”

 

Why “NOW!”? Just click here: take a quick look at this to see what’s happening this very split second –as you read this– and you’ll realize that delaying this task is simply not in your best interest.

Getting others to refer you/your business is more than a survival tactic, it’s the key to 2014 success. No sales are more important right now than those to the friends, families, associates and online connections of your existing customers, clients, and patients. Because 2014 is bringing increased competitive activity to the surface. And it cannot be sidestepped.

The harder the times, the fiercer the battle! And the easiest, most economical path to increased sales and customer/ client/ patient repeat-sales-and-visits loyalty is a strengthened referral base. Economical? You decide. It costs nothing to delight those who purchase from you.

Cease and desist all marketing? No. But don’t expand it. Instead, consider shifting gears from reliance on expensive media, to fine-tuning attitudes and cultivating a much more pronounced reputation for integrity than you probably imagined being necessary. 

THIS post will get you started with

a business or practice volume boost

agenda that you will never get from

a business or medicine world insider

~~~~~~~

“Referral Marketing” is NOT (Note: car dealerships!) flooding rented mailing lists with dumb direct mail solicitations (like “Bring this key to our car store to see if you win” while our salespeople swarm all over you . . .). Oh, and DOCTORS: Bringing popcorn, candy and subs to referring physician offices is equally dumb. It may get some Ooohs and Ahhhs from other doctors’ staffs, but effective FREE marketing, done professionally, is what will bring increased patient referrals to your door!   

Here’s what it’s really all about: marketing is both external (websites, signage, traditional and social media, direct mail and email, promotions, advertising, merchandising items, PR events and news releases), and internal.

Internal (which is free) combined with news releases and most PR events (which are free) is the most effective marketing. I refer to it as “Quiet” marketing. It includes such things as the appearance of your and your staff’s personal selves –neat, clean clothes, scrubbed look– as well as your office, vehicles, and waiting areas . . . plus the manner in which communications are conducted . . . on paper, online, in person, and on the phone.

This means active listening 80% of the time – backed by clear simple speech, using examples and diagrams, soliciting questions and feedback, and applying this attentiveness to not just patients and customers, patient and customer families, your own staff, and associates — but to others as well.

Internal Marketing includes your entire inner ring of contacts. For doctors, it includes other doctors, nurses, your professional advisors (lawyers, accountants, consultants), as well as pharmacists, insurance providers, suppliers, detail reps, and –guess what?– your office cleaning and delivery people too!

BUSINESS OWNERS need to apply this thinking to every person and organization your business does business with, from paper and cleaning supply providers to snowplow and landscaping services, and every single delivery person!

WHY? Because they are ALL prospective customers and referrers

Quiet marketing also includes paying careful attention to the frequency and quality of communications with those in your networking resource and referral systems, and to your SELF. Why? Because Quiet marketing success at any level has most of all to do with how you conduct and represent yourself to others!

This translates to how you walk, talk, sit, stand, listen, touch, gesture, and treat everyone around you every day. These actions add up to the statement you make about who you really are, and why you are trustworthy of the confidences and care of others.

Remember: It’s all about every blink you blink!

Someone is watching your every move and noting

your every word, and . . . Perceptions are facts!

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Hal@Businessworks.US

Open Minds Open Doors

   Make today a GREAT day for someone!

  God Bless You and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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