The more eagle eyed amongst you might have noticed a change to my tag line. Instead of saying “your practice made perfect” it now says “helping health practitioners make a difference AND a living”
So why the change?
Well over the past few months I have had lots of time for reflection, as the death of a parent lends itself to navel gazing in the extreme.
Anyway, I realised that what I am in service to is more than just marketing and practice building for health practitioners, it’s also about working “under the hood”. Looking at the real internal changes that have to be made if you really want to change ANYTHING in this life.
And that goes for building businesses as well. There is little point in recommending someone increases their fees (for example) if they aren’t comfortable working at this new higher price.
So the new tag line reflects this. All my courses, programmes and trainings will reflect this, in addition to my coaching which has always done so.
Anyway, what do you all think about the change? Be great to hear some feedback…..
Whenever my schedule allows I like to walk the two miles from home to my clinic, and rather than plug myself into whatever music is currently flavour of the month (Noah and the Whale is a fave at the moment), I often take the time to listen to audiobooks.
So today, as I wandered merrily on my way, I decided to listen to Carol Dweck’s “Mindset – The New Psychology Of Success”.
Carol’s book is based on her lifetime study of human mindset. Her concept is that there are two basic mindsets which determine how we approach life’s challenges.
Our mindsets are either “fixed” or “growth”.
A person with a “fixed” mindset will tend to avoid making the effort that is necessary to become successful, as they feel there is little point in trying too hard as they have a “fixed” ability and will never grow beyond where their current levels.
Someone with a “growth” mindset, however, has a completely different way of looking at life.
For this person working hard and putting in effort will naturally lead to success – because they see that intelligence, creativity and purpose can all be nurtured and encouraged to grow over time.
As I listened to Carol talking about these concepts I was struck by how business owners fall into one of these mindsets when it comes to growing their businesses.
The “fixed” mindset people try a few bits of marketing, none of which they really do whole-heartedly. None of their practice building efforts gives the instant success that they are after and before long they throw up their hands in disgust and say “ahh, this is never going to work, I am just not cut out for this business building stuff”.
Interestingly enough, when I have these people as clients it is invariably a rocky road to success. They struggle to muster the energy to take any action whatsoever and look to shift the reasons for their failures onto anyone but themselves. After all, they’ve done their best and it just wasn’t enough, so why try again.
But the other mindset brings a completely different focus!
The “growth” mindset people start out marketing their business knowing that it is going to take repeated effort to get the results they want. They know that they might well fail along the way, but this will just be a learning curve along the way to mastery.
When I see THESE people as clients, the story is completely different. They are generally a pleasure to work with and get dramatic results very quickly. In fact, I have often wondered why some clients just seem to “get it”. They do everything that is suggested to them and continue to charge through whatever gets in their way.
This isn’t to say that they never have any setbacks – of course they do.
But it’s the manner in which they deal with these setbacks that is most illuminating.
So Carol’s book gets a big thumb’s up from me – it’s given me insights into my own blind spots and helped me see what I can do with clients who are struggling to fulfil their potential.
And the best thing of all is that, with work, everyone can change from a “fixed” mindset to a “growth” approach. That means that once we understand that our own mindset is getting in the way of our own success, we can do work to change it.
Of course that’s great to know – because the only thing keeping you from the business success you deserve may well be the way you are framing your thoughts. And if these thoughts can be changed for the better, then perhaps the business you have always dreamed of is only just around the corner…
I have been quiet on all business fronts over the past few weeks and that’s because, after a short illness, my father passed away just over two weeks ago.
This is a time for reflection and when I think of my father I realise that he is the real reason why I started working in health care.
I come from a family who all work in the health industry. My mother was an acupuncturist; my sister is a cognitive behavioural therapist; I work as an osteopath; and my father was a physiotherapist.
He had a busy practice in Guernsey, the same island where I now have my practice. When I was growing up it was a bustling and busy practice, in which my Dad would be rushing around treating several patients at a time. Some would be administering their own ultrasound treatment; some would be riding on the static bike; and some would be behind curtains being treated.
I am not sure that by today’s standards my Dad’s treatment area would be looked upon favourably, with only a few curtains separating patients from each other, but back in the 1970s nobody seemed to mind.
He also started another practice in a different part of the island and would run the give miles between them for an evening clinic on the second premises, often seeing in excess of 30 patients a day.
Sadly, in his 50s he developed a heart condition and he didn’t really work much beyond 55. He died at the relatively young age of 73.
As I said in the introduction, many of the reasons for me going into health care are as a result of my Dad, but also many of the reasons why I became a coach to health practitioners are to do with him also.
In many ways I saw a man passionate about his job, simply burn out. He pushed himself harder and harder, and found it difficult to balance his work with his family life. He also struggled financially at times, with the charging and chasing up of patients, often non-existent.
When I went into coaching it was with the desire to help people avoid the pitfalls that I had seen my Dad suffer from. I work with my clients on finding an improved balance in their lives and I work with clients who have money issues. But one of the topics I am most passionate about is helping clients who have achieved success with their practice, but then do not really know what to do next.
You see my Dad’s answer to running a full practice was to just get busier and busier and see more and more patients. I would suggest to all of you reading this, perhaps that isn’t the way to go.
You must look at leveraging your time once you get to this level. Don’t just work harder, but put some deep thought into what you want next from life. This is often the trickiest part of business: you have built a thriving and flourishing practice but are now faced with the “what next” conundrum.
Often when I work with clients at this stage of their practice’s life, we find hidden gems that can guide the next steps. These gems can range from exciting new challenges to simple “I want to spend more time with my family” truths. And the intervention is most important – the time to reflect on success and look forward to the next stage of life.
So, whatever stage of business you are in, be sure to take the time to “smell the roses” every now and then. After all, it’s all about the journey and never about the destination. I sometimes think that if my Dad had had someone around to tell him that, then he might not have had the physical breakdown he did.
In the end he was a great man who had a tremendous impact on so many people around him, and for that I will always be in awe of him.
Take care, Dad, and I hope the great physiotherapy clinic in the sky treats you as well as you treated all your thousands of patients over the years.
In the latest volume of my eZine, Practice Builder, I talked about how important it is to work on the relationships that support you in your business building efforts.
Running a business can be a lonely place and you need to have as much support as possible. But it takes time and effort to sustain these relationships, and you can’t just expect people to know what you are going through – and to know how they can support you – if you don’t tell them!
And as you get more successful, so the pressure grows. Because now you need to spend time on so many different areas of your life. You will probably be seeing more clients; you will need to spend more time on the actual business of running your practice; and you also have people desperate for your time and attention.
So how do you manage all these pressures?
The last thing you want to do is run yourself into the ground and have a nervous breakdown.
Well, the answer is: look after yourself!
I love the expression “extreme self-care” because it seems to sum up the necessary frame of mind for true success. You HAVE to look after yourself, or you’ll soon notice cracks appearing in your foundations. One of the biggest parts of building a highly successful business is the mindset change necessary to take you from where you are now to where you want to be. You can’t just sit back and imagine success, waiting for the genie to appear and grant you three wishes. You have to take control and extreme self-care is one of the best ways I know to keep your foundations solid and crack-free.
Extreme self-care comes in a variety of forms. Think of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of your life – do you take for granted that ALL of these pieces of you need care? Diving for the red wine after a hard day’s work might be okay occasionally, but as a rule of thumb it ain’t going to work out well in the long run. Likewise, thinking only about your business and never giving your mind a break can have the same tiring effect.
And don’t even THINK about not taking holidays away from your business. The approach of “I have SO many patients, I can’t even CONCEIVE taking time off” will not serve you well in the long run.
One of the funniest things about this outlook is that as health practitioners, we should know all the risks of not looking after oneself and yet when it comes to applying it in our own lives, we just don’t see it as important. In fact, I have had quite a few clients who fall into the trap of telling themselves “it will only be for the next few weeks and then I will take a break.” And sure enough the weeks turn into months and the months turn into years.
So at the risk of teaching you all to suck eggs, let’s start practicing some extreme self-care ourselves, eh? Look at your diet and exercise and make changes if necessary. Take some time to switch off from the day job and look at getting away from it completely for at least a few weeks every year.
I also recommend some form of mindfulness practice. Not everyone is going to sit in the lotus position and chant for an hour each day, but there will be something you can do to allow yourself some time for personal reflection.
Write in a journal, perhaps recite a simple mantra each day, or even just give yourself a few minutes to think without ANY distractions – that’s right, TV off, music off, partner banished to another room. These actions give you dedicated time for personal reflection and this is where your growth takes place.
Funny enough for all the business development actions you are taking, the biggest differences are made in the times where NOTHING is going on.
So why not commit to practicing some extreme self-care yourself – and let me know by leaving a comment at the bottom of this post.
The second in Attract Patient Now’s series of podcasts presents an interview with Claire Raikes, who talks about how important it is to be yourself when you market your business. In her own words, Claire works with small businesses with big hearts! She discusses the importance of having a well defined “niche” and looks at how social media can play a big part in bringing people together – and building your business in the process.
Hope you enjoy!
Click below to listen now
And check back soon for the next podcast in the series.
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When I was planning the information for my business-building bootcamp, which launched in April, I decided to focus on how service business marketing strategy looks in 2011. And I was amazed to see how much has changed since I started building my practice in 2001. In ten short years, technology has revolutionised business-building for service professionals the world over.
When I started out, the Internet wasn’t the norm it is today. I had an email address (a Hotmail account, remember them?) but I didn’t use it for my business. I had a landline phone number and a mobile phone number, and that was it in the way of technology. My bookings were made with pen and paper, and my accounts were put together using Excel (my one bow to technology).
Flash forward to 2011
I teach people how to use Facebook and Twitter to build their businesses. I work with people to use video, record audio interviews, and build blogs. Clients use sophisticated client management software. Some are even using tablet computers to allow them to write up client notes with a pen, but still have a hard copy of these notes for later referral. Client databases are almost always kept on a PC or Mac rather than in a filing cabinet. And, more and more people are realising the power of using email to communicate instead of regular mail.
But the question that kept coming back to me as I worked on this information was, “Has all this technology really changed the core strategies for building businesses?”
Well, yes and no.
In some ways the strategies remain the same as they have throughout the history of business. Connect with other people, build referral networks, and just get seen by your target audience are still great ways to grow your business quickly. However, when you add technology to all of the above, you will start to see dynamic growth in your business.
Here are just a few ways to use technology in your business marketing strategy:
- Use social media to connect with your audience, and then follow up with some face-to-face meetings.
- Use video and audio to show online visitors who you are and what you do, and then follow up by doing an open clinic or some public speaking.
- Gather clients’ email addresses but a couple of times a year send them greetings card through the post.
Having all your marketing efforts either online or offline just won’t work. You must use a combination of both; after all, balance is the key to most everything in life and business. Think of using strategies in a converged way: where your online and your offline strategies blend together in as seamless a way as possible. Do this and you’re guaranteed to build the health business you’ve always dreamed of.
Do you see a difference between the marketing strategy used when you first started and the one you use today? If so, in what ways? I’d love to hear from you – click below to share!
In almost every business true innovation is a game changer. Trying to find the one thing that your widget will do that no one else’s does, or offering a range of services that adds extra value to your client’s life will help you stand out in the market place.
But what about you? As a business owner do you offer innovative solutions, or do you just offer what everyone else is offering?
When I work with people who are looking at ways to shift their businesses in dramatic ways, we often look at ways they can innovate their current services. And frequently we get stuck – very quickly!
Perhaps it’s because people who have trained in a particular way of doing something find it hard to change the way they were taught to do it.
Perhaps it’s because true innovation can look more like a crazy plan when first conceived. Perhaps it’s just too frightening – after all, what if you come up with an industry changing innovation, and everyone hates it?
Whatever the reason, it certainly takes guts to really look deep into your business and come up with some radical new ways of looking at things.
I remember hearing about a dentist who specialised in treating children. His problem was that to fill his day time appointments meant getting children out of school, into his surgery and then back to school again, meaning that parents had to take a significant time out of there day to arrange transport etc.
His solution? Employ a driver and a limo, who would pick the children up, transport them from school to surgery and back again – at no extra cost to the parents.
This was literally game changing for him – the children liked being picked up from school in a limo, the parents liked the professional and safe service that was offered to them and as a result the dentist’s business grew and grew, far outweighing the extra cost of the limo hire.
Now I am not suggesting for a minute that your innovation needs to be that dramatic or that expensive, but you DO need to stand out from the crowd. Just being another coach/ fitness trainer/ acupuncturist/ masseur just doesn’t cut the mustard anymore.
In a world where the service professions are looked upon as an attractive career, more and more people are jumping on board. This leads to more practitioners and an increase in competition.
With the advent of distance learning and the internet, the barriers of entry have reduced and more and more, meaning that whatever industry you choose will have increased competition over the next few years.
So what’s your innovation?
What can you do in service to your clients that will make your offers irresistible?
As always the answer lies in having a very specific idea of your ideal client and also the problems that they want help with. What could you offer these people that would make you the ONLY choice?
Think big and think laterally!
Write down as many ideas as you can think of and then write down some more! Obviously some of these will be ridiculous, but stretching yourself with outlandish ideas will hopefully pull some great and practical ideas out of your head and onto the page.
Then start to focus on the 2 or 3 ideas that really stand out for you. And why not discuss them with present clients? How would they feel about your new ideas? Would these ideas add great value to your clients lives?
Hopefully your clients will help you uncover the real gold in your business.
Why not let me know some of your ideas in the comments below?
The first in a series of podcasts presents Gill Warren – business coach, chartered accountant, lecturer and author – who shares my passion for ethical business. Gill and I discuss the problems therapists face when setting up their businesses, mistakes made when trying to get more clients, the importance of “money,” figuring out how much to charge for services, and much more.
Be sure to pick up a copy of Gill Warren’s book, Set Up a Therapy Business: A Step-by-Step Guide.
Hope you enjoy!
Click below to listen now
And check back soon for the next podcast in the series!
Don’t want to miss a single episode?
Subscribe to the Attract Patients Now Blog via RSS or e-mail to be notified every time there’s a new post.
Throughout my health business ownership, whilst running and growing my health clinic in the UK, I have consistently struggled with one area of my strategy – delegating to others the things that I am no good at (and don’t really enjoy doing).
I have lost count of the number of times I have started a project with great enthusiasm, only to lose speed quickly, eventually leaving a half finished project lurking in an obscure sub folder on my PC.
Happily, in the past couple of years, I have found a way around this. I have come to realise the value in doing what I am good at (thinking on a larger scale, starting projects, and general head-in-the-clouds dreaminess) and delegating the rest. Or at least as much as possible – my wife didn’t like the idea of me bringing in a third party to wash the dishes every evening.
I have realised that I am a pretty good “starter”, but a hopeless “finisher”. So now, once I start a project, I know of several people who will be perfect to finish them off for me.
You see I get to the point where the idea has made it from my head and onto paper. I can see the outline of what needs to be done and I can get the basic framework in place. Then, when it’s time to fill in the broader details – I hand the whole lot onto someone else.
Why do so many of us avoid doing this?
The big problem so many people have with this approach is that it appears to cost your business more money – after all, I do have to pay these people to finish these projects (if any “finishers” are reading this and fancy doing it for free, by all means drop me a line!). In some people’s minds, this would seem to be an additional cost that could be avoided by just doing the whole project on my own.
But it just doesn’t work this way. The whole point is that these projects don’t get completed, no matter how high I might prioritise them. And I know if I prioritised them at the highest level, then I would just take ages prevaricating and visiting social media sites rather than actually getting stuck into the work.
And I am happy to embrace that now. I know I am just not suited to certain jobs. I am not a details man, and probably never will be. But I know some people who ARE! That’s the beauty of it.
Get others to do the things you don’t like to do.
I remember listening to a coach being interviewed and he said “you can always find someone who plays at what you hate to do”. At first that seemed impossible – could there really be someone out there who “played” at doing my tax return for me? But, yes there was, and she seems to love nothing better than getting stuck into my financial dealings.
Once you start to work with this a little deeper, you also realise that by delegating the stuff you don’t like to do, you are actually expanding your chances of success, not limiting them.
This is because the more time you can focus on what you are best at, the more likely you are to be radically moving your business forward.
I am sure that most of you have heard of the 80/20 rule, that says (in relation to business) 80% of your income will come from 20% of your activities.
Now as a service professional, this takes some getting used to – surely the work you do with clients is your biggest money making activity?
Well, perhaps it’s not. Although you absolutely make your money when you are working with your clients, this isn’t your most valuable time.
An example of this in action:
Let’s suggest you are a masseur charging £40 for one hours massage. In the course of one day, perhaps you see 6 clients, making you £240.
How about in those 6 hours, rather than treating patients, you wrote all the copy for a website and emailed it to your website designer? This copy becomes the backbone for all that you do online and over the following 3 years, you attract 100 clients from your website.
Each client visits you for an average of 5 sessions, meaning that your average client is paying you £200. As you got 100 patients from your website, the 6 hour session that you spent writing copy, actually made you £20,000!
But another example can show you the folly of trying to do this all on your own.
Because let’s say that those first six hours were spent writing copy for your website. But instead of sending it to your designer, and to save money, you decided to spend the next few months trying to work out how to build the website yourself. After 6 months of frustratingly slow progress, you abandon the project. This means that the six hours you spent writing copy, was actually a complete waste of time, as it bought you precisely zero in income.
Ask yourself this:
What are you good at? What do you really enjoy doing? What activities (outside of working with your clients) really light up your day?
Do you enjoy the details and finishing of projects, but struggle to get the ideas in the first place? If so try to get in touch with people who will help you get projects up and running. For instance, just reading this blog could help you get the ideas and shape for a project, which you can then spend time finishing up. Or why not join our training programme?
It could give you all the ideas you need and the framework for completing them.
GSI as opposed to DIY! (that’s Get Someone In)
If you are more of an ideas person, look at hiring help.
There are plenty of VA’s (virtual assistants) out there who will have skills to match your needs. There are also people out there who love finances, marketing, business strategy, client/ patient satisfaction, sales, branding etc. If these aren’t your strong point – get help!
In the end this is a very quick way to take control of your business. You will be amazed that simply giving some of your tasks away can free up your time and give your business a whole new lift.
So go on, what are you waiting for? Write a list of all the bits of running your business that you dislike, then pick your least favourite – and find someone that plays at what you hate to do.
It’s at this time of year that everyone starts to think about what they want for the next 12 months.
New year’s resolutions are made (and often instantly forgotten!) and we look forward to “the best year ever”.
But let’s simplify this a little. If you were going to make just one single change to your health business this year, what would it be?
More patients/ clients?
More time for the family?
5 weeks of holiday time?
Once you have this one goal in mind, start to full out the details.
Let’s pretend that your goal it to get “more patients” through your front door. What sort of numbers are you talking? Are you just looking at a few extra patients per month or are you wishing to double your patient numbers?
Next, ask yourself which strategies you wish to use to make these changes.
Are you going to focus on developing a great website and social media presence?
Are you going to focus on building a list of referral partners (my personal favourite as any of my clients out there will know)?
Are you going to be putting together a killer presentation to give to selected groups of your target audience?
Whichever methods you choose, it’s vital that you drill down even further. Great, you have an idea to get more patients to your clinic and you have decided that you wish to focus on building relationships with your referral partners.
Now you need to be even more dynamic!
Take some action!
Make a list of people you would like to build relationships with, then start getting in contact with them one-by-one.
If it’s a website you are planning, book some meetings with people who can help you achieve your perfect website.
If it’s that killer talk that you want to develop, sit down and get writing.
Because after all, almost all resolutions fail, not because you aren’t committed to them, but because you aren’t taking action.
Taking action will stand you out from the crowd and let the universe know that you are ready for change.
And then let me know what action you are taking and I will cheer you on from the sidelines…..
Still reading this? Stop! Take some action now, you won’t regret it.