Is Entrepreneurship Compatible With Healthcare?

Money is a tricky subject in healthcare.  The moment money comes into any discussion the spectre of “conflict of interest” immediately casts its shadow and raises ugly suspicions.

Anyone in business is, by definition, an entrepreneur.  That includes all private clinicians where income is a function of the volume and type of care provided.

Of all the clinicians I know, I can’t think of any who went into healthcare to “make money”.  It’s not what the healthcare profession is about.  One clinician I know describes himself as an “accidental entrepreneur” and that is a wholly accurate title for most clinicians.  Or for others it might be more a case of “reluctant entrepreneur”!

The moment a clinician leaves the NHS and works privately (not applicable for many who go directly to private practice), they are in the healthcare business.  A sole practitioner working from their spare room is an “entrepreneur”.

When we think of entrepreneur, I suspect 99% of us think Richard Branson.

Technician, entrepreneur or both?

If we were asked to name another 10 entrepreneurs, in the UK we would probably reel off Alan Sugar, before moving to Dragons Den characters like Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden, Theo Paphitis or we might think abroad and think Steve Jobs and up until recently we might have allowed ourselves to say Donald T!

So, are these well known people just megalomaniacs sitting stroking their white cat?  Well, one might be but on the whole, not really.

Whether we think of these iconic entrepreneurs or a local builder, printing company, solicitor or manual therapist, the most successful invariably just work really hard to meet the needs of their customer (better than the competition).

That can be the best service, the best products, the ease of doing business with them (because they have an efficient operation), the nicest staff (well trained) and usually they are effective in letting people know about their services so they get to serve and help more people.

Within healthcare, amongst some other factors, my observation is that the most successful clinics provide a better than average level of care (note – not always the best) where the focus is on providing the best service possible and experience for the patient.

Of course there are some clinicians who, like Alex the Lion in the film Madagascar, view every patient as fresh meat or a walking £ sign, but I think that is the exception rather than the rule.

A successful clinician might enjoy material rewards but I believe the material rewards are a function of how well you care for your patients and how many people you reach out to care for.

We live in a capitalist society and therefore financial goals are a requirement for individuals, including clinicians, because our futures and retirement standard of living depend on it (unless we plan to go and live in the woods).

Realising a financial goal requires a strategy and tactics to get there.  But returning to the title, the two need not be mutually exclusive.

Successful entrepreneurship requires providing the best possible product, service and experience to the customer, which will help achieve a given set of goals – personal or financial.

So when it comes to healthcare, I believe it is compatible with entrepreneurship albeit that in practically all cases the two come together accidentally!  And at the end of the day it’s not complicated; the patient must come first, always.

Author: Stephen Small – Steadfast Clinics, IDD Therapy and Spinex Disc Clinic
Connect on linkedin www.linkedin.com/in/stephen-small-0b404718
Twitter: www.twitter.com/iddtherapyeuro (I follow back)

New Website New Blog

At Steadfast we have two websites; this one and www.iddtherapy.co.uk.

The IDD Therapy website contains a blog with information for back pain sufferers and clinicians about IDD Therapy and the Disc Clinic network.

The Steadfast blog was dormant for some time.  With a new website the blog here is now live again and will provide information for clinics on subjects relating to clinics and clinic expansion.

Watch this space for updates.

 

 

General Election Clinic Lessons – Decision, Change and The New Order

Nicola Sturgeon transforms the SNP

Nicola Sturgeon transforms the SNP

This morning the UK political landscape sees some significant change.

During the five years since the last election, individual voters have had very little power to point the country in a given direction.

And then we have a General Election and a vote.

A vote is a choice.  We choose and that simple act of making a choice can have far reaching implications for the future.

I am not here to comment on politics but a couple of lessons stand out for clinics:

1/ One minute you can be here and the next minute you can be gone (Liberal Democrats)
2/ One minute you are in the background, the next minute you have taken over a country (SNP)

I have been visiting clinics this past month.  A common theme has been the concern that more and more clinics are entering the market.

With a swathe of new graduates entering the market each year, most will find it difficult to get jobs in established clinics.  The new graduates will thus set up shop by themselves, rent a room somewhere and slowly build themselves up.

Some of these will have clearer purpose, ambition and charisma than others (SNP) and these are the clinics that pose the biggest threat to the old guard (Scottish Labour).

Fading Leadership

Of the others, whether new or old, those who dawdle along and don’t stand up for anything clear or just aren’t heard will find it difficult to be seen and will fade from view (Lib Dems).

I was not particularly interested in the political debate but what struck me was the frenetic activity of the last few months.

With an election coming up, suddenly I knew who the candidates were (lots of leaflets) and it seemed there was much greater clarity with some firm new promises to win voters.  Activity and decision lead to change.

Today is no different from yesterday but in 5 years time, we may look back at some significant changes in the UK political/ economic landscape because of the choices made last night.

Here are my General Election takeaways for clinics:

* Decide what sort of clinic you want to have in 5 years time and start work on it now.
* If you do have a vision of a clinic, stay visible and make it clear to your public what you are offering. 
* If what you offer is good, patients will give you their vote of confidence.

And remember if you aren’t building it, someone else is.

By Stephen Small
Director Steadfast Clinics & IDD Therapy Services Tel: 01279 602030 (Intl +44 1279 602030)
Steadfast Clinics supports a network of IDD Therapy Disc Clinics.  To find out more about becoming a centre of excellence in conservative spinal care, get more information at www.iddtherapy.co.uk

Clinic Marketing – No such thing as new patient tap, clinic water pump insight.

TapOne of our IDD Therapy Spine Centres called today to ask us to arrange for some new adverts in his local paper to promote the clinic.

The reason being there was a bit of lull in new patients starting treatment so he wanted to engage in some marketing activity.

This happens with all clinics and all businesses at some stage and is part of the ups and downs of being in private business!

But it illustrates an important point about marketing a clinic ,or any business for that matter.

The fact is there isn’t a tap you can simply turn on or off when you need new patients. There will always be a slight lag between activity implementation and the arrival of people needing your services.

The keyword to every successful clinic and business is consistency.

Water pumpUsing the water analogy and a metaphor from the legendary Zig Ziglar, keeping a flow of new patients is like pumping an old fashioned water pump.

You work hard and pump like crazy to bring the water up to the surface, then once the water starts to flow, you just need to keep pumping gently to ensure a steady flow.

BUT, if you stop pumping, the water drops back off and then you need to work really hard starting all over again to get it going.

So, however small the steps you take, taking the steps of implementing a strategy each day, week or month are key to ensuring a steady flow of new patients.

That starts with a goal, then a plan to get there and then the consistent implementation of the action steps to get there.

Now, one can argue that there are ways to get customers instantly.  e,g google adwords is an instant way to reach out to patients.  But, it is easy to blow your money on adwords so I would say that whilst it is a way to instantly get new patients, it does require some practice.

We could all be more consistent.

If you have a lot of patients, you may think that you don’t need to market your business for new patients.  That is particularly the case with established businesses who have enough business to be comfortable through word of mouth.

But how many times have you been so busy you were turning people away.  And if you are in that position, why not consider a satellite clinic so you can help even more people?

Consistency, consistency is the name of the game.

Expect to make mistakes along the way but that is part of the process.  Take anything which requires skill and know that the skills were only acquired by learning through mistakes.

If you need some new ideas for your clinic marketing, then get a free CD and some materials from leading international clinic coach Paul Wright to set you on the way, CLICK HERE

Author: Stephen Small
www.steadfastclinics.co.uk