Healthcare is perhaps one of the best industries to start a business in. However, while it can be rewarding to grow your own healthcare practice rather than working within a larger establishment such as a hospital, the effort comes with significant, unique challenges. Many of these challenges relate to having to rebuild your resource pool from the ground up. For example, you likely will not start with much of a reputation or client base, and will need to build up those resources with efforts such as marketing and good old-fashioned time and work in your practice. But there are many other steps beyond this that you can take to promote healthy growth in your private healthcare practice.
1. Hire Good Employees
Motivated, capable employees are the backbone of any business, and this is especially true of healthcare. Mistakes in healthcare can have strong, negative consequences, and people also often want to be treated gently when it comes to concerns about their personal health. It is especially vital that healthcare workers who work closely with patients, such as nurses and occupational therapists, demonstrate traits like excellent people-skills in addition to their medical training. Therefore, you should choose interview questions that will give prospective employees the opportunity to showcase those qualities. With that in mind, the ideal healthcare employee should:
- Be trustworthy;
- Have impressive qualifications;
- Demonstrate enthusiasm for their profession;
- Demonstrate strong empathy;
- Have great communication skills;
- Be organized;
- Work well under pressure;
- Demonstrate patience.
Your employees’ work and attitude will reflect on your business as a whole, so choosing great people and treating them well is paramount.
2. Treat Employees Well
While it is important to choose great employees in the first place, you can’t expect them to flourish and impress if the business does not value them and make strides to ensure that they are well cared for. In addition to the effect on employee performance, good treatment of employees can also result in the future acquisition of good employees, as your current employees spread the word of their positive work environment. A few steps you can take to take good care of your employees include:
- Offer a competitive pay rate;
- Offer excellent benefits;
- Offer family and sick leave;
- Offer PTO options;
- Lead by example;
- Practice transparency;
- Have consistent expectations;
- Provide recognition and incentives;
- Demonstrate that you value their feedback;
- Communicate and engage with all levels of employees.
3. Highlight Specialties
If you offer multiple healthcare services in your practice, make sure you highlight that diversity — especially if you employ specialists. Clients will enjoy knowing that they can go to one place for multiple needs, and that the people caring for those needs are particularly well-qualified to do so. For example, it may be helpful for a healthcare facility to have someone trained in occupational therapy on staff, even if that is not the specialty of the clinic.
4. Ask for Customer Reviews
Word-of-mouth marketing has always been valuable and continues to be so, which is another reason to emphasize client satisfaction. However, in the modern-day, online reviews are just as important (or perhaps even more important). Many people understand that, and therefore it can be a valuable marketing tactic to ask your clients to review your practice online if they had a positive experience. There are a few things you can do to approach this effectively:
- Don’t overdo it. People don’t want to feel like they’re getting a sales pitch during a routine visit. Try kindly mentioning it once at the end of the appointment. This may even be a good task for the receptionist as they check clients out.
- Incentivize your employees to mention online reviews to clients. Asking people to review your business can be a bit embarrassing, and employees, therefore, may not be as likely to ask without motivation.
- Ask them to go to a specific review website, as this is a more actionable request. For example, instead of asking the client to “leave a review online,” you might ask them to leave you a review on Google Reviews, specifically.
- Make sure they also have information about who they can contact if they have any problems. Providing an easy point of contact may give you an opportunity to take care of an issue rather than risking a poor review.
In addition to possibly bringing in new clients, this tactic can also make your existing clients feel like you value their input.
5. Establish Online Presence
On the subject of ensuring that your business offers easily accessible points of contact, it is very important to establish your online presence. This may include efforts such as creating a website, utilizing social media, listing yourself on directories, and pursuing SEO efforts. Again, it is important that you ensure that it is easy for people to find you and to contact you. Furthermore, online outreach is a great opportunity for lead generation and advertisement of special offers.
6. Implement Technology
Technology is more readily accessible than ever and can be a great boon to your practice. In fact, in many regards, it is now a necessity in the healthcare industry. The use of cutting-edge technology can improve client experience, act as a signal of good professional quality, and even support sustainability in healthcare. It can also make your work easier by making processes more efficient. In fact, some widely available technology can simultaneously benefit you and your clients. For example, telehealth can save time for everyone involved.
7. Expand Services
While it is helpful to offer many different services, it can be a difficult thing to accomplish early on. Therefore, that may be more realistic as a long-term goal. Additionally, the needs of your community and client base may change over time, and, as a result, it would be ideal to ensure that your services reflect that. For both of those reasons, it is often a good strategy to expand your services over time in order to remain competitive in your market.
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