By Karol Clark, MSN, RN
A common desire for most practitioners is to have more patients and more revenue – sounds great! And perhaps familiar? However, before your eyes and efforts are focused on these goals and before I share 3 reliable (and possibly surprising) ways to maximize revenue in your practice, I recommend you pause to look at your current overall revenue versus your actual profit. Keeping your focus on this distinction will make the difference between a thriving practice and one that is ‘getting by’.
All too often, practices strive to do everything they can to create higher revenues. This may include fancy marketing campaigns, splashy ads, more team members, a new EMR, coding course, a bigger office, or other similar strategies. Yet, at the end of the day, profit is lacking. If this has happened to you, you are not alone. In fact, this was made painstakingly clear for many practices throughout the current pandemic resulting in additional stress and negative outcomes.
In your power, right now, is the ability to not only add revenue, but practice profits…on demand. You can do this despite the pandemic or other circumstances if you offer services and products your ideal patients want and need; and you sincerely help them attain the outcome they desire.
Below are three reliable ways for you to maximize revenue in your practice. These are not gimmicks and they have been shown to work consistently in practices despite external situations outside your control.
First, increase your authority. Authority changes everything! It is one of the most transformational things you can do for your practice – especially now. Having authority increases trust. It improves patient compliance thus improving outcomes. As a result, you experience more referrals, positive testimonials/reviews and attract even more patients, resulting in more revenue and profits.
Unfortunately, the days of listening to the doctor in their white coat and following instructions exactly as prescribed are few and far between. Enter ‘Dr. Google’, Self-Appointed Experts, Celebrity Experts, Big Box Companies, and more vying for the attention of your patients to serve them in bold ways. While I grieve the fact that the true experts are often overlooked for gimmicks and self-acclaimed gurus who may or (more likely) may not be skilled to help, it is a reality we all face today.
To combat this reality and increase the likelihood of YOU being the sought-after expert best suited to provide your life-changing expertise, I recommend that you do two things.
- Do No Harm to Your Authority: Sometimes marketing efforts can erode your authority and lower patient trust. Flashy advertisements, deep discounts on services, over the top claims or gimmicks are generally not expected or respected when it comes to professional services. This can happen sometimes when you trust your marketing to someone who doesn’t understand you, your brand, your ideal patients, what you offer and most importantly the benefits of your services and products.
- Build Your Authority: Stay true to yourself, your vision, your brand, and the outcomes you help your patients attain. In your social media posts, blogs, videos, e-mails, newsletters, consistently share the answers to the primary concerns your patients have. Outline clearly that you understand their struggle and exactly how you can help (along with how they can begin working with you). Don’t get overwhelmed by the technology or platforms. Start small and build from there. Nowadays, you and your practice can easily create online ‘assets’ such as a video on YouTube, transcribe it into their blog, create quote graphics to post with a link to the blog and more! An asset you own is online forever as opposed to a paid ad that is short lived. Also, posts allow you to split test what resonates with your ideal patients before you spend a dime on ads. Another tip – lead back to a platform you own such as your website.
Second, focus on your ‘one thing’ and then add complementary revenue streams. I am sure the concept of adding complementary revenue streams is not new to you. It is a great way to have consistent revenue that doesn’t require the direct involvement of the doctor.
However, now more than ever, it is imperative to take a close look at your financial P/L by cost center and determine the primary service you enjoy providing, your patients desire and is profitable for you. Once identified, you will want to keep this as the primary focus for your marketing, newsletters, and communication with your current and prospective patients. Look at the ‘flow’ in your office and make any appropriate modifications. For example, necessary space, appointment availability, staffing, ease of gathering testimonials and streamlined care. Next, focus on complementary services and products that will enhance the experience and outcome of those patients seeking your primary service(s).
If you already have additional revenue streams, closely review your financial P/L to determine if they are truly complementary to your ‘one thing’ and if they are profitable. If so, then determine how you can grow that aspect of your business as well. If they are not profitable, now is the time to either focus on how to make them profitable or consider discontinuation.
When considering new revenue streams, such as a retail store for nutritional supplements or other retail type items such as durable medical equipment and the like, here is a process that can help you set it up for success (and profitability):
- Identify a champion in your office to oversee the endeavor (your team must have buy-in)
- Determine the right size store for your situation (you can start in a closet, move to an office and onward from there)
- Decide upon your timeframe for implementation
- Create your plan/budget for success (I recommend a separate cost center for easier profit tracking)
- Pick your products & create your sales system (consider e-commerce as well)
- Promote on-site(signage, posters, fliers, team promotion with patients)
- Promote online (social media channels, e-mails, newsletters, blogs, YouTube videos, Google, and the like)
- Track your positive return on investment (weekly/monthly)
- Implement growth strategies such as packaging products together, bulk ordering, text campaigns, referral program, events and more!
Third, create ‘future’ revenue.
Your future is being created today. Your current decisions and actions will dictate your future revenue and profitability.
Two of your best future revenue sources (there are many more) are your existing patients and the patients you have in your ‘pipeline’. These people are somewhere between an initial call/text/e-mail, completing a consultation and becoming a paying patient. Both need to hear from you regularly, so you are always top of mind.
For your current patients, focus on their lifetime value. Continue to nurture them and make sure they are aware of new products or services you have that may help them attain their desired outcome. Create a referral program and don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials and referrals.
For prospective patients, stay top of mind with social media content that answers their most asked questions, addresses their top health frustrations, and demonstrate your knowledge/authority regarding how to attain their desired outcome. Be yourself…show up in organic searches by optimizing your content/assets. Write that book you have been thinking about and use that as your new business card (it’s never been easier to do this – reach out if you need help).
Bottom line, profit over revenue, simplicity over complexity, authenticity over flashy marketing campaigns. Build your authority, focus on your ‘one thing’ and add other complementary revenue streams to create a strong future for you and your practice.
*First published in Chiropractic Economics Magazine, March 17th 2021 Issue #5 – https://www.chiroeco.com/branding-and-marketing/
Karol Clark, MSN, RN is the best-selling author of How to Add Medical Weight Loss to Your Practice: 7 Steps to an Enjoyable Business, Healthier Patients and Increased Profitability and owner of Weight Loss Practice Builder and the exclusive membership program for weight loss practitioners www.BariatricBusinessBoss.com She has over 20 yrs. of experience working with surgical and non-surgical weight loss patients and assisting physicians build an enjoyable weight loss practice. She partners with Nutritional Resources (d/b/a HealthWise– www.healthwisenri.com) for creation of educational programs/articles for weight loss practitioners.