As you know, my one-word focus is “execution” this year. I recently read a book that disrupted my thought process of why I am in business, and my current laser focus on execution. It brings up a warning for us all, stay focused, but not too focused, always be aware of what’s going on around you. If you focus single-mindedly only on one part of your business, you could negatively effect the rest of your business.
You should really spend half a day a month, where you look at your entire business. Some authors, like Verne Harnish of Scaling Up , say you should be doing a SWT (Strength, Weakness and (future) Trends) review every week. He thinks it is critical for you to always be looking to identify any future trends in your industry. What could disrupt your business model (ie artificial intelligence, robots)? Who may become a competitor in the future (ie Google, Amazon, Apple)? Will the products and services you supply become obsolete (ie DVD’s, a car you actually drive)?
It’s important that you are mindful of these potential dangers to your business, so you can start to make adjustments well before they threaten to force you to close your business. This brings me to a book by Bill Bishop, called “The New Factory Thinker.” The premise of the book is that there are two ways of running a business, the “old factory,” which was a result of the industrial revolution, and the “new factory,” which is a shift from products and services to focusing on something he calls “value hubs,” which companies like Google, Apple and Amazon embrace.
Suffice it to say, this book is a must read, it will certainly get the wheels in your brain turning. Bill Bishop is the “Big Idea Guy,” his mission in life is helping businesses come up with the Big Idea, but what makes him unique, is that he is also a futurist, so he doesn’t just think about what will make you successful now, but has the future in mind as well. His website, www.bishopbigideas.com is the jackpot of triggers for you to think about your Big Idea. He also has a great, albeit long, video on his concepts.
The basis of the “new” factory thinking has five elements:
- Specialize in one type of patient.
- Help your patients achieve a Big Idea.
- Provide free value during the sales process.
- Enroll patients in a membership program.
- Sell products and services from a one-stop store.
I’m not going to get into each section, you can read the book if you want all the details, however, I’m going to highlight some of the concepts that may help you with your clients.
Often we are so busy working in the business, we forgot why we started it in the first place. The book starts with a reminder that our sole focus should be that of servicing your patient. I know, focusing on your patients! Shouldn’t we all be doing that already? You would think, but when you start to dissect your business, you will see that often that is not what you are doing at all. I think you will find that your focus is actually on you and your business, how do you make money, how do you grow, how are you going to put your kids through college.
Focus on what your patient wants, not what you want
Focusing on one type of patient certainly is a great strategy. This ties into who is your ideal patient, or core patient. There is a subset of your current patients who are more valuable than others. These are the ones who recommend you to others, they are genuinely interested in you and what you offer, and are not price sensitive. They already see the value of what you have to offer. The 80/20 Rule often applies in this situation, these are the 20% of your patients that result in 80% of your revenues, or more importantly, your profits. This is the time to drill down to find out exactly who your best patients are, and relentlessly focus on helping them.
If you really understand your patients, you should understand their pain points, and how can you help eliminate those pain points. Think about how you can HELP your patients, and often it will include a selection of different products and services you offer. By taking these products and services and combining them into a unique package that only you can offer, you are setting yourself apart from your competition. If you don’t know what your patients’ biggest pain points are, this is a great time to visit them and give them a free “audit.” With this audit, you will be able to find out their biggest issues.
Create a unique Signature Solution
Bill Bishop calls your answer to your patients’ big problem, a Signature Solution. This is the unique solution to their problem that only you can provide. This in effect, eliminates your competition from the running. For example, your Signature Solution may include a free annual audit, online training, and the installation of your product or service. Whether you have a physical product or a virtual service, think about how you can come up with a package that will benefit your patient. In the case of aesthetic services, we often combine a weight loss and skin tightening procedure together, since most people who lose weight will also have loose skin. This helps the medical spa stand out from the competition by offering a special package that their competitors don’t. If you sell laser equipment, how can you bundle in a site inspection, aesthetic association membership, onsite training, installation and a quarterly audit to make sure your patient is on track.
In his book, he also talks about a membership program. In your business, a membership program may make sense, or you may call it a patient VIP program. We have several different levels to our patient VIP program: Silver, Gold and Platinum. Each one has a higher level of discounts available to our patients. In some cases you may want to charge for a membership program, or alternately you can give them to your most valuable (profitable) patients.
I hope you now have some ideas on how you can increase your business by spending more time focusing on your ideal patient and their needs. Often, we get stuck in the rat race of business, and only focus on what we want. I hope this article serves as a reminder that you are in business to serve your patients, if you do what helps them the most, the money will follow. Always think about how you can help your patients, what their pain points are, and come up with a custom packaged Signature Solution that only you can provide!