You’ll know when you’re overwhelmed with issues and revenue losses; a general or marketing consultant can begin a turnaround…
When is the proper or best time to hire a general or marketing consultant? The answer to that question varies depending on the one asking the question and the situation at hand.
When operating one’s practice one can run into many difficult areas and may need help grabbing and getting them under control. When the owner is busy delivering, hiring, training staff, doing the marketing, doing the sales, etc., he or she will find it difficult to look at their practice objectively and locate the areas that need to be straightened out first.
Looking with an objective eye
There can be issues with marketing, staff, production flow lines, efficiency, financial planning, time management, and general management skills, such as how to close patients for care and getting staff more productive. It can vary all the way down to how to answer the phone properly.
One basic factor that I have taught for years is that if an area is not being controlled properly, then it is not under one’s control and therefore is losing money in that area and creating extra work. A consultant should pay for themselves in increased revenues.
There are many different types of consultants — from software to marketing to effective staff hiring, etc. Some consultants advise in areas like implementing new services to deliver in your clinic. A lot of service suppliers give advice on how to implement and sell their products to your patients. Most have training or courses one can attend.
One major area one might need a consultant in is marketing. Today’s marketing has gotten very diverse and complicated in most cases. It used to be one could call the newspaper or yellow pages and get an ad placed. With the advent and continuing complications and competitions concerning social media marketing, a consultant is strongly suggested.
There are areas such as one’s website and search optimization, what Facebook will allow you to say in ads, which form of marketing is most effective for your practice, etc. There is also radio and television or cable ads. Newspaper ads are not yet totally ineffective, either.
Some advertising companies have expertise in one sector of the industry, say social media marketing, and others in different areas. This could require one to hire possibly several companies to consult on multiple areas of advertising. There are also companies that can do it all — fully direct all of one’s marketing and advertising campaigns and needs. If this is the case, unless one is very savvy in social media marketing themselves, it could be advised to hire someone competent in these various areas and make them one’s full-time, in-house marketing assistant.
One of the more major needs for a consultant is in what I will call a “general all-round” consultant — ones who teach how to run a clinic more successfully.
In school one probably did not get the knowledge of how to successfully direct and run a thriving practice. That knowledge is offered by this type of consultant. There have been many good ones over the years and some are still around. They have everything from scripts, video training for staff, and seminars to attend, to one-on-one phone consulting.
One has to really assess one’s needs here. Does your practice need a total practice management overhaul or just some tweaking? When choosing this type of consultant, first see how one communicates with the individuals that will be consulting with them. Can one get their answers quickly and easily? The individual and independent type of consultant is generally less expensive than a full-service consulting company; however, they may not have all the bells and whistles one needs.
Regenerative medicine consulting
Another upcoming area that could benefit from consulting help is regenerative medicine. There are several good companies I could recommend currently, but here, too, is what type of delivery does one want to do?
What type of services does one want to deliver in the clinic in this field of medicine? How does one shift from an insurance-based chiropractic practice to a cash practice? How much time and money is one willing to invest into the changeover to working with a nurse practitioner or MD? These are very important questions to ask oneself making a selection. Most consultant companies will allow a potential client to come to a seminar to check them out. Take advantage of this if possible.
General or marketing consultant: finding the best fit
Interview potential consultants, check out their programs and costs, and check out what others using their services have to say about them. Cost should be a minor consideration in choosing the right consultant because the selection of the right consultant should increase one’s income to easily compensate for the costs, such as travel, staff pay for training, program costs, etc. One should also consider if they are willing to do the steps and actions suggested by the consultant.
Whether one hires a general or marketing consultant or goes the route of learning by themselves, there is always some type of help out there to assist a practitioner to be more successful, and to help one be able to help more patients with excellent care. Remember, too: One of the main factors is one should be enjoying doing their job. A consultant’s whole purpose should be to assist one to do just that.
ED SHARP has been a business management consultant for more than 30 years, helping and giving advice to chiropractors and their staff on hiring, sales, finance and marketing. He is president of Sharp Management & Consulting, which manages clinics and delivers customized coaching and consulting. He has produced more than 40 videos on management tips that may be viewed on his YouTube channel at tiny.cc/edsharp333. He can be contacted at edsharp333@ gmail.com or at thesharpmanagement.com.