As President of The Professional Image, Inc. and Editor of this magazine, I have had the privilege to work with many medical industry leaders who have over time developed a World Class practice. Being World Class does not mean being known the world over. It means bringing a quality and value to your practice, your patients and your life that is unsurpassed anywhere else. The popular saying “Rome Was Not Built In A Day” applies here as developing a World Class practice does not happen overnight either. It requires many things, including constant care and nurturing and, the least of which, recognizing opportunity.
For over twenty-five years, I have worked with hundreds of physicians to help them build a “world class” medical practice and business through public relations, marketing and consulting. My clients and I have survived at least three recessions, including the most recent one, and understand that each one brings a new set of challenges, as well as opportunity. Focusing on the opportunity will lead to excellence in all areas of your life and business practice.
In today’s fast-paced, high-stakes, competitive medical environment, looking at your practice from a “business” point of view will provide enormous benefit. At TPI, we have developed a 7 Step System that will help you gain clarity and equip you with skills to not only navigate this new economy, but proven skills that will help you build a “world class” practice that matches your level of surgical expertise.
By exploring various alternatives to your current methods, you will feel:
- An increase in motivation
- Have a higher degree of accountability within the practice
- Find a greater focus with pin-point clarity
- Develop a clearer sense of direction
- Identify and enhance personal strengths
- Identify and eliminate/minimize practice weaknesses
- Have increased effectiveness and confidence
- See a higher level of organization and structure
- Realize the ability for greater earning potential
- Find time for personal pursuits, family and friends
To do this, you need:
- To make a commitment to yourself and to your personal success
- Surround yourself with a strong team that understands what you want to achieve
- Develop a vision of your future
- Assess your current reality
- Develop a solid strategy
- Initiate new public relations and marketing programs
- Learn how to maintain your success
- Ultimately feel engagement, fulfillment and reward in your professional life
Let’s start by finding a moment of uninterrupted time so that you can sit down with a pen and paper and begin a brief analysis of yourself, your practice and where you want to take it. The sky’s the limit! And the time is right to let the world know just who you are.
Mind the GAP
Those that have traveled the London Underground will recognize this phrase. It is used to let travelers know that between the station platform and the train, there is a small but dangerous gap that must be crossed in order to step on the train and thereby reach your destination. The same is true of your practice. Between “what you have” and “what you want” is a gap. Between where you are now and that “world class” status is a gap. The first step towards practice success is to realize what this gap is and how to safely cross it. For most of us there is generally something lacking. This lack might be money, time, energy, quality staff, location, adequate space, technology, business plan, team spirit, to name a few. Start by doing a practice-assessment. When doing an assessment consider the following areas:
- Personal Effectiveness
- Practice Leadership
- Staff Leadership
- Marketing Needs List
- Sales Programs
- Team Ability
- Time Spent on Superior Skill
- How Supportive Is Your Environment
- Personal Health and Well Being
- Inter Office Communication
Envision Your Future
While none of us need a crystal ball to tell us that things have changed, it will take some insight on your part to develop your own personal vision and determine how you are going to adapt to the changes, and develop the “world class” practice you deserve. As they say, what you see is what you get. Literally.
Take A Reality Check
To begin, many of us are in denial about the current situation, are operating out of fear, or are too overwhelmed with daily minutiae to want to find the time to face the facts. However, in order to be successful and survive a failing (or failed) economy, to do your best and build a more secure financial future, you are going to have to take out that pen and write yourself a prescription for success. Generally, once you do this, things are not always as bad as they seem and you begin to see the opportunities that are placed in front of you every day. By doing the personal practice assessment first, it will help you have a clearer view of your current reality. When I have gone through this phase with a physician, it always amazes me to see how many open ended and incomplete projects they have that are holding them back. Once you do the analysis it helps you decide which of these projects are worthwhile (if any) and let go of the ones that are going nowhere. This gives you fresh ground to begin to build toward your success.
Prescription For Success
Developing a strategy for your practice and implementing it is vital to your success. Your strategy should include long and short term goals, as well as daily action items. As well as including goals, your strategy should also include financial needs and financial growth opportunities, staffing needs, role designations, ideal marketing budgets and outlets and, of course, time off for you so you can regenerate. It’s easy to build surgery and consultation time into the weekly schedule, but not as easy to include time for business building, planning, implementation meetings, creativity, sales goals and other assessments (including a round of golf or other leisure activity) that are critical to the health and future success of the practice, and you.
Until you implement a strategy, you don’t actually know if it’s going to work. Of course, you can follow the example of others, or copy things they have done, but don’t forget that this is YOUR vision that you are creating and there is not a one-size-fits-all rule here. The world class surgical skills you learned in school, residency, fellowship programs and your own practice did not happen overnight. And, guess what, your skills will only continue to get better and mature with time. In order to achieve “world class” recognition you must be willing to devote the same time to it. Making fundamental choices to change your life can seem risky. Making grandiose ideas come to life seems risky too, but the payoff will be tremendously lucrative and will free you up to really enjoy life the way you want to. The riskiest thing you can do is nothing. Inertia is NOT going to make it through in any economy – good or bad. Get proactive about your practice success and you will find that it will ignite excitement, not just in you, but in your staff too.
Public Relations and Marketing
There are no mysteries to solid, strategic PR and Marketing but in an economy like this you have to stop wasting time and money on hiring the wrong people or thinking that you can do everything for yourself. I tell my clients “You keep doing what you do best – surgery, and I will keep doing what I do best, PR and Marketing.” It works too because all of my clients are holding steady with practice revenues and are continuing to see themselves on TV news shows and are regularly interviewed by the media. They are all considered “world class” world authorities in their respective fields. With PR and Marketing you also have to do a separate strategy that is different from your practice building strategy. You also must surround yourself with people that can implement a highly creative campaign that gets attention. Public relations is still the most credible and cost-effective way to promote a practice. Appearances on TV and articles written about you in newspapers and magazines offer a third party endorsement that advertising and internet promotion cannot. This is a good time to evaluate everything from logo and stationery, to brochures and website, advertising and branding, events and PR effectiveness.
Keeping Your Edge
Just when James Bond takes that final leap looking battered, tired and dusty, we think “this must be it for him” but it never is because he never gives up. And he always comes out looking suave and debonair and ready for the next adventure. Like James, you also need to learn how to keep the “edge.” To keep your name in lights, to keep your practice thriving, to keep living your life the way you want, you must be vigilant about your success. While this will not take as much of your time as your initial “gear up to success” has, it is still an area that should be constantly monitored in weekly staff meetings where you can keep a close eye on sales increases, budgets and spending, ROI (return on investment), staff and attitudes, leadership and the other many details that lead to total success and personal fulfillment.
Being “world class” can mean many things. In the current environment I would suggest that you attempt to be “world class” in all aspects of your practice and your personal life. Not only will you feel great about your creation, but your staff and patients will appreciate it too. And the payback to you will be incredible. Enjoy!
You have worked hard to get where you are. Isn’t it time to start enjoying it?
Note: To order your copy of “Lights! Camera! Action! The Plastic & Cosmetic Surgeon’s Guide to Obtaining Priceless TV, Magazine and Other Media Exposure” is now available at www.amazon.com and www.theprofessionalimage.com