When was the last time you gave your Clinic decor a review? Do you endlessly walk in and out of your seemingly revolving front door but never actually ‘SEE’ what your patients see?
Do you even think it’s important to your patients’ experience in your Clinic? Recently, in our Osteobiz Success Formula group, we’ve been looking at this topic in more detail. So I commissioned an Expert Masterclass from successful Interior Designer Heather Craig in Northern Ireland. She has extensively researched the subject of Clinic decor and its effects on how patients feel and has come up with some surprising results.
Creating nurturing Clinic decor is trending in America
This is a subject which is studied in detail in America and there are many evidence based studies showing that a poor environment can indeed make patients feel uncomfortable or unsettled. This may lead to them not returning for follow up treatment or, worse, giving negative comments to others.
There is evidence to show that general clutter can make people feel uneasy whilst a calm and fresh Clinic decor can help people to feel at ease. Privacy and respect for personal boundaries are crucial for those who may be nervous or shy. Indeed Heather reports that her own sister was horrified to find herself being treated in a rather grubby Clinic at dusk with no curtains to prevent passersby looking in! Imagine how many friends she told about that experience!
I recommend a six monthly appraisal of both your Clinic decor and also the exterior of your premises. Sometimes it can be difficult to make changes where the property owner is not keen but even so there may be simple improvements you can make yourself. But do take the journey that your Patients take and honestly appraise it. Let’s walk round together:
Outside your Practice
Check the approach to your Practice. Is the signage clear, clean and visible from the road? Are there any overgrown shrubs hiding your signage? Are there any pots with less than healthy plants in view? Is the paintwork fresh? Is there a build up of rubbish blown in by the wind? Is the welcome mat worn out?
What about your Clinic decor?
Coming in through the door how does it look? Is the paintwork clean? Does it smell fresh in there? Is the floor covering in good condition? Does it need hoovering or mopping? Is the waiting area welcoming? Is there a clutter of leaflets and magazines? What can you remove to make the place calmer? Is the artwork pleasing to the eye or has it lost its charm? If the seating is basic, would it benefit from adding a cushion or two to make it less austere? Is there a pleasing colour scheme or it is magnolia?
Moving into your treatment room, what do you see? A cluttered desk with Patient notes, paperwork and myriad bones? Walls full of posters, random pictures and stuff? Shelves burdoned by books, piles of papers and random ornaments? Those towels, plinth covers and pillow cases get washed to death – what state are they in today? Is it time to invest in new ones? Are there any dusty fake flowers or plants which no longer look healthy? Look up and scout for cobwebs or dusty shelves.
I don’t mean to be harsh! Indeed, I looked at my own Osteobiz HQ yesterday and quickly had a much needed major declutter! Afterwards I felt so much better. There is something about too much stuff which irritates and befuddles our brains!
Check out your Clinic decor today and make a diary note to check it again in January.
Let Heather’s Masterclass make your Clinic better!
And if you have no idea where to start, Heather has agreed to let you purchase this Masterclass. In it she shares her extensive knowledge of soothing colour combinations, smartening up the exterior of your premises, creating a welcoming and comfortable waiting area, helping your patients to feel nurtured and relaxed in your treatment room and how to create an overall haven which will ensure that they want to come back to you whenever it’s needed.
Whilst teaching at the BSO Osteopathic Refresher on Sunday, one of the questions in the Q&A session at the end was about my thoughts on running a Practice from home. Heather’s Masterclass enabled me to give a much fuller answer than I may have been able to give previously.
You can click here to get access to Heather’s valuable Masterclass right now. (This is an affiliate link)
Usually priced at £59, Heather is offering you a special rate of £49 until midnight Tuesday 21 June so be quick! It’s great value and packed full of inspiring resources you can go back to again and again.
I’m happy to give you 2 hours CPD for completing this Masterclass study.
Your patient list IS your business. Your patient list MUST keep growing. Your patient list must not stagnate or your Osteobiz will begin to shrink!
This week I’m refining my presentation for the BSO’s Osteopathic Refresher at the weekend. It’s entitled ‘Maintaining Patient Relationships’ and as I’ve been working through ideas, suggestions and the thinking behind it, I’ve included something very important.
This is the ONE main thing that I am constantly working on with my Clients. We are always working towards getting your message out into your community in a number of ways. The more that your neighbours know who you are and what your primary role is in their healthcare, the more patients will book to see you. The side effect is then that you will get many more organic referrals as your net widens.
Growing your Patient list is paramount!
One of the issues which surfaces most often with my Clients is that they are so busy firefighting at the coal face that they take their eye off their actual business. Sometimes it can only take a few months of whizzing through endless patients and it feeling like your Clinic has a revolving front door before there’s a significant lull in bookings.
Often there’s a feeling of mild panic and a sudden realisation that without some action things will threaten to continue in a downward spiral. So then there’s a flurry of crazy posting on social media and the worry of reduced income.
And therein lies the problem of boom and bust bookings!
There will always be a natural cyclical nature to business but the key is in maintaining very effective marketing so that the fluctuations are minimal.
My best advice is to diarise two chunks of time of at least an hour each per week for focused marketing. Reviewing which posts are working on social media, creating more like that and/or re-posting previously successful posts can easily be done in that time.
Remember that Facebook is one of the most effective methods of advertising your business and it doesn’t have to cost a penny! Because they don’t show your posts to all your fans, you need to be posting a couple of times a day ideally. These can be pre-scheduled so that you are cleverly posting whilst treating!
Keep in touch with your Patient list!
We’ve already discussed how crucial your Patient list is to your Osteobiz success. But do you keep in touch with them? So you’ve worked hard to build up your Patient list but do you leave them to ride off into the sunset? Do you follow them up at some point? Do you send them an e-newsletter?
You will continue to grow your Patient list if you continue to nurture those already on it.
You also know where I am if you need a nudge in the right direction.
Meanwhile keep up your great work!
Milan Cathedral witnessing this quiet football event!
Every year the Old Boy takes me off to the football final of the Champions’ League. Last year we went to Berlin and had a blast! This year we went to Milan in Italy for a much needed five day break. The final was to be on Saturday and we arrived on Thursday to settle ourselves in.
We had booked a most wonderful apartment right in the centre of Milan and quickly found a local supermarket, superb bakery and a choice of several local pizzeria ristorantes!
On Friday we donned our walking shoes and headed off to Duomo to the famous square with the massive and intricately ornate cathedral. This was the Fan Zone where all the pre-match excitement would be. As we made our way there, I noticed that there was no signage at all to direct the Spanish fans of Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid towards this event.
Fan Zone – the non-event!
In fact, in walking through the beautiful Covent Garden-like shopping area, we actually stumbled across the Fan Zone rather than being directed towards it. Some of the familiar side shows were there and a large stage with a couple of guys shouting at the small group of fans lurking there. To be honest it was quite a let down.
Our apartment host had briefed us thoroughly with places to go and where to find everything. He stressed that the area of Garibaldi (which turned out to be not just a tasty biscuit) was the hub of young fun, bars and eateries. Well then, we had to go there and suss it all out!
However, on the day of the match we marched off to Garibaldi and found a place not unlike the dead City of London on a Sunday. Massive tower blocks rose from the concrete and incredible glass and steel architecture glistened in the bright sunshine. A few people wondered about, some enjoying a quiet coffee and some inspecting the wares of a couple of retailers. Some even set up musical corners where they practiced dance routines reflecting their gorgeousness in the glass walls of their outdoor studio.
There was a couple of box-shaped hoardings in the centre of a modern square which mentioned the Champions’ League Final but there was nobody there promoting it or providing any entertainment related to it.
Missed opportunities at a massive sporting event!
The Old Boy loves to attend these things as there is usually a great atmosphere of friendly rivalry and he likes to wear a branded football shirt to show his temporary support – snap him in half and it would still read CHELSEA like a stick of seaside rock!
He likes to scout the area for a great place to eat and watch the match but we had no luck at all in finding anywhere suitable despite hours of traipsing around. We looked in the piazzas, restaurant filled streets and everywhere in between. There were no colours, no bunting, no billboards, no a-boards, no signage, no posters, no adverts, no flags, no notices, nothing at all to encourage us to frequent a particular eatery for an evening of reverie.
In Berlin last year, there was massive excitement and in the square we were staying on, the restaurants were all vying for our attention to get their tables full for the match. Cables were taped to the floor and huge TVs were brought outside so that we could eat, drink and whoop at the goals and commiserate with the near misses. There was much jocularity and hilarity with the Berliners. We had a ball!
I can’t help but see business lessons!
But in Milan, I was trying to have a break from ‘work’ and business. But the business lessons were screaming at me! Oh the lost opportunities of this one off sporting occasion! The local businesses seemed not to be excited to host this potentially huge money spinning event. They were not advertising that they had a TV set up for the match and fabulous pizzas and pastas to melt in the mouth and tickle our taste buds.
Finally the Old Boy contacted his annual buddies from these events who he met whilst at the same gig in Munich. Luckily, they were staying near us and had found a place to eat and watch the game. So we were finally sorted for the evening.
You might know that I’m a bit of a foodie. Well we arrived at the restaurant and I was introduced to Bob and the crew who were all testing the local beer and wine in readiness for kick off. We ordered pizza and a rather cheeky bottle of Verdicchio and settled in.
Looking around, I noticed that the restaurant was empty apart from us. Later four young chaps came in to quietly eat and catch up with the game. Otherwise it was dead. No atmosphere at all. Then my pizza came. Oh dear. Do no not give me tinned sliced mushrooms and cheap ham masquerading as Proscutto! Not a pleasant experience at all. Inside I got all ‘Gordon Ramsay’ and wanted to ask the owner if his Mama would approve of tinned vegetables and cheap meat! We would certainly not be going back there for more!
Indeed, we actually gave up at half time and nipped back home to put our feet up and watch the exciting finale by ourselves.
Quick Business Lessons
If there is an event, celebration or local fete in your area this summer, do make sure you are represented!
- It’s an amazing chance to raise your visibility, even if you only set up a pasting table with a cloth and demonstrate something!
- If you don’t have a team, rope in some family or friends to help you invoke some excitement
- Create some tailored leaflets to hand out which delivers a simple message about how passionate you are about helping your community back to health
- Take the opportunity to run a little fun competition to exchange email addresses for the chance to win a treatment/massage/hamper etc
- Run a simple little quiz on the names of a few bones if you can make that fun for children and families
These are the sort of things I brainstorm all the time with members of my online groups who participate in my private Facebook forums they belong to.
If you could do with some fresh ideas and somewhere safe to learn how to grow your Practice, why not try out my Osteobiz Inner Circle and get started on some business lessons for only a few quid per month?
The Old Boy just phoned me to ask what I needed from the supermarket as we’ve come home to an empty fridge.
“Pizza?” I suggested with a wry smile…
With online scams and threats to our bank security becoming ever more complex, it is vital that we protect ourselves both personally and within our small business.
So today I’ve asked Mark Bonnamy, Founder of specialist IT Solutions Company, Ridgewall, in the City of London to Guest Blog for us. His expert advice gives us the simple steps we can take to protect ourselves against the increasing threat of online scams.
I hear all too frequently that someone’s account has been compromised, and whilst the various scams seem obvious to some, they aren’t to others. Before we know it, we’ve sent £1,000 to a friend in dire need – or so we are led to believe by the desperate and urgent email which purports to be from them.
One thing is definitely true: its only going to get worse and the scams more professional, whether that’s in the type of email you receive or the Malware and Virus that are set to compromise the devices you use.
Here is some advice to avoid the scams
1. Never use just one password (that’s ever) for your key accounts, banks etc. If you do you will likely be a victim and when you are, it’s going to be far worse than if you use different passwords!
2. Password length and complexity is absolutely vital. Use pass phrases that are easy to remember eg Cho1rdrive5meM&D!
3. Never use the same password for your bank that you do for email or Amazon, iTunes etc
4. You don’t need to change it frequently but it does need to be long and use the unusual characters
5. If you are ever going to make a payment of a significant amount always phone and check with the person and company directly. Don’t use the phone numbers that come with the info; check independently i.e. google the company to verify the numbers are legit.
Why do accounts become compromised?
Generally at the moment there are two reasons:
1. Weak passwords
2. Malware infections
Why are there so many email related problems? The email system we use hasn’t changed since it was invented, and is about the most insecure, spoofable system there is! Its easy: trust nothing that comes via it!
We have all seen password reset request for iTunes or bank spoofs or scams, so it’s a simple rule. Only ever click on a link if you are absolutely sure it’s from the sender. In the case of iTunes, banks and similar always separate your actions.
If you get an email saying your Amazon delivery is delayed NEVER click on the link, always open a web browser and log in as you normally would. This avoids going to spoof web sites and avoids downloading malware.
What should I do to protect the devices I use?
1. Always do the software updates as soon as they come out (set to auto-update where possible)
2. Generally go for the paid for versions of protection, everything that is free is a cut down version that could be improved upon if you bought it.
3. Always make sure your anti-virus software is up to date (sometimes your bank may offer free protection such as anti-virus software etc).
4. Mac users you are not much safer than anyone else; don’t be fooled!
5. If your anti-virus software doesn’t have Malware protection buy Malware Bytes www.malwarebytes.org it’s around £25 per annum for 3 devices and is a great product (for Mac’s too).
It’s something I love to watch in my Osteobiz Clients. They come to me knowing that they’re not in the right place yet and they know that they need some guidance to get there. Whether they join my Inner Circle for a minimal monthly subscription or invest in some one to one serious business development, there is always one thing I notice: the desire to thrive.
I believe that there is a direct correlation between confidence and thriving.
Even in my own business, I have noticed that the more confident I become, the more successful I become! The more I have emerged from behind my logo and from behind my website the more Clients have come to me. The more I have shown my quirky personality the more relationships I have built. The more relationships I have built, the more new Clients have trusted me to help them.
And ultimately, the more I have listened and understood what you need as a profession and provided it, the more I have thrived – and the more YOU have thrived.
This is especially evident too in those Clients who have worked with me for the longer term. I have witnessed them become more confident in themselves and less concerned with what other competitors are doing. They KNOW that they are great at what they do and they are no longer worried about saying it out loud! Why does this work? Because they are confidently speaking the truth.
I urge them to drop that fake ‘professional’ persona who doesn’t exist! I encourage them to ‘come out’ in all their glory and show us who they REALLY are.
I tell them:
If you feel uncomfortable in that constricting white jacket, dump it!
If you want to work barefoot, kick off your shoes!
With the freedom to be your real self comes even more authenticity, happiness and abundance.
And with that, the new patients come and wonder why on earth they took so long to find you!
How successful business owners thrive
Think about all the most successful business owners; they thrive because they are confident in what they are doing and in their ability to make it happen. They plan out how they will achieve success. They know what success looks like to them. Most importantly, they ensure that they have an excellent offering and that the public understand HOW that product or service will enhance their lives.
The difficulty we can face as small business owners is that in order for us to do that too, we have to blow our OWN trumpet! And that can feel monumentally uncomfortable for many of us. But blow it we must, if we are to thrive!
Effective marketing becomes critical to success
Staying small and playing small is detrimental to our success. When we know that we have something valuable to add to others’ lives, we should be confident enough to speak up about it. My ethos is always to educate and inform and not ‘sell at’ people and that fits very well with the way you think too.
So we need a strong message about HOW we help others and ensure that we say it loud and clear with no confusing jargon. Marketing is merely the term for getting our message out there. I believe that great marketing is about tailoring your message so that your target market hears it loud and clear through the din of their daily lives.
It needs to answer their problems.
It needs to help with an issue.
And it certainly needs to be honest and have integrity.
Step out from the shadows and shine!
A strong, confident and authentic marketing message will then begin to work wonders and bring in those new patients.
Knowing how to do this effectively is to know how to thrive and maintain success. I look on in awe at those Clients who come to me with little confidence and few ideas but who pay attention and put new strategies in place to grow. And in growing in confidence they thrive and in thriving they soar.
And that’s when I can step back and watch them flourish and succeed in helping many more people in pain.
Then my work is done and I can have a little proud Mama Osteobiz moment and leave them to continue to thrive!
I’m sitting here looking at the Groupon website. I don’t ever come here but I have heard rumblings that Osteopaths are selling their beautiful souls to this cut price deal site.
I searched for many major cities. There they are. Struggling Osteopaths chasing new patients. Their highly skilled hands and expert knowledge being sold for a pittance. My heart feels heavy indeed.
Honestly, I could weep – this is a travesty!
How desperate must they be to discount their fees to just a few quid? How empty must their diaries be? How tricky must the bill paying be? And how worried must they be?
Discounting to this degree is not a business strategy. People on discount websites only want the buzz of the deal. They can’t bear to pay full price. Indeed the Old Boy is just like this. He gets staff discount of 25% off at John Lewis so if something he wants isn’t sold there and he can’t get it cheap on ebay, he won’t buy it! You should have seen him going mental the other evening when he bagged a new golf driver for two thirds of its retail price. He was literally squealing with excitement!
Groupon is not a solution!
Groupon is a great concept if you’re a savvy little bargain hunter. But Osteopathic treatment for less than twenty quid? The psychology of the Groupon hunter is such that it is unlikely that they will happily pay full price.
And what does that mean?
It means that they are highly unlikely to come back, even if they need to. Their wallet will remain tightly closed. Because generally it’s all about the thrill of the chase and of money SAVED and not about their health and well being. They love ‘mates rates’, bartering, haggling and discounts. Pay full price? You must be joking mate!
Always focus on your Perfect Patient
You know the ones. They adore you. They thank you profusely for how you’ve helped them. They would probably even pay you double. Why? Because they VALUE you and what you do. There are always more of them to be found if you know where to look and how to attract their attention in an ethical and energetically sound manner.
As I always say, if you’re not busy it’s not your fault. You weren’t taught strategic marketing. But it is your fault if you don’t get sound marketing training and continue to fail to serve your community properly. If you are not getting the word out about how effective Osteopathic treatment is, people will remain uninformed and in pain. And, by the way, leaflets and adverts don’t cut it any more!
The world has moved on from ‘spray and pray marketing’. Why? Because both online and offline our worlds are pretty crazy. So much stuff is vying for our attention that our over-stimulated brains have to filter most of it out. We only have enough mental bandwidth to deal with a certain amount of information at any one time.
So if your message is weak or not accurately targeted it will not be noticed. Simple as that.
So how do you avoid the Groupon way?
For anyone in business who just doesn’t have enough custom, there must be a decent strategy in place. Rather than discounting as a way forwards, confident marketing about the BENEFITS of Osteopathic treatment is critical.
I have had many Clients come to me, investing in their future Osteobiz because they know that treating four or five patients a month isn’t sustainable. Some are sitting amongst literally thousands of people doing very physical and stressful work. And yet they have no custom. And it’s only because their message isn’t right.
Thankfully, rather than turning to Groupon they turned to me and saw the value of investing in some focused strategies with fresh and unique ideas. I constantly study marketing, soak up information like inky blotting paper and have invested thousands of pounds with my own business coach. This has ensured that my business model helps those with little spare cash right up to those who want to seriously expand their Practice.
There’s a time and place for promotion but Groupon isn’t it!
There is ALWAYS more to learn and the advancement of technology means that there are constantly new ways to market our businesses. I have even invested in a totally automated system to deliver my online courses so that they are accessible anywhere in the world. That means that I can immediately start helping a struggling Osteopath in Australia the minute they sign up, automatically give them access to the course materials, whilst I remain asleep! How amazing is that?
By staying on top of changes, I ensure that my Clients get best advice and NEW ways of growing their businesses that others are oblivious to. That means that hundreds of global Clients are now bombing along with full diaries and expanding patient lists. It is truly thrilling to watch the transformations.
So should you know of an Osteopath who wants to be busier, guide them away from Groupon and towards my new club Osteobiz Inner Circle as a starting point. For just a tenner per month, they can start to turn things around, fill their diaries and begin their journey to Osteobiz success!