Practice Management: Fall 2003
By Donald Dillon RMT
Knuckle down and work hard to get results ... isn’t that the mantra of business success? We value success, the idea that the individual through Herculean efforts accomplishes the big win. In the media we see sports figures, public figures, movie stars – all seeming to become famous overnight through their own efforts.
By Donald Dillon RMT
Knuckle down and work hard to get results … isn’t that the mantra of business success? We value success, the idea that the individual through Herculean efforts accomplishes the big win. In the media we see sports figures, public figures, movie stars – all seeming to become famous overnight through their own efforts. If we look deeper, however, we find no man, or woman, is an island unto themselves.
In their book “The One-Minute Millionaire,” Robert G. Allen and Mark Victor Hansen exclaim no one builds success by themselves. “Behind every millionaire is a million-dollar rolodex” they explain,
or, most commonly “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”
Although some of the practices of “network marketing” have left us with uncomfortable feelings around building business relationships, if we critically examine all businesses we find it is genuine, meaningful relationships, not money, that “makes the world go ‘round.”
As a self-employed practitioner, your relationships really are your greatest asset. If you work daily on cultivating your relationships, not only will you be healthier and happier, but your business will grow beyond your expectations. Let’s discuss three different groups that you can build relationships and grow successful with.
Your “Dream Team”
Napolean Hill, author of “Think and Grow Rich” called this the “Mastermind Group.” Allen and Hansen title this your “Dream Team.” This is your support team – a group of people assembled on a regular basis to help you reach your business goals. These people associate with you for the mutual purpose of sharing aspirations, offering feedback, supporting change through difficult times, and helping you clarify and reach your greatest business goals. These people may be associates, like-minded health professionals or a close-knit business group.
We know from the various personality tests that each person has a unique combination of strengths and weaknesses. The way we see the world is through our perspective alone, but combined with the strength of others interested in our success, we can reach our goals faster and reach higher. It’s important to meet with your team at least once a month to revisit your goals and support the goals of other members.
Everybody succeeds together. Your dream team can help you brainstorm ways to market your business, collectively creating a strong marketing campaign. If you work in the same office, you can co-ordinate efforts together to create surveys, signage, newsletters, brochures – the inspiration of many will benefit everyone in the group. Remember, with a team, Together Everyone Achieves More.
Your Existing Business Relationships
Sometimes we focus so much on getting new business that we miss the opportunity right before us – creating more business with the people we already have a relationship with. Stay in touch with your existing patient base regularly through an active database (see “Recognize the Source of Your Business” – Massage Therapy Canada Fall 2002).
Call people you haven’t provided care for recently and ask them if they feel it’s time for a treatment. Send a card to let them know your thinking about them. Mail quarterly newsletters or e-mail-newsletters to bring them information that’s useful and solves their problems.
Constantly build your scope of practice in their minds. Change in-house signage in your office regularly. Consider printing research abstracts on massage therapy, stress or health-related issues in your newsletter. Let them know your scope is broad and expansive. I often mention other conditions I treat to existing patients during our therapy visits. This is a great way to let them know I can help them, or their friends, coworkers and family members, with other conditions besides neck and back pain.
Paredo’s law, the 80/20 rule, states that 80 per cent of your efforts will produce 20 per cent of your results. Conversely, that 20 per cent of your efforts will give you 80 per cent of your results. You may notice that 20 per cent of your patrons will give you 80 per cent of your business through referrals, or with the frequency in which they come for treatment. Focus your efforts intently on this 20 per cent.
Your Potential Business Relationships
Build relationships with the people who may use your services in the future. Join at least two organizations and actively participate. Take a leadership role or sit on a committee. The more involved you are, the more people you will meet. People who know you will naturally be interested in what business you are in.
Keep in touch with people who have already built a large base of contacts and could be influential to your business. This could be other health practitioners, your local politicians, business owners, community service people, clergy, local media contacts – send them a newsletter and let them know what you’re up to.
Hold monthly lectures on topics of interest – back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, headaches, etc. Ask existing patients to invite friends and family members.
In our western automated culture, there is so much good work we can do for society. Providing information and solutions to people’s problems is a great way to provide a valuable service and build your business.
Remember, to build and sustain your business, you must build strong, meaningful relationships. Put together and utilize your business dream-team, keep in contact with your existing patients and go out and meet new people that you can serve. The stronger your relationships, the stronger your business!
Donald Quinn Dillon, MT has been in practice for 12 years. He provides coaching to massage therapists and can be contacted at 905-938-0233 or at his website www.stress-sports-softtissue.com