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Is your finger on the pulse of your business?

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b2ap3_thumbnail_blog.PNGHere we are at the beginning of a new financial year. 

Although some medical businesses have established systems in place to consistently monitor their business and financials (it’s great when we see this), many don’t - so EOFY can bring some nasty surprises. The process of gathering our financial data together can be tedious, but it’s also a very valuable time to examine how our business has performed, whether we have seen an increase or a decline, and most importantly -
what direction we want to take for the year ahead. Whether you have a robust established medical business that is experiencing consistent growth or you’re a new start up, making plans for your business and monitoring results should be part of your regular routine. Here are some key things to analyse and implement to ensure your business is going in the direction you want:

Review your current market place

Ask the following questions about your business:
Q: Have you undertaken any marketing activities? What were the results?

Why? More often than not many businesses (not just medical!) will undertake marketing campaigns and programs and have no monitoring systems in place to see what has worked. Without monitoring results you have no idea on what return on investment your marketing has delivered to you. Data capture is a vital component of any marketing activity and without it you can waste a lot of money.

Q: Have you seen an increase or decline in the take-up of your services? Have you seen a shift in the types of services being taken up?

Why? This a big indicator of how the marketplace is being influenced by market forces. Some great examples of this in recent times is urology and the shift to robotic prostatectomy, bariatric and the shift from bands to gastric sleeves, and GPs moving more into the space of providing cosmetic and skin services. It’s also indicative of whether there is more or less competition in your area.

Q: Who are you competitors? Has the marketplace become more/less saturated? How are your competitors positioned compared to you? What marketing are your competitors doing online/offline? Are your potential clients (patients, referrers, users) able to understand what is different about you and why should they choose to use your service/product?

Why? As important as technical and clinical skills and high quality products are, they are no longer a guarantee of a successful medical business. The marketplace now has factors that weren’t around 5+ years ago. First and foremost is that we now have “Dr Google” – your friendly neighbourhood expert, there at a moment’s notice, as a source of information for anyone to access to help aid them in the decision-making process of where to go and who to see, and answer in the patients mind what makes you the provider of choice.

You might be surprised to learn that recent data from Google stated that 80% of internet users look for health information online, including 44% who search for information on medical professionals or healthcare facilities.

Helping your potential patients/referrers/users understand the unique aspects of your service or product through key messaging and what value you can bring to them is an important factor in helping them in their decision making choices relating to the most valuable commodity in the world – health.

Q: Have you done a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis?

Why? An internal and an external SWOT will help you to properly identify, understand and convey your differences to your potential clients. It will also alert you to any potential problems you have so they can be addressed as well as highlight opportunities for you to capitalise on. SWOTs are one of the most valuable activities you can undertake as a business. It’s often useful to bring in a third party to conduct your SWOT as they are not immersed in your business and are not influenced by factors the same as people that are internal to your business. So you’ve undertaken the research – now what?

Remember the old adage: Don’t keep doing the same thing and expect a different result.

Take the time to set achievable goals for your business and know what you want to achieve. Be sure to include milestones along the way to keep you on track to getting the results you want. Think in terms of where your business is now and where you want it to be. For medical businesses, it’s often easier to set goals based around number and types of patients rather than fiscal based goals. The more comprehensive you make your goals the easier it will be to track results. 

How is it best to do this?

Develop a marketing strategy that will clearly identify your goals and put activities in place to achieve them. Knowing what you want to achieve as well as when and how to communicate with your potential clients is paramount to growing a successful medical business.
While there are a myriad of marketing activities that you can undertake to grow your business, your business is unique and a well-conceived marketing strategy is designed to establish what activity will be in-line with your individual businesses strengths and goals, talk to your target markets and deliver results.

Simply put – it’s not only that we need to market, but that we need to market appropriately based on our business in our marketplace. Just putting things together in an ad-hoc fashion and marketing without a plan doesn’t get results.

The ability to think strategically about your business is very different to planning day-to-day activities. Your marketing strategy is the overall guide as to what you are trying to achieve – “your goals” – and your marketing plan is the more detailed translation into what activities you are going to undertake, to deliver on these. 

There’s an old sales saying that I think really sums up the need for marketing “you can’t sell a secret”.

So - to everyone who currently has a medical business or is desirous of setting up a successful medical business our best advice is this:

Develop a marketing strategy and then take action!

The effort or cost that it takes you up front will be well worthwhile and will help ensure your business success.

If you want to grow or change your business and find that you simply don’t have the time or the interest to sit back and really think top-line about what is needed - that’s where we can help. CJU is able to look at your business from the outside in. We work with you to help you clearly articulate your business goals and vision and formulate a marketing plan designed to achieve the results you want.

Call us today we’re happy to help: 1300 941 250

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Caroline Ucherek has worked in medical marketing roles for many years and has developed a network of strong relationships with medical specialists, specialised providers and GPs in both sole practices and large practice groups

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Guest Thursday, 27 July 2017