Is Your Business Back-End Bigger Than Your Front-End?

Don’t let the question mislead you. In business terms, the front end of the business is what draws patients (customers) into their first encounter with us.

In most of our practices, that usually means a patient crisis of varying degrees. Not uncommonly, pain-for which the patient is seeking a rapid solution to a problem.

Fortunately, most of us are really effective at crisis care. But the simple economics of most private health care practices dictate that in today’s world, we have way more to offer our patients. But here’s the kicker: businesses with longevity are very good at building back-end sales. Most private practice owners, however, miss the mark.

But here’s what you can do almost immediately. Ask your patients for feedback on a regular basis. I suggest you ask every patient to fill out a “Tell Us How We Are Doing” form at each re-exam. This simple step is often neglected.

Next, brainstorm with your staff. What are patients telling them? What makes them happy or dissatisfied? Often, patients will tell staff things they’ll never say to our faces. Have they asked for other services, or perhaps support products like comfort items (braces, supports, pillows, et cetera)?

Here is the real reason for this discussion today. Despite the nastiest economic meltdown in most of our lifetimes, people-YOUR patients-still buy what they want.

If you doubt me, look at the most recent Black Friday sales figures. Better yet, go to any place people gather on weekends, like a great restaurant.

I told a story several years ago about patients in local practices balking at $15 co-pays, but spending hundreds at the spa (on health and cosmetic desires) right down the street from their office!

Why does this happen? Because most private practice owners don’t treat their businesses like well-run corporations with strong customer service, then developing the product and service lines to meet their patients desires.

So what might be some great back-ends to your practice? In addition to the things we mentioned above, weight loss products, support, and coaching, personal and fitness training, and cosmetology and cosmetic care.

And more: wellness care (which should be built into every initial case presentation!), massage therapy services, healthy cooking and meal preparation, yoga and meditation, addiction recovery, and so on.

Just remember, the time to be thinking, planning, and brainstorming about the future of your practice and livelihood is when practice is going really well.

Business Cracks Will Break Your Business’ Back

Do you remember what we used to say as kids, “step on a crack, and break your mamas’ back!”? Well, now that we are all grown up, the old adage still rings true – to an extent. As adults in the business world, we are discovering that actually stepping on your business cracks without repairing them can really break its back.

Are there cracks in your business? Not just your foundation, but in other areas, as well?

Business cracks come from errors. Errors come from a lack of knowledge, a lack of resources and a lack of cash. In all honestly though, errors can result from a variety of things.

The problem occurs when we focus on quick fixing the crack. Quick fixes happen when we fail to determine the true cause of the crack (error, problem, challenge, etc.). It all boils down to re-learning the simple equation of cause and effect related to your business.

We spend so much time on fixating on the error rather than actually eliminating the cause of the error that our businesses begin failing.

Try to imagine it this way. Imagine your business is the earth and you are out in space orbiting your “business earth,” looking for rough areas, soft areas and smooth areas. The smooth areas are good to go but the rough and soft areas need work. Taking a birds-eye view of your business is ok but taking the “business earth” view of your business is taking how you operate your business to a completely strategic level.

For example, a rough area indicates a bumpy path or a bumpy area of your Small Business System.™ So, maybe the way you are going about managing your daily administrative tasks takes up all your time and you never get a chance to actually do what you planned to do on any given day. You answer phone calls, you check emails, you create your to do lists, and so on. All these administrative tasks are getting done but they are the only things getting done. The marketing, selling, planning, managing and other strategic work is being pushed to the side. As a result, goals are not being met, existing customers are not being serviced, new customers are not being acquired, important deadlines are being pushed back, and before you know it, it is the end of the year and your cash flow is still in the red.

This is a business crack that needs fixing. But do not begin repairing this crack by changing your hours or turning off your email. Rather, begin repairing the crack by determining the root cause of the crack.

Attack the cause first – not the effect of the cause.

Begin repairing the cause of your business cracks with these four steps:

1. Determine if it is the rough areas that need to be worked on first or if it is the soft areas that are ready to cave in and that need the attention immediately. How do you know which crack need your immediate attention? It is based on your culture and strategic goals. Are you meeting your own expectations? Are your strategic goals set and are you on track to meet them? Only you can decide what needs immediate attention first; think long-term versus short-term fixes.

2. Begin breaking down the soft and rough areas within the key functions of your business and rank accordingly, based on what you need to work on first.
Compare these to the goals you have already set; are you doing what you say you are going to do or do you keep doing the same things over and over again and getting less than stellar results? Are you the main cause of the cracks in your business?

3. Make a list of your top five business cracks and prioritize them.
Take your list and put your business cracks in order of importance and emergency. There may be some cracks that need fixing in order for you to stay in business! Put those at the top of your list.

4. Take on each crack one at a time.
Determine the cause of these cracks and create a strategy to alleviate them. This will take a little time but not too much. The best way to do this is to list out the action steps that need to happen to fix the cause of the cracks – put them in order and determine a schedule of completion.

Stop quick fixing your business errors and start with correcting the root cause of the error. Your business backbone will thank you with consistent cash flow and profits!

Remember, business cracks can break you business’ back!

Copyright Efficio, Inc.

by Sherese Duncan, president & CEO, Efficio, Inc.

Your E-business – Back Up, And Back Up, And Did I Mention Back Up?

Unfortunately at one time or another everyone runs into the nightmare of hard drive failure, or some other computer disaster in which the end result is that your computer has become nothing more than a really large paperweight. Do you have a back up?

In the event of this happening what are you going to do? If do not have some sort of back up program in place you are going to be dead in the water. If you are operating an online business then that can mean certain death for your business or something close to it.

So what is the solution to this dilemma? Everyone is aware of the need to back up, but up until now nobody has come up with a really “set it and forget it” process to make backing up your system something easy to do. Nobody wants to think about the dreaded crash, so they put it off to the back burner and continue on with the ten thousand other things they need to do, and keep their fingers crossed and hope for the best.

Well I want to tell you how I have solved this problem. This may seem like a plug for this company and I guess it is. But they have saved my butt on at least 4 occasions now since I signed up with them and in my opinion nobody who owns a computer should be with out this service. And it’s cheap enough that anyone who can afford a computer can afford it.

The company is called Carbonite. Carbonite offers unlimited online back up protection, for $49.95 a year. You heard me right $49.95 a year. That comes out to about .13 cents a day! You just head on over to their site and sign up, download the software, install it, run through the set up choosing what you want it to back up, set it, and you are done. They even offer a 14 day Free Trial.

Carbonite runs in the background and initially it will take a day or two to back up your system depending on how much data you have to back up. Then after that it just does incremental back ups on new or changed files which only take a short period of time each day. And that’s it. You just go about your business and forget about it. How much simpler could it be?

And if you have the dreaded crash, or say you break down and buy a new computer, ever wish there was a simple way to transfer all the stuff from you old computer to your new one? You just log into your account with Carbonite, choose the option re-install Carbonite on this computer, download and re-install the software, it automatically puts you in recover mode, you say HELP restore my files, and that’s it. It once again may take a day or two to completely restore your system. But you will get all your files, pictures, etc. back.

You won’t see an affiliate link anywhere in this article for Carbonite or in the author box below. I just want people to know there is a solution out there. For unlimited back up, at $49.95 a year, that you can set it and forget it? In my opinion this is one service / program that should come pre-installed on every computer sold. You can just Google Carbonite to get to the site address. Go check it out, don’t wait until that dreaded disaster happens to you!