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.

Take Your Business Back!

I often hear from managers that employees have more power than their bosses. Studies have shown that the majority of workers in North America do not want to move into a management role. The current trend toward servant leadership and participative management has created a lot of very good results, but in many cases it has also created chaos, poor morale and reduced performance.

In the nineteen-fifties and prior, we witnessed command and control management styles in most businesses and Government service sectors. That method of leadership allowed manipulation, oppression and in some cases, outright cruelty to employees in the workplace.

Workers were threatened and intimidated in the name of better performance standards. Although command and control worked in its own way, it led to dissension, distrust of management and employee rebellion. Ultimately, it gave greater power to unions and paved the way for the servant leadership style that most leaders either espouse or give lip-service to in the twenty-first century.

The trend toward what I call, soft-servant-leadership is beginning to erode the ability of North American business to perform effectively. It is at least partially responsible for the lack of discipline that led to the recent American banking industry collapse and it is usually the root of cause of poor performance in any industry or public sector. When there are no apparent consequences, chaos is allowed to rule. The elimination command and control as been replaced by some new phenomena:

IN THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY MANY ORGANIZATIONS OPERATE UNDER ONE OR MORE OF THESE CONDITIONS:

  • request followed by refusal
  • guidance followed by defiance
  • rules broken without consequence
  • leadership scorned or disregarded
  • poor performance rewarded or nurtured
  • bad attitudes ignored or avoided
  • management afraid of employees
  • insolence, tardiness, absenteeism, and laziness tolerated

(If you don’t see your favourite one on the list, please feel free to add it.)

Now is the time to take your business back! Now is the time to start a LEADERSHIP REVOLUTION and build organizations that will be able to withstand the onslaught of the financial recession and economic hardship that will continue well into the twenty-first century.

We cannot continue to be productive if we do not begin to hold our employees accountable for the work they do. I am not suggesting that we go back to the command and control management style of the fifties… I am suggesting that we temper servant leadership with effective accountability.

Leadership should not be about settling for less!

Leadership should be a combination of our currently understood principles of servant leadership tempered or fused with firmness, accountability and a respect for hierarchy.

We often compare the running of a business with coaching a team or commanding an army.

When we make those comparisons however, we seem to forget that on a basketball team, if a player is insolent, disobedient or plays badly, he is benched or sent to the showers. The coach takes control and makes hard decisions for the betterment of his team. In the case of the military, if a soldier is insolent, disobedient or AWOL he is disciplined, court-marshalled, or jailed. In both cases, the performance of the entire team is placed in the paramount position and individual team members understand that they must do exactly as their leader instructs them or suffer the consequences. They know that their leader is in control and that his or her decisions are the best for the team.

You will probably never hear any suggestion that a tough but successful basketball coach is cruel or unfair, just as there is seldom any thought that a field commander is doing anything but the right thing when he brings a coward, a deserter or a mutineer up on charges. Hierarchy has worked amongst groups of human beings in mutual endeavours for eons and it will work in the twenty first century.

Please do not misunderstand me. I know that basketball teams and armies have different dynamics than industry, business or the public sector. With that in mind, we must accept that modern leaders cannot lead through intimidation, threats, unfair discipline, anger, rudeness or punishment.

If modern leaders want to be successful, they must retain control and generate maximum performance through strength and firmness while holding their employees accountable for their work. There must be measures in place that will allow leaders to exercise their control over their employees for the betterment and integrity of the team. Employees must understand that if they are not able to follow the fair and simple rules of their positions or are not able to show ordinary respect through things like consistently showing up on time, they will be held accountable and may be disciplined or terminated.

Leaders need not set up an adversarial relationship with employee groups. If they simply outline fair and reasonable expectations to their people and gain their agreement, they will be able act responsibly in the future with little fear of criticism or discord. When employees understand the rules and those rules are monitored fairly and consistently, everyone benefits and everyone wins!

Communication and courage are the keys!

Let’s start a LEADERSHIP REVOLUTION! Let’s stop being afraid of our employees! Let’s stop settling for less! Let’s take our businesses back!

All the Best!

Wayne Kehl

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!