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The Second Business Which You Never Know You Have

Aug 17, 2007
You forgot, or never knew, that you do not own one but two distinctively different businesses and yet are running it as one.

This amounts to the same catastrophic magnitude as administering the same pills to a brother and sister while having taken only the girl's vital measurements and justifying it with but they have the same father - so I think.

Lack of this knowledge results in one business being not operated and worked on and thus financial hardship is as certain as the sun will rise tomorrow.

You see - you are well aware of the fact that you own a practice. In this practice, you would hire enough employees to service the patients with all their needs.

This in this day and age does include insurance billing, and other paperwork, which was not necessary some 60 years ago.

However it might be, you do hire enough employees and buy the needed equipment to well service your patients.

To make a point, the amount of patients you have will determine the amount of staff you hire.

Too much employees would eat up all your profits.

This is only good business sense.

Now, envision in your mind that there is another business whose sole responsibility is to get patients into your practice, which we will call the second business.

Let's even imagine that you would only have to pay a rather small percentage of the revenues generated by this company and that this imaginary company, lets call it XYZ marketing company, has as its sole duty to bring patients into your practice.

Ok, do you have that picture?

Now, do you want that company to employ one part-time person with very limited marketing experience? And do you want that company spending almost no money on flyers, banners, events, public relations, etc., in fear that some of those activities might not work out or because they simply do not want to spend money they have in saving accounts or stock or real-estate etc?

Probably not. Most likely you want them to go out on a limb as much as possible and want them to have dozens if not hundreds of employees who are dedicated to the creation of new patients - only and exclusively for you.

You see, in contrast to your first business, the practice, where the amount of work (patients) you have affects or controls the amount of people you hire and even the amount of equipment and space you rent, it is the other way around in your second business - your marketing business.

In marketing, you simply hire as many people as you want to create business. In marketing creation is unlimited. There are simply no limitations of how many people you can contact and give your messages to. There simply is no limitation on how many people you can steal from your competition. There simply is no limitation on how much more awareness about your specialty or the need for it you can instill in the surrounding area.

The more competition the better it would work, because it means that there are lots of people and your competition will create some of the need for these services as well and yet, they are easily out-done because they do not have the same marketing force working for them. Thus in turn they usually do not have enough money to service their patients well and they get tired of having to do all the work themselves, and they get worn out by no vacations and by the feeling of something wrong. After all, they are doctors, who spend lots of time and money on education as well as money to start the practice (first business). They work hard and have huge responsibilities with the fear of being sued and losing what they worked for almost every day.

It is the missing of adequate rewards, which brings about this general unhappiness despite all the efforts.

If there are any limitations at all in the creation of new patients by XYZ marketing company (second business), the first business (practice) would have to be located in a 3000 people village with a 100 miles desert surrounding it. Then of course my unlimited potential equation would not work and in fact would be limited to some degree - but not as much limited as the first business is limited by the amount of staff they will have to hire based on the amount of work present.

So, what is the moral of the story?

You have made investments and sacrifices to create your practice (the first business) and 50 years ago that was all that was needed. Most of the doctors in this country however have not woken up to the fact that that simply is not enough any more, and even though most doctors do some type of marketing, they do it very haphazardly.

Yes that is right, doctors believe that they do marketing when they send a few flyers out, put an ad in the yellow pages and do other things (usually connected to spending money but no human effort from their office).

But that is like having a part time marketing person trying to run, on the side, a medical practice administratively and clinically.

The effort and investment in the first business, the practice, will have the hardest time in providing a financial security which the owner can actually enjoy (he would be chained to the practice for a long time). Total financial security would be for all purposes impossible and will be even more difficult with ever year that passes.

Go and create that second business. Start taking marketing as serious as the treating of patients by looking at it as a business, which can and will sustain itself. Marketing businesses all by themselves are known to make much more profit than any medical practice can ever have. It will be the establishing of this marketing company, and the learning of how to be a professional marketer, which will determine whether your expensive and highly regarded doctor training, is any good to you.

That is right: without the marketing training and the establishment of a full-blown marketing company (department at least) no one will reap the rewards of being a doctor like doctors used to do 50 years ago.

And to top it all off, I have seen over and over that doctors who don't have such a setup make less or little money and it not only adversely affects their lifestyle but they usually, no matter what they say, are short-cutting the service to their patients by not having all the staff they should have to adequately have time to listen to the patients' concerns and by not having all the latest equipment due to financial problems. Those equipments could have again helped some patients recover better, or be diagnosed better or simply be made more comfortable.

That is the short and the truth of it.

In another 10 to 20 years, only doctors who adapt to the above two-business principles will be in practice, the rest will work for others for a salary which will be nothing to write mom home about.

There is no way around it. A doctor must become as good as a marketing person and business person as he is a doctor or he will work harder and harder and make less and less till he disappears like the small fruit store, the small bank, small car dealer, and the small everybody.
About the Author
Helmut Flasch is a marketing consultant who uses Un-advertising rather than the traditional advertising methods. Find out more information about his marketing strategy at Un-Advertising Info.
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