Myers La Roche

Back to basics.....Top 10 Tips for Improving Your Practice Profitability & Improving Your Work Life Balance

25 September 2014

Improving the performance of your practice really is not rocket science.  There is no complicated magical formula.  It also should not need to cost you tens of thousands of pounds in expensive 3rd party consultancy fees, it just takes:

  • a common sense approach,
  • a joined up plan
  • the ability to communicate with your staff
  • the ability to delegate effectively
  • the ability to monitor progress and tweak the plan accordingly
  • and a degree of  commitment not to give up and the first sign of resistance or at the first obstacle

We all know the clichés:

  • We should be working on our businesses not just in them.
  • We should be working smarter not harder

The latest generic American mantra is also becoming more widely circulated here in the UK too thanks to the success of Tim Ferris's “The 4 hour week”:

  • Delegate, Automate, Outsource   (if you are not yet familiar with this one then don't worry, we will be covering this is another article very soon.)

Yet despite all of these well-meaning and very logical approaches to improving your practice performance and ultimately your work life balance, there is no getting away from the fact that there is no instant easy fix and there is no substitute for good old fashioned hard work. 

In the short-term you are going to have to work harder than ever to get things moving in the right direction.  However in the long run the results can be spectacular and the amount of time you have to spend working in the business can become a fraction of what you do today.   We have clients working as little as 4 hours per month on their practices and yielding £100k plus per annum.  If you do the maths, that works out at upwards of £2,083 per hour! 

  1. Improve the number of potential customers who walk through your door.  Marketing is a much misunderstood word and concept. Most people think of marketing simply as 'advertising' activities such as posters, newspaper adverts and leaflet drops.  Whilst for some practices these still have a place there are so many more ways available to attract patients to your practice – on a number of levels.
  1. Convert these browsers/enquiries into patients/customers – It is hard work getting new customers through the door.  Using “How can I help you?” is not going to cut the mustard any-more.  80% of the time it will result in “I'm just looking thanks” and the browser will soon beat a hasty retreat straight out of the door again.   People buy people so you need to invest in teaching your staff the art of engaging browsers and how to turn them into repeat paying customers.
  1. Increase the number of sales per customer – you don’t have to restrict sales to the recall cycle. There are many avenues open to you to get patients to return more frequently and to buy eyewear products more regularly, you just need to start to think more like a retailer than a practitioner.  We can show you how.
  1. Increase the size of the sale – ask more questions, don't be scared by price, work on providing the best possible solution for the customer.  Introduce schemes to lock customers in and allow payments to be made monthly so that they are manageable and affordable.
  1. Improve the profit margin for each sale – get your prices right, get your buying right. Value is in the eye of the beholder and the way you showcase your products and services. Setting the right scene and behaving in the right way can allow you to charge higher prices and for customers to feel they are getting value for money based on the experience they receive.
  1. Reduce the cost of customer acquisition – market effectively.  Monitor the yield. Leverage your existing customer base. Use free PR opportunities. Network.  Put systems in place to ensure that you measure what is working and what is not so that you can invest your time and money in the activities that genuinely get you a return. 
  1. Increase customer referrals – perfect your customer journey and give them the right tools and your customers will become your advocates.  This can become an unstoppable force for rapid and consistent purely organic growth.
  1. Eliminate costly services and activities – which parts of your business are the profit centres and which products or services give you more hassle and lower margins than they are worth? 
  • Do you have a frame supplier making unreasonable demands on you to stock their product (you have to wonder who the customer is some times!)  Have you become a physical show room on the high street for their products to be tried on and then purchases later on-line? 

  • Is an OCT really going to give you a return at the price you currently charge? 

Take a long-hard look at what you offer and make sure that every part of your practice pays you a fair return.  Whilst we all admire public service, you are running a business not a charity.  Put up your prices and lose products or services that simply don't pay.

  1. Reduce Your break even point – this is all about cutting your costs.  It is all too easy to get complacent with your frame and lens/glazing suppliers.  Sensible buying and negotiation can make a significant different to your underlying running costs. By rationalising your frame suppliers for example so that you just buy from 2 or 3 can afford you much better volume and therefore a much better opportunity to negotiate volume discounts and or consignment arrangements.
  1. Empower your staff............ like any other human beings, your staff are complicated people.  They each have their own individual drivers, money of course is a key one, but status and self-actualising/self-fulfilment also play a significant role.  Empower your staff by involving them in your vision for the practice, explain why it is important, involve them in the decision making process (carefully!) and give them each a personalised training and development plan.  This is good for them and great for the business too. Don’t tolerate poor or underperforming staff.  They will act as a drag on both you and the business.  Address your concerns using an appraisal system setting expectations, offer remedial training and measure the results.  A poorly performing staff member can cost you many hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Want a better life and a better living from your practice?  It's totally in your hands.  You just have to decide what you want, put together a step by step plan to get there and crucially take action on a cumulative and regular basis.  So what are you waiting for?  Not sure where to start?  Give us a call and we will tell you how you can get started!