Gyl Kasewurm, AuD, has worked for 30 years in the healthcare industry, and takes pride in the majority of decisions she has made, but admits she has made a few mistakes along the way to running a successful hearing health practice.
To help other hearing health professionals succeed, Dr Kasewurm shares her list of top 10 business mistakes to avoid.
1. Having a bad attitude—Attitude is everything and a bad one will negatively affect business very quickly. There is already enough stress in the workplace, so why increase stress by having a negative attitude? People with a positive attitude usually see the bright side of life and expect the best to happen.
2. Giving too much away—People don’t expect discounts for healthcare, yet discounts are common practice in hearing care. Giving “discounts” can send the message that our prices are so high that we can afford to give price cuts. Discounts target savers, not spenders. Savers will not support your business. Instead, give patients more for their money, like inclusive batteries or services.
3. Assuming the business is doing better than it actually is—Numbers don’t lie, so track key performance indicators in your practice. Track the number of patients that need aids against the number that actually purchase them, returns for credit, cost of goods sold, and % of new patients that bring a 3rd party.
4. Spending everything you make and not planning for slow times—Don’t spend without developing a formal budget. Build 3 months of reserve revenue, keep a close eye on accounts receivable, only participate in insurance programs that pay in a timely manner, and make uninsured patients pay up front.
5. Making major purchases without thinking them through first—Do you have the referral sources and reimbursement plan to support an expansion of your offerings? Take time to investigate whether your business can feasibly offer new services that will bring a return on your investment.
6. Staying in buying groups that don’t benefit your business—Buying groups typically provide business services in exchange for a commitment in hearing aid units, but they likely pay much less than what they charge. If you are purchasing more than 15 units a month, you’d probably benefit from buying direct, saving enough money to hire a consultant when needed.
7. Letting other people waste your time—There are two types of people: those who talk, and those who do. You can’t afford to waste time on the talkers. If you know a request for your time is for something you won’t use, then simply say, “No thank you” and avoid wasting endless hours in unproductive meetings that don’t benefit you or your business.
8. Worrying too much over nothing—There are no sure things in business or in life, so stop trying to predict the future. Don’t waste your time thinking about what CAN happen. If you have a plan in place and are closely monitoring the numbers, things will work or you will know soon enough to change them.
9. Waiting too long to terminate an employee who isn’t working out—The decision to terminate someone is never easy. It only gets more difficult as time passes. Give new hires a 90-day probation and a very specific job description. If an employee is unable to handle the job in 90 days, decide if they ever will. If not, take steps to terminate.
Contributor: Dr Kasewurm is the owner of a hearing care practice that generates 10 times the gross revenue of the average practice in the US, despite being located in a rural community of 10,000 people. Dr Kasewurm sometimes gives presentations aimed at helping hearing health professionals succeed in business. Most recently, The Hearing Review produced Dr Kasewurm’s webinar on “Taking Your Practice from Fine to Fabulous.” The webinar, sponsored by CareCredit, is now available on-demand here.
Photo credits: © Photographerlondon | Dreamstime.com