How’s business? Fantastic and running smoothly, or could it be better? How about patients? Got enough or want more? How about work-life balance? Whatever the question, if there is something about your practice that you would like to improve, then it is time to innovate.
When a business is new and enthusiasm high, creativity flows and it is easier to see new business opportunities. As the business settles with regular patient numbers and work-flow becomes comfortable and routine, there is often less creativity and urgency to continually innovate and grow. Like a plant that you need to fertilise, prune and water so that it grows and remains healthy, you also need to look at ways to innovate and grow your business to keep it profitable.
Innovation is about looking at ways to improve what and how you do something and implementing it. It is about addressing an area of the business that requires improving, coming up with one or several possible ideas and then turning the best idea into a solution that adds overall value to your patients.
By focusing on how you can improve your business and enhancing the way you run your practice, you ultimately impact your patients’ experience with you. It’s the little things that you do in business that have a flow-on affect and make a difference to patients. The greater their experience, the better the relationship and willingness of the patient to remain loyal to your practice and refer people to you.
Being skilled at massage is only one (albeit important) part of customer service, as all aspects of your business impact your patients’ experience; everything from the way your potential patients find you, the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software you use, to the physical layout of your clinic.
Innovation is not about making changes for the sake of change. It has to add value to the business in some way; efficiency, financially, environmentally etc. Also, it is not only about making positive changes that improve your current business operations; it is also about creating and implementing new ideas and a vision for your business’ future.
At all times remember that what you want or need to improve and change in your practice will affect your patients either directly or indirectly. For example; being exhausted from working to many hours will impact your physical, mental and emotional ability to optimally deal with patients, which may require you to cancel patients due to illness; possibly giving an unsatisfactory treatment and potentially losing business. An innovative idea could be to sub-contract work out to another therapist to ease your workload. Although this is not a new idea, as it is new to the way you currently do business, it is innovative.
Whether or not you implement the proposed idea will be based on various factors that you need to consider. Is the innovation realistic? Does it match your business model? Can you afford this innovation? How will it impact your patients? And so on.
The point is, innovative thinking enables you to look at all possible solutions and ideas. Not the innovative idea you can work with? No problem; be creative and come up with an innovative solution you can work with; that will benefit both you and your patients.
Remember, the key to innovation is being creative and doing something new or different to the way you currently do it, so that it adds value to your business. Innovation is not necessarily about inventing something new; E.g. an App for your business.