5 Ways to Build a Thriving Weight Loss Practice You Enjoy - Part 1Mar 06, 2023
Do you ever feel like you are working very hard and not getting anywhere? You start each day with great goals and intentions and yet, at the end of the day you feel as if you spent all your time putting out fires? You spend lots of money on marketing that is ‘sure to work’ and yet, you have little or no return on investment, let alone new patients? You have such a high team turnover that it is hard to get anything accomplished? You spend far too much time training people and yet experience very little role ownership or follow-through from them? You have a high gross revenue but at the end of the day you are paying everyone what they are worth except yourself?
If so, you are not alone! Most of our Bariatric Business Accelerator members experience one or more of these issues more often than they may admit. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. You are in control of your destiny and you can improve the health of your patients and your community without feeling like you are spinning your wheels with no end in sight.
I can’t wait to dive into these together on our next call if you desire, but in the meantime, here are 5 ways to build a thriving weight loss practice that you enjoy! Read on, and I can just about guarantee that you will get at least one new idea that will benefit you, your team, your patients and/or your practice.
Have Multiple Streams of Income That Don’t Rely Solely on the Physician
I didn’t understand the value of this strategy until about a decade ago. It is a definite game changer that comes with a few guidelines (learned the hard way) for maximum impact and return. These guidelines include:
- Always focus on and grow your main thing first. Meaning, stay true to your primary service that is most beneficial for you and your patients. For weight loss surgeons, this is weight loss surgery. For medical weight loss physicians, it is your transformational program/counseling.
- Make sure additional revenue streams are complementary to the main service you provide. Otherwise, there may be a disconnect with current and prospective patients that can create confusion. Some examples that work with a weight loss office are vitamins/supplements, fitness, some aesthetics and believe it or not, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy. We have offered each of these and were met with delight from the patients. Some are a great service to offer such as fitness, but not a great revenue stream. Others such as vitamins/supplements, bio-identical hormone replacement therapy and aesthetics (reach out to me or ask on our next call if you want to implement a great aesthetic/weight loss option that doesn’t require the physician to perform the treatment) are great services for your clientele and profitable revenue streams for your business when implemented properly.
- Track these additional revenue streams as a separate cost center. This will help you verify profitability. If a revenue stream is not profitable, evaluate the possible reasons why (marketing traffic, messaging to current and potential patients and/or trouble with conversion to a sale). Each of these are critical to success and often with a ‘tweak’ of one or more, you can see a positive impact.
- Involve your team throughout the process of evaluating new revenue streams, setting up new processes necessary for success, team training, promotion, tracking ROI and implementing growth strategies as appropriate. This increases their sense of ownership and commitment to success. Although you make the final decision, having them involved can mean the difference between a good idea that fails or succeeds.
- Don’t do something just because your competition is doing it. Be sure it fits into your vision for your practice and do your due diligence.
- Price your new service properly and don’t be afraid to combine offers to add value and differentiate yourself from your competition. When you do this, you can actually charge what you are worth instead of trying to be the best bargain in town and potentially creating a negative cash flow. The goal is to under promise and over deliver.
- Make sure your revenue streams are something you enjoy and can’t wait to share with others! It’s a good idea to always base your decisions on what is best for those you love serving.
Embrace the Lifetime Value of Your Patients
Embracing the Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) of your patients not only benefits you both now, it can create a more predictable future revenue cycle for your practice. This is especially true for weight loss practices since the potential lifetime value can be very high.
Most people discuss CLV with regards to new patient acquisition through marketing efforts alone. Simplified, making sure the advertising cost per new patient is far lower than the initial sale and/or lifetime value of the average patient. CLV is typically calculated by taking the average value of an appointment/service x average number of visits/year x average number of years of service. Coincidentally, if you follow the organic content marketing strategies I teach, over time, you spend much less on marketing as your online content assets continue to attract new patients and the resulting profit is higher.
When you embrace this concept, it reinforces the need to focus on the patient experience and their outcomes – which seems simple – and yet, is sometimes overlooked, taken for granted or is inconsistent.
This is accomplished by carefully orchestrating how they find you, their first impression and every interaction thereafter (person to person or electronically/online), how well you listen to their needs, their relationship with you and your team, guiding exciting yet realistic expectations, and then meeting or exceeding those expectations so they tell others and keep coming back.
As we all know, weight loss is not usually a ‘one and done’. Inevitably, even if everything went well and outcomes exceeded expectations, people may struggle with their weight and you need to still be in that relationship with them (even if virtual/online) so you are top of mind. Also, as you offer additional revenue streams such as nutraceutical’s and others, these individuals will likely want to purchase them as well. They already know you, they trust you and they usually want more of what you have to offer. Not to mention recommending you to friends/family that desire the same. All reinforces the need to embrace the lifetime value of your patients.
I'll conclude this topic next week! Until then, check out the benefits of being a member of Bariatric Business Accelerator, the membership created especially for busy bariatric physicians and their teams.
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