Dream of the Fortune 500? Process-Improving Tips for Small Healthcare Companies

Ever since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, a few American healthcare companies have emerged as major Fortune 500 players. From pharmaceutical giants to insurance companies and from drugstore chains to medical equipment suppliers, healthcare companies are adapting to change and improving their processes. As the owner or executive of a small healthcare business, you should be following the examples set by these successful companies. Here are four recommendations to improve your processes:

Understand the Cycle of Improvement

You cannot expect to improve business processes with a single action. Quality improvement consists of making adjustments and changes that may result in new issues to worry about. When you set out to improve your processes, you should follow a cycle of planning, taking action, evaluating, and taking new actions. You should keep in mind that a single adjustment can have repercussions across your company.

Communicate with Your Staff

When you set out to improve your processes, it is important that your staff is aware of your intentions. At some point, you will want to implement certain measures that your employees and associates may not be in agreement with. If you simply push measures without consulting with staff, your efforts will become complicated.

Learn to Monitor Your Expenses

Let’s say part of your business consists of assigning medical professionals to visit patients who receive home care therapy. If you need to evaluate the costs involved in sending your associates to the field, you can use a solution such as MedPro Systems. Once you figure out real costs, you can adjust your insurance billing and reimbursements accordingly. In this case, MedPro Systems will provide you with real-time access to healthcare provider travel and expense data. Check to see if whatever service you use is able to provide that as well.

Approach Improvement as a Project

Depending on the scope of your company and on your business goals, improving certain processes can turn out to be a very complex task. By treating process improvement as a project, you will be able to determine how much effort and resources will be needed. With project management apps such as Asana, you can assign certain improvement tasks to your staff and associates.

In the end, your dreams of growing your small healthcare practice into a Fortune 500 company will largely depend on your ability to improve certain processes. The compliance aspect is bound to get more challenging, but there will always be opportunities for business expansion.

Guest author Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys kayaking and reading books by the lake.

Five Unusual Ways Of Staying In Touch with Your Customers

If you would like to market your company in a competitive marketplace, it is important that you choose your communication methods that make you stand out from the crowd. If your advertisement is displayed among dozens of others, it will make little or no impact. When Facebook advertising started, companies that jumped on board were winning customers. Now, however, you need to try harder to stand out. Below you will find a few unusual ways of staying in touch with your customers and marketing to them.

1.    Postcards

To really get your message across and show your appreciation to your customers, it is important that you keep in touch in a unique way. If you can keep a record of all your clients’ birthdays and special occasions, you will be able to surprise them with a unique postcard, reminding them that your company is there for them if they need it. At the same time, you can also use postcard marketing to send out promotions and special discount codes.

2.    Video Messages

If you would rather automate your marketing processes, you can create a video series and fill your autoresponder sequences with informative and educational content your customers will appreciate. Even if you are only sending out a branding message about moving to a new office, or positive changes in your company, you are giving your audience a chance to connect with you on a personal level, and you can strengthen your relationship with clients.

3.    Voice Recordings

A great way of making your marketing and branding messages stand out and get noticed is sending voice recordings to your customers. If you use any instant messaging service, such as Facebook Messenger, Skype, or Slack, you can send out recorded messages, Personalize your content to each customer’s industry, so they feel that you are talking directly to them,

4.    Faxing

While some people believe that fax services are old fashioned and modern businesses should no longer use them, they can make a huge difference in your marketing and communication campaigns. You can sign up for an online faxing account and create unique letterheads, getting your personalized messages across this way. Because you are not using email, your message will have a much better chance of being read than simply creating regular newsletters.

5.    Text Messages

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Image via PxHere

A great way of getting in touch with local clients is text messages or push messages. Both of the methods will allow you to deliver the short announcement or promotion directly to your customer’s phone. As most of us check our phones multiple times a day, this can be a great way of enticing your clients to visit your shop for a discount or asking for feedback, recommendation, or simply informing them of the changes in your opening hours.

If you would like to make sure that your promotional and branding messages get noticed by your target audience, it is important that you are using unique communication channels. These will enable you to personalize your message and reach out, increase your conversion and open rates.

Devious Dealings: Handling An Errant Employee Properly

Providing a comprehensive security in your business isn’t just relegated to your IT infrastructure, you have to consider the human aspects too. There are some industries where this can be low down on the priority list. But, there are personal issues that are very difficult for a business to deal with. An errant employee, either one who isn’t pulling their weight, or is even committing fraudulent activities on site, is something that every entrepreneur and business owner can have a struggle with. Firstly, it reflects poorly on the business if any employee does anything to undermine the company, but also, dealing with the person can be a very sticky situation. So, generally, how can you deal with the person, but also, how can you make sure that this doesn’t happen again?

Astute Observation

For something like an employee committing fraudulent activities on site, you need to make sure you gather enough evidence. Nowadays, there are so many different approaches to collecting this data, there are companies like WesTec Services that provide video security, so you can see exactly what is going on. On top of this, if the offending employee knows how to cover their tracks, you may need to spend a lot more time developing more sophisticated ways to keep tabs. You have to be very careful when amassing evidence, because if you are accusing someone of something that they will flat out deny, whether it’s a criminal offence, or if it’s something relating to their personal attitude towards the work, you need to ensure that you can display this evidence clearly before progressing with any form of punishment or feedback.

The Punishment Matches The Crime

For something like criminal behavior, it’s more clear cut; it’s usually an instant dismissal. But when it comes to making sure that the person who isn’t pulling their weight in a business is adequately punished, this is where semantics is best discussed. Especially, with regards to HR rules and regulations, you need to make sure that you are developing the member of staff appropriately, and not punishing them needlessly. Learning and development, as well as constructive criticism are things that will help, but also, implementing specific deadlines can be something to ensure that they are taking the feedback seriously. This is why quarterly reviews and one-to-one sessions are so beneficial now.

Give A Clear Message

It’s a very overused sentiment, using someone else “as an example”, but it’s important that you give a message to the other members of staff who are going down this slippery slope. For something like criminal activity, an instant firing can give the right message to the employees, but for those employees who are underperforming, using someone as an example is certainly a great way to make sure all that other workers are performing to standard. In addition to this, this communicates to clients and people outside of the company that you have a handle on dealing with these types of employees appropriately.

It’s very difficult from the perspective of a business owner, because you have your own reputation as well as your business’s reputation to maintain. You don’t want these types of employees to show up your company, and this is why you have to have something in place that deals with these errant types effectively.

How to Get the Most out of Attending a Business Webinar

Webinars have become very popular with organizations and audiences of all kinds on virtually any subject you can imagine. Business webinars can be simply marketing channels for the people behind them, but many are informational and provide you a convenient learning tool for growing your own company. If you’ve never attended one, the information provided can become overwhelming. Here are some tips to help you get the most from your next webinar.

Learn the Meeting Guidelines

After you’ve signed up for the webinar, you should receive a confirmation email wish all the details, particularly the time the event will take place and the URL link that you need to visit. Be sure to clear your calendar for the time and date required, test the URL to be certain it works, and check that you have any software that’s recommended. It wouldn’t hurt to do a little research of your own if it’s a subject that’s new to you.

Log in Early

It could be a good idea to visit the webinar about 10 minutes before it starts. That way you can make any adjustments you need to ensure you’re getting good audio and video. Also, some webinar hosts will hold a little Q&A session with audiences prior to the official start. This will give you a chance to introduce yourself and ask any questions you need to. Be sure to mute your phone and minimize distractions.

Take Notes

Taking notes is a good way to get more from any learning experience. Keep a notebook handy or a program like WordPad open in a separate window to quickly type things out, including any questions you might have, or resources suggested by the host. If you think something is important, it’s worth jotting down.

Be Part of the Experience

Although you might be busy keeping up and taking notes, don’t be afraid to ask questions, or answer them. Let the host know your thoughts on what you’re hearing. A webinar can be a place to not just learn something new, but spark further conversation and make some new online friends for example, if you’re an attorney looking to expand your practice, consider attending a free legal marketing webinar where making new contacts helps increase your name recognition and gain referrals

Behave!

If someone says something you consider rude or foolish, try to be tolerant of the opinions of others. Keep your own questions as brief and to the point as possible so you aren’t wasting everyone’s time. Thank the host for their hard work, and you may be remembered if you show up for other business webinars they hold.

With more organizations using webinars, you’re liable to find more events than you have time for. By following these tips, you stand to gain the most from each webinar you attend.

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.

Let’s Talk About Communication

Almost every single problem in the office comes down to communication. Deadlines missed: communication. Unhappy clients: communication. No milk in the fridge: communication. For a species set apart by our incredible linguistic skills, we are pretty terrible at making ourselves understood.

In business, there is a lot of potential for communication to go horribly wrong. From the staff who simply don’t understand what you are asking from them to the clients who feel they can’t get in touch to discuss an issue, finding the best ways to improve communication isn’t just a good idea – communication is vital to your success.

Methods of Communication

Given how much we like to natter, it’s no wonder that there are so many methods for talking. However, choosing the right format and method could be the difference between stellar communication and pointless chitchat.

Clients like to have lots of different ways to get in touch with companies including social media, phone and email. This is why it is so important that you have fully capable business phone systems so that you can take every message and respond properly. The sooner you can respond with a positive action, the better.

Communication between staff is more difficult to regulate. However, there should be meetings to discuss things, emails to create a paper trail of actions to be taken and follow up messages to track progress.

The Importance of Listening Properly

While we all think we are very good at communication, one of the main things we tend to fail at is actually listening to what is being said back. We are so focused on saying what we need to say that we often forget that there are two people in a conversation. For clients and staff alike, listening is the best way to make sure that everyone is on the same page in order for problems to be solved well.

Listening is even more important when someone is complaining. People tend to complain for two reasons: either they want to solve the problem and improve things, or they want a long rant where you just apologise and they go away. In both instances, you need to be prepared to sit and listen until they have talked themselves out and then offer a solution to suit everyone. You can’t please everyone but you can listen.

Actions Speak Loudly Too

Once you have listened and you have some actions to take, you need to make sure that you do them. One of the most undermining things you can do is sit in a meeting looking all the world like the perfect communicator and then fail to do the things you said you would. The second part of communication is showing that you understood and getting on with it.

While communication will always be something of an ongoing battle and there will always be times when you struggle or misunderstand something, continuing to try different methods and show willing should at least be an improvement. Learn from every mistake or less than satisfactory outcome and you will see some excellent progress.

Clicks, Customers and Communication: Perfecting Your Business’s Online Presence

In a world where everything is now becoming downloadable and digital, it is now fundamental to have a business with a strong online presence. Many consumers won’t even consider investing their money in a business if you can’t find it online, read reviews or follow them on social media. If you’re new to running a business or aren’t sure how you can up your game in the virtual world there are several things you can do to make your company stand out from the crowd. From social media tactics to effective web design, these methods might seem time consuming and daunting at first, but they will truly help you to take your business to the next level.

Dazzling Designs

A website is the first go-to feature for building a strong online presence; your potential customers will head straight to your site and will want to see exactly what you can offer them. It needs to be speedy, slick and smart, so you might want to consider a company which can offer professional web design for seo. With SEO optimization and a stunning, eye-catching design your company will jump to the top of search engines and draw in a higher volume of potential consumers.

Advert Advantages

Online advertising is a must have if you want to be discovered on the web. Your brand name, service information and promotions can easily be displayed on the web using pay per click adverts. This is an extremely effective method of marketing as you don’t have to pay until someone physically clicks on your advert and visits your website. Set your own budget and assess how well it works for you; you might be able to increase this over time as your online presence and engagement increases. Within your advert you should include some form of enticing ‘free’ deal, where people input their email addresses into a form and receive a special offer. This will allow you to gather a collection of contacts which you can then target with email marketing campaigns. You get two birds with one stone, using a relatively low cost tactic.

Consumer Communication 

Make sure you’re actively engaging with your potential clients when they ask you questions about your product or services. You have the power to persuade them to spend their money, so don’t ignore their queries. Offer them five star customer service, using a friendly and welcoming approach either via social media messaging or online comments.

Build a Blog

Creating a blog for your website offers an additional online platform for your business. You can personify your business and create worthwhile content that customers will be excited to read. There is also the opportunity to collaborate with other companies by advertising their services on your blog or gaining a sponsorship, so that’s extra income in your pocket straight away.

It has been proven than businesses thrive when their online presence is authoritative, professional and engaging, so make sure you are using the tools that the online world has to offer. Your company name will be publicized, your business will skyrocket, your profits will increase and your consumers will be content.

Signs That Your Company Is Growing Faster Than You Can Manage It

Who wouldn’t love to grow their business? It usually means more attention, more profits and more ideas, but there will always come a point where you’ll realize that your business is actually growing faster than you can manage it. If you want to detect the early warning signs that your business is growing out of control so you can manage it better, then here are a couple of things to look out for.

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  1. Your infrastructure is starting to cost too much

If your basic business infrastructure, such as paying for cloud services and salaries, is costing you far too much of your budget, then there’s a good chance that you’ve started to outgrow what you can manage and you might need to start shuffling your money and removing expensive services like freelancers and outsourced work.

  1. You’re running out of space to grow

Physical space is another concern. You can easily run out of office space if you’re not careful and you’ll want to ensure that you always have extra space for new employees to work and storage space for your products.

  1. You’re hiring people far too often

If you find yourself hiring people for every little task, then there’s a good chance that you’re going to run out of money extremely quickly. You’ll need to start training employees instead of just hiring someone for every problem you encounter.

  1. You’re investing in things you know nothing about

Whether it’s a laser drill, networked devices or a powder coating booth as part of your manufacturing line, if your employees are asking you to invest in things you know nothing about then there’s a good chance you’re starting to grow beyond your knowledge. Regardless of if you’re planning on upgrading computers or adding a laser drilling service as part of your workflow, it’s a good idea to learn more info about it so that you better understand how it plays a part in your business. If you lack this knowledge, then consider speaking to your employees and having them explain it to you without technical jargon.

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  1. Your team is starting to grow further apart

Have you ever noticed that your team are starting to disagree on more things and work less together? If so, it’s a clear sign that your business is growing large enough to need separate departments that will rarely ever speak to each other. 

  1. You and your staff are lacking in direction

If you’re lacking a sense of direction and you’re unsure how to approach your business growth or adapt to new market conditions, then you need to be wary because you could start making poor decisions that affect your success in the future.

  1. Your employees aren’t growing anymore

Once your employees hit a wall, it can be difficult to overcome it and teach them new skills. This is a problem that can be overcome with professional training, or you might need to bite the bullet and hire more agile and flexible employees to replace them.

  1. You’re failing to communicate with your customers

Lastly, if you’re failing to communicate with your customers in a meaningful way then it’s possible you’re starting to grow too large for what you can handle.