When I set out to start my business, I felt a little overwhelmed ― it seems like there are as many ways to run a business as there are minivans in the Costco parking lot. I discovered that savvy practice management requires a little research to see what successful businesses have in common. Here are a couple commonalities I have discovered:
1. Have a great product
You really have to start here. Nothing else I discovered made up for the lack of a quality product. There are so many neat businesses that fizzle out despite great practice management, because the product does not speak to the people. So if you are starting or revamping a business, consider this ― does your product make peoples’ lives better? If not, then it might be time to go back to the drawing board.
2. See through the eyes of the customer
To make a business function well, you need to be able to relate on a personal level to your customers, to understand what makes them tick. To accomplish this, you need to step outside of your niche and consider their needs, wants and the demands on their time. As you approach customers with this perspective, they will sense your empathy and will be more inclined to invest in your product, be it cupcakes, exercise programs or accounting practice management software.
3. Take the time to learn the art of selling
You often hear the trite line, “This product is so amazing, it sells itself!” And you know that right behind that product are hundreds of man hours that went into marketing and public relations. Products don’t sell themselves. People sell products. And no matter how amazing your product is, an important prerequisite to success is that you must learn how to communicate with people how much they want your product ― make them understand how your shoes will make their ankles look thinner, how your practice management software will make their businesses more efficient, or how your cleaning service will save them so much time.
4. Make technology your friend, not your foe
In this world of social media and digital obsession, you really have to master technology to be successful in business. The old business models are just not going to last in a world where everyone turns to Yelp, Google+, Facebook and Twitter to help them choose products and services. Making sure that your company is well represented on these social media sites is a practice management imperative.
5. Be the resident expert
I am an avid gardener. When I buy plants, I tend to go to one of the more knowledgeable nurseries in town, because I know they will give me expert advice that will help me keep my plants alive. You will find that as you become an expert in your field, people will respect your position of authority and will flock to you. Becoming an expert in your field requires a huge time investment and continual updates on your knowledge base, but it will help you stand out from the crowd.
6. Say it with me ―”Customer service is king!”
When people have to choose between different options for the same product or service, they will often lean towards the company that makes them feel better, the one that is nicer and more accommodating. Not only is there no room for jerks in this business, but companies must train and reward their employees if they hope to establish loyalty amongst their customer base.
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