Jun 15 2015


MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESSBeing critical and judgmental of other businesses does nothing but get us a bad rep and (believe this!) make it harder to succeed. What we get back isn’t much different than the return on our investment for putting down other people. At some point, it all comes back to bite us in the butt!

When you feel a judgmental statement winding it’s way up your throat, suck it back down with a deep breath before it ever gets to your tongue. Use your teeth like gates in case it actually does get that far. Hold your tongue. Shut the gates. And mind your own business. (Oh, uh, it might hurt if you hold your tongue while you close your teeth.) If all of this is too hard to swallow, you should not be in business to start with.

Anyway, we all like to criticize. We all think we can do better. And, guess what? Maybe we can do better, but remember that no matter how great we think we might be at something we’re good at (like running a business?), it’s a no-brainer bet that someone else is even better.

It should be needless to say, but those few folks who’ve been holed up like hermits with no outside world awareness’s beyond their smartphones and tablets (is that like everyone under the age of 25?), this tidbit of caution goes –in spades–for Customers! They are the people who are NEVER wrong . . . even when they’re not right!

Real entrepreneurs exist for their customers.

Just because corporate muckity-mucks make a lot of “Love the customer” noise doesn’t mean they really care. But customers are literally the lifeblood of entrepreneurial enterprises.

I mean, just imagine:  If corporate employees were properly trained, and –no matter who called or answered whatever phone– everyone would know how to deal with every customer and no Customer Service Department would even be needed.

Companies could literally save fortunes that could be reinvested in their people . . . and their customers! Sadly, this bit of entrepreneurial thinking has not yet met with acceptance as the effective antidote it is for corporate career contamination.

So just because the corporate guys delegate Customer Service to others, entrepreneurs cannot. Entrepreneurs don’t have that luxury. Entrepreneurs, true entrepreneurs, are who they are because they–always and everywhere–tend to their customers and mind their own business.

Do you?

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Hal@Businessworks.US    931.854.0474

Open  Minds  Open  Doors

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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May 15 2012


Don’t try to be


something you’re not!


A good many over-zealous entrepreneurs (are there any other kind?) seem to think that the solution to their financial woes is to try to be all things to everyone…”Whaddever ya need, we got it!” I heard a small business owner say recently, and he wasn’t talking about one type or category of products or services. He meant, literally, that he could provide ANYthing.

Well, of course he couldn’t really do that, but he was ready to pounce on any opportunity to make a buck — willing to stand on his head and spit wooden nickles if he thought it would part you with the money in your pocket. A huckster? Not really. He was simply misunderstanding that those who purport to be jacks of all trades are no longer credible or desirable in today’s world.

When economic times get tough,

dig in, don’t spread out!


People want knowledgeable, reputable, professional specialists –doctors, plumbers, teachers, builders, most retailers, consultants, lawyers, manufacturers, online businesses, et al. Most of us save up to deal with fly-by-night generalist businesses for when we’re on vacation and expect to get “taken” by those who cater to tourists . . . but not the rest of the year!

It’s easy and tempting to jump on a customer request when it’s not something that’s really up your alley if you’re expenses are dragging you closer to the brink of desperation than your income can comfortably offset. It’s easy and tempting, but it’s also stupid! In the end, trying to be all things to all people will turn around and slap you in the face . . . or kick your butt!

Force yourself to stop and think about what YOU want when YOU are on the buying end. If that’s not enough to turn your brain around, remember the old  Miracle On 34th Street Christmas movie storyline about how much the Macy’s Santa does for Macy’s by sending customers that Macy’s had no ability to serve to Macy’s competitor, Gimbels.

That’s not just some fantasy Christmas movie. There are millions of similar dynamic incidents that drive successful entrepreneurial enterprises today. What people want from you is trust. They want honesty. They want you to help them solve a problem, not try to sell them something they don’t need or want. Should you send everyone to your competitor? Of course not.

But customers don’t want to deal with a business that pretends to have the answer to their dreams because it represents a “quick buck” opportunity. Professional salespeople know this. Many entrepreneurs do not, and continue to try being something they’re not. Bottom line? People are not stupid. They know when a business owner is pretending.

The best solution is authenticity. It wins more business in a minute than years of make-believe.

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Apr 25 2012

Try it Now! Say it Now! Do it Now! Move it Now!









The tougher that times get, the more focused we need to be on the here-and-now present. Anything else triggers agita! Demonstrating to our customers, prospects, employees, associates, investors, advisors, referrers, and community-at-large that we are seriously committed to making things happen quickly is one of the strongest impressions a business can make.

This is not to suggest a haste-makes-waste attitude that ends up costing money or relationships. Instead, it’s all about responding promptly to what’s asked of us. Every business owner knows that pleasing others and building strong work relationships and customer relationships is directly related to one’s ability to “hop to it” when a request or purchase is made.

But all too often, this ownership sense of urgencyis never passed along through the rank and file. In my work with at least a thousand businesses over the years, I’ve heard frequent references to “The Boss” as someone who works hard and responds quickly to the interests others express or show in the business, or in the business offerings. But it’s not contagious!

Many employees and associates seem to settle into a lethargic comfort zone that relies on the boss’s behaviors to make things happen instead of assuming responsibility to follow the boss’s lead and adopt her or his commitment to action.

With the assurance that some action is always better than no action –at least in business– most bosses fail to communicate a sense of hustle to those around them.

When did you last gather your staff or team together to let them know how much you’re counting on them to solve customer problems and fill needs as quickly as they can, how important this single commitment is to repeat sales?  Are you rewarding hustle? Try tossing a one dollar coin (because it’s uncommon, it’s special) at someone every time you observe rapid response activity. You’ll be amazed at how far that single dollar will go toward motivating urgency.

  • A 6pm phone call requesting delivery of a part 400 miles away by 9am the next morning was greeted by one delivery service with “Sorry our switchboard is closed after 5pm; try back tomorrow.”

  • Another delivery service responded by saying it would have to cost $2,500 to get the part to its destination by 9am because the driver was scheduled to go the opposite direction and would have to leave two hours earlier to fill the request.

  • A third company said the office was closed and all the trucks were scheduled for the morning, but the person answering the phone said he had nothing planned for the evening and would take the part personally in his car for gas, tolls and breakfast… $323.50. Do you think that customer returned to the third company for future deliveries? 

It’s really hard to respond too quickly to a customer or prospect request. In fact, they’ll surely tell you if that’s the case. But no one forgets the business that goes out of its way to see to it that requests are handled and processed promptly. It’s called having an Action Attitude. Do you?

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Oct 23 2011


Welcome to the world’s first SMALL BIZ Alphabet Series of blog posts!




What’s “funny” to you may not be to others… imagine that!  So we who run our own small businesses (or small pieces of big businesses) might do well to be reminded thatHey, didja hear the one about the the guy with the parrot . . .? may not be the best kind of opening with a disgruntled employee, angry supplier, or irate customer.

In fact, the parrot joke (or any joke!) is probably not a great thing to share with anyone who’s come to you with wrinkled brow, mouth turned down, hands balled into fists, or who’s (defensive) folded arms are noticeable only second to being glared at over the tops of their glasses. Others do not always understand or accept what you mean.  

So, to make the best of things, smiling and laughing your way through it all is not always in your best business or personal interests, or those of the other individual or group you’re dealing with. The solution? Observe carefully and think twice, before opening your “funny story” mouth once.

Pretend for a moment that you are standing in line at a customer service center counter. You are holding a product you had saved up for and cheerfully purchased in time to enhance the upcoming weekend visit (your first) with your fiance’s parents. You know they would be impressed.

Yet when you went to put the thing together, parts were missing, directions were not in English, and the major component was cracked.

Here you stand, patiently quiet but shifting your feet as you try to decide if you should put the thing down on the floor or keep holding it. Each of the three people ahead of you takes 15 minutes to tell their 10-second story. As you stoop to pick up the damaged goods, which you thankfully decided to plant between your feet, guess what?  [Are you breathing?]

The customer service rep, who never noticed you anyway, apparently decided it was as good a time as any to leave, putting a “Gone To Lunch” sign on the counter and, in one quick whirl, disappear out the swinging door. You and the four others behind you stand there dumbfounded. The five of you start jabbering.

The manager notices the commotion, and strides up to the annoyed gathering with a smile and big greeting, followed by:

“You guys [3 of the 4 are women] remind me of the time when my uncle Louie went to the local pistol range [2 of the 4 had large peace-symbol jewelry showing] and the instructor asked Louie if he’d be using his gun , ha-ha-ha-ha, to shoot him for having to take his lunch hour at that very moment, ha-ha-ha-ha. You’ll have to return later.”  


You can imagine –as radio’s beloved Paul Harvey used to say– the rest of the story. This contrived incident may seem amusing from a distance, but trying to be funny at the wrong time in the wrong place with the wrong people will almost definitely succeed at making a bad situation worse.

Humor, real humor that turns on smiles and laughs comes from the heart and the guts, not an aspirin bottle. It is not a quick fix. It is an honest flowing response delivered in good judgement to those who have provided some clue that indicates they will appreciate your offering. Good humor is a gift. Real gifts are never forced.


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Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Sep 15 2011

Bring Back Paper Bags

Throw up in ’em. (Yuch!)

Make masks.

(For nonsmoker & nonBBQ parties)

Carry diamonds.

(They DO in NYC Diamond District, except in rain)

Use ’em for baseball gloves.

(Kids DO in The Dominican Republic – Ouch!)

And a lotta people couldn’t

punch their way outta one!


They’re biodegradable, and thus”sustainable.” That alone should appease all the dirt people, tree-huggers, and eco-freaks out there.

(Yes, some of us only worry about dumb stuff like the economy, jobs, Qaddafi, unions, leaving 3,000 troops in Iraq, and critical issues like “All My Children” finally leaving TV, if Casey Anthony was really guilty, and will it be a Yankees vs. Phillies World Series).

Anyway, I think it’s time to return to the substance and simplicity of yesteryear by bringing back the all-time king of convenience — the plain brown paper bag! It was used for more tasks and had more “apps” than your PC, laptop, iPOD, iPAD, BlackBerry, Wii, electronic reader, invisible fence, and barcode scanner combined!

Once upon a time . . .

One of the jobs Fat Norman and Skinny Frank did (they ran the grocery store downstairs from the apartments by the railroad tracks on Chatsworth Avenue, in Larchmont, New York) was to collect customer order money and put it in the cash register — a fancy drawer with a hand crank and a little bell that rang when it opened.

No plugs. No adding machine.

Brothers Norman and Frank both kept a crayon behind one ear. When you brought all the groceries you wanted to get to the counter (no shopping carts) and piled them up, out came the crayons . . . and a brown paper bag.

The left side was for one-word descriptions of items (carrots, milk, bread, toilet paper, etc.). The right side was the important side; that’s where the prices were written.

Norman usually broke his crayon when he tried to add up the column and carry the two. His pudgy hands hated the task, and Mother always found addition errors on the bag (which was of course also the receipt).

If the errors were in the store’s favor, Mother would send you right back with the bag and instructions on what numbers to jab your fingers at. Frank, though, was always right.

Frank did an old business trick that must have enhanced his mathematical accuracy. He’d wet the tip of his crayon with his tongue when the price part was hard, like five pounds of mixed onions at 3 1/2 cents a pound for yellow and 4 1/3 cents a pound for red.

Sometimes he had to turn the bag over and use the other side as a worksheet.

Everything was packed with great care . . . with always a piece of penny candy tossed in . . . and handed over with a smile, a thank you, and “tell your Mother hello!”

The bags were only doubled up when you had messy, bloody stuff or if it was pouring rain. They were always recycled for garbage and returning empty soda bottles for a penny each.

One time, Norman caught kids taking bottles from the back alley and re-paperbagging them to bring around the front and turn them in. He broke more than crayons that day.

The bags that survived became –you guessed it– plain brown wrappers for gifts, packages, storage, and shelf paper.

Slower, simpler times indeed, but something to be said for the personal exchanges and personal service attention required by the absence of technological advances.

So, just a good old story? I don’t think so. I think there’s a message here about the occasional value of looking back to gain a better perspective for looking forward.

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Open Minds Open Doors

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Make today a GREAT day for someone!

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Sep 01 2011

Generalist? Priceless. Specialist? Worthless.

Marketing, advertising,


PR and sales








An Opinion 


Give me a guy who can sell ketchup, propane, decorative plants, dental insurance, or rubberbands any day over a techie geek to sell your iPads, TVs, Wii programs, or Kindles. Geeks sell geeks. Sales pros sell people. Why think small when your opportunities are big? The geek market is small. Find people who are experts at serving customers, and teach them product/service knowledge.

Looking for an exceptional salesperson for your new snack products? Stop looking in the snack product industry. Find someone who sells railroad cars full of dorm furniture to universities. Surgical supplies? Get your search engine out of the med school dropout arena and find a classy cosmetics presenter with a sparkling, eager-to-learn  personality.

Oh, and remember that great salespeople don’t make great sales managers. Only great managers make great sales managers.



Find a freelance writer who has some psychology background and who can write some slam-bang persuasive headlines and sentences for all kinds of products and services– someone who is tenacious in follow-up efforts. Forget about established, specialist PR firms and groups who tend to be more interested in their names than yours. 

The public relations field is a breeding ground for con artists. I’ve seen top PR firms charge $25,000 a month and produce zero. If they can’t make what you have to sell be exciting, you lose. If they can’t follow up fanatically to get writers, reporters, editors, producers, and publishers pouncing on your story, you lose. You can teach someone with diverse quality PR experience about your industry media. 



Skip right over any provider who claims expertise in your field, unless you’re willing to spend lots of money to make no impact. Hospital advertising is a great example. It’s pathetic. Does “Excellent People” and “We Care” float your boat? Hospitals and banks are the perfect examples of advertising waste.

Get a person or small team on board who want to help you make a difference, who know how to ignite and cultivate creative thinking applications that get results. Just because something looks nice and is clever or informative doesn’t mean that it works. It may only mean that the agency is seeking to win a design award.

Don’t settle. Do your homework and due diligence. Then teach her/him/them about your business and industry.



Not “marketing” like healthcare people think: physician office visits with armsful of popcorn, candy, 6-foot subs, sports and concert tickets. That’s called payola, as in bring ’em gifts and they’ll prescribe or recommend or buy your products. It’s also called bribery, and it borders on STARK Law and other ethical violation issues. 

And not marketing like Fortune 500 companies hellbent on analysis paralysis before even considering a potential packaging design, pricing structure, promotional flyer, merchandising gimmick or ad headline. Part of why big companies have too much at stake to be entrepreneurial has to do with the astronomically wasted expenses involved in frivolous product and service development and meaningless market research.

You don’t need an army of “experienced (Fill in any specialty here) marketing pros.” You need a person or small team who have a proven track-record for producing results in a variety of fields. Diversity, flexibility, and common sense abilities to work with an Objective/Strategy/Tactics framework in all types of media are what count more than “industry-specific.”

P.S. Beware “Social Media Marketing Experts” who don’t understand marketing. There are plenty of them. 



It’s easy to teach experienced marketing/advertising/sales/PR people what they need to know about your product or service to most effectively represent it. But it’s nearly impossible to teach industry and professional practice-specific experienced people how to market, advertise, publicize and sell.


Specialization Closes Minds 


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Jul 28 2011

Kill The Frills!

Economy-crunched small businesses, stampeding to reduce payroll, need first to pull back the bells and whistles.

S C A L E   I T   B A C K.

Ideas, Proposals, Recommendations, Products, Services



Stop to think about it: If YOU are having trouble affording employee costs, your CUSTOMERS may be having trouble affording your product and service “extras.” [Restaurants have been scaling back since 2008 by offering better quality in smaller portions on slightly smaller plates!]

Let’s say you’re a consultant, and know in your heart of hearts that a client organization you work with needs to develop three new levels of consumer goods and services to stay competitive, but you also know that their naive management has failed to get its arms around the budget stranglehold that White House pressure has put on them.

You can lay it all out for them , knowing they will never pay your fee, and go down with the ship . . . or chunk up your recommended action plan to address just one new level, leaving the other two to simmer until the first of these can produce enough revenues to cover the investment and your fee, setting the stage for a level two proposal.

It’s worth the reminder that, as my father was known to exclaim and as Giovanni Torriano was first credited with recording the phrase in his Second Alphabet in 1662, “You can’t get blood out of a stone.”  And while we’re on the subject of hard subjects and difficult feats, you may want to accept the inevitable and just agree to “bite the bullet.”

In other words, when you can see that your proposal carries with it the hand-wrenching anguish that forces your client to back away from the table, scale it back. What can be accomplished by eliminating the bells and whistles and still manage to develop a new first level that’s acceptable, that can be expected to perform adequately?

Does this put a burden on you? Of course. When you may have been thinking you could do a $15,000 fee project, you find yourself settling for a smaller $4,995 fee project. What’s the answer? Do it with a $15,000 fee attitude, and use the extra time to get out and sell another client or two on projects that total $10,000.

So, now what? You lose $5? Ah, but now you have three clients and can more safely hedge your bet. If you work at it you may also generate $45,000 total a short way down the road, instead of just the opening effort for $15,000.

You can do this. The point is that everyone in business has reached a point of struggle (or at least substantial concern). How much further can this go? Will we have to go belly up? How can we pay the bills? 



Force yourself to take a good hard look at what you’re selling and to whom. Can it be streamlined and priced lower without losing value or impact or safety? Can the excess packaging be eliminated or relaced less expensively without risking damage? Can you use 2-day Priority Mail instead of more expensive overnight shipping? 

Can you make arrangements to package the cars you sell with a gas or routine servicing giftcard? Some lawyers are doing reduced price packaging of basic family and couple’s wills. Some chiropractors will do basic 2 for 1 adjustment visits. The travel and hospitality industries constantly offer discount incentives that strip away luxury cost extras.  


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Jul 20 2011

Mind Your Social Media Manners!

TY, Thank You, THX,


Thanks, Appreciation,


Appreciate, Appreciated,


Appreciative, Grateful,


Gratefulness, Gratified,


Gratification,  tks, Please,


Pls, YW, You’re Welcome!



Have you paid off  your TY IOUs lately? Do you have a list of them? Are they in some order? Which ones are the oldest? To whom do you owe more than one TY? What are they for? What were the circumstances? How long ago exactly was the favor or courtesy or thoughtfulness extended? Might it now be time to clean some of these up?

If you don’t have one, let’s start with a business list, then move on to personal, or vice versa if you prefer. I like to keep a thank you list next to my desk phone, divided into two columns: “Calls” and Emails.” I add to them during the day between meetings, other emails, and other calls, and cross out the ones I’ve handled as each day passes.

Why? Who Cares? EVERYone cares. Which also answers the question “Why?” Simply put, there can be no better investment of your time and energy for boosting your business and personal reputations. And sales pros will tell you that personal and business reputations built on these courtesies translate directly to sales.

Oh, and let’s not forget that long-lost art of a personal handwritten thank you note stuck in the mail or office inbox. There is NOTHING compares with receiving one of those. And the busier you are, the more impact a note from you has. In other words: The more personal you can make your expression of thanks, the greater the impact!

It’s hard to beat a message that has a little hug hanging on its coattails!


Probably needless to add, but it’s well worth remembering: It’s also FREE, which makes it a no-brainer practice for business owners and operators, and especially for professional practice principals, who are seldom regarded as grateful for their patients and clients! 

Social media subscribers probably use the expressions in this post’s headline more than any other segment of society except Salvation Army Santas. It’s become standard fare Internet ettiquette. It’s the sub-culture of long-distance communications dipped in politeness and exchanged for the world to see, but seldom felt from the heart.

Twitterers send Tweets. If you like the Tweet, you respond mostly with a RE-Tweet (or RT) as a polite form of endorsement. Someone whose Tweet gets an RT, inevitably returns a TY (Thank You) note Tweet to that endorser. That endorser may send (Tweet) yet another note, like YW (You’re Welcome).

It’s said that these kinds of exchanges are all cover-ups for the acknowledged impersonalness of social media communications, that they somehow compensate for handshakes and eye contact and voice tone and inflections. Well, they don’t really. Not much could. But they do set social media cordiality apart from other media forms. 

Anyway, Thank you for visiting. I am truly grateful for the minutes you spent here, and if any of what I said is helpful to you in any way, well . . . YW.


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Jul 11 2011

The Real Entrepreneurs

Many traditional marketers haven’t a clue . . .


Real entrepreneurs


respond in an instant and 


develop ideas thoroughly


from beginning to end.



Today’s marketing people are not adapting well to current economic realities. They see themselves as part of the solution to a problem that they do not understand . . . one they are not trying hard enough to overcome.

The no-light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel economy we’re presently in doesn’t, for example, automatically translate to everyone being interested in finding a better dollar deal. Instead, when budgets are restricted is when entrepreneurs need to invest more heavily in building long-term relationships, as they would expect of their own suppliers.

Traditional marketing pros are missing this.

They are still knocking themselves silly trying to fit business owners into their media and social media games and patterns and rate cards and strategies instead of adapting what they know to help entrepreneurs do more with less

. . . instead of pulling their chairs up to the same side of the table.


This doesn’t mean reinforcing the customer service department. It does mean building customer service into the job decription for every single employee. When every staffer is also a customer service specialist –poof!– you no longer need a customer service department! Nurturing long-term relationships becomes your new business. 

Marketing traditionalists are missing this point, and others like it. The “new” cyberspace marketing pros are also missing the point. First off, the whole world is NOT tuned into the Internet which means the perspective that every human on Earth is aware of Mashable, YELP, Tweets, BFs, DMs, clouds, and the advent of Cicret Bracelets is false. So the perspective is warped.

Second, when traditionalists wrap their marketing strategies around media airtime, print space availabilities and “special rate card deal packages” or “online marketing and SEO experts” (most of whom are self-designated, unproven, and over-priced) parade out their website and email bells and whistles, entrepreneurs end up the losers. 

If you’re a small business owner, operator, or manager, you need to be looking AWAY FROM formula marketing solutions that do not bend over backwards for you the same way you bend over backwards for your customers.

This is not an economy where you can simply accept blanket marketing recommendations without questioning.


Marketing pros need to be thinking more like entrepreneurs. They need to be looking much harder at ways to market products and services for maximum impact without spending as much money as in the past. They need to be offering their services more on a performance incentive basis, and put their wallets where their mouths are. 

Entrepreneurs need to challenge marketing people more to get “more bang for the buck” and –by the same token — be willing to reward generously for performance. A marketing success that produces $1 million in new sales should be well worth a $250,000 or $300,000 fee because you end up with the balance — money you never had before! 

Bottom line: Get streamlined. Get simple. Look under new leaves. Push for impact and relationships instead of deals. Yeah, I know about car dealerships; but they’re in their own world. This post is about reality and your business. It’s about looking to Twitter instead of network TV, postcards instead of elaborate mailers, emails . . .


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Jun 09 2011

It’s Patient Loyalty, Doc!

Businesses have customers.


Shrinks, lawyers and CPAs have clients,


But you, Doc,


have patients!



If you have a doctor-friend in your life, you might want to share this post. Useful, straightforward “business” posts for healthcare professionals are not typically or readily available. You may also want to consider how these same dynamics apply to you in your business or non-medical practice.



So what, you say?  Here’s what: Given that healthcare has now become even less predictable (than the plights of business, shrinks, accountants, and lawyers) as we edge ever closer to that Obamacare precipice, you may already be starting to lose patients as you lose patience.

I mean, businesses, CPAs, and lawyers already see the staggering new costs handwritten on the walls. And shrinks? Eh, who ever knows about shrinks?  Anyway, it’s all about you, Doctor. You are being called on as never before to rise to the occasion and bite the business bullet. You must grow your practice in stagnant times

This means riding out the economic storms and going with the insurance provider flow even when all you want to do is practice medicine and be fairly paid for your expertise, training, experience, and compassion. Ah, but there stands Obamacare in your path! And you can’t get over, under, or around it. 

So, you’ve got to get through it!   

The only way to “get through” it –to survive and thrive in the next few months and years ahead– is to build and strengthen patient loyalty.

Patient loyalty is the single most critical component of practice growth, especially in hard times. It triggers increased  patient volume and stimulates referrals faster and more cohesively than any other factor.


Here are the five key sets of values that determine success in acquiring and strengthening patient loyalty:

  1. Your professional skills, resource network, and “Google-ability”

  2. Your training, experience, and regional word-of-mouth reputation

  3. Your patient-centric care approach and reassuring “bedside manner”

  4. Your office staff’s abilities to communicate clearly and pleasantly, and to handle insurance reimbursement tangles quickly and simply

  5. Your effectiveness in managing patient support, diagnostics, and referrals

Notice that the first four value sets above are ones that you should control and/or that should rely almost entirely on you. The fifth one, however, depends on others. This distills down to the reality that you must first attack the first four and fully capture or re-capture them into your control before moving into value set five territory.

Why? So you can strengthen the area that’s not in your control by coming at it from a position of strength in the four areas you are able to harness.

Take a hard look at the ten qualifiers suggested in the first four numbered value sets above. Can you rate yourself a “9” or “10” in each? In which areas are you weakest? What do you need to do –specifically– to get to those ratings in each suggested category? Can you identify three steps you can take next week to lead yourself there?

When you can honestly give yourself those 9-10 ratings, move on to #5 above and ask yourself what specific actions you can take now to improve the ways you manage patient support, diagnostics and referrals. Are you, for example, using resources that keep you in case management control over each of your patients?

The farther away from Med School and Internship and Residency you are, the more vulnerable you may be to economic invasion, and the more important it becomes to self-assess on a regular basis. Quarterly works. It might be the most rewarding investment you can make in your practice . . . or the most costly one to avoid.

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“The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson]

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