We all have the goal of making our practice more profitable.
But what is the best way to go about this?
Develop programs as a way to create special services for clients wanting to make a positive difference in their lives and as a way to offset poor reimbursements and earn more income.
We’ve spent a lot of time talking about ways to encourage patients to continue utilizing your services, but let’s spend more time talking about how to package your practice’s offerings into cash-based programs to offset declining reimbursements.
How to Develop Programs
- Take inventory of what services, assessments, specialty treatment offerings, and products you have for sale in your practice. List everything you have, no matter how inexpensive or how costly. If you are only offering services and have no products for sale, why have you made that choice? How is it working out for your practice?
- Assess the skills and clinical interests of the clinicians in your practice. Each of us has treatment areas that we enjoy more than others. Many of us have developed skill specialties for treating clients. We all have areas of interest in which we’d like to specialize our clinical practices.
- After each person has identified their clinical skills and interests, you can identify if it would make sense to offer programs in your practice. For example, consider a team that identified the following skills and interests:
- Athletic performance recovery
- Athletic performance assessment and enhancement
- Running performance
- Dance movement assessment and enhancement
- Golf injury prevention and enhancement
- Walking mobility
Versus a team that identified the following interests and skills:
- Senior and geriatric mobility: walking, driving, standing up, getting out of bed
- Teaching seniors how to organize their homes to reduce falls and injuries
- Injury recovery to return to full mobility
What kinds of programs would each of these teams build?
- Working with your team, ask a series of questions to develop a program based on the skills and interests you have assessed. Questions would be:
- What could a program offering look like?
- What would it include – products and services?
- What’s our reason for offering this?
- What would the client’s reason for buying this be?
- How many of these packages can we realistically offer?
- Which ones should we test out with clients and offer first?
- Price the program offering. Consider how many clinical hours are involved. List the retail prices of products that will be included in the package. Add together the clinician hours, overhead, and retail costs to arrive at a grand total. Then consider what discount can you offer clients because they are committing to a package? Will your pricing differ if they have insurance? What if they are self-paying? If they are paying upfront with cash? Or if they are paying overtime with a credit card? Consider all of the payment possibilities as a part of figuring out your final price for the program or package.
- Market and sell the packages and program offerings. Spas and restaurants have a menu – why can’t you? Practices can also have a menu of services available and program packages that are clearly described and priced. Someone on your team may have a talent for designing this menu, or you may contract with someone to design it for you. Include the following details in your program descriptions and marketing materials:
- Description of what is included
- List who the target audience or likely users of the package are
- Objectives & benefits for those using the package or program
- A detailed list of what is included in the program
- The pricing. Be straightforward. Show people what the services would cost if purchased one at a time AND what people save by purchasing the package. This approach works in service-oriented practices. Remember that many people are afraid to ask about pricing, yet when they see what a program includes and how they can save money by purchasing a package, the more inclined they will be to commit to working with you.
The key is that you need an in-office and online toolset for sharing the new programs you have developed. People want to know what you can offer them!
- Assess the success of each program offered. Has it met your objectives? Is it financially reasonable? Is it achieving client goals? Which offerings will you continue to offer – with or without refinements? Which programs will you discontinue? Taking time to assess what you have achieved is part of an ongoing review of whether we are achieving what we want to achieve personally, professionally, and as a practice.
- Find the time to build. A lot of you express your frustration about finding time to build new things whether it be programs, services offerings, or marketing efforts. Consider using time during a weekly staff meeting to explore new ideas and opportunities. Determine whether planning a staff retreat makes sense as a practice investment toward developing new offerings. Some practices close the office one day per quarter for training and development. Maybe this approach would work for your practice team to invest in the development of programs. When building programs is part of your vision and a part of achieving practice freedom, finding the time is necessary to your success.
- Commit time for program delivery to clients. Remember that one of your roles as a practice owner is to mentor your team members. Finding time to deliver new and ongoing services and programs will be part of your mentoring until the practice has fully integrated the new offerings into daily operations. You may discover that your administrative team needs new scheduling skills or the team may discover that more frequent product inventorying and ordering is needed to fill the product portions of program packages.
A happy challenge might be that you discover some program offerings are so popular that new clinicians are needed to continue treating general client needs. Sometimes adding staff is the only way to create more time each day.
Whatever you and your team create and offer as a program package, use your financial dashboard as a measure of success. Protect development and delivery time so you can offer top-notch programs. Frequently check in with your team to see what is working and what’s not working, so you can deliver creative programs that meet real-world client needs and desires with your team.
If you have any questions regarding any of my strategies or have other challenges in your practice affecting your ability to grow, you can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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