ORLANDO, Fla. — If business owners take the initiative to be prepared and respectful in their businesses, then they will thrive.
At the 2010 North American Pedorthic Congress, Kristi Hayes, CPed, Shane’s Foot Comfort Center in Seattle, and president of the Pedorthic Footwear Association, offered attendees these business pearls of wisdom that apply to both business owners and pedorthists.
First, and most important, Hayes urged business owners to prepare for everything by creating documents outlining specific steps for the business.
“It is critical to prepare for current and future business to keep the train on the right track,” she said.
The company’s overall business plan should include targeted plans for marketing, continuing education and staff training, and owners should remove confidential information and share these with their management teams and staff members.
These documents also should include a back-up plan for any crisis that may affect the company.
Next, Hayes said that business owners should treat everyone with respect so that they feel their needs are being met.
“Good morale is totally underrated in a company’s success,” she said.
Cultivating a positive work environment based on relationships first, then business, allows employees to feel that their contribution to the company is appreciated. Expanding that same principle to physicians and vendors, business owners increase their potential for developing working relationships that lead to referrals and additional business. The ability to speak with a potential referral source in a friendly manner opens up the potential for additional conversations in the future.
“When you can get to know them, understand their needs and wants, they’re going to tell you what their patients’ wants and needs are,” she said. “You’re going to gain their business more readily and you’re going to keep it.”
This outlook is more effective than trying to build strong professional relationships through sale pitches.
Other ways to gain the trust of others include educating them about the pedorthic profession, producing quality work and following up to ensure satisfaction with the end result.
“Your relationship does you no good if you can’t put your money where your mouth is,” she added.
Hayes also warned attendees not to expect help from anyone else. To get the best results in any situation, she insisted that business owners not rely on other people to complete the job. Carefully thinking through problems will bring you to the best solutions.
“Get real with yourself and your business, get up off the couch and go after what you want because absolutely no one else will do it for you, but they’re almost always willing to work with you,” Hayes said. — by Stephanie Z. Pavlou
In the medical profession, too many times people believe that just being a good clinician will earn you business. The problem with that approach is that clinicians and businessmen are often not one in the same. In my professional career, I know of several businesses failing because of basic mismanagement. Grasping how to market to referral sources and being a boss is often to hard to handle in the mix of seeing patients and producing a quality service.
Kristi spoke of business planning, marketing and management teams, which at a conference of clinical CEU’s is quite foreign. I feel that the main concepts of the pedorthic pearl was goal setting, self reliance, hard work and most importantly building personal relationships before business and not because of business. I think this is good professional advice we could all follow.
— Jay Zaffater, CPed, BOCPed
Clinical program director, ArTex Medical Inc. and secretary, Pedorthic Footwear Association
Disclosure: Jay Zaffater, CPed, BOCPed, has no financial or other conflicts of interest regarding this article.