The last couple of days have been overwhelming. What to do? Should I stay open or close? Actually, as frantic as “Will I survive this?” I have had my doubts but after a meltdown and some research and some discussions with colleagues I am absolutely convinced, “We will Survive this!” But the real question for most business owners is “How will I Survive this?”
There is LOTS that business owners can do in these uncertain times to Stay in Business but it won’t happen unless we dig in, investigate what is happening in the business, and Make A Plan!
We Will Survive! But Don’t just Panic. You need a Plan. Whether your doors are Open or Closed, you have to stay connected to patients.
And… Stay Strong! This, too, shall pass
I have come up with some ideas that may help.
Dig Into Your Numbers
I was panicked until I took the time to really dig in to see how much do I need to survive the next 6-8 weeks and perhaps even 12 weeks? It’s easy to panic when you don’t have any facts. Some things I investigated:
How much do you need to survive? You need to investigate both how much YOU need to survive personally and also how much you need to cover business costs? How much cash do you have on hand? How long will that cash last? How much is due in accounts receivable? I was panicked until I took the time to really dig in to see how much was needed and how long I could afford to pay employees if I had NO additional money coming in? Can I afford to keep the employees or do I need to lay them off?
The answer to all these questions is in the numbers. I would suggest that you keep employees as long as you can as long as it doesn’t threaten the Long Term Health of the Business. Things will come back but if you don’t have the cash, you may need to let employees go on unemployment so you can pay yourself.
Leverage any and all resources
Survival doesn’t just happen. You have to MAKE it happen and that takes a Plan. Do you have any untapped resources? Do you have a cash value in an insurance plan? Can you use a credit card to pay monthly bills? You can put the bills on the credit card and you have 30 days to pay it off without interest. I just signed up for a card that has No Interest for 18 months. Be Careful! You cannot afford to rack up debt on a card that has a high interest rate. Ask your Landlord for one month’s free rent or at least a 10% reduction. Get rid of ANY unnecessary expenses. Do you have a line of credit with a bank? If not, perhaps it is time to get one. Banks are loaning money at low interest rates right now. Is your accounts receivable up to date? Call the insurance companies that haven’t paid or rebill the invoices that haven’t been paid and send statements if you haven’t done that within 30 days. Keep that cash flowing as long as you can.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
Let patients know what is going on in your office and the steps you have taken to protect them or yourself during this pandemic. Communicate via social media and call the patients that don’t have social media. If your doors are open, call your referral sources and let them know you are there for patients.
Now that you have the time, develop a marketing plan that you can apply aggressively when this nightmare is over. Call your patients now and make sure you have a text or email. And when you contact patients, make notes and set a recall date with specific info on their needs or concerns so when you call them back you remember details from the original call. Let them know you Care. Plan an Upgrade program for all patients that have aids over three years old and promote new technology that would have helped them during the Pandemic, i.e., hearing aid self checks, hearing care at home, fall prevention, activity trackers, etc.
Many people are home. Send out emails to current, previous and TNT patients and let them know what’s happening and what you are doing to stay safe. Send funny videos. This doesn’t take skill and they don’t have to be perfect. Send recipes or great apps that can help keep people occupied and busy while they are at home. Engage. Engage. Engage.
Don’t Give Up. Fight Like Hell to Survive.
Our patients are loving the Drive Up Clean and Check and the aggressive Telehealth programs we are promoting for patients that don’t require a Face to Face visit. Sycle has a new telehealth option in their software. If you don’t use Sycle, check your software for upgrades and changes.
If you have shut your doors for a short period of time, it’s a great time to reach out to your patients. If you offer a Service Plan, call patients that don’t have one and advise them that it would be a good idea to Protect Their Investment in these uncertain times and allow patients to purchase it over the phone. If you don’t have a service plan, now is a perfect time to start one. Caution, for these programs to be profitable, you have to be able to do in office repairs and cleanings and don’t purchase the extended coverage from an outside vendor.
Am I nervous? You bet. Am I uncertain when this will end? Yes! This is unprecedented. Am I afraid for the future? Hell No! People will still need to hear when this crisis ends. In fact, I heard someone say that after being together so closely for so long, people will be flocking to our offices because their spouse is so sick of them always asking them to repeat.
Dig into your numbers, Determine the financial needs of yourself and for your business, Develop a Plan to stay connected to patients, and Stay Positive that We all Will Survive and Come Back Stronger and Use This Time to Recharge and Reinvigorate Yourself and Your Business. Stay Strong and reach out and Try to Help Others as We Are All in This Together.
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