Is your practice full of stumps?

I wrote this blog a few months ago, but it is even more important today. Who knows how long businesses will be shut down during this pandemic? It’s critical to investigate any and all expenses and to eliminate any unnecessary spending. Take this down time to really dig in and find any Stumps that may be showing in your business.

When you own and work in a business, you have many hats and it’s easy to get overwhelmed between seeing patients, managing employees, creating marketing plans, nurturing referral sources, monitoring profit and loss and the list goes on and on and on … however, these details are critical and ignoring them can derail the business.

I had a tough year in business in 2008 and I know that 2020 won’t be any different. I recall a consultant telling me “High water hides the stumps. When business is good, it’s easy to let costs get out of control and when profitability declines, the stumps start to show”. I knew exactly what he meant. 2020 is a time to get rid of some stumps and during this slow down is a great time to dig into your numbers and investigate where those stumps are.

These challenges necessitate the need to pay attention to every detail in the business.

You may have already laid off employees or that may need to happen in the future. Or, if you keep employees on staff, you will need to examine every duty each one is responsible for and change responsibilities. Employees can still add to a business whether your doors are open or closed. This is a great time to update your database or to investigate a new one. Reach out and touch the patients that haven’t been in the office in six months or more and call patients that don’t have access to your social media so they know what you are doing in your practice during this time.

  • Are you charging for everything you should be charging for? Some people are having luck with online stores during this time of social distancing.
  • Are your cost of goods in line with the cost of doing business?
  • How’s the ROI on your marketing plan? Take the time to check every recent marketing activity to see which ones actually paid off. It’s still critical to continue to market during this time. Social media may be the most cost effective way to get your message out.
  • Costs for telephone and internet services can vary greatly by provider. No cost is too low to investigate and negotiation is always an option.
  • Check to see how much you are spending on little-used yellow page ads and get rid of those expenses.
  • Do you use a credit card to pay expenses? Look for one that offers 0% interest for a given period of time or investigate one that gives cash back.
  • Investigate shipping charges, as many suppliers fail to notify businesses of small increases and those small increases can dramatically affect profitability.

Use this slow down to make your business better. It’s critical to focus on the cost of running your business and get rid of those stumps that you uncover. Don’t give up. Better times are ahead!

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The Patient experience is a way to WIN with patients

A few years ago, I took my husband to three Costco’s and one Sam’s Club and watched while he was tested and fit with hearing aids. After that experience, I was more certain than ever that not everyone wants the low cost option of Costco and some people would prefer and will pay for a unique and customized experience. When everyone is getting into the business of hearing aids, the patient experience has indeed become the competitive battleground in hearing healthcare and this is one battle that we can WIN!

Do you demo the benefits of better hearing to EVERY patient?

How about having an Experience Room for patients where they can experience the benefits of better hearing in various real world environments. My vision includes an experience room that rivals the Disney Experience. Patients who have lived with the gradual onset of hearing loss may have a difficult time understanding what it will be like to hear well again. Demonstrating the actual benefits of improved hearing can be a very effective way to convince a patient to do something about their problem.  In fact, including multi-media environments can be a possible way of actually evaluating a patient’s potential performance in the real world. 

Office décor is also an important part of the patient experience. 

“Shabby Chic” shouldn’t be a term that patients use to describe one of our offices. While funds may not be available to cover the cost of redecorating, the waiting room should look warm and inviting.   Simple, inexpensive changes like a fresh coat of paint, especially in a warm color, can brighten an office and give it a “fresh” look. 

Since many of our patients are elderly, plenty of parking spaces should be available and as close to the front door as possible. Try it yourself and see what it’s like for patient’s to actually get into the office from your parking lot. I make certain that employees don’t take the closest parking spaces. 

Have every creature comfort possible – comfortable furniture that patients can easily get out of, books about your community, and have assistive devices hooked up and ready to demonstrate.  Patients love treats such as flavored coffees, bottled water, popcorn, and freshly baked cookies or pastries. 

NOTE: SAPPHIRE MEMBERS: Log in to get your patient tracking sheet. (Easy to use & automatically calculates your numbers.)

Never minimize the importance of a good and friendly receptionist as he or she can make or break a relationship with a patient. Patients should be greeted by name within seconds of arriving. 

Waiting  is not conducive to a good patient experience. 

When a patient does have to wait, inform them of the anticipated wait time and give the option of rescheduling. I’ve found that patients usually don’t mind waiting for a professional they like and trust but being uninformed of the length of the delay can make a patient anxious and uneasy.

We have LOTS of hurdles to overcome these days in hearing healthcare. Focusing on the Patient Experience can be a fun and easy way to separate yourself from the competition.

I share additional information, resources, and tools that I use in my practice in the Sapphire Society membership area. I’d love to help you grow your practice. Join the Sapphire Society today!


What’s Your Dream?

As they said in the movie Pretty Woman, “What’s your dream?”

While this is real life and not a movie, dreams really do come true. But, they won’t come true unless you plan for them and Make them Come True! I’ve had the opportunity to review a lot of numbers recently, including my own. It can be an ugly task as reviewing numbers reveals the sometimes harsh or totally awesome reality of where a business is headed. But … there is No Other Way to know whether the business is headed in the right or wrong direction. 

It only takes a small change in cost of goods or increase in advertising or adding another staff member to change the bottom line of a business. 

I recall looking at invoices for Earmolds and seeing an increase in shipping costs that meant I wasn’t charging enough and was actually losing money on Earmolds.  It’s a small part of my business but I just hadn’t reviewed the invoices lately and enough small things add up to Big Things and will affect the Bottom Line

How often do you review your numbers?

How often do you review the basic numbers in YOUR business – cost of goods sold, returns for credit, Help Rate, calls converted to appts, cost of legal and professional services, supplies, aging accounts receivable, insurance write offs, ROI on marketing efforts? When is the last time you sat down with staff and reviewed their wage and job performance? Does your staff have goals that They Track and are they meeting those goals? 

I know you are thinking, “How can I possibly have time for one more thing?” 

Well, when it comes to business, you have to MAKE the time, or things Will Get Away From You and you will be working harder for less money. That is a fact! I have Been There and Done that Many Times! It is much easier to be able to Know than to Think you Know where the Business is Headed because once you know, you can take action, make changes and Do Something About Those Numbers! 

This is the Matrix I use to keep my business on track and in include your salary in the 30% for labor costs.

I know many business owners that are involved in a network and the network knows their numbers but the business owner doesn’t! It’s critical that YOU, the business owner, knows your own numbers. It may be time consuming, but it’s not rocket science. It’s just business. Once you get used to knowing and reviewing your numbers, it will get easier and I know it will help your business head in a New Direction! 

Don’t avoid a task that needs to be done. It will only get worse! Block out Two Hours This Week with No Interruptions and Just Do It! Know Your Story!  You will be so glad you did and you will sleep better knowing.  

Join my Sapphire Society and we can discuss your numbers.


Want to know the silver bullet in marketing?

One of my last blogs shared ideas on how to create a BUZZ about your business. I have found that word of mouth marketing is the most effective way to gain new patients.  I recently did some research in my practice and was surprised to discover that referrals from my patients accounted for almost 70% of our new business. When I dug a little further, I learned that the new business generated by patient referrals cost only 10% of what traditional marketing costs per new patient. When patients are satisfied, they will be happy to encourage others to come to you for their hearing healthcare. 

It’s also been my experience that if you want a Patient Referral Program to be successful, it has to be a very organized and intentional program. It’s not enough to tell your staff to “ask for referrals.”  That’s like commenting to a friend that you should get together sometime but sometime never comes. A successful program has very specific goals and outcomes that you track regularly to be successful. For instance, in my practice, we have determined exactly how many appointments from patient referrals that we need every week to reach our goal. 

We have printed cards with contact information of the practice and we ask patients to distribute them. These cards have a specific offer that has to be redeemed within no more than 30 days. We have found that having a time sensitive offer on the card gets the most positive results. The best time to hand out these cards is when a patient expresses their satisfaction with services provided.  I would suggest that the cards are an odd size – slightly larger than a business card – so the patient can’t just stick them away in their pocket or wallet and forget them. Each staff member is asked to put five referral cards in their pocket every morning with an expiration date one month out. Patients are usually happy to share the cards with others but they aren’t likely to tell others unless you specifically ask them to. We also mention the referral program in all of our social media posts, and once a quarter we send a mailing to our patients asking them to “share the joys of better hearing” by handing out the referral cards that are included with the mailing. 

Another way to spread the word about patient referrals is to have a button on your website encouraging visitors to refer a friend.  

Finally, don’t forget to follow up and let your patients know how much you truly appreciate their referrals. Send hand-written notes, make personal calls and give special gifts to patients who refer frequently. 

Happy to share all the components of my Patient Referral Program. Join my Sapphire Society and I will send you all the materials that we use. Simply replace my name and practice information with yours and you will have a program that is “ready to go.”  And… please follow me on Facebook for more ideas to grow your business. 


Digital Marketing is Where It’s At!!!

The internet has evolved into a one-stop shop for the majority of American consumers. Small businesses that are not using digital marketing need to understand the importance of it because digital marketing can help your business thrive in today’s extremely competitive market.

For many people digital marketing may seem confusing (Yeah, that includes ME) or intimidating, especially when it comes to using the right approach. Like I always say, “What you don’t know, you can learn or you can just steal it from the internet.”

But seriously, you don’t have to know what you are doing when it comes to digital marketing. You can view some YouTube videos on the subject and read some blogs to get started. The good thing is gaining some insight is not rocket science. Producing the right kind of content is an important part of effective small business digital marketing but success is all about content as content can make or your break a digital marketing campaign. 

So where do you start? How do you gain an audience for your message?

If you have advertised before, you must have some contacts that can help. Anyone in marketing today knows, or should know, how to get started in the digital mediums. Probably the easiest place to start is Facebook Advertising.  It works and it’s cheap in comparison to other types of traditional marketing. Sapphire Society Members have access to my basic tutorial on Facebook Advertising, and get an ad that garnered 161 leads!

SAPPHIRE SOCIETY MEMBERS: Make sure to log in and read the latest blog where I share great resources to help you digitally market your practice!

Another basic place to start is with your website. When is the last time you updated it? Do you have testimonials on your site? Is it easy to navigate?

Have each staff member review the website and ask a couple of patients to review it and give you their opinions. Then, take those opinions to heart and make the necessary changes. Your website is probably the first place someone goes to gain an impression of you and your business before they make an appointment. Make sure it’s a good one.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is important.

Run a Google search of hearing aids in your geographical area and see where your business falls on the list. It should be Number One and if not, a close second. If you have trouble finding your business on the list, spend some money to improve your SEO.

Online reviews are extremely important to the success of a business!

Think about where you gain your opinions of places to shop or where to go on vacation. Online reviews usually play a part in those decisions. According to Kevin St Clergy, owner of, one of the most important efforts in gaining a following on social media is to accumulate positive online reviews.  St Clergy contends that online reviews are an extraordinarily powerful marketing tool for local businesses. We have used St Clergy’s services and have been very successful in generating positive online reviews and via his program the reviews are automatically posted on all of our social media sites. You can contact St Clergy at Some office management software also include online reviews. Do some research and get started with these reviews today. They will make a difference!

Digital Marketing is Where It’s At!

The reality is that building a following via digital marketing takes time. I constantly ask my digital media guru how we can get more hits and he replies, “Give it time, Gyl.” No matter how good the content and the strategy, you won’t hit the top of the search results overnight. So the message is Don’t Give Up Too Soon

The potential for generating new business with the use of digital marketing is limitless. If you are really at a loss, I will be sharing great information regarding how to create your own videos and how to share them effectively in my Hands On Workshops at my DrGyl Meeting on Oct 17 and 18.

$995 per person. Bring your spouse for an extra $300.
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