Successfully running a healthcare practice is no easy task.

Janice Wheeler, the President and her team share their insights on what healthcare practice owners can do to help their business grow without sacrificing their work-life balance.

Whether you own a health care practice or just want to learn more about practice management, these are the podcasts for you!
Check our new podcasts out at the links below!

Ep 47 – Extreme Service

Ep 46 – Interview With Marc Nadeau: Human Resources Laws And Handling Legal Matters In Your Practice

Ep 45 – 6 Cool Things To Learn As A Boss

Ep 44 – The Definition of Insanity

Ep 43 – Are You feeling Overwhelmed?

Ep 42 – How To Waste Money On marketing Dollars

Ep 41 – The Overly Busy Practice

Ep 40 – Effective Ways to Control Your Stress

Ep 39 – How to Get in Trouble With Your Staff

Ep 38 – Why Bosses Get Cranky

Ep 37 – Life-Work Balance

Ep 36 – Stabilizing New Staff Members

Ep 35 – The Department Of First Impressions” Objection

Ep 34 – Handling The “I Can’t Afford It” Objection

Ep 33 – Getting To Know Your New Patients

Ep 32 – Bad Future Or Good Future

Ep 31 – How To Get More Patients Into Your Practice

Ep 30- Dealing With People in The Workplace Isn’t Always Easy

Ep 29 – Are you Losing Your Profit Margin?

Ep 28 – Building loyalty With Staff and Patients

Ep 27 – Bosses Vs. Leaders – Which one are you?

Ep 26 – How To Deal With Negative Feedback and Criticism


Ep 24 – 3 Golden Rules to Communicate Better and Avoid Arguments

Ep 23 – How to Have More Patience With Your Patients

Ep 22 – FIVE Seriously Good Hiring Questions

Ep 21 – Update, Renovate or Move Your Healthcare Practice?

Ep 20 – How To Deliver Exceptional Patient Experience

Ep 19 – Internal Marketing (IMAGE! IMAGE! IMAGE!)

Ep 18 – How To Be Graceful Under Pressure

Ep 17 – Marketing Tip: DIG DEEP!

Ep 16 – What You Ultimately Want For Your Practice

Ep 15 – Keeping Your Practice Alive

Ep 14 – Pandemic Survival Tool for Your Practice

Ep 13 – Side effects of covid-19 on your practice

Ep 12 – Good Boss, Bad Boss

Ep 11 – How To Be More Successful In Your Life

Ep 10 – Take control of your practice

Ep 9 – Patient Education (part 3)

Ep 8 – Patient Education (Part 2)

Ep 7 – Patient Education (Part 1)

Ep 6 – How To Increase Patient Referrals

Ep 5 – How to Increase Patient Numbers

Ep 4 – Job Descriptions

Ep 3 – A Calm Working Environment

Ep 2 – The Ideal Employee

Ep 1 – Formulating a Winning Team

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Keeping the Pandemic Out of Your Practice

As drastic measures and various stages of lockdown are occurring across Canada, it is challenging to get and keep your practice running at pre-Covid-19 levels.

While many practices have been experiencing highest ever metrics since June this year, about 25% are not back up to pre-Covid-19 numbers. Both, however, are struggling with similar issues such as staffing, hours, spacing patients out for distancing and therefore may be working longer hours to achieve the income levels required to keep the practice and owner viable, and so on.

Here are some effective solutions that the successful practices have been using to overcome some of the challenges:

1. The top of the list is to make sure that your profession’s regulations are completely up to and/or beyond the required standards of safety and necessary PPE. If your staff totally believe this is all in place in your practice, it will make it easier for them to be present themselves, and simultaneously it will enable them to pass that confidence on to the patients.

2. If you have staff who are reluctant about being at work, you need to find out what is making them uncomfortable and ask what solutions could be implemented to make it be safer. Do not offer danger pay or bonuses to show up as we (the whole planet) are all in this together and no one needs to be paid extra to go to work. Instead, praise the staff who have the upbeat attitude about being there and giving the patients of the practice the ideal care they deserve to have. The negative staff will soon catch on and start to view your patients’ care and health to be the overriding concern. That is the purpose of the practice.

3. When staff are speaking to patients, keep conversations upbeat and positive about all the great lengths you have gone to in order to ensure their safety while your team keeps the patient’s health and wellness as their primary concern. Make it sound fun and interesting and that they should come in and check it out for themselves.

4. If a patient is still reluctant to come in due to Covid-19, point out that your practice is safer than almost any place they could be. For instance, if they grocery shop, they are touching food and packaging that others before them have touched. If they pump gas into their care or take elevators or hold handrails when going up and down stairs, they are touching possible sources of Covid-19. In your practice however, the surfaces that they will be touching are all sterilized down after every patient to ensure everyone’s safety.

5. Publish a monthly newsletter to your patients of record with photos of the safety measures. Make it fun (not serious). Let’s say you are wearing masks and gowns or whatever, take pictures and you could even print off cute 8” X 10” signs saying, “Smile, I look cute” or “I’m smiling behind the mask”, etc. You can also include some good news about a patient or two and what amazing thing got handled at your practice; have a couple of cute jokes or a cartoon; feature a contest. Do not put out a boring blog type newsletter, you want it to inspire patients to come in and keep healthy.

6. If the front office staff are having difficulty with a patient coming in for service, you could say to the patient, “If I tell you a funny joke and it makes you smile, do you promise to make an appointment to come in?” Have a list of cute jokes that are “safe”. Most patients will respond positively to this unless they are extremely low toned.

7. As much as possible, turn conversations away from pandemic issues and talk about positive stories and good news.

8. Note to any areas of Canada that are in a pandemic lockdown yet your practice is allowed to be open, this is an IDEAL time for most patients to come in for their care as they are off work for the time being (unless they are essential care workers). Healthy bodies are vital right now and so getting the patients to keep on track with their care is especially important.

While there are many more possible successful actions, these are a few to start you off. We would love it if you have successful actions to send us an email with them and we’ll publish them. We are all in this together!

Are You Too Young for an Exit Strategy?

There are days, I am sure, when you would like to just exit stage left and walk away from your practice, right?  Especially this year of Covid-19 with all the difficulties, rules, regulations and so on associated with it.   And some healthcare professionals did just that… locked the door and quit cold turkey.

However, most of the rest of us are bravely sticking things out and doing our best to hold everything together and adopt and adapt to new ways of doing things!

Some sample questions we get asked are:

  1. When should I start planning for retirement?
  2. Can I stop working 5 days per week and go down to 2 without cutting my income – a semi exit strategy?
  3. Should I sell my practice and just be the associate for the rest of my career?

These are good questions, and here are some answers:

Partial Retirement

Let’s take Question #2 first because this can be done at any stage of your practice ownership.  I will answer by way of a case study of one of our clients:

One of our dental clients (call her Susan) had 3 children under 5 years old and desperately wanted to cut back her working days from 5 to down to 2 days per week so she could be with her children.  Obviously, her income needed to stay where it was or better at the same time.  She asked me this and I told her we can help her do that, but that she would need a half day for management time also.

We got her busier and further booked out in her schedule within a couple of months, then found an associate for 2 days per week, which meant she could cut out one of her days and not lose income after paying the associate 40% of his billings.

Then, with more marketing internally and externally, we created enough patient base to need a second associate.  His hours enabled her to cut out 2 more days!  All of that took only 6 months and voila – she worked 2 days per week (plus a half day for management) and was with her cutey pies the rest of the week.  Happy camper who did not need to do a complete exit from her practice!  The best of both worlds.

When should you start planning for retirement?

Our senior consultant’s answer:  YESTERDAY!  You start with making appropriate investments and tucking away as much as you can.  And if you are not making enough to do that, you need to get some help to get your practice making more profit so you can.

We usually recommend you start making retirement plans for 2 to 5 years before your desired departure date.  It may take a while to find the right associate and groove them in until they are sufficiently productive that they become the eventual purchaser of your practice.  You must allow for the fact that your first try at finding the right associate may not be successful.  There is a correct way to bring in an associate who may be your eventual buyer and how to keep them from deserting the ship before than happens.  If you contact us, we can walk you through this system.

Skip to the End

As an alternative, you may choose to skip the associate route and just advertise your practice for sale a couple of years ahead of your retirement date as it can take some time to find a buyer and also to do the requisite paperwork of selling.  This allows you the option of leaving cold turkey or staying on as a part time associate if the new owner wants you to.

The third scenario:  Should I sell my practice and just be the associate for the rest of my career?  This is an excellent question and there is no cut and dried answer.  How long is “the rest of your career?”  If you are planning to be “out of there” within 2 years, will the profit from sale (coupled with savings and investments you may already have) be enough for you to live on comfortably for the next few decades?

Who’s the Boss?

The next question is:  Can you see yourself working under and for a different boss who may not be as astute as you were at running your practice?  We have seen this go both ways:  it all worked out beautifully and everybody’s comfortable; and we have seen the seller within three months climbing the walls in frustration and who then wants to take off right away but can’t because they’re on contract.  A trial period might be a good paragraph to have in any such agreement.  A prenup agreement, you might say.

In Summary

The world is your oyster and you can have almost any outcome as long as you do the proper planning for it and know what you want and where your end game to be.

Contact us to help with your future plans.

Start 2021 Strong NOW!

2020 has been the craziest year ever for most of us and here we are in November and we just want it over, right?  We are now looking at making 2021 an awesome year despite anything and everything! That preparation needs to start now if you want a “hot” new year starting with January 2021.

“Logical Explanations” for Stats Down

A large percentage of the 1,800 practice owners we have consulted over the last 31 years have experienced slow Januarys and Februarys and wondered why.  They usually came up with seemingly “logical explanations” such as “snowbirds exiting south”, “people spent a lot over Christmas and are now economizing,” “patients are cocooning in January and February because it’s too cold to go out,” etc.  The funny thing is that none of those reasons did anything to improve January and February.

However, almost 100% of the time when we did an analysis of the practice’s stats, it came down to an entirely different reason for the January and February slump, and it is something that you can easily fix.

The Real Reason

Basically, many of those practices are so busy in November and December with last minute insurance patients booking in and Christmas shopping and parties and closing for the holidays that certain key actions of the practice went on the back burner.  This may not seem to be a “big deal” as financially the income is often very high for those last two months of the year.

Here’s the real problem however:  There is a known fact that when you do promotion and marketing, the bulk of the financial return is seen usually 5-6 weeks later.  The corollary is that when you drop out marketing, you will see a financial slump 6 weeks later.

And guess what, if you are too busy to promote in November and December, your January and February are going to pay the price.  It is too late to start in January to make January awesome as promotion takes a few weeks to totally “bite” and start filling up your practice.

Consistent Marketing

To not see a slump in your stats in January, you therefore need to keep your promotion and marketing efforts going constantly, consistently and always.   Letting it drop out means a drop in income later on.

Promotional Actions

Successful practices often have a “hot” January Special Offer that can be promoted – especially to patients or clients who are inactive and need to be encouraged to come back into the practice for the care they should be having from you.  There can be a Special for patients who refer a new patient or client to you.  January has a month-long holiday called “Self Love Month” and you can plan promotion of that through blog posts, sales, social media posts, contests, and more.  There are many special “holiday days” throughout the month that you could use for special promotions also.

Do It Now

The most important point is that it is vital to start promoting this now for January so you are fully booked by the time you get there.

And then you will be off to a great start to an awesome 2021!