The Business Room Blog

Great ideas for small businesses.

Jump-Start Your Practice With These 10 Marketing Strategies

Energize Your Practice By Using These 10 Marketing Tactics

 

Marketing

Marketing

Marketing is often misunderstood as just a way to attract new customers. However, marketing is any activity that steers your practice in an intended direction including increasing revenue, introducing new services, recruiting new providers and even combating negative publicity.

Some components of “Good practice” marketing include strategic planning, insurance plan contracting, patient relations, recall systems, practice hours and more.

This short, comprehensive guide based on “good practice” marketing will help steer your ophthalmology practice in its intended direction.

Employ a Written One Year and Five Year Marketing Plan

The most essential part of a marketing plan is the goal, because it is the base from which all decisions are made. Therefore, your goals should be the first step of the process. Generally, practices with a plan in place tend to perform better than those without a plan. Begin with your five year goals, since your one year goals will be incorporated in the process.

 

Marketing Plan

Marketing Plan

Your five year goals should be strategic and broad in scope. They should be written so they are clear, specific and measurable. Your goals should be challenging, yet attainable, and time sensitive. Be sure your goals are specific to your market, experience and demographics. For example, a mature practice in an urban area will have different goals then a novice practice in a rural area.

Determining Goals

Determining Goals

When determining your goals, consider factors such as:

  • Budget (typically 3%-8%)
  • Market assessments (economy and demographics etc.)
  • Competition assessments (reputation, experience, location etc.)
  • Target market (location, diagnosis, insurance coverage etc.)
  • Target desires (affability, availability etc.)
  • Self-assessment (ability, availability etc.)
  • Calendar of implementation (pacing, seasonality etc.)
  • Execute (involve staff, implement the plan etc.)
  • Reviews and adjustments (assess results monthly, adjust accordingly)

Limit your goals to no more than five, which will make it easier to craft strong, detailed goals. You should evaluate your goals after each year, then amend them for next year’s goals. Your new goals should be based on whether or not you were able to achieve this year’s goals.

Quality Improvement

Quality Improvement

Make an Oath to Quality

Extraordinary service increases patient retention and referrals, which reduces marketing expenses. Incorporate extraordinary experiences you have encountered at other businesses into your practice. For example, how were patient tardiness and billing disputes that were not the patient’s fault, resolved?

Fine Tune Your Recall System

Too often, second LASIK or second cataract surgeries are missed as a result of scheduling issues and passive recall systems. Audit 20 charts per day for clinical recall requirements. If a large number of charts fail compliance, audit the final three to five years of charts over the course of six months. Call and schedule patients who are not in compliance.

 

Convenience for Customer

Convenience for Customer

Demonstrate Convenience

Successful practices understand that their patients are busy, so they pride themselves on providing easy scheduling, prompt service and friendly interaction, which is important for patient retention and new referrals.

Successful practices:

  • Address patients by name
  • See referrals and new patients as soon as possible
  • See patients on time
  • Make an effort to interact with patients

 

Advertise

Advertise

Display Your Name Anywhere Potential Customers Would Look

To make your name stand out in customer’s minds, it should be displayed in various publications. This includes the local phone book, Ophthalmic directories, physician listing services, and free standing office signs etc. Likewise, include your name, address, telephone number and web address on all documents given to customers.

Interact with the Public

One of the most successful marketing techniques is networking with others. Encourage your Ophthalmologist to meet and network with various people. Nurses, medical assistants, Health-food store owners, Pharmacists, physical therapists and hair dressers etc. all know someone who is in need of an Ophthalmologist, and they are most likely to refer them to someone they are familiar with and like.

Medical Website template

Medical Website template

Have a Local Webpage

General Ophthalmologists typically only serve their local community, so it would be a waste of marketing to advertise your practice to new customers searching for a local Ophthalmologist in a different region. Build your webpage so that it reflects the office environment and educational material that pertains to your specific region. Be sure to include your web address on all patient material.

Update Your Sign

After some time, the free-standing sign in front of your practice becomes invisible to those who view it on a regular basis. Changing the shape, size and color of the sign will attract more attention.

 

Optometrists

Optometrists

Consider Whether to Employ or Market-to Opticians and Optometrists

Opticians and Optometrists prefer to refer patients to Ophthalmologists sans an on-site dispensary and who do not employ Opticians and Optometrists. These Ophthalmologists earn approximately $50,000 a year per employed Optometrist. Review your marketing plan as well as your situation to determine if this is the best option for you.

Limit Your Insurance Plans

By limiting your practice to better paying contracts, your doctors can see fewer patients for the same income, which will allow them to spend more time with each patient. Drop one plan at a time until you reach a comfortable patient-load and income.

We appreciate you reading this post. If you have comments, please post them below. If you need cms 1500 version 02/12 form to file insurance claims, head over to Justcms1500forms.com. They lead the market when it comes to offering cms 1500 02/12 forms. If your practice is up to speed with technology, they offer industry-leading software too.

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Look out for my next article soon.

Avoid The Following Expense-Tracking Problems This Season

Avoid These Expense-Tracking Pitfalls This Tax Season

 

Paying taxes are an inevitable part of running your business, and no business owner wants to pay more than necessary to the IRS in taxes at the end of a busy year. As a business owner, you may be well aware that the Internal Revenue Service permits you to write-off or deduct a wide range of expenses that your business pays for each year but that you will need to be able to provide proof of your expenses in the event that you are audited.

IRS

IRS

 

There are benefits to you to track your expenses and to mine for deductions that could ultimately save you a small fortune on your tax bill when the tax payment deadline rolls around, and you can streamline your expense tracking efforts by following a few simple tips.

Complete Your Mileage Log As You Go

It can be difficult to get into the habit of tracking your business miles traveled, but the fact is that the mileage deduction may be a large deduction for many businesses. Completing a mileage log is actually rather simple, but some people fail to do so out of forgetfulness or general neglect. You first will need to invest in a mileage log book if you do not already have one. Then, keep your mileage log book in a place in your vehicle where you will inevitably see it when you turn your vehicle on and off.

Travel Mileage

Travel Mileage

 

For example, you may have a small storage nook next to your gear shift. When you place your mileage log book in a visible location, you will more easily remember to complete the required entries. Remember to include data about the date, the number of miles traveled and the reason for the trip. This will make it easy for you to tally about your mileage deduction and less tedious if you do get audited.

Keep Your Business Receipts

If you are like most business owners, you may easily rack up business-related purchases for everything from meals with clients to postage and extra envelopes. In fact, you may make numerous business-related purchases each week. By the end of the year, you inevitably will have a stack of receipts to sort through. While it can seem onerous to sort through the receipts, it can be detrimental to not have the receipts at all. Without the receipts, you generally may not be able to write-off expenses.

Business Receipts

Business Receipts

 

There are some exceptions to this. For example, some transactions that have a dollar amount under $75 are not required to be tracked. There are exceptions to this, so it is best to err on the side of caution and to retain all business receipts. You may also take the extra step and sort through those receipts by creating a filing system. By sorting them as you go, you will decrease your burden when you prepare your taxes.

Write the Business Purpose for All Expenses

Each expense that you deduct for business purposes should actually have a related business purpose tied to it. Some expenses may seem rather obvious. For example, if you purchased toner at a toner supply store, obviously this is toner for a business printer. However, if you are deducting a meal at a local restaurant, you may need to write the name of the business client who you ate lunch with.

Each deductible expense must be documented as a business expense, or it will not be eligible. If you simply take a minute to write the business purpose on the receipt as you make a purchase, you will not need to spend the time to backtrack later when you are preparing your tax returns. This can also hedge off issues with fuzzy memories that may result in your inability to count the deduction in your favor.

Expenses

Expenses

 

Complete a Periodic Audit of Your Deductions and Records

Even a small business or an independent consultant can make several business-related purchases over the course of a week. Because of this, you can easily lose track of your expenses, misplace receipts and otherwise forget about deductions that may be used to offset your tax liability at the end of the year. A great habit to get into is to complete a periodic audit of your deductions and records so that you can update your records while your expenses and purchases are still at the front of your mind.

Tax Deductions

Tax Deductions

 

Depending how large and busy your company is as well as how great your memory is, this may be beneficial to complete every few days, every week or at the end of the tax year. In fact, this step may only take a few minutes of your time, but it may help you to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars in some cases on your taxes.

Whether you have a smaller business or a larger company, you certainly want to make every effort to lower your tax liability. While the IRS does allow you to deduct many expenses, the fact is that you can only legally deduct expenses if you can prove that they are for business-related purposes.

Tracking and storing this documentation can be burdensome and time-consuming, and many business owners often leave some deductions unclaimed simply because of poor tracking and receipt management efforts. When you follow some of these tips on a regular basis, you may be able to maximize your deductions while also decreasing your tax liability each year.

On the topic of documentation, consider simplifying your tax filings this season. When you’ve got to file 1099 online – or W-2 forms – for several employees and contractors, it can become time-consuming. A simple solution is to find an e-file service that handles your e-filing, the printing and the delivery as well. Visit www.eFile4Biz.com to see what the industry expects from a provider where you can safely efile 1099 forms.  You can also view their explainer video below for more information.

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Good luck this tax season!