When you first launch your business, you’re excited. You pull extra hours, go the extra mile and win your patient’s loyalty. Having happy patients is very satisfying. As your business grows, that feeling of satisfaction will convince you to put in even more hours. It’s easy to work when things are going well, and you may not notice the long hours at first. Or maybe you think it’ll pay off and one day you can stop.
But eventually, your business will outgrow this model. It’s not sustainable and your patients will suffer.
How? If you’re exhausted from trying to run your business, it can affect your ability to provide the best care. It’s a simple fact that when we’re tired, we often don’t give 100%. While hard work is important, it’s necessary to take care of yourself as you run your business.
There's another reason this attitude toward work is unsustainable. While patient loyalty is usually great for business, it can become a problem. Why? You may find yourself wanting to take on another person to help you manage your patient list. It's often necessary to have the capacity to help new clients as your business grows. But you have an issue if your patients refuse to see the person you’ve hired. This refusal can be a result of building into your business the idea that only you can provide the level of care patient's have come to expect. That idea you had of one day being able to take a step back? It may no longer be as easy.
Your patients may become frustrated because you’re not available to see them. Working too hard can create a fusion between your business, and your identity. It’s exciting to have a new business. But it’s important for the sake of your patients that you make the business able to function, without you there.
We all need to take a sick day or holiday every now and again, and your business should be able to cope with this.
Put the strategies in place and build your business with focus. This means thinking strategically about how your business, not you personally, can help patients. Don’t work too hard, and give yourself time that is separate from work. Holidays, weekends and other breaks are important. Maintain a vision of your business that is separate from you personally. This can prevent burn out and help your patients receive a level of care that is consistently excellent.
Has your business been running for a little while? If you answered yes, you’ve likely discovered that there’s a difference between what your business does and how it functions. What it does is the services you offer, the care you provide. The way it functions is everything else. Learning this difference is a steep learning curve.
One strategy that is used by many small businesses is to hire someone. This person they envision to do the aspects of running the business, that they don’t understand or don’t want to do.
Otherwise known as, the leap to have a first employee.
You're moving from the first baby steps of your business. To have a more managerial role where you oversee someone. You move from doing everything yourself, to have a little more time on your hands. This is a big step and an exciting one.
Feeling giddy at the idea of returning to what you love doing? Love the idea of being unencumbered by the responsibilities you loathe? Maybe you’ll be able to have shorter workdays or take the weekend off.
It sounds good, right?
And it can be fantastic. Knowing you can’t do it alone is a sign that your business is growing. But as you start to ask for help, and sign on your first employee - be sure that you’re delegating not abdicating. Don’t expect your employee to be the boss. It can be easy to start handing over more and more responsibilities to the person you’ve hired. It’s tempting to run and leave the functioning aspects of your business to someone else. But you can’t leave. This is your business, after all.
You need to have a strategic plan to continue to grow your business. So if your employee leaves, there’s not a void that you need to step into. Staying plugged into your business ensures that you’re aware of how your business is running. And that you’re still steering the direction it’s heading.
You don’t want to look up from your patient files one day to discover that your employee has resigned. Then you’re back to doing everything yourself. Consider and build a sustainable model of business that grows. Without you needing to doing everything yourself, or run away.
Are you starting to feel like your business is at your limits? Maybe you feel like you just don’t have enough time or resources to do all the tasks you need to do. Feel stretched thin between supervising your employees and having trouble keeping everything organized? You might even feel as though you’re losing focus. Or struggling to maintain the business vision across your team?
If that’s the case, it’s probable that you’re butting up against your business comfort zone. You’ve reached the limits of your knowledge, resources, energies or vision. So what now?
When you reach your limits, the next stage isn’t assumed. You could try and press on, and exhaust yourself (and eventually burn out needing to close up business). This often is where you might find yourself caught in a loop of hiring and rehiring staff members. But your team needs you to have a strategy for business, if they’re going to give their best work. People are motivated by a vision, and feeling like the boss has a plan is reassuring. If your employees feel as though they’re confused about where you’d like the business to go, or are being given too many responsibilities the cycle may keep on going. Pressing on with a business model like this can be exhausting. Many business owners give up after a while when it feels too much like a grind.
Alternatively, you could backslide. You decide it was easier when you didn’t have a big team. You downsize and end up back where you started. Just you and your skills, doing everything yourself. But that doesn’t solve your problem, because you still haven’t equipped yourself to do the things your employee handled for you. Perhaps you forgot how exhausting it was, juggling all the business aspects. But you’ll soon remember. The likelihood of businesses that downsize surviving is small.
But there is a third option. If you’re able to equip yourself to go beyond your comforts, your business may become a more sustainable and mature company. How? It’s important to remember that we can learn from other businesses. Successful businesses have started with a good understanding of where they are now. And what it will take to get them where they want to be.
Starting out with a strategy in mind gives you an advantage when it comes to reaching your endgame.
But what if you’ve already started? It won’t be easy, but it’s not too late. Dedicate yourself to shifting your perspective. Gain the knowledge that will set yourself up better in business for the future.
Take the time to develop a plan. Take stock of your resources and allow yourself to envision where you’d like your business to be. Then think about what it will take to get there.
Going through this process is important. It allows you to know what the next step is when you begin to feel your business growing. Maintain your focus and lower your stress with a solid strategy for growth. Talk to people who have businesses that are where you’d like to be and consider how they got there. Focus particularly on sustainable models of business. Where owners aren’t burnt out or considering leaving as this could be a sign that they’re implementing poor business strategies.
Sometimes, being in business can be hard. Actually, a lot of the time it can be hard. This is especially the case if you started out excited and enthusiastic. You might have poured time and energy into a business. You gave it your all, and haven’t had much return.
Sure, maybe there was a brief spurt and you were able to have a few employees. But for whatever reason, that didn’t work out either. Now you’re back to where you started, without the success you used to dream about, and with a whole lot of work instead.
This is often seen in business. When things don’t work out, it’s discouraging. The vision that once motivated us is gone and we can easily find ourselves regretting going into business.
Whether you woke up today and realised you just don’t want to go into your business anymore, or you’ve been feeling this way for a while. It’s disheartening. So what do you do?
After all, the patients still need seeing and if it’s not you — there are no other employees to see them now. And if you don’t show up, you don’t get paid. You own a job, not a business, in this situation. It’s not the freedom you once thought you’d have ‘being the boss’. The E-Myth Revisited calls this, ‘the tyranny of routine’. Most people who take this route end up slowly losing passion and interest, until eventually, they close their doors.
You can grow until you bust.
Or maybe downsizing and monotony wasn’t the issue. Maybe you were so busy, seeing patients, networking and attending conferences and enlisting new clients that you ‘went til bust’. You didn’t have the mindset to keep your business growth because you weren’t looking ahead enough. You didn’t see the rise in technology or online bookings that other businesses were using, or didn’t listen to complaints about the wait times, and now your patient base is dwindling. That can be just as disheartening. Often the response is to pass the blame to someone else, who’s job it supposedly was to keep an eye out for those things. But this is your business. You need the strategy.
You can force your business on
This way often doesn’t lead to making many friends. You grit your teeth and try as hard as you can to keep going. You don’t adapt, you just press on with what you’ve been doing. You’ll likely burn out and your business will fold when you do.
So what do I do?
Reassess what you’ve been doing. Make a plan and prepare to change your mindset. If you want your business to succeed, it’s going to take a lot of relearning. Especially if you’re at the point where you don’t even know if you can be bothered to try and grow your business.
Take heart. It’s possible to reset and have another go. The second time around you have the knowledge and experience of what didn’t work the first time around. Acknowledging that things aren’t working is the first step. And if you’re reading this article, that means your mindset is already shifting to learn about more strategic (and successful) options for business functioning.
There is a business growth strategy that has gained popularity in recent years. It’s been most prevalent in technology businesses, but that doesn’t mean that healthcare businesses are exempt. Going for Broke, while perhaps initially feeling less dramatic than other strategies for business, is still dangerous.
In this strategy, business owners are so focused on accelerating their growth through their services or products that their businesses often fail as a result of their own momentum. There’s often a little too much reliance on ‘it’ll all work out’ and, ‘we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it’.
But reliance on luck and chance usually doesn’t pan out long term. These businesses thrive on trends but lack the foresight to be long-lasting. That means that eventually when a more well thought out business arises - things dissolve into chaos pretty quickly. There is always competition, and while it may feel like there’s a rush to get your doors open and patients coming in, it needs to be tempered with strategy.
These businesses are focused on service, or products too much. They haven’t established enough of the business functionings to having staying power. These businesses serve to remind us that it’s important to ask questions about the operations of your business.
People with a business ‘Going for Broke’ often seem to claim that the closure of the business is just a result of doing business in their field. They’re passionate and excited, but don’t realise that many of the pitfalls may have been avoided. Longer-term business strategies look at ways to be more sustainable and therefore are more financially viable over time.
Are you going for broke with your business?
IBM is one of the most well-known technology companies the world over. Its success has been envied by many tech-startups. But it's success hasn’t been in a stroke of luck but a strategic method of business.
What did Tom Watson, the founder of IBM do, to make his company successful?
He built it with an end vision in mind. When speaking about the company Watson would say he had a clear picture in his mind. A picture of what the company would look like when he was done.
Once he had that picture, he asked ‘how would a company that looked like that, act?’
IBM acted like that company from the very beginning.
They continued to reflect on how they were doing with acting in line with their vision, on an ongoing basis.
When it’s broken down like this, we can see some clear strategy at play here. IBM had a vision of how they wanted their company to be. Then they thought about how they’d act if they were like that. Then they decided to act that way from day one.
IBM didn’t wait for 'one day' to start conducting themselves like the business they wanted to be. No, they acted as if they were already in that place already. They set up operations and business with their ultimate business ideals in mind. They kept reflecting, considering how they had done that day and how they could improve to be closer to their ideal.
So what can we learn for our own businesses?
These are all questions that are important to ask about your business. Particularly as you’re starting out. Know your answers to these and other vision questions. It will help you keep your focus as you build your business. If you don’t have direction, you can quickly lose that first spark of enthusiasm.
1. Be strategic in how your business operates.
Don’t just as ‘what work is there to do?’ but ask, ‘How must the business work?’. Think about how businesses you admire function. What elements of how they look, act and how they fulfill their function, would you want to adopt?
It can be easy at this stage to become disheartened by your level of resources. As a small business, your funds or people power might be much more limited than the companies you admire.
But that doesn’t mean you should write these things off. Your business attitude, culture and many other factors of operation can be shifted to be in line with your vision, for a low financial investment. It may take some creativity in the early days, but it’s possible.
2. Start as you mean to finish.
Waiting for ‘someday’ to act like this business you want to be, won’t get you far. You’ll likely never be ready 100% to act in line with your vision. But the desire to do so, and acting on it, is important.
Maybe you’re feeling like your business is too small to ask for referrals. Like you haven’t been around long enough to put yourself out there and ask for speaking opportunities or attend networking events. Worried about other more experienced, or younger practitioners dismissing you?
Don’t limit yourself unnecessarily. Stretch your comfort zone. There’s a reason ‘fake it until you make it’ is popular. Sometimes, the only one who limits yourself, is you. Imposter syndrome is real and frightening. But you don’t have to let it hamper the way your business acts. Be bold and act the way you know the business of your dreams would. You might not always make it, but you’ll be closer than if you didn’t try at all.
3. Business owners need to reflect.
Like we said above, you won’t always make it. But IBM considered how they could do better next time. You should to. What’s the difference between how your business is acting now, and how they’d act if you were in the place you’ve been dreaming of? What can you do to shorten the distance between the two.
A successful business is a process. It’s reflecting regularly and taking intentional steps toward your vision.
As Tom Watson puts it:
“Every day at IBM was a day devoted to business development, not doing business. We didn’t do business at IBM, we built one.”
You may be familiar with many revolutions (Russian, French, Industrial). The turn-key revolution is one you likely haven’t heard of. But you’ve probably heard of one of the businesses that are responsible for it. McDonalds.
Wondering what on earth McDonalds has to teach us about operating your business? Actually quite a bit. Hear us out.
McDonalds wasn’t the first to franchise, but they did so in a way that was different to what had been standard. In other franchise operations, businesses would lend their name and products to a small business. That was generally the extent of their involvement in the start-up franchise.
Where McDonalds was different. They did more than that. They lent not only their name, and products but their efficient systems of operation. There’s a reason that you can walk into a McDonalds anywhere in the world and eat a burger that’s the same as you’d have in your local Maccas.
With the turn-key model, a small business owner is equipped with the tried and tested method. This model had resulted in the success of the first McDonalds store. Business owners who signed on to own a McDonalds franchise had everything they needed to ‘turn the key’ and be successful.
This emphasis placed on operations is vital to the success of the McDonalds empire. They knew that the true success of the business wasn’t in the products they were selling. But in the business model itself. This is a model that focuses on having excellent systems in place.
Wellshare turn-key model
At Wellshare, we agree that ensuring business systems are well set up is vital to success.
Having good business systems and strategy in place saves stress, time and money. We’ve focused on not just offering rooms for hire. We help to equip small business owners with the tools and knowledge they need to grow their business.
With a Wellshare room, you have everything you need to start up your business from day one. Our rooms are available in a range of sizes. They come equipped with furnishings and material to start right away.
But more than just offering a room, we have a dedicated team of entrepreneurs and professionals. They're available for training and discussions of how you can level up your business. This is turn-key, but tailored to your specific business needs.
We run training sessions and networking events. We offer extra services in marketing and administrative support. We’ll not only do the work for you, we’ll teach you how to do it for yourself.
Struggling with marketing? Bookings? Or a financial strategy? We have a network that will be able to help you set up systems in your business that will support your growth. Our team are always happy to consult with you. They can answer any questions you may have about how to run a business that excels.
Will my business be a franchise of Wellshare?
No. It’s your name on the door, not ours. We’re passionate about seeing health and wellness professionals own their businesses and succeed. We can help with behind the scenes of setting your business up to be efficient and effective. But it’s 100% your business.
Aside from your flat rate-rent, everything you earn is yours. Unlike a franchise, we don’t collect any extra fees for being a part of the Wellshare community.
We offer the advantages of turn-key (strong business strategies) without the lack of autonomy that comes with a franchise. This is your business, and we want to see you succeed.
Many healthcare professionals appreciate Wellshare's expertise in guiding small business growth. We’ve been on the other side of owning our own businesses and know how hard it is.
Let us help you set up the systems (and room) for your business to flourish.
Book a tour of Wellshare today.
McDonalds is one of the most successful small businesses in the world. Started by two brothers, the business has now grown to be worth billions of dollars. (https://www.macrotrends.net/ stocks/charts/MCD/mcdonalds/net-worth) What can we learn as health practitioners, from this business giant?
1. Set up strong business systems
One of key factors contributing to McDonald’s success is their emphasis on business operations. From the very earliest days, they found the most efficient methods for business. We should aim to do the same.
Strong systems in your business saves you money, time and energy. It allows you to grow your business on a solid foundation. And when it eventually comes time to move on, your business is worth more if you’re able to sell the way you do business to the prospective buyer, not just what you do. That’s the key to McDonald’s franchises.
Consider if there are systems you need to improve in your business
2. Where do you place your value?
McDonalds has shifted the narrative when it comes to value in business. Traditionally, the value would be seen in the product or service you provide. For Mcdonalds, this would be in their food. For you, it might be in your therapy sessions or another healthcare service.
But McDonalds doesn’t ultimately place their business value in their food. It’s in the model they use for their business. A business model able to function separately from the skills of individual people. They’ve created a model that is able to be started anywhere in the world, by anyone.
Does your business fall to pieces when you go on holiday? Or no one else knows how to use the HICAPS terminal? It’s probably time to look at your business model. Your business should be able to function well, without you.
If this is the case, you the risk of becoming too essential to the operations of the business. What happens if you get sick, or need to take a holiday? It’s unsustainable and you’ll likely burn out if the business model stays as it is.
Instead, learn what you need to and make changes. Ensure your business functions, regardless of if you are there. When your business runs this way, you can enjoy greater freedom and likely more business growth.
For various reasons, the time will come in the future when it’s time to move on from your business. Or it might be that you’ve outgrown your current client list and are looking to expand. Do you know where the true value in your business lies? It may not be where you think.
Focus your attention on selling the business not your skills as a practitioner. Attract buyers by remembering that what you’re selling is your business, not you.
For a business to be a great product, you should understand what potential buyers are looking for.
Most buyers want to know, does the business work. A business needs to be foolproof and predictable. Buyers often want a business where anyone can step in and pick up where the seller left off.
McDonalds is a great example of this. They’ve made their business systems so strong that they’re able to be replicated across the world. They know that when it comes to selling a business, true value is in making sure it functions the best it can, for anyone.
Some aspects of business value are hard to define. Such as what your personal relationship to clients brings. Other areas of business are in some ways, more financially vital to success. That’s not to say your skill set and rapport with clients isn’t important. But it should not be at the heart your business’s operating model.
Ideally, your business should be able to function without you there. This shows that the business is strong in it’s own right, separate from you.
This is important to buyers because when they buy your business, you most likely won’t be there.
Think about how your business functions currently. You should be able to show that you have systems in place. Systems that will maintain the operations of the business, even with a change of hands.
When was the last time you were able to go on holiday?
Are all your processes and systems orderly and well documented?
If the answer was never, or your books are a shambles, it’s worth considering what systems you can put in place to rectify this. Even if you’re not thinking of selling right now, this will put you in a good position down the track.
Take the time to consider how you may need to re-engineer some aspects of your business. Do you need an online booking system that is easier or more efficient to use? Are your financial books in order? Do you have a routine marketing strategy?
Focus on the areas of your business that are separate to your skills as a practitioner. It may seem strange doing this, especially if the doing of your job is what you are most passionate about. Most people prospective buyers business interest lies in how well your business functions. Not your individual skill set. Look for areas where you can improve efficiency, and prove that this has been effective.
Doing this can make all the difference when it comes to the sale of your business. It builds confidence your buyer’s ability to head up the business in your place.
Competition can be tough. And the hard truth is that there are a lot of health and wellness businesses out there. Make the decision easy for your prospective buyers by making your business stand out. You can do that by demonstrating that the systems and operations you’ve put in place work, and will keep doing so. Even when you're gone.
Let’s start this post with some truth, which may or may not feel radical for you. Your business is not your life.
Maybe it feels like it is. You spend long hours either with patients, or tapping away on a laptop managing the books. You’re tired and sometimes it feels like all you do is work. Or maybe you’re on the reverse side of this coin. Your business excites you and you’re passionate about it so the hours don’t feel like an issue. You like to be in every part of the business, and control is something that’s sometimes hard to let go of. Your business is your baby, and you love it.
Let’s say it again. Your business is your life. Your business is not your baby.
To have sustainable success in small business, understanding those truths is key. Your life and business are two separate things. It can be hard to remember this when you’re busy, but take the time to remind yourself now.
Your personal self-worth is not determined by business success or failure. Business is hard and filled with ups and downs. Linking yourself too closely with your business isn’t healthy and sets yourself up for a lot of angst. You do not exist, to serve your business. Your business has the purpose to serve you and your clients.
So how do we make this shift, to working on our business, rather than in it?
Try to think of the business as a separate entity from yourself. This mindset can help you focus on the details that will make it work for you. Don’t think of it as a job, but place yourself back in control of your business. It exists, for you not the other way around.
There are also a few questions you might like to ask yourself. This will help to make the distinction between yourself and your business.
You may find that you don’t know the answers to these questions. And that’s okay. By asking them you’re beginning to realise that you need to be willing to adjust your view on your business. Remain objective when considering what changes you may need to make. Discover the gaps in your business learning and work toward fixing them. So that you have answers to the above questions, and can see your business as separate to you.
Once you’ve identified these areas, commit to finding out what you need to do to fill in the gaps. Maybe it’s enrolling in a course, or discussing with a business advisor. Remember that your business is not just a job that you’ve created for yourself. It’s a separate entity that should be able to achieve success with or without you.
It can be hard to let go of your business as encompassing so much of your identity, but it’s necessary. By doing so, you’ll gain the freedom that you were likely seeking when you first started your business.