Last week I was watching Criminal Minds on TV and it suddenly struck me how running a business is kind of like working for the FBI.
You must come to accept that to win in business, you have to develop the service you deliver on what the customer wants, rather than pushing onto the market the type of service that you want to sell.
Check your ego at the door and you'll win this game.
Instead focus on creating a profile of the decision-making unit, not just the customer. The end user is the individual who will actually use your service. But we all know that the end-user is not always the driver of the decision to use your service. Sometimes it might be a spouse or a friend, sick and tired of hearing about a certain complaint that finally pushes the end-user to do something about their problem.
The decision-making unit is the group of people who actually decides whether the customer will buy your service. There are three types of decision-making units:
You want to build a profile of the end user that is specific enough calculate the Total Addressable Market size of your beachhead market. Your focus will be on the end user, because if the end user does not want your service, you won't have a business.
Your goal is to create a description of a narrowly defined subset of end users with similar characteristics and with similar needs. You do not want to spend your time and resources trying to be everything to everybody.
You can break down individuals based on demographic and/or psychographic features. Some potential characteristics to include in your end user profile are gender, age range, income range, geographic location, what motivates them, what they fear most, who is their hero, what they read, and the general reason they are buying this service.
If you don't have someone from the demographic already as a client, then you need to find one.
Your analysis of your target customer is nowhere near complete, but the End User Profile points you in the right direction for further steps.
If your next step is to find a room for rent then let us know :)
If you try and be everything to everyone, you'll end up being nothing to no-one.
For most health professionals, this advice is hard to accept. We are naturally geared to try and help as many people as possible and our curious, problem solving nature means we want to have a go at working with as many different types of patients as possible.
The problem is that in business, this approach doesn't work.
From the patients point of view, the only thing that they care about is that the practitioner they are going to see if the best as solving their particular problem. They want a specialist not a generalist. So with this in mind you must ask yourself - what is it that I specialise in?
You must ignore the other markets.
Instead, concentrate on developing a beachhead market. Once you gain a dominant market share, you will have the strength to attack adjacent service offerings.
A key determinant of success for health & wellness entrepreneurs is their ability to select a niche market and to stay disciplined by deselecting other markets.
It is better to avoid selecting the largest or very large markets, even if they seem like the "best" segments. For example, you're better off positioning yourself as the person to come to see when you have a rotator cuff injury, then as a sports physio. When the consumer is doing their research, if they have a rotator cuff injury they are more likely to select the specialist at fixing their particular problem than the generalist who can do it all.
The first service market you focus on will be a significant learning experience for you, so you are better off learning in a smaller market where you can quickly get high exposure among the base of potential customers.
You want to start in a market where you have great ability to dominate in a relatively short time period; a narrow, focused market is the best way to do so.
Choose a single market to pursue that meets the three conditions of a service market:
These three criteria for defining a service market mean that you will get efficiencies of scale in the market and you have a good chance to do that magical thing that all entrepreneurs want, "to go viral." And when you do we have the treatment rooms to service your demand.
If you try to be everything to everyone, you'll end up being nothing to no-one.
This principle took me a long time to understand but once I did it completely transformed my business. And it's a common mistake Health & Wellness professionals make because when we learn these new skills that can completely transform a persons health and wellbeing it's only natural that we want to shout it from the rooftop.
But I now understand the power of Market Segmentation. Start by taking your service and brainstorming all the possible types of patients who might be interested in it.
Break the types of patients up by demographic and/or psychographic features.
Old, young. Performance or Pain management. Think deeply about what distinguishes different types of patients.
Next, identify the different tasks your patients perform. How might your service fit in with these tasks to help and improve your patients life experience.
Once you've identified numerous potential patients, your next task is to list the top 5 particularly interesting market opportunities, where a market opportunity consists of a specific patient type.
Now it is time for primary market research. Talking directly with patients and observing them will help you get a better understanding of which market opportunity is best. You should also perform Google searches and read research reports from research firms.
But talking to real people is always best.
Gathering the vast majority of your information from direct interaction with real potential patients about their situations, pain points, opportunities and market information. Be curious in your approach and take your time as there are few shortcuts in this process.
Once you gather your primary market research, it is time to refine your learning. The main categories you are trying to obtain information on for each patient are
The goal of the research is not to provide a perfect solution, but to present a wide spectrum of market opportunities as you start to think about where you will focus your business.
There is a lot of debate about what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
Healthcare is an interesting sector, unlike many others, in that more than 50% of people are solo business operators and more than 99% are working in a small business.
Much of the narrative around entrepreneurship is blurred by the Silicon Valley tech startup story. The first misconception is that individuals start companies. Most of the research demonstrates that actually teams start companies. Importantly, a bigger team actually adds to the odds of success. More founders = better odds of success.
So the first question to answer as a health or beauty professional is "do you want to work for yourself or with someone else?"
Most people don't spend enough time clearly painting out a vision for the future that will help them to answer this question. If you value autonomy, control and flexibility then you should only team up with someone if what they bring to the table is drastically different to you. Further, the value they add should be multiplicative, not simply additive.
The second myth is that all entrepreneurs are charismatic and that this drives their success. Instead, research shows that more important than being charismatic, entrepreneurs need to be effective communicators, recruiters and salespeople. These three traits are not necessarily ones that typical health professionals are renowned for so if you consider these to be weaknesses of yours it pays to invest time into either up-skilling or surrounding yourself with those for whom they are a strength.
The third myth is that there is an entrepreneurship gene, that certain people are genetically predisposed for success in starting companies. Some believe personality traits like flamboyance or boldness are correlated with successful entrepreneurship, but that line of thought is misguided. Instead, there are real skills that increase the odds of success, such as people management, sales skills, product conception and delivery. People can adapt and learn new behaviours, and entrepreneurship therefore can be broken down into discrete behaviours and processes that can be taught. It just take a little time and a little effort. There's also the environmental influence that can determine whether or not the business you start will succeed.
GETTING STARTED IN BUSINESS
As general career advice goes, perhaps the single most important question you can ask yourself is:
What can I do well that I would love to do for an extended period of time?
If you can answer this question then the next one that you should consider is whether there is a customer pain that you are interested in alleviating because it is in line with what you are interested in and have expertise in.
When I talk about customer pain I am not necessarily talking about physical pain (though this is good if you can solve it). Pains can be negative emotions such as frustration or undesired costs & situations.
Once you can match something you love to do with solving a true customer pain then you have the makings of a great business.
If you'd like help starting your business or finding a room for rent then get in touch.