This is the fourth part of the chronicling of opening my second Men’s Health practice. As many of you already know, I am opening up a second practice location. I will be writing a series of “diary” articles to enlighten everyone on my progress as I enter these unclear waters. This will benefit me as it will help track my progress, but my main hope is that it will motivate many of you to get off your ass and get started building a niche side practice. I will also include little “tips” that I have learned along the way as I chronicle my journey.
Alright, I am finally gaining some momentum on opening my second Men’s Health practice! We are on track to open October 5th still!
The first hurdle I had to overcome was hiring a nurse practitioner to see patients at this practice. Remember, I do not want to see patients here. First off, it is over a 3-hour drive and second, I don’t want to work more. I am busy enough. With that said, I had a few more nurse practitioners apply for the position.
I reached out to them all to schedule an interview, and yet again, only 2 responded back. I had a female nurse practitioner on the back burner, but she did not respond back to my inquiries for an official in person interview.
Tip #20: Regardless if it is hiring a new employee or dating someone… If that person does not respond to you after two contact attempts, THEY ARE NOT INTERSESTED. Count your losses, let it go, and move on.
Luckily, the two that responded were two male nurse practitioners, which is exactly what I was looking for! The bad news though, was that they both were foreign born and had thick accents. The first was from Latin America and the other was from Africa (I think). Regardless, you could understand them, and ultimately, the male patients just want their script. Most of them are not there to chat with you.
So, after a 15 minute phone interview, I scheduled them both for in person interviews. The Latin American nurse practitioner had over 20 years of experience as a provider and he was super confident. He understood the clinical aspects of treatment, and most importantly, he understood the business side of practice as well.
Tip #21: If you are hiring a provider, employee, or simply just partnering with someone, they need to understand the business aspects of your practice as well. Someone who is naïve and “does not get it” will under perform someone who “gets it.” Ultimately folks, it comes down to revenue. If you aren’t making money, it is not worth your time. Your team needs to understand that as well.
I liked this guy after meeting him in person. He was a man’s man. He completely understood what we are doing in this practice. This next nurse practitioner had to really impress me…
The second nurse practitioner was scheduled for 10:30am. He calls me at 10:25am and states he is in a town an hour west of me. He stated “His GPS took him here…” Alright, I get it… Sometimes Google directions and a GPS can send you to the wrong location, but to another town 50 miles away? Dude, come on… You only live 45 minutes from the clinic location to begin with.
I gave him the benefit of the doubt and told him I would wait. Noon comes around and still no candidate. Screw it, I am closing shop and going to lunch. He texts me 30 minutes later saying he is in front of the practice. Sorry dude… If you can’t figure out simple directions, realize you are going into the TOTALLY opposite direction, or understand that the city you are going to is literally the only one north of you, then you are a potential liability. I am not going to teach someone a completely new type of clinical practice who can’t even understand a map. Not going to happen…
With that behind me, I called the first nurse practitioner and told him he had the job. He accepted without hesitation. Another great part was that he had open availability and was totally fine with only working 4-6 hours a week until we get busy. Score!
In exchange for his flexibility and experience, we negotiated a straight $100 an hour and he was going to be employed as a 1099 contractor.
Tip #22: Pay your employees well. They are vital to helping you build your practice. An employee that is compensated bad, will perform badly. An employee that is compensated well, will perform better and they will actually CARE about the practice.
With my provider issue behind me, it was time to schedule training for the medical assistant I hired. She is a fairly new medical assistant, so I cannot have her just jump right in. So, we figured out that she could come down to my busy practice and shadow/train for the week with my experienced medical assistants. The bad part about this was that I had to house her for the week in an AirBNB, but it was $500 well spent to know that she understands the flow and the processes of a busy practice.
She did amazingly well over this past week! She is smart and energetic. She picked up on everything quickly and the patients liked her. I know she will do well!
Outside of the staffing component of my second location, there was also the marketing component I had to tackle over the last 2 weeks. Remember, MARKETING IS THE NUMBER ONE FUNCTION OF YOUR BUSINESS. Many of you are tired of hearing that, but it’s the truth. Do not skip out on marketing.
With that said, I dove straight into setting up all the channels I needed for my marketing campaign. I knew that I needed to begin marketing this practice 1-2 weeks before opening.
Tip #23: Begin marketing a new practice no more or no less than 2 weeks before opening. If you market more than 2 weeks out, then potential patients will lose interest fast. When a new patient calls, they want to schedule immediately, not 4 weeks ahead of time. This essentially will be a WASTE of your marketing dollars. Marketing only a few days before you open could result in a very lackluster opening. The sweet spot is about 2 weeks before opening!
The first step I knew I had to take was to redo my website. My initial website worked great for my first practice, but as I expand my franchise, the website needed to be professionally redone. I wanted it to look AMAZING. My current site looks GOOD, but not amazing. I built it myself using GoDaddy, which is fine for a small practice startup, but as you grow and expand, you should consider a more upscale site. So, I reached out to my web designer to rework the site. All I have to say, is that he did an AMAZING job over the past 2 weeks. It was worth $3,500. This site is optimized for growth and looks fantastic.
While my developer was working on my website, I focused on developing my marketing campaign. I wanted my campaign to include multiple different marketing channels:
- Social Media Advertising: This is a no brainer. Marketing on Facebook, Instagram, etc. is very cost effective and it allows you to reach hundreds of thousands of potential patients.
- Radio Advertising: Radio ads work great for getting the word out about your practice. I know it works well for other niche practices, so I decided to give it a try. I never had tried it before, so what the hell?
- Specific Location Advertising: There are companies that will place ads for you throughout locations in a city, such as gyms, bars, restaurants, above gas pumps, etc… These are a great way to get the word out about your practice and can target thousands of different people. I will have ads that run on the televisions in bars, restaurants, gyms, the airport, and other locations throughout the city.
- Golf Courses: Getting an ad on golf course score cards is a cheap and effective way to market your practice: if your target market plays golf. Well, wealthy men play golf… So I talked to the manager of 2 golf courses and agreed to print off 20,000-30,000 score cards for them if I could have my men’s health practice advertised on it. Simple, cheap, and effective! I have a good feeling about this one!
This is all I am going to do for the next 6-8 weeks. I do not want to overwhelm my new practice with too many patients until I get all the kinks and processes worked out. You MUST be able to deliver what you promise in your ads.
Tip #24: Do not spend an enormous amount of money marketing in the first month of your practice unless you are CONFIDENT it will run smoothly. The last thing you want to do is overwhelm your new practice with hundreds of phone calls and full schedules until you have figured everything out. Listen, your practice will NEVER be 100% ready. Problems WILL arise. If you have hundreds of potential patients calling and scheduling, and you have a serious flaw within the processes of your business, you will SCAR your name permanently. Not only that, but you have just wasted thousands of dollars on marketing because you could not deliver what you promised to the patient!
Many of you are probably wondering what the grand total for all this marketing was? Well:
- Social Media: $800 a month.
- Radio Advertising: $1,000 a month for 8 commercials a day on 3 radio stations.
- Specific Location Advertising: $500 a month and I will be cycled on screen at 30 locations.
- Golf Course Scorecards: $2,500. Money well spent. Those 30,000 score cards will last the golf course almost a YEAR!
Grand total? $2,300 a month and a one-time investment of $2,500 for the golf courses. NOT BAD! I will revisit my marketing campaign in about 6-8 weeks and make changes as needed. I suspect I will be increasing my ad spend, but you never know!
Tip #25: Marketing never ends. Marketing is not a set it and leave it type of activity. You must always be tinkering, revising, and revisiting your marketing campaign. This is how you grow your practice and evolve.
I am feeling REALLY good about this second practice… I already have 3 patients doing lab work and scheduled for initial evaluations after 1 week of marketing. Not bad! I am confident this new location will become busier, faster, than my current location.
Tip #26: Getting your first practice “fine-tuned” is a learning process and takes times. You will make countless mistakes, but this will help you perfect the processes within the business. What does this mean? It means that if you ever want to open other locations, it can be done quickly and with more precision. I know what works and what does not. Because of this, the second location will run more optimally which should result in a higher volume and ultimately more revenue.
Well everyone, I have the ads rolling and my phone line (RingRX, all calls are routed to my current office until we officially open), email, and EMR setup for this new practice. Now it is time to sit back and wait for the phone calls and online inquiries to start coming in to schedule more patients. Wish me luck! More to come later!