With the recent COVID-19 developments, you’re probably wondering how your practice is going to get through. If you are facing the prospect of not being able to service clients face-to-face, or perhaps your clients are cancelling due to social distancing recommendations, then it’s going to have an impact on your practice.
It’s at times like this when we can decide to either get depressed and sit on our hands hoping something will change, or we can decide to do what we can to make the most of the situation.
“The ultimate measure of a person is not where he or she stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he or she stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
We’ve shared some tools and tips for managing your practice through COVID-19 and instructions on how to set up for Telehealth with Zoom (and a fully-integrated Telehealth solution is coming very soon too). But here, we’ve put together a list of things you can do to be proactive and put your practice in a better place during your downtime.
Let’s get through this together! Here are 15 things you can do to ensure your practice comes through this stronger than ever:
1. Keep in Contact with Clients
If you’re still open, let your clients know. If you’re closing temporarily, let your clients know. And if you’ve got another option – e.g. Telehealth, let them know about that too. You don’t necessarily need to feel it’s your position to be educating them on COVID-19 or advising them what to do, but you should let them know how it affects your clinic and the services you offer. Depending on your profession, perhaps you can offer them some at-home tips for managing their condition. Whatever you do, don’t stay silent.
2. Update Your Website
How many times have you thought about needing to update something on your website, but you lacked the time. Now is the perfect opportunity! In this day and age, your website is your primary marketing vehicle – so it’s super important that it’s projecting a good image for your clinic. Here’s a list of best practices for healthcare websites, so whether you need to add some missing content, or do a complete revamp, put this project high on your list. (If you need help with the technical aspects, it’s easy to find contractors who can work on this remotely.)
3. Develop New Brochures or Flyers
In a similar vein, if you’ve always wished to have some brochures or flyers you could display in local doctors’ waiting rooms or schools, now is the time to do them. Think through the key messages you want to communicate. If you don’t have design skills, find a contractor (no need to meet them in person!), and work on this together until you’re happy. Then find a printer who can prepare them for you (even if you don’t actually get them printed until things go back to normal, they’ll be ready to go).
4. Implement a Practice Management System
Of course, we would say this, but seriously, if your practice is not using a practice management system that you love, you’re missing out. Power Diary came about because one of our founders was running a large psychology practice and realised the need for a quality system to streamline operations. When you have a system that puts calendar management, SMS reminders, treatment notes, invoicing and more together, it sets your business up with the foundations for growth. With a practice management system, you’ll be stuck playing small.
5. Undertake a Low-Cost Refurbishment
Does your waiting room need a bit of a refresh? Are your clinical rooms looking a bit tired? Would a good clean and a coat of paint make all the difference? Perhaps the notices on display need reprinting or improving? Now’s the time to do it! Get the supplies while you can (or even better, order them online), then take the opportunity to make it happen.
6. Do a Brand Refresh
Perhaps, when thinking about your website, flyers and your clinic, you’ve realised that you don’t like your brand that much (or maybe you’ve never consciously developed a brand). If that’s the case, it’s time to do a brand refresh. Unless you’re an expert in these areas, you’ll probably need a designer to help with creating a logo, a colour palette, and a style that you can use consistently throughout your brand assets. We wrote about our own brand refresh here and here is the style guide that resulted from this exercise – this is what you should aim to end up with at the end of this process (there’s a good chance that the same designer could help with your flyers and/or website too if those are other projects you’ll be tackling). You can often find good contractors for this type of work on Upwork, Dribbble, or perhaps some cheaper options on Fiverr, or you could run a design contest on 99Designs or similar. We have had good success with Upwork and usually keep coming back to the same contractors who now understand our brand.
7. Write Blog Articles
Always wanted to have a newsletter you could send to clients? The heart of a newsletter is having value-adding articles you can share with your readers – and these take some time to write! If you also put those pieces onto your website as blog articles, they’ll help you with SEO as well. If you’ve got a bit more time on your hands, brainstorm a list of topics that are relevant to your practice and your clients would be interested to read. Think about the discussions you usually have with your clients. Imagine if you could start back with a backlog of 10 or so great articles that are ready to go! Here are some tips for physiotherapy newsletters, but the same principles apply to other professions as well.
8. Develop Worksheets
While you’re writing your blog articles, why not turn these into worksheets that you can share as whitepapers, or use as a basis for presentations in local community settings? Design these so that they each cover one common aspect of the services you provide. Include practical tips and strategies for clients to self-manage or know when to get help with a certain issue.
9. Create Communication Templates and Workflows
If you’re using a practice management system, it probably has the ability to write letters to referrers and others based on templates (see our tips on how to write a great referral feedback letter). Take some time now to think through the different types of letters your practice needs, then write these letter templates up. Likewise, you may want to redo your automated appointment reminder templates. You should also think about your clinical notes templates. Power Diary comes with 100’s of templates for almost every health profession, but these can (and should!) be customised to suit your clinic. Remember, that the best-run clinics use several different templates. For instance, there might be one for a first appointment, a second for a standard assessment, and another for a progress report appointment, etc.
10. Create a Promotion for your Relaunch
Remember, this period will end, but when it does, clients may still be hesitant or may be overwhelmed with different priorities. Putting together some sort of promotional relaunch offer can give you something to communicate to them that will help entice them back. Even though no-one knows when that time will be, get it ready to go now.
11. Keep in Touch with your Team
Throughout this period, it’s essential to keep in close contact with your team members. They’re looking to you for leadership and guidance, so put on your game face and be the positive leader they need during these times. You might also think about organising some personal development (PD) training for them, or sending them links to resources they can use to upskill while they’re at home. You could also decide to hold a weekly meeting/catch up session with them – either individually or as a team. If you can show them that you’re not giving up, they’ll feel much more optimistic about the future.
12. Do Some Goal Setting
Most of us are guilty of being so busy in the day-to-day of our practices that we forget to take the time to reflect and plan. Is your practice going the way you had hoped? See if you can come up with a clear vision for your practice and how you want it to be 5 years from now. Get as clear as you can about the services you provide, your team, the role that you’ll play and anything else you can think of. Then take that vision and think about what that means for the operations of your practice once you start back. It can be useful to write down 4 headings on a piece of paper and fill in items under – More, Less, Start, Stop. What activities do you want to do more of, what do you want to less of, etc. Come up with a plan you feel excited about! Also, check out our Freedom Workbook here.
13. Learn Something New
Always thought it would be great to know how to touch-type, or use an email marketing program, understand accounting, or even take full advantage of your practice management system? Now’s the time to learn! (By the way, Power Diary’s knowledge base has articles on every aspect of the functionality.) There might also be professional areas you’ve been meaning to dive into as well. Define what it is you’d like to learn and make it a goal for this time period. It’s likely that everything you need is online and you can study from the comfort of your own home.
14. Develop Stronger Self-Care Habits
Of course, we all know that it’s YOU at the heart of your practice, so this is the most important asset you should look after. Use this change in tempo to work on your sleep, nutrition, exercise, and other health routines, so that you can take these back into work once things ramp up again. This can be a time to recharge and reset, whilst coming out physically, emotionally, and even mentally stronger. Yes, you should relax, but don’t let downtime turn into a big binge on social media, TV, and unhealthy habits.
15. Stay Positive and Optimistic
This is probably our most important tip. Your team, clients, family, and friends need you to stay strong. Don’t fall into the herd mentality of circling through the bad news. Instead, keep investing in your future. Focus on the positive and on helping others get through. This will end and things will get better.
To help us all gain strength and be a leader during these tough times, Dan Sullivan wrote a very powerful article you might enjoy:
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These are times that none of us envisaged we’d be in, but yet here we are. Let’s rally for each other and know that eventually, we’ll get through the other side. And in the meantime, let’s use any extra time we have to be proactive and help our businesses come out in great shape. To finish, here’s a second quote from Martin Luther King on what to do in tough times…
“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
What other ideas do you have for making the most of this situation? Let us know!