People will always need access to hearing healthcare, which is why there are always gaps in the market for setting up a new clinic. However, as with any small business, healthcare providers are susceptible to premature closure if the launch and first year aren’t managed effectively. To help nudge you in the right direction, we’ve put together a short guide for opening a hearing health clinic.
Have a Solid Plan
Success in the business world always starts with a solid plan, and that’s irrespective of the type of industry. Strong groundwork begins with market research and creating a business plan, which will contain everything from the company values to financial objectives. A plan that’s worth its weight will help determine tasks for each day, but it will also capture the attention of investors and business partners.
Know the Competition
Even though there are gaps in the market for a successful hearing health clinic, be aware that the landscape is full of competitors. For your business to have an edge, research to discover what gaps you can plug in and what services you can provide to a higher standard.
While you’re researching competitors, it’s also a good opportunity to make notes about what business strategies work, especially if your competitors are well-established. Even though direct plagiarism is unethical and comes with penalties, there’s nothing wrong with coming across a good idea, improving on it, and using it as your own.
Write a Marketing Strategy
Your hearing health clinic will never succeed if nobody knows it exists, which is why marketing is one of the most important parts of the launch journey. You likely won’t have access to a lot of funds, so focus on free/cheap marketing techniques including:
- Local SEO.
- Content marketing.
- Guest blogging.
- HARO (Help A Reporter Out).
This is just a small snapshot of free/cheap marketing techniques, but the most important aspect is having a fully functional and SEO-optimised website and Google Business page.
Choose a Smart Location
Deciding on a location for a hearing health clinic can be tricky. If you get this wrong, you won’t attract enough quality patients. Think about accessibility, demographics, and nearby competitors. For example, setting your clinic close to a retirement neighborhood will offer an enormous pool of viable patients to access.
Next, you have to refer to your budget. Can you afford the property prices in the area? Will you be buying or renting? What are the energy prices like for the area? If there isn’t enough money in the pot, you’ll have to go back to the drawing board.
Establish Business Partners
Most businesses are supportive of others, meaning you’ll likely have the opportunity to establish quality partnerships in the local area. These business relations often rely on a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” system – see what you have to offer that other healthcare businesses may not have.
You can even create business partnerships online, which can give you access to a range of telehealth tools and auditory devices. For example, phonak.com/en-us/professionals/become-a-partner allows healthcare providers to register interest in becoming a “professional partner”, which opens the door to expert support and so much more.
A hearing health clinic can’t operate without high-grade equipment. We’re not talking about having the newest equipment on the market because you won’t have the available funds. Instead, source affordable second-hand or sale equipment to upgrade in the future. Alternatively, you can lease equipment to access more modern technology, but you have to understand the pros and cons.
Focus on Quality Hires
Your clinic will need well-trained hearing health professionals, but the hiring process is expensive, meaning focusing on employee retention tactics from the start. Additionally, you should only hire experts that meet the quality level you’re searching for. Depending on the role, you may even be able to outsource work to avoid the running costs of paying wages.
When assessing potential employees, look beyond their professional qualifications and experience because they need outstanding customer service skills. During interviews, check how they communicate and try to get a read on their bedside manner. After all, you can have the best hearing healthcare provider on your team, but it won’t mean anything if they struggle with positive communication.
Fine-Tune the Patient Experience
Your audience will have choices when it comes to hearing health providers, especially with the emergence of online tools and telehealth businesses. This means you have to fine-tune your patient experience to guarantee you’re doing it better than anybody else. Every patient-clinic contact point must be held to the same standards, whether it’s on a website, a phone call, email communication, or social media messaging. When you think your patient journey is perfect, keep going back to find new ways to improve.
Society has become accustomed to using technology, and it’s reached a point where it’s expected everywhere. When it comes to operating a hearing health clinic, effective use of technology couldn’t be more important. Popular types of healthcare technology include:
- Cloud-based customer portals and remote check-in.
- Online hearing tests.
- Video conferencing software for remote consultations.
- Blockchain-based data storage solutions.
Encourage True Feedback
The best way to find out if you’re getting it right is by collecting patient feedback. Encourage every visitor to leave a review by offering subsidized healthcare plans, discounted hearing aids, or any similar offer. You may be losing money on services to begin with, but the insights you gain from reading reviews will be more than worth it, especially when you achieve growth.
Back to the Plan
During the first year, go back to the business plan and make relevant updates. For example, you may not have seen many patients in the first month; returning to the plan can help you figure out what’s going wrong.
A successful healthcare business relies on a strong plan to act as an anchor. If you follow the guide above and implement the strategies, there’s a higher chance your hearing health clinic will last longer than a year.