1Tell us about the growth your practice has achieved this year.
I attended an Owners Meeting and MBA last November (2018) with my Account Manager, Leah Breuers, and we sat down and created a plan to grow the practice by 15 percent. But by the end of the second quarter (2019), we had already exceeded our goal for the entire year by an additional 15 percent. We didn't expect it. I couldn't be happier. I hope we continue to do that through the end of the year and beyond as we move into 2020.
2What do you think has been the most instrumental to your success?
Well, it’s the first year that we put a real strategic plan in place. The Consult marketing team also helped develop a budget and a schedule for some of the marketing that we do. We review it with them on a monthly basis and look for trends. I thought that I could do it all on my own, but now that I have a dedicated Marketing Account Executive to share that responsibility with, it’s kept me a lot more organized.
3Is there anything you learned while analyzing your marketing strategy and ROI data that surprised you?
I guess it shouldn’t have been a surprise, but the biggest surprise was: spend more money, make more money.
4Is there anything else you’ve done differently this year to account for your growth?
One of the newer services that I've taken advantage of is Sales Analytics. I've been working with Scott Berger and Kim Costanzo who have been helping me review our numbers and target areas of weakness and areas of strength. We’re able to see how small changes like capturing additional Out of Warranty opportunities each month and moving them towards a new sale can really add to the big picture.
They also looked at my P&L for the first and second quarters and found things that my accountant could do differently to help us get a deeper understanding of where our sales and expenses are coming from. That's a component of a P&L that I didn't know could be looked at more precisely and it helps me run a better business.
5What’s one non-financial goal you set for 2019 that you’ve accomplished?
I wanted to start putting together some basics in the practice that I wasn't familiar with like an office manual and other HR-related items. So, I've been working with Jodi Bryan [Human Resources Manager], who is just a vast plethora of information.
Sometimes business owners feel like all the decisions lie with them and they're the end-all be-all. But, I feel like I have a whole team behind me who knows my business and it gives me a lot of confidence in making decisions. If I'm not sure about a staffing issue or if there's an issue with some numbers or trends that I'm seeing, I don't have to figure it out by myself.
6What is one of your biggest challenges this year and how have you dealt with it?
One of the biggest challenges remains, Managed Care. Patients with Third Party benefits are always a challenge because they may come in as a private-pay patient, but then as you start to talk to them, you realize they may have a benefit, or they mention that they’re interested in something their friend received, or something they heard a coworker had. So, we kind of start putting puzzle pieces together to see what and where they may be acquiring their hearing aids. And what I’ve found over the years, is that I'd rather be helping them do that than have them go somewhere else.
7What advice would you give to other Associates who are starting to plan for 2020? What’s going to help them achieve their goals?
I think the biggest factor is trust—feeling comfortable enough to trust the process. That’s why I'm not a Consult member that just goes to one yearly event—I take advantage of Owners Meetings; I take advantage of weekly trainings; I take advantage of the [Consult] staff that’s there to help me with marketing and human resources and pricing and vendor questions.
8As someone who regularly attends our meetings, tell us about the value they bring to your business.
It’s amazing what the Sales Analytics team has been able to do for my practice. But it's one of those services that, if I didn't trust the process or take advantage of Consult’s meetings, I wouldn't have even known it was available.
And now you have the Power Groups, which I like because they're practices that aren't my competitors, but they're in the same relative geographic area, which means we're facing a lot of the same issues with demographics, percentage of incoming private pay patients versus managed care patients, or even insurance. Since I've been attending with the same group of people, we've really developed a rapport with each other. So, while our practices may not be the same, whether in size or number of physical offices, there’s a sense of camaraderie that makes it easy to share ideas, success stories, and challenges.
9What would you tell a practice owner that was thinking about joining Consult YHN?
I would tell them that joining Consult really is in their best interest. I’ve worked with other companies and I don’t know why anybody would want to work with anyone but Consult. They’re my partner in everything I do. I can't say enough about what they've done for my practice.