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Minimizing Growing Pains for Medical Businesses


Like most growing businesses, mine reached a breaking point -- it was becoming a pain in the neck! I recognized the need to add support, and so a few weeks ago I added an online business manager. Here are the secrets I've learned from reaching this critical juncture in the growth of my entrepreneurial physician business.

It's been a little over four years since I began focusing my coaching business on working with entrepreneurial physicians, business-like medical practices, and nonclinical medical businesses. During this time, my own physician-coaching business has evolved to the point of pain.

Like most coaching practices, mine began with one-on-one coaching clients, and has grown to offering group programs and information products as well. The trouble is, I have run out of the time and mental energy required to sustain my business at this level. A recently added complication has been my desire to cut back on the hours I put into my business sufficiently to free myself to be a hands-on mommy to my eight-year-old daughter, and rely only infrequently on childcare.

Like most growing businesses, mine reached a critical point -- it was becoming a pain in the neck! I recognized the need to add support beyond my not-very-organized use of virtual assistants' services.

So, a few weeks ago I bit the bullet and hired an online business manager. After two sessions with her, I wrote her, "I don't know whether to breathe a huge sigh of relief or burst into tears!" It has felt so marvelous putting myself into the capable hands of a trained professional who knows how to super-organize me -- I've been pretty organized to date, but see that there's plenty of room for improvement! -- and has a plan for how to help implement my vision and goals for The Entrepreneurial MD.


Here are the secrets I've learned from reaching this critical juncture in the growth of my entrepreneurial physician business:

1. Recognize when enough is enough. How much more frustration must you endure doing repetitive tasks you know someone else could do? That would you free you up to do more of what you love and excel at, if you had the time?

2. Create your “yuck-bucket” list. A dear coach once taught me to make my "yuck-bucket" list -- filled with those tasks I hate doing, find tedious, don't have to do, and could delegate to someone else who didn't have the same revenue-capacity I have.

Creating websites, handling 90% of customer-service queries, filing paperwork, billing, handling appointments, formatting videos etc. -- all this stuff gets in the way of creating real value in your medical practice or business. Time to hand it all over!

3. Do your homework. Hiring or finding great support assistance ranks up there with anesthesia-free dental extractions! This overwhelming task has been a big deterrent to my taking the next leap in my business. But this time I clarified what I needed, did my research, and vetted my candidates carefully. The more thought and effort you put into hiring to match the real needs of your business, the better the results.

4. Accept that there will be a ramp-up training period. Yet another deterrent -- all that training. But my smart business manager has tasked both of us with creating a centralized accessible-by-web-anywhere workspace littered with SOPs (standard operating procedures) -- nothing like being forced to practice what you preach!

5. Release the reins but not the roadmap. Whilst I will be handing over as much as I possibly can to my team, it will still be my responsibility to hold the vision and set the course. This means that I will be taking responsibility for vision and strategy, while I delegate tactics and tasks.

6. Don't pay peanuts. I'm a huge believer that if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. A business manager is not a small investment, but having been in professional pain I am now wise. I see what not having her on board cost me. That's persuasive enough for me!

7. Commit to nurturing a relationship. As much as I want to be coddled by my team, I want to make sure that they get the chance to share in the learning and "goodies.” How do you thank and reward your staff?

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Victor J. Dzau, MD, gives expert advice
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