Practice Diversification (for more satisfaction and profit)

Practice Momentum - Healthcare Marketing Solutions
Practice Diversification (for more satisfaction and profit)

Practice Diversification - are you feeling the need?



Back in the day . . . .

When I was a kid growing up in rural Yorkshire, farmers were farmers.

  • They had cows and sold milk or beef
  • They had sheep and sold lamb and wool
  • They made hay and sold the odd extra bale
  • Plus they got various financial contributions from the Government and the EU

That was their business model. 

And then times got tougher for those farmers, government tariffs were reduced, the price of livestock dropped and they needed to diversify to stay in business. Their wives opened their kitchens as cafes and started running farm shops from their back doors, where they sold some of their own produce, and produce for other people. They renovated unused buildings on their land converting them into holiday lets, business premises, and storage facilities for rental. Some of them even rented their farm vehicles for weddings. 


They started to diversify because they needed to


They needed to look at other revenue streams to financially prop up the way of life they loved and a business that wasn't working entirely to support itself.

In healthcare now I feel we are reaching a situation where practitioners want change and are looking for something more. 

It might not be financially where you need something more (although it might be). Maybe you want more personal fulfillment, more professional challenges, more social impact, or different rewards. But we're definitely at a point in time, where I'm seeing lots of practitioners who now need something more from their business. 

People are starting to talk about diversification in healthcare practices. Call it practice diversification or a portfolio career, providing you are staying in your profession and not doing something totally different as a "side hustle", then we are talking about the same thing.


The Practice Diversification Elephant

Just because you are not seeing your local competitors or other people in your profession doing it, does not mean you shouldn't or can't do it. If you are personally feeling bored, unrewarded, or like you are stagnating in your practice, that's a sign you need to start mixing things up, and that is why I have created this blog post - JUST FOR YOU ❤️

Firstly to give you permission, if that's what you need to hear, that diversification in your practice is an option and potentially good thing for you and your practice. If planned well it can be a win win win scenario. You win, your patients win, your suppliers win, and your local community wins.

Secondly, to tell you that successful diversification in small healthcare practices is absolutely achievable. Some options will create more disruption than others but the process of diversification doesn't have to cost a lot or create a lot of upheaval initially.

Thirdly I want to give you a few simple ideas for how you might be able to create practice diversification in your business. Some a really obvious, others less so but I hope all, will spark ideas and creative solutions that will work to give you what you need.

There are lots of different ways that you can diversify your practice, generating new revenue streams and more interest and satisfaction for you as the person doing the doing.



Many different roads lead to practice diversification

There are quite a few options for you to consider when you are thinking about needing to diversify your practice. What follows is not intended to be an exhaustive list of ideas, but something to get the creative juices flowing in your practice.

Your options for practice diversification are many and varied but include:


Selling physical products

As I say none of this is rocket science but there is a significant number of practices that don't sell any, or as many physical products as they could, that they would enjoy having in their practice and would support their patients journey to recovery and expand their quality of life in some way.

So are there physical products relating to your patient's presenting problem, or associated lifestyle that you could sell? 

This doesn’t just need to be creams and lotions, and other very clinical things, but there might be treatment support items you could sell.

We're starting to see practitioners selling physical products associated with lifestyle like footwear, running apparel, safety equipment, home adaptation equipment, pamper items, and clothing items.

The secret is to identify exactly what would help make your dream patient's life easier, in terms of the thing you are helping them with. Selling items under your roof, or online via a drop shipping company, means your patients do not have to hunt the high street or the Internet for the thing you are recommending they try.

For example, if mobility for stroke survivors is your niche, selling simple items like folding walking sticks, shoe tracks for walking on ice, reacher grabbers, or sock aids could really help your patients and mean they leave your practice with a more complete solution.

Where you've got a practice focused on treating injured runners there are the trainers you'd recommend for specific rehab, high-vis wear for exercising at night outdoors, small items of cold weather gear, and rehab tools like foam rollers and balls. You get the idea I'm sure.

So what could you sell that you believe are good products (don't sell crap just to make a quick profit), and would aid your patients on their recovery journey and towards a better quality of life?

There's definitely a market there for making life easier, or in the world of pamper products, more luxurious for your patients.

If you can become a one-stop shop for your dream patient, they can come for their appointment, buy the products, go away, and do the doing and get faster and more complete results.

So, start to think about physical products that you can sell in-house. 

Of course, there are some pitfalls to selling physical products, like storing stock, selling items before a use-by date, and managing stock rotation and orders, but it's one way you can start to diversify your revenue streams in your practice.

A few ways you could make this happen are:

  • Doing it in-house - stocking the items and selling direct to your patients
  • Via dropshipping - creating a shop on your website where you don't stock the products but use a third-party supplier to process the order
  • You can also sell products via existing online stores like an Amazon business account

If you’d like more info on how this process works, drop me a line!



Clinical diversification

How often do you cross-refer patients to other practitioners in town?

While there is nothing wrong with that because it gets the job done, if you're looking for practice diversification ideas, providing different clinical services in your practice, if you have the space and facilities, is another way.

You could expand the clinical services you offer within your profession, or you could think about multidisciplinary options where you could have a physio, an osteopath, a podiatrist, maybe a dietician, everybody under one roof.

It provides an incredible opportunity for you to cross-refer patients and provide a seamless service to your patients who can come to one practice. 

They know where to park, they know the receptionist, they know the booking system, all of those things. But now they can buy other services through your practice.

Much as with the farmers, some of them went from just running sheep to running sheep and some other livestock, more unusual livestock. We saw venison, ostriches, alpacas, you get the idea! 



Become an author

You could write a book, scholarly articles for industry, or articles for the press.

Speaking from personal experience I know that unless you hit a genius idea for the mass market, writing and publishing a book or articles is not going to make you a lot of money. But that is not really why you would look to become an author, certainly with some kind of medical theme.

Writing could though scratch that itch for everyone thinking they have a book inside them. It does give you enormous personal satisfaction, it creates a great deal of credibility in your industry, and of course, it helps a lot more people than you could ever reach one-to-one in your practice.


Content creation

If you have discovered a love for creativity on the path to developing your own digital marketing material, that is something you could do for other people.

The world, and thousands of other practitioners who hate this stuff, are crying out for good quality digital marketing content.

There are lots of organisations offering these service, video creation and editing, image creation, social post writing etc, but to do it well in a healthcare setting, you need healthcare knowledge, which absolutely gives you a competitive advantage over other service providers. So many people come to us at Practice Momentum for a new website or marketing help because they know we understand their industry and speak their language.


Become an educator

For many, many years, this has been the model in the hair care industry.

Many salons have delivered hair care services, but they've also offered an education stream to other, hairdressers, and barbers, training them in new techniques, trends, and industry innovations, so that they can improve their client services. 

We're starting to see this now growing inside healthcare, with practitioners looking to become educators of fellow health professionals.

This is a great route to go down if you have a specialist clinical or business skill set.

Being an educator could include:

  • Virtual live training
  • Prerecorded online training
  • Live face to face small group  one off workshops
  • Delivering a full face to face course say over 6 months
  • Mentoring and coaching 1 to 1 in person or remotely
  • Become an event speaker and educations 100's of people in one go

If you've got a specialist niche knowledge that you know other people are struggling with, this is your opportunity to broaden your work life and contribute to your professional or other professions that are doing similar things.

Now obviously if you create your own programmes you are responsible for marketing and selling places on them creating more admin work . If you create education for industry organisations or via speaking at large conferences, the admin is done for you and you can just show up, deliver your session, and get paid.

Additionally, you can become an educator of the general public internationally. It’s starting to be seen, where healthcare professionals are starting to produce products and services that educate the general public, not just their patient cohort. Subjects range from prevention or self-treatment of specific conditions to full patient focussed rehab programmes.

Really the options are almost endless when it comes to being an educator. 


The benefits and pitfalls of diversification in your practice.

The benefits

Personal benefits

  • Gaining a broader interest in your work load
  • It’ll give you more personal and/or clinical satisfaction
  • Personal fulfillment
  • Acting on that pipe dream - may scratch an itch that you've had for a long time around writing and creating all of those things
  • Creating a bigger impact both locally and more widely

Business benefits

  • A [potential] increase in revenue coming into your practice 
  • Gaining a more stable base, because the more income streams you have, the more stable your business is
  • Your patients get a more rounded, convenient, ‘wow’ experience
  • Your reputation as a practice will go up because you are going to be improving people's opinion of you and the practice and the service that you offer
  • Your patient outcomes could potentially get better because you're providing your patients a fuller solution by providing the right products in the right way
  • You are educating your patients so you are reducing the risk of things reoccurring


All of those things mean that your outcomes are going to improve. 

The pitfalls

  • Initially, this is absolutely going to take more of your time. You're going to have to dedicate big chunks of time to developing these new elements in this business, especially if it's you doing the doing. 
    • If you can outsource it, not so much that it will be a drain on your finances, but it could stop it being a drain on your time if it's something you can outsource.
    • Either way, there’ll be investment needed from you, whether that’s money or time, or both.
  • You have to get the marketing right
    • Just because you might have a wonderful clinical website attracting patients, it doesn’t mean this will also speak to a new audience of clinicians looking for personal development help for example. The two audiences are totally different.
    • Think very carefully about how you structure that marketing if you are looking to maintain a clinical presence and also start to become an educator or an author or, something that's not related directly to treating patients. Try not to cause confusion
  • Storing your stock - if you are taking in stock and you are selling physical products in your space, you've got to store it, and stock rotate it
  • Selling stock - you also have to start building buying products into your treatment planning and then offering the sale in order to profit from the stock you have invested in. Stock gathering dust on a shelf and going out of date is no help to anyone.



Practice diversification is not all roses, it can be hard work


There are other things that you need to think about and consider, but if you are thinking about scratching an itch of something that you've never quite got around to doing or looking at generating some new income streams or looking at doing something for some personal feel good gain, then absolutely start looking at it. 

Because of the digital world now, this stuff is doable way more easily than it ever was before. 

Included in that is outsourcing and finding people to help you do this stuff - now more than ever is a great time to look at diversifying your practice.

If you have any questions at all about practice diversification, please use the comment section below.

Until next time

P.S. I’d love for you to connect with me on social media - Instagram, Facebook, or via my free Facebook group, Practice Momentum Academy.


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