Friday, April 27, 2012

Keys to a Successful Business

Running a successful business is no easy task. There are many things that a business owner can do in order to make, and keep, their business successful. On the other hand, there are exponentially more things that a business owner can do wrong which can hurt their chances at becoming a powerful and profitable force. If you are interested in some ways to make your new or growing business a success, here are some things to consider.
First and foremost, you must have a vision. Get a clear idea of what you want your business to be like. What products and services do you want to offer? What type of customers are your trying to gain? How do you want to be known in the industry? Once you answer questions like this you can gain insight into what direction you should take your business. Laying out a path before you start your journey is imperative to being successful. This includes writing out a business plan and noting your goals and desires.
Next, you must know your market. It is a wrong assumption to think that anyone and everyone is in your market. As an old saying goes "if everyone is in your market, no one is in your market". Unfortunately, your business cannot be everything to everybody. Focus on a group, type, or specific niche that you'd like your business to benefit. The best way to do this is with market research. Doing qualitative and quantitative market research will do worlds of wonder when it comes to finding and understanding your market. Whether you just starting your business or you are wondering if it's time to release, or retire, a product, market research will help steer you in the right direction to help ensure success.
Once you find out who your market is, it's time to take a very focused marketing approach. Research the best ways to market to the people you'd like to reach and begin your marketing campaign. Some methods will work better than others, and some may not product instant results but will instead gain confidence and build reputation with potential clients. Don't expect to do someone once than give up if it doesn't produce immediate spectacular results.
Finally, you must be consistent. This is your business and you must be in it for the long haul. Don't give up on working hard once you see a bit of success. Building and maintaining a profitable business requires constant attention and work. You will be required to keep up with changing times and adapt to new economic situations, etc. If you are able to follow the right path and keep going even when times get tough, you will be a happy and successful business owner.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Eight Ways Firms Can Stay Creative In Lead Generation

In business these days, creativity is the juice that keeps companies going. Given the way globalization has taken over, with more challenges facing entrepreneurs than ever, you will need a way to meet these problems head-on, which leads us straight to creativity. How can we stay creative in business? For those of us involved in lead generation, this is a challenge that needs to be dealt with - fast. It is a fact that for us entrepreneurs in the business of information technology, we need business data. That comes in the form of IT sales leads. Remember that B2B leads play a key role in helping us stay profitable, providing us with the necessary business prospects as well as the data on how to best approach them. How will we be able to get the business information that we will need?
There are several ways to do it:
1. Look for people to work with you that you and your team will be comfortable with. Yes, getting someone with the degree and the experience sounds nice, but if you often butt heads in the end, it is not worth it.
2. Get your people to keep on improving themselves, and then take note of them. In terms of generating B2B leads, you will want to recognize those who are able to up the game and bring more benefits to your company.
3. If you have a vision, do not keep it to yourself. Share that with your employees. Let them realize that what they are doing, no matter how stressful or mundane it may seem, can actually be reached if they work hard enough.
4. Think of a Russian nesting doll (where the outer doll is bigger than the inner doll), and you will realize that making your company big requires you to hire people who can make it big. If you only hire people who are inferior to you, then you are heading straight to creative stagnancy.
5. Make a trial run with a new hire. She may have an MBA in marketing or engineering, but if she acts like a prima donna or a newbie on the team, then she will have to leave. Let them work as contractors first. If they really fit in, then that is the time to make the formal offer.
6. Show trust in your team. If you can show your team that you trust them and that you believe that they can do it, more likely than not, they will push themselves to succeed. If you want your business to grow and get that lucrative business deal, then you should cut them some slack.
7. Identify your weak areas in the business. This way, you will be able to address them fully. Hire an expert who can really turn things around and make changes happen. And if she is really that good, then try getting her to work you as a full-time employee.
8. Create the balance between the creative and the executive. You will need creative employees who can come up with exciting ideas to make your lead generation campaign a success, but do not forget the people who can actually make those ideas happen.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How to Make a Great First Impression of Your Medical Practice

Your reception is a face to your business. It is as important as your face is in making a great first impression. A book is often judged by its cover. There is no substitute for a pleasant smile.
You can make your reception work better for you in many ways. It welcomes your patients, puts them at ease, and provides you with double benefits. It represents a safe place and also gives you opportunities to market other services.
The reception is a place where your patients should not mind waiting. Never call it a waiting room. Call it a reception. Always look at it from a patient's perspective. If you were walking into this place, putting your life into this person's hands, what are you looking for? To confirm to yourself that you are in safe hands?
Allay fears
Patients always look for a sign or confirmation that they are in safe hands. They want to see cleanliness, good hygiene, and a place that is well-maintained. Use a pleasant room freshener, and keep your reception sparkling clean.
Display your mission statement in a prominent area. It heightens your credibility when people see that you are aiming for "excellence in providing medical services."
Another great idea is to have a bulletin board showing employees of the month. It shows that your employees are working hard and being rewarded and recognized for what they do. This is another credibility booster, which goes a long way in conveying that "you mean business." You care about their needs, and your employees are well paid, happy, and ready to serve them.
The bulletin board is also a great place to display fan mail and testimonials from other patients. Nothing can beat a good customer testimonial. Patients are looking for such things, which are signs that confirm they are in good hands and allay their fears.
Color therapy
Revamp your reception to show character and reflect personality. You want to present a feeling of comfort, warmth, tenderness, compassion, and understanding. Paint your walls in colors that reflect these feelings.
Provide patients with a feeling of compassion. The tones of your wall color should not be "hospital gray." At the same time, don't go overboard. You cannot choose bright orange. This is not a playschool. Put some thought into your color choice. These are places where hiring a professional, who has handled this kind of job before, can put you at ease.
There's a reason why medical staff uniforms are specific colors.
White (good for uniforms, bad for walls) represents cleanliness. The warm green of attendees subconsciously conveys authority. The soft pink of scrub nurses is a sign of life. These are minute things that go a long way.
If your employees are well dressed and polite, you will win yourself more customers. People will CHOOSE to be treated at YOUR facility.
Distract your patients
Patients waiting to see a doctor are in a very delicate state of mind. They are either in pain, are frustrated, or angry-not necessarily because of the waiting-but waiting is one of the LAST things they want to do. It would be prudent and sensible to distract your patient from worries, fear, or simply plain boredom. Don't forget to have daily newspapers and some common weekly magazines available. It adds a touch of familiarity and makes them feel at home.
It's a great idea to have many joke books in the reception. Other good ideas are magazines about fashion or fitness and anything else that subtly depicts a good, healthy lifestyle. You might not want to choose medical publications, unless you are sure they are good ones. The idea is to distract the patient from reading anything related to their own bodies. A person with a fracture would not be particularly interested in knowing about "10 heart problems he might suffer from before the age of 40."
Have some wall hangings but not something BLARING or conveying too much fun. You want to subtly distract your patients while they are waiting in your reception. Give them something to stare at, without making them look weird.
Play some soothing music. Instrumentals are a great idea. Radio is a very bad idea. No one wants to hear more bad news or rock music while waiting in the doctor's office.
Assign a specific person for your reception
Train your staff to smile and welcome patients. Be nice to them in general. This is marketing advice for ANY business. Nothing beats a warm, welcoming smile. That's what computers and machines CANNOT replace. It gives that human connection.
Designate a particular staff member to take care of patient needs in the reception. In most hospitals and clinics, the receptionist has to take care of the telephone calls, scheduling the doctor's activity, filling out forms, and meeting incoming patients.
Your patients are your bread and butter. If you don't take care of them, someone else will. In most medical situations, patients are having doubts, are fearful, or want something. Fulfilling these tiny requests and answering some (possibly silly) questions go a LONG way in giving good customer service. And it will cost you next to nothing. Just some clear thinking and you are ready for some WINNING customer service.
If your reception is manned by one person who is responsible for all the above-mentioned activities, that person is usually clueless when a patient walks in and asks a favor.
"Can I make a personal call?"
"Could you turn down the AC?"
"Where is the restroom?"
Do they oblige or carry on with being an efficient worker for you? Overworked receptionists are likely to show their frustration on your patients. Most of them are already distressed to some extent.
If you have one specific person helping out your patients, politely answering their queries, informing them in advance if it is going to take a little longer for them to see the doctor, basically, you have a personal relationship person whose only task is to put the patients at ease. Try this out and you will see a measurable difference in your business. Such personal service sets you apart from your competition.
Key points to remember
Look at it from the patient's perspective
Take feedback and act on it
Make sure every aspect of your reception puts the patients at ease
Provide familiar distractions-TV, paintings, newspapers, magazines
Subtly market other services through your reception area
Make it a place where they will not mind waiting
Hire a person to specifically address patients in your reception
Train your staff to be warm, friendly, and polite.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Uniform History

Uniforms are worn by professionals in many fields. They are recognized as a symbol of belonging to a particular organization, company, or team. Over the years uniforms have evolved from clothing worn by the military to a standard clothing expectation in modern society. Uniforms are expected dress in industries including hospitality, postal service, retail, health care, airline, public transit, security, construction, and many more. The uniforms are meant to establish a basic code of conduct and team mentality among the workers.
Military uniforms are perhaps the most recognizable around the world. Different branches have their own colors and styles, with servicemen wearing unique uniforms for specific occasions. The use of formal military uniforms can be traced to 40 AD. The Roman Army dressed its soldiers in matching styles, which appeared unified and intimidating to challengers. This trend continued to present day, with alterations made to suit battle styles and specific needs. Beginning in the mid 17th century the French introduced the concept of regimental dress. This style included colors that indicated the specific units of the wearers. Beginning in the 20th century armies increasingly edged away from wearing bright colors in the field. This was replaced by more camouflaged colors including dark green, beige, and the camouflage pattern itself. This allowed armies to hide more effectively. Presently militaries maintain a variety of uniforms for active duty and off duty activities.
Similar to the evolution of the military uniform, security clothing has progressed through the years. The types of uniforms used for security vary by need. Some companies utilize full dress that mimics the uniforms of police officers. Others prefer lower key suits. While some companies opt for plain-clothes officers these are not technically uniforms.
Health care workers wear uniforms different from other industries. This freedom has progressed from strict styles prior to World War II, to the individual scrubs of today. During WWI and WWII nurses wore full, matching uniforms consisting of skirts, aprons, and hair coverings. The uniforms were required in order to work in the hospitals and participate in medical training. Following the wars the standards of dress relaxed. Scrubs became the standard and nurses were required to purchased their own outfits, rather than having them provided. This allowed freedom of choice to be incorporated into pattern selection. The uniforms consist of standard pieces that may be individually styled.
Another industry that has increasingly required uniforms is the hospitality industry. This includes a variety of service positions including food, domestic workers, and various service positions. The use of uniforms in the hospitality industry evolved from the requirement of domestic workers to dress in matching styles per their employer's demands. Butlers, housemaids, and other servants were dressed in styles that often exceeded the dress of those they served. As modern industry developed domestic positions have been replaced by the service and hospitality industry. Uniforms are often used in these businesses to maintain a sense of unity and teamwork. Casual uniforms are most common, and many companies provide a simple shirt and pants outfit for employees.
Uniforms have remained a source of formality in businesses. While the push for individualization has largely been oppressed, it has seeped into the health care uniforms and is beginning to breach the hospitality industry as well. Primarily it appears that uniforms are a standard that has survived centuries and will continue to do so in the future.