After years of studying and honing your craft, you’re finally ready to open your own pulmonology practice. You’re eager to hit the ground running, albeit aware that starting a business is no easy task. How can you make your new practice flourish? Here’s a handy guide for the newly minted pulmonologist:
1. Take Your Time Hiring
You’ll need a capable staff you can rely on, so don’t rush the hiring process. First, create an organizational chart and plot out which roles you’ll need to fill. Don’t limit yourself to one avenue in finding candidates: staffing agencies, recruiting websites, networking, and word of mouth can all help. Remember that people skills matter, especially when handling patients. Use interviews not only to assess competency but also whether a candidate is personable.
2. Invest in Your Team
Once you’ve assembled a staff, invest in them. That is, provide them ample support and training. When employees feel prepared, confident in their abilities, and satisfied in their roles, they perform at a higher level. The goal is to create a culture in which every staff member is engaged and feels he or she is a key contributor.
3. Build Your Brand
Think about what separates your pulmonology practice from the competition. Once you spot your advantage, market it to your target demographic. Create a logo that accurately represents what you do – enlist a graphic designer to help if you’re not an expert – and place it on all of your marketing materials. From your brochures to your website, keep everything you produce consistent.
4. Launch a Website
Speaking of websites, you may be surprised to find that 45% of small businesses do not have one.1 Therefore, building a website can give you a leg up on much of the competition. A website is an invaluable tool for reaching new patients, enhancing the patient experience, establishing yourself as an authority in your field, and even reducing the amount of time your staff spends scheduling appointments and giving directions. Make sure your website works just as well on mobile devices as it does on desktops.
5. Create a Blog
Many businesses make the mistake of building a website and then letting it sit idly for years. By creating a blog and adding fresh content, you will not only boost your search ranking and reach new customers, but you will also connect further with your patients and keep them up-to-date on any news they need to know. A blog is also a great place to add friendly, easily-digestible content such as tips for keeping your lungs healthy.
6. Get Social (Media)
As of first quarter 2018, Facebook had 2.196 billion monthly active users.2 With such a sizable audience at your disposal, you’d be doing yourself a disservice not to create a page for your pulmonology practice. Sign up for every social media site you can think of, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Instagram, and then share relevant content such as your blog posts. When patients share or “like” what you post, their social circle will see it, which can help create new leads.
7. Be Responsive to Online Reviews
Positive reviews on Healthgrades, Vitals, Yelp, Facebook, Google My Business, and other review sites convey to prospective patients that you’re a top-tier pulmonologist. When you receive a review, whether positive or negative, be sure to respond with an original, short, and polite message. Remember that it’s not just that patient who will read it. Also, offering a respectful response to a negative review is always the right thing to do, even if it may not feel like it at the time.
8. List Your Practice in Local Business Directories
Online directories enable patients to identify and connect with prospective pulmonologists. They allow you to grow your online presence and get discovered.
9. Give out Referrals
One of the best ways to grow your practice is through referrals. How do you get them? By giving them out. Cultivate relationships with other medical professionals and, when appropriate, refer your patients to them. It’s a two-way street and everyone, including the patient, will be better off for it.
10. Take Part in Your Community
Last but certainly not least, get involved in your community. You can sponsor a local sports team, support a charity, create a scholarship, volunteer for career day at a local school, or even host a wellness seminar. Doing any of these activities will increase your visibility and create potential leads.
Above all else, provide quality care for your patients. That, coupled with implementing these strategies, will help your pulmonology practice grow.
- Rosenbaum E. You’ll be shocked to learn how many small businesses still don’t have a website. CNBC. June 14, 2017. Accessed June 29, 2018.
- Number of monthly active Facebook users worldwide as of 1st quarter 2018 (in millions). Statista. Accessed June 29, 2018.