In building and running a professional practice (or any small business or a home-based business), there are many items that must be monitored closely. As a small operation, you can't afford to find out too late that a critical aspect of your business has gotten off-track! This list looks at 10 items to emphasize at the start of a new year, or any time you want to rapidly grow your business in a short period of time.
This Top 10 is really two groups of 5 items each. The first 5 items are tools, things to have on hand that will help you grow your business quickly, while items 6 through 10 are personal qualities or personal styles that create a powerful sense of "attraction" for new clients.
1. A business plan. Include a clear mission statement, describe the services you provide, the population you serve, the benefits you provide, and financial projections.
2. A marketing plan. Include a description of your targeted market groups and budgets for time, energy and money to reach those specific groups of people.
3. A comprehensive set of brochures, exercises, hand-outs and "give aways". If word of mouth is the best advertising, make it easy for your clients to say the nicest things about you! Make sure every client has valuable information, tools and ideas to share with friends. Put real value in your literature.
4. A plan for networking. A huge part of success is just showing up! Whether it's civic activity, volunteering at your child's school, or in your house of worship, show up! The more you put into your community, and the more you contribute, the more you will get back.
5. The perfect office. Are your waiting room chairs comfortable? Are your magazines current and appropriate? How about the wall paper, the music, the carpet? Your office should tell each client that when they choose you, they are getting the best!
6. Over-respond to every situation. Give far more than expected. Answer every question, then send a relevant article a few days later. Return phone calls immediately! Promise less, then deliver twice what you promised.
7. Eliminate the cost of delay. Never wait "until you can afford" new equipment, a better office or more training. The cost of delay includes too many missed opportunities. If you need it, and you'll do it eventually, do it now! Get on the internet, get a computer billing system, upgrade your phones. Delay costs you money, time, energy and limits your creativity. Do it now!
8. Take superb care of yourself. Exercise and eat well, get plenty of rest and hang around the most delightful, challenging and exciting people you can find. See one less client per day, and spend that time adding value to your remaining clients.
9. Market yourself shamelessly. Market your practice with style, with passion, good taste, and a low-key honesty that is shame-free and comfortable for everyone around you. The community needs your skills far more than you need a job ? clearly communicate what you do and how well you do it. Your community needs you! Let them know how to find you!
10. Tolerate no distractions. A clear vision and passionate commitment to your priorities makes life simpler and you become incredibly attractive to those who share your vision. Clean up any distractions and serve your clients with absolute integrity and total commitment. People know when they are getting your best.
Always focus on what you want for your business in the months ahead. We don't generally get everything we wish for in life, but being clear, focusing on the important rather than the convenient or the familiar, and being smart and working hard can take us further than we imagine. The clearer you are about what you want, the more likely you are to get it.
? Copyright 2003 by Philip E. Humbert. All Rights Reserved. This article may be copied and used in your own newsletter or on your website as long as you include the following information: "Written by Dr. Philip E. Humbert, writer, speaker and success coach. Dr. Humbert has over 300 free articles, tools and resources for your success, including a great newsletter! It's all on his website at: http://www.philiphumbert.com