Six of my favorite quotes, matched to real-life Radial health and wellness client experiences, plus lessons learned. Enjoy!
1) “What you lose on the swings, you can pick up on the merry-go-round.”
Got a a truly desperate phone call from a guy who owned a wellness center that offered CAM and conventional healthcare — mainly acupuncture, chiropractic and medical massage, plus physical therapy, fitness and nutritional counseling and health coaching.
Business was fine until his landlord started trying to force him out so that he could take advantage of a better real estate opportunity.
As we brainstormed, he shared his longtime vision of a “wellness mall” where he would serve as landlord for health and wellness businesses of all kinds. So we started exploring what it would take to actually make that vision a reality.
On the way to visit his mom one day, he spotted a location that was ideal for his “wellness mall” concept. He’s now lining up tenants (which is going well, thanks to his network) and will open for business at the end of March.
Was his landlord in the wrong? Yes. But that wasn’t the point, and obsessing about how to make him live up to the lease was pointless.
When a business decision doesn’t pan out, tweak it and try again. Don’t be so fixated on maintaining the status quo that you’re blind to even better alternatives.
2) “In all aspects of our lives, we must choose between the trivial many and the vital few. “
Caroline is the marketing VP for a workplace wellness provider. When she hired us to review their marketing campaigns, we were stunned to find that her team had a finger in every pie — Twitter, Facebook, a blog, flyers, brochures, sell sheets, FAQs, conferences, direct mail, AdWords, cold calling, newsletters, Internet radio and podcasts…and tons more.
Just one problem — it took a lot of time AND money AND wasn’t generating leads or new contracts.
The cure: we killed some activities that didn’t work or didn’t fit their strategy, like Facebook. We rewrote some marketing pieces so that they supported specific steps in the sales process. Temporarily stopped some other things, like the podcasts. And substituted a few carefully-planned new activities and materials that helped fill in gaps in their sales cycle.
Focus your energies on the “big bang” activities that are critical in moving your business forward. Be clear on the difference between “busyness” and actual results. It’s much better to get a few really powerful things finished, with excellence, than to sputter along on a dozen activities that never quite get done.
3) “Survival precedes success.”
We consulted with a women’s health clinic a couple of years ago whose business concept cleverly combined fitness and nutrition with a focus on several chronic health issues that women often face. It was an excellent idea and they had the right team to make it work.
Except: they wanted to swing for the fences. Gradually building the business wasn’t good enough for them. They wanted a grand-slam home run, this minute. So they spent about $90,000 in three months (most of their free capital) with local ad agencies, on marketing videos, expensive print advertising, elaborate brochures and posters, and a pricey website.
Unfortunately that left them with no money to pay vendors and staff while they built up their client base. They shut their doors about nine months later. Heartbreaking for them, and very disappointing to see such a promising business fail when it was totally avoidable.
You’ve got to survive the battle to win the war! Avoid make-or-break decisions that back you into a corner and close off options. You can almost always find a way to move forward without betting the farm.
4) “The skills that bring you to the table don’t keep you at the feast.”
Our smallest clients often face this challenge. They’re great personal trainers, dietitians, physicians, chiropractors, etc., etc. And naturally, their clients love them. Inspired, they decide to start their own business.
Often, they continue to pour all of their energies into being the best wellness professional possible. They often spend most of their spare time and discretionary funds on training workshops, professional conferences, continuing ed, and so on.
While it’s important to stay on top of your field, those skills alone won’t lead to a successful business.
It’s even more important to acquire the skills that will make you a successful business owner.
For example, getting new clients is usually the hardest activity for a new wellness business owner. As many of you already know, marketing requires more than an order of business cards! And there’s more to managing your expenses than just paying your business credit card bill every month.
Periodically compare the skills you’re using most and investing in to the skills that would most benefit your business at this point in its lifecycle. Then develop a plan to get those skills — whether it’s through reading, classes, mentoring, networking, hiring outside experts, or adding staff to your own team.
5) “Success is never permanent. Neither is failure.”
Lake and Martel were co-owners of a yoga business. They started the business in 2003 in the Las Vegas vicinity when things were popping! The business grew rapidly and profitably, thanks in part to some creative guerrilla marketing techniques that helped get their name out there and attract more clients.
Then the Vegas economy went to hell in a handbasket. They went without a single new paying client for five months. And the regulars started vanishing too. Pretty scary. They were winding down the business when they called us to figure out what to do next.
When we started working with them, it was immediately obvious that what had made them successful wasn’t going to work anymore. The customers just weren’t there. So we helped them take inventory of their capabilities and assets.
Lake’s a former physical therapist and Martel previously worked in human resources and understands the workers’ compensation process. They’ve now refocused the business on training employers in the prevention and early identification of work-related injuries. They also train employees in injury prevention and ergonomic techniques. It’s going quite well, since cost control is an evergreen business concept that thrives even in a down economy.
Complacency is not your friend. You can’t assume that what’s worked so far will keep working. Always look ahead to what’s coming, and pay attention to external developments. Don’t let your day-to-day business absorb so much of your attention that you’re blind to what’s happening around you.
6) “You’re not a hundred-dollar bill. Everyone’s not going to like you.”
Three years ago we created a comprehensive portfolio of sell sheets, brochures, direct-mail postcards, and marketing emails for a corporate wellness provider, all linked to a webinar marketing strategy.
Our client’s new business leads went through the roof and overall, the project was really successful.
Then one day I got a call from Sharron, our client contact. Panic!
One of their prospects had complained about their webinars — just hated the experience. Now, keep in mind that these marketing webinars were reaching 100+ potential customers every time. They were getting great feedback and exceeding their targeted results. So there was nothing inherently wrong that needed to be fixed. Webinars just didn’t float this one company’s boat.
My advice to Sharron: there will always be someone who doesn’t like what you’re doing. Listen to their comments for anything actionable — but don’t ditch an otherwise successful idea just because you get a small amount of negative feedback.
They took a deep breath, sincerely thanked the customer for their feedback, and kept going.
You’re never going to please everyone – and you don’t need to.
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