Identifying who you are in the market place and how your customers (patients) identify you is key in planning your business. Medical practices are not homogenous in the services they provide or the practitioners that provide them. Medical practices can adapt the concepts of successful business to develop a model. Using a historical successful business will provide an adequate basis for a business plan.
The McDonalds Model
McDonalds is one of the most successful businesses in the world and they have succeeded due to strategic planning and filling a market need.
- Systems – What they do in their stores is reproducible anywhere in the world – hence the success of their franchise model, not just an individual store.
- Meeting market expectations – they revolutionised the fast food industry – drive through services, pre-made orders, standardised menus with limited range of produce.
- Branding – the “golden arches” are the most recognised symbol in the world.
- Filling a niche – the McDonalds stores entered the market before paper wrapped fast-food was on every street. They broke the mould of drive-in diners across the United States
- Consistency – Every store world wide is based on the same systems, values and products.
Alignment of Patients and Services
Matching services with the potential market is one of the key aspects of a successful business. Medical service are not immune to the requirement of market identification as a service industry provider but despite this many medical practitioners do not understand the concept of niche markets, market share, ideal customers (patients), demographics of patient pool or the importance of writing a business plan.
Identifying your Market
In identifying medical markets there are two choices. Firstly a practitioner can decide on the service they are wanting to provide and then searching for the target audience. Alternatively researching the audience and identify the niche areas that need filling and then providing services to fill these gaps. Generally the more successful is that where the customer (patient) base is waiting to be serviced.
Diversification of Services
A practitioners skillset will often determine the services they provide. This does not prevent them from refining or refining the market they services. For example an orthopaedic hand surgeon who has completed fellowship training would need to position their business in an area that would have sufficient patients to gain a market share and sustain a good business model. Moving to a small rural town would not be a viable business plan. On the other hand a General Practitioner may wish open a rural practice and focus on womens health. They have the skillset and training, and the market share is 50% of the adult population base.
Understanding your market, patients, services and service providers will allow you to develop and grow a viable business model.