Growing your business
Healthcare Welfare: How to stand out as an independent healthcare business
It’s no easy feat keeping an independent healthcare business afloat in today’s financial climate. What with the increasing number of privately-owned healthcare practices post Brexit, the sustained impact of larger chains, and the systematic rigidity of the NHS keeping retail prices at a constant, it seems the competition’s never been more ruthless. And the margin of success for budding entrepreneurs, ever-dwindling.
That’s why this week we’re offering some top tips on how to make your healthcare business stand out amongst the masses; covering a range of topics from how to market your products and services, to personalisation and the benefits of an integrated digital and physical presence.
It’s More Than Just A Bag
When marketing your business, it pays to think outside the box - or bag. Have your brand logo printed onto the carrying container supplied by your business; that way, when customers get home, they bring a little bit of your business back with them, essentially equating to free marketing and the increased possibility of customer retention. Not to mention that if you make the packaging biodegradable and/or reusable, you are subsequently prolonging that customer endorsement and retention while being eco-friendly in the same effort.
Plus, it’ll make you stand out amongst the hoard of healthcare companies that use the same plastic bags or cardboard boxes to carry their goods. Just think how many times you’ve seen the same prescription bag and/or contact lens case . . .
By mixing your packaging up a little you’re helping conserve the environment (which can only be good for company ethic), encouraging increased levels of footfall, and thus, improving the possibility of financial growth - a bag for life means brand awareness for life too.
Gavin Birchall, founder and managing director at DOSE Design and DOSE Publishing, insists that “Getting a reminder of products and services into the hands and homes of customers is something of a holy grail in the marketing world. […] Turn your bags into targeted adverts and get them doing something useful”, other than just carrying your medicine.
Technological developments over the past decade have enabled large and small business alike to be more innovative in their retail methods. The healthcare space in particular has faced a dramatic increase in gadgetry, making it easier for practices and stores to best serve their customers.
Take international ophthalmic optics company, Essilor’s, Nautilus for example. Nautilus is “a virtual reality dispensing aid designed [for opticians to] provide an immersive patient experience” when testing for what variation of contact lens to recommend. Launching in 2015, the virtual reality device can simulate the spectrum of effect that lenses can have on a customer's eyesight, making the decision quick and easy, but most of all, fun.
Investing in technology such as this will likely entice new customers to come and try your small business instead of a larger retail branch that doesn’t supply such a novel experience. And with the recent wave of virtual reality gadgets on the market, now seems like a prime time to invest in something new and a little futuristic if you have the means to do so.
“[T]he modern consumer’s need for instant knowledge is seemingly satisfied by a quick Google search,” insists Essilor. “The problem is, however, that not all information researched online, or even from outside sources, is relevant to the problem they might be experiencing”.
It’s no secret that independent health retailers exceed in building relationships with their customers so, with Essilor’s insight in mind, it’s worth exploring how this sense of community trust can translate effectively to the online world too. So, consider setting up a website with information relevant to the products/services that your business sells. We’re too far gone in this digital age for any modern retailer not to have an online presence, so make yours stand out.
Write a blog detailing a different topic each week; set up a delivery service; have a ‘questions and answers’ section where customers can make enquiries and receive educated advice from the trained experts at your business – taking advantage of that all-important one to one relationship. For the sake of their own welfare, the consumer should be making the right choice when researching and purchasing their healthcare products/services. Make your business that choice. Get online.
Introducing retail techniques like these can be an expensive venture for small businesses, especially those reliant on community-based customer retention and local business. And as John Care, Chief Executive of SightCare, states, “running out of cash makes growing a business impossible” particularly when implementing new technologies and creative ideas. “[S]mall business owners must either be heavily capitalised or be able to pick up extra income to shore up cash reserves when needed”.
Ergo, if you want to be more open-minded and creatively affluent in your approach to healthcare but can’t afford the resources to expand your business, perhaps consider taking out a Liberis cash advance. This simple, flexible funding solution is ideal for getting your business’ strategy of the ground and helping to sustain those still a little under the radar.