Organisation

Spring Clean Your Clinic

VIRTUAL RECEPTION, PRACTICE, CLINIC

Spring is here, and it’s both my favourite and hardest season to get through. Why? Well I adore the weather, but I have allergies to pollen so… you get the idea.

The colder months can be hard for clinics to navigate. Often clientele goes into hibernation, appointment numbers are down and morale can dip. But with the warmth comes new promise and an opportunity to dust away any cobwebs and get the clinic ready for the warm weather and swarm of clients.

Whilst everyone is getting back into the swing of singlets and integrating back into society, there are a couple of things you can focus on to be ready for when those clients walk through your door again.

Set some Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for your Clinic

Yuck! how corporate does that sound? I admit, it’s not the most joyful thing to work on, but setting up some targets and expectations for how your Clinic should be performing can give you and your team (if you have one) something to actually work towards.

  • Do you want to see 25 new clients a month?
  • Do you want to increase your revenue by 10% month on month?
  • Do you want to reduce the Did Not Arrives (DNAs) and Cancellation rates?

Put some numbers on paper, on a vision board or in a suave program like Cliniq Apps and start tracking it! Use the trends to focus your marketing efforts.

Take Stock of the Admin you’re wasting your time on

Just like stocktake for products, you should also take time to do a stocktake on your efforts. If you’re spending 30 minutes a day raising invoices, and that makes you unhappy, make a note to outsource it to someone.

If you’re constantly returning phone calls because you can’t answer them during client sessions and that drives you bananas because most times, you find out you’ve lost money, then outsource it.

Yes, you could think of it as a cost, but let’s think about the future, and growth and what you can do today to invest in your own happiness and the smooth operation of your clinic.

Review your subscriptions – cancel most of them

A $5 per month subscription here and a $9.99 subscription to that other program can eat away at your profits. I liken these subscriptions to the lucrative deals gyms make. You go in there with the best intentions of making improvements and changes, but you end up living life and soon its 2 years later and you’re scratching your head wondering what is this subscription to ClinicABCs that keeps taking $12.99 from your account every month.

Make your life easier

For the clinics out there still managing their business on paper, I both shake my head and applaud you. You’ve got grit to stick in there and do the work (applauds), but you’re missing out on so many opportunities to make your life easier and spend more time doing what you want to do.

Systems don’t take away your freedom, they help to keep you and your clinic on track. Yes, systems sound scary and they certainly don’t sound like fun BUT getting paid, reducing time on managing your diary and getting beautiful reports that show you how much money you are making IS fun, so take the time to look at your options.

If you’re already using a Practice Management system review the setup.

  • Are your templates still current?
  • Is your team accurately reflecting the times they are available?
  • Is your invoicing up to date?

Don’t make spring cleaning just about the boring stuff like sweeping cobwebs, get creative, get brave and get ready for that client stream.

               

3 Admin Tips to transform your working week

Admin is one of those things that, as business owners, we’ve come to accept is an unavoidable part of our business journey. Many clients and fellow business owners often say they are setting aside the day to do admin, or they need a Virtual Assistant to keep on top of things. Whilst a Virtual Assistant is a great option, you can certainly make yourself more productive and save yourself hours each week with these three simple admin tips.

1. Simply, get structured.

Hands up if your electronic filing system is either your Computer Desktop or local computer drive? Keep your hands up if you spend more than 30 seconds locating files. If your hand is still up, you are wasting time, not just finding your files, but your computer will most likely be SLLLOOWWW because the computer needs to use operating memory for no reason other than to maintain a messy desktop.

admin tips, time saving, organisation, virtual assistant
Messy Desktops are time wasters. Image Credit: About.com

Messy Desktops are time wasters. Image Credit: About.com

The great thing is, setting up a filing structure doesn’t have to be (and it shouldn’t be) complicated. It just has to reflect your business, and be intuitive enough for you (and your staff) to quickly and efficiently locate files. If you still don’t think having an efficient electronic filing structure is important, consider this. Every file that you cannot locate instantly, creates an unnecessary workload. If you have to spend more than 30 seconds looking for a file, being interrupted by a colleague to check if the file is saved on your personal drive, you’ve wasted everyone’s time. An example of a simple, yet effective filing structure is below. I use DropBox (Google Drive is also a great option) to store my files, as I can invite others in to folders to find and save files.

An effective, simple filing structure is an easy way to save time.

An effective, simple filing structure is an easy way to save time.

My tips for creating an efficient filing system are:

  1. Don’t Over-complicate.
    • Have a few broad, but descriptive folders that cover the main aspects of your business. Being overly specific can cause confusion, and isn’t necessary in most cases.
  2. Keep Sub-Folders to a minimum. 
    • Sub-folders may seem like a great idea, and have you feeling super organised, but it can be like navigating through a stranger’s mind. You’ll spend far too much time going in and out of folders to find the correct files. I recommend 2-3 levels of sub-folders at most.
  3. Sequence your folders.
    • Create a sequence to display your most important (or frequently visited) folders first, rather than having the folders listed alphabetically. Simply name the folder 01 Folder Name, 02 Folder Name, and the second level, 01.1 Sub-Folder Name, 02.1 Sub-Folder Name and so on.

2)      Make your Inbox Sing!

Many of my clients and previous colleagues report feelings not dissimilar to anxiety, stress and overwhelm when faced with their Inbox. It is estimated that 212.1 billion emails are sent and received each day. Without an effective Inbox strategy, it is really no wonder people tend to avoid their Inbox. A complete Inbox Detox is a great place to start.  Consolidate your email accounts, organise your Inbox and introduce automation to make your Inbox work harder – not you.

Read about the Inbox Detox over here. http://www.pro-assist.com.au/blog/inboxdetox

3)      Standardise for Success

If you seem to always be creating documents and emails from scratch for the same type of purpose (Client Reports, Proposals, Letters), then you will benefit from creating templates.

You can customise these each time you use them, but get the body of the template correct and you’ll save so much time. CRM systems such as HubSpot integrate with many mail clients so you can effortlessly add templated responses to your emails.

The 3 admin tips are quick and simple to implement, but will drastically reduce time spent on admin, leaving time for the more exciting aspects of your business.

 

 

 

Effortless Optimisation: How I Save Time, Money and Grow My Business Each Week

Saving Time, Saving Money, Virtual Assistant, Scheduling, Optimisation, Optimization

Like thousands of other businesses around Australia, I am a Service Provider. I have existing and potential clients that I meet with regularly. But unlike the thousands of other businesses, I don’t spend hours coordinating these meetings.

I hear you asking, “How?” Well, I implemented an online booking system. It was quick and easy to implement, and I saved hours and secured more bookings, straight away – and I can help you do the same.

Here’s how it used to be (And I’m certain you’ll be able to relate!) An email would come in from a Hot Lead –they loved the service, and wanted a consultation. I’d go to my calendar, note times I was available, and email them with “How does this time suit you?” They’d reply back sometime later, something along the lines of “How about x time/date?” I’d go back to my calendar, no, I wasn’t available.. And we’d go back and forwards until we found a time and date that worked. Sometimes I’d miss the email, and leave my lead waiting for a response; and, unfortunately, it was common for a hot lead to go cold, stone cold – like they vanished off the face of the earth. I got frustrated. I’d spend hours coordinating these consultations and it just felt like a huge waste of time!

"Regret for wasted time is more wasted time" - Mason Cooley – Tweet That!

So, here’s how I stopped wasting time, and secured more bookings.

  1. I researched online booking systems – there are hundreds, for all different industries. I provide a service to businesses, and my consultation offerings are limited to 1 type – so I settled for a simple program, Acuity Scheduling.
  2. I tailored the program to my offering. The program steps you through this.
  3. I embedded the link as a header on my website, in my email signature and on my social media page. And if someone asks for a consult? I provide them the link.
  4. My client chooses the time that suits them. The program syncs to my calendar, sends appointment confirmations to the client, and to me to notify of a new booking.
  5. I rock up to the consult when my Calendar notification tells me to.

This is one of the most simple and effortless optimisation strategies available to you. If you want to save time, money and get more bookings, book in with me for a complimentary consultation.

Inbox Detox 101

Out of Control Inboxes can cause anxiety, lead to late nights and early mornings to catch up, and can quickly become not so useful and efficient. 

Sadly, the days of receiving a letter in the humble mailbox are gone. Email has become the preferred method of contact, and it truly is a marvelous technology; it keeps us connected, informed, and can get us access to free content, exclusive deals and so much more. The 2014-2018 Email Statistics Report estimates that in 2016, there are approximately 4.62 billion email accounts, and on average, each person owns 1.7 email addresses. What's more, 212.1 billion emails are sent and received each day; that's a lot of emails for you to sort through! So what does this information overload do to us? Having an out-of-control Inbox can seriously limit productivity (read about how to be more productive over here). Some report anxiety attacks, others working longer hours just to keep on top of their emails, and those who are naturally flighty, try to avoid their emails at all costs. 

So what can you do about it? Doing a simple Inbox Detox is a great start; I can’t promise its painless, but its oh-so-worth-it!

Detox Step 1: Consolidation

Not so long ago, I had 6 email accounts, yep 6. Why you ask? Well at the time, each had a purpose;

  1. my full time job email;
  2. my at-home business email;
  3. my first email address I ever had (hello, dustyangel32);
  4. a more professional one to successfully “adult” with (enter kfollent);
  5. my university email; and
  6. a Hotmail account that I could never bring myself to get rid of, despite the fact it only ever collected spam. 

How on earth do I consolidate, I hear you ask? You have to make some tough decisions. Granted, your full time job email can’t go, but consider whether you really need that old Hotmail account or the embarrassing combo of numbers and letters email address. 

After deactivating unnecessary accounts, you can consolidate further by creating a forward all email rule for accounts that you actually need, but don't need to access regularly, to an account that you do access regularly, such as your work email or personal email. (Not sure how to do this? Outlook Readers find out here, Gmail Users find out here). 

Iphone Users can also add their accounts into the phone's settings, so at the press of the Mail App button, all your emails are at your finger tips.

Detox Step 2: Organisation

This is actually the part I really love - sorting through all the emails and organizing them. (Hey, don’t groan, this is short-term pain for long-term pleasure!)

Firstly, tackle those email subscriptions that have gathered and multiplied in your Inbox. If you no longer want to receive a subscription, you’ll find the ‘Unsubscribe’ option in the footer of each email.

Next, introduce some organisation in the form of Folders or Tags (for the Gmail users out there). Don’t have a clue what your categories could be? You can start off simple, say have 3 categories; "To Action", "For Information" and "Complete". You can get more creative later when you have a better handle/ time to break your categories down. Set up these categories as folders or tags. 

Depending on the number of emails in your inbox (I've seen inboxes with in excess of 4000 emails), this may take you a long time. Set some time in your calendar each day/ week to sort through and file the emails. 

Detox Step 3: Automation

So you’ve now got a (mostly) squeaky clean inbox, and we need to keep it that way in the most efficient way possible: Automation. If you regularly receive a particular email, you can create rules to automatically send it to a Folder, or highlight it for your immediate attention;  for example, if I receive daily emails from cutecats.com, I can create a rule that puts that email into a folder called ‘Subscriptions’, so my inbox stays clear, and when I want my daily dose of fuzziness, I can go into the Subscriptions folder and read my cute cats subscription email; or, if I receive an email from my client, I can set up a rule that highlights their email in my inbox if a particular phrase is mentioned such as "ASAP", so I know I need to read that email first. Read all about rules in Outlook here, and filters in Gmail here.

So that’s it! Three simple steps to detox your inbox and quit the dread of opening your inbox. Email really is an amazing tool, just be sure to give it a bit of TLC every now and then to keep it in tip-top shape.