5 Reasons You May Be Having Trouble Growing Your Weight Loss Practice
— By Karol Clark, MSN, RN
Practice growth can be affected by many variables. If you desire faster practice growth, focusing on some common potential causes of limited progress can help.
Do you sometimes feel like the best kept secret in town? You know you provide outstanding care and your patients are getting great results, yet practice growth is slower than expected. Perhaps you are also spending money on various paid advertising strategies and posting consistently on social media with little or no return on your financial and time investment. This commonly creates feelings of frustration and disappointment.
During times like this, it is helpful to take an intentional pause to examine what may be holding you back — as well as identify what is working well. This can help you gain a fresh perspective so you are better able to determine your next steps moving forward.
Let’s begin with the five most common factors that may be holding back the growth of your weight loss practice.
5 Reasons You May Be Having Trouble Growing Your Weight Loss Practice
1. Poorly Communicated Vision: Whether you are a solo practitioner or part of a larger group or health system, you vision drives your actions. Thus, it is imperative to have a clear vision of who you want to serve, what they want/need most, how you want your practice to operate, and the team you want to embrace and help fulfill your vision. If you fail to create and communicate your vision, this can prevent growth of your weight loss practice for a variety of reasons such as those listed below:
- Trouble attracting and retaining top talent: You know how important having a team of A-Players is to your practice. Top talent individuals tend to be motivated by playing an important role in a compelling vision they can believe in. They also want to understand how they contribute to bringing it to fruition. Top talent doesn’t just want to put in their hours of work; they want to create a future that makes a difference. Understanding your vision during the interview and employment process positively affects your ability to attract and retain great talent.
- Reduced motivation: A well-communicated vision serves as a source of inspiration and motivation for employees. It gives them a sense of purpose and a shared goal to work towards. Without this clarity, your team may become disengaged, lose motivation, and not demonstrate their peak performance.
- Lack of focus: Your vision provides a strategic framework that guides decision-making and resource allocation. Without a communicated vision, there is a risk of pursuing short-term objectives and losing sight of the bigger picture. This can lead to inefficiencies as well as wasted time and resources.
- Missed opportunities: The lack of a clear direction can lead to missed opportunities for growth, innovation, and creation of your competitive advantage.
2. Too Many Marketing Variables at Play: As you work to grow your weight loss practice, it is common to feel as if you need to be “everything to everyone” so you don’t miss out on any opportunities. You can be influenced by great external marketing companies who encourage you to continually invest in various (often expensive) marketing tactics. However, without a solid strategy to guide you, the following often occurs:
- Conflicting messaging: Different marketing strategies require different messaging as you try to attract new weight loss patients. In addition, those you entrust your marketing budget to may not have a clear understanding of exactly who you are trying to attract with your campaigns, and why you are their best option when it comes to meeting or exceeding their weight loss goals. Conflicting messaging can create confusion, making it harder for your ideal patients to connect with you, understand what you offer, and take the next step to become an established patient.
- Overwhelmed team: Managing and executing multiple marketing strategies simultaneously can overwhelm your team, especially in a small practice with limited resources. It can also lead to increased workload, stress, frustration, and decreased productivity.
- Inefficient resource allocation: Implementing multiple marketing strategies without a strategy can cause wasted time and financial resources. You may end up spreading your budget, time, and manpower too thin across various tactics without generating a positive return on your investment.
- Difficulty measuring results: With multiple marketing tactics at play without a clear strategy, it becomes challenging to measure the effectiveness and impact of your individual marketing strategies. Clear metrics may be overlooked for each, which results in an inability to have a clear understanding of which strategies are driving positive results and which ones are underperforming.
3. Unknown Patient Deterrents: If your practice growth is underwhelming, there may be some other patient deterrents at play. It is common to overlook these because they can be a bit insidious, and uncomfortable to confront. Possible unknown deterrents preventing potential new patients from selecting you and your practice as their chosen weight loss solution can include:
- Poor online presence/message: Having a strong, clear, and consistent online presence is crucial for business growth. If you do not have an easy to navigate website that clearly showcases your services, success stories, your team and a way for people to easily communicate with you, you may be missing out on new patient leads. It is also important to regularly update your social media platforms with engaging content and ensure that your ‘about us’ section is thoroughly filled out.
- Complicated sales process: Simple is what will get done. When it comes to your patients finding you and determining you are the best choice, you must make it easy for them to follow-through with their decision. If you have an over-complicated sales process involving many steps to getting started, this can create frustration for potential patients and cause them to abandon their decision to choose you for a less-complicated option.
- Too many service, product or program choices: When there are too many choices, people tend to make no decision at all.1 Having too many choices can also make it difficult for you to scale the growth of your practice. While personalized care is great, having less options will help your patients decide you are their best option.
- Inconsistent care experience: Patients want consistent high quality, personalized care. They want to know you are listening to them and that you are committed to helping them make the transformation they desire. If they feel this only some of the time, it can prevent them from following through and referring others to your practice.
- Team sales aversion: Not many clinicians enjoy sales and no one really likes to be salesy. Yet, it is a part of getting you and your practice out there and helping patients decide what program, services and products are best for them. If you and your team fully believe in what you offer, sales aversion will decrease. Some sales training can help as well.
- Poor or inconvenient communication: In a busy world, if you aren’t consistently engaging with your prospective, current and past patients, you are missing out on growth potential. This requires you to consistently communicate with them in the manner they prefer such as text, e-mail, social media, messaging, mail, or a phone call. You may also have one or more team members who do not have the best phone etiquette or an inability to efficiently respond to inquiries. Testing your system for communication is important and can reveal areas for improvement.
- Failure to ask for feedback and 5-star reviews: Online reviews have a great impact on decision making for patients. However, giving 5-star reviews may not be top of mind for them. This requires your team to ask for them and then showcase them on your website and social media consistently. Including 2-3 question patient satisfaction surveys can provide invaluable information as well.
4. Lack of Streamlined Systems & Success Metrics: Predictable growth, profitability and positive patient outcomes come with having streamlined systems that are documented and created by your team. This creates ownership and follow-through. In addition, tracking key success metrics are critical for brainstorming improvements and tracking what matters most. If you do not have these in place, such predictability can feel out of reach and each day can feel chaotic. It starts with creation of one system and one success metric and building from there.
5. Failure to Adapt and Innovate: The weight loss industry is continuously evolving. It is important to share your view on the latest research, trends and technologies. Embrace those you believe in and listen to your patients. By adapting to changing patient needs and offering your expertise, combined with emerging science and technology, you can position you and your practice as a valued resource and leader in the field of weight loss.
Growing your weight loss practice requires strategic planning, continuous improvement, and a client-centered approach. By addressing each of these five common obstacles to predictable practice growth, you can overcome challenges and experience the success you desire most.