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How to Recession Proof Your Weight Loss Practice

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How to Recession Proof Your Weight Loss Practice

— By Karol Clark, MSN, RN

Recession or not, it can be easy to give in to all of the negativity you hear on the news and in day-to-day discussions. Having a strong foundation and habits in place for a healthy business (similar to a healthy life) are great ways to recession proof your weight loss practice. 

While trends are important to anticipate and understand, having a strong foundation and habits that reinforce business stability and growth will create your ability to thrive in times of uncertainty. And even if you give in to undermining thoughts or conversation from time to time, it is the strength of your foundation and consistent habits that will predict success.

Common Weight Loss Practitioner Responses to Recession

The word “recession” often creates common quick responses by some weight loss practitioners and business owners in other industries, such as:

  • Reduce marketing efforts
  • Lower volume and profitability expectations
  • Put a ‘hold’ on any expansion plans for your services, products or team
  • Focus on what you ‘can’t’ do instead of what you ‘can’ do to attract and serve more clients effectively 

While logical in many ways (depending upon your specific situation), these actions can potentially lead to a more dismal outcome than if you choose to lean into important alternative actions that strengthen your position in your weight loss market. In fact, putting these alternative actions into place will position you well in an up or down market. As you know, in every down market, pandemic, or “recession,” there are businesses that experience growth and higher profitability. This is because they can rely on their foundation and they lean into the habits that create a prosperous practice and healthy future.

Habits for a Healthy Weight Loss Business in Uncertain Times

While there are many skills and habits that lead to a healthy business, during uncertain times, you need to focus specifically on the ones listed below — often with quick agility: 

  1. Simplify and Streamline: Uncertain times like a recession forces you to focus on which services and products you offer are most valuable to you and your patients. Specifically, a focus on not only what is in demand, but what you offer that produces the greatest profitability for your business. It is not a great time to add complexity to your business. Figure what has the greatest impact and lean into simplifying the process for doing more of that. Surgery? Medical weight loss? Retail sales? Something else?
  2. Build Cash Reserves and Future Profits: For any business, thriving in a down economy requires cash reserves and predictable future profits. This requires minimizing unnecessary costs while maximizing revenue generating activities. Some specific ways to do this are:
    • Avoid Patient Attrition: Look at how and why patients fall through the cracks of your patient acquisition and patient care processes. Make corrections so that your patient base is consistently growing.
    • Reactivate Patients: Evaluate why patients are no longer engaged and utilizing your products and services. Reach out to them and reactivate their participation.
    • Ask for Referrals: People are busy (successful patients and other referring practitioners). Thus, making a referral is not top of mind for them. Highlight success stories and don’t be afraid to ask for referrals.
    • Cross-Sell/Upsell: Don’t be afraid to share your complimentary services. You do your patients a disservice if you keep your wonderful products and services a secret.
    • Focus on Your Finances: What expenses (team included) generate revenue and which do not? How can you turn every position in your practice into a revenue generating position (or at least one that makes you and other revenue generators more efficient)? For example, even your receptionist can maximize schedule efficiency to save you time and convert inquiries into consults and future revenue.
  1. Optimize Your Time: Have you or your team ever tracked exactly how you spend your time? If not, it can be very eye opening. When you track your time, you uncover unnecessary tasks being done that could be eliminated as well as time wasters in your practice. Once known, create standard operating procedures everyone has access to so you aren’t always re-inventing the wheel. Coincidentally, this allows for easier team training and ability to function independently.
  2. Create or Clarify Money Making Systems in Your Practice: This relates to your marketing, your sales process, your patient care system and everything in between. Simplify patient acquisition with clear and consistent marketing messaging/e-mails/texts, make the sales process easy and provide convenience that focuses on optimal patient outcomes.

Building a Solid Foundation for your Weight Loss Practice

As mentioned, your business — just like any relationship or building — needs a strong foundation. If neglected, it is easier for everything to potentially crack and fall apart. Your foundation also creates the strength to identify and implement the necessary habits listed above — recession or not. A solid foundation requires:

  • Strong leadership with a clear vision
  • Talented team dedicated to successful implementation of the vision
  • Simplified strategic planning process with measurable key performance indicators (your plan, the people needed to make it happen and the processes that guide their actions and measure outcomes) 
  • Consistent communication from leaders and team members alike
  • Simplified systematization/standard operating procedures for better predictability and efficiency
  • Understanding of when to build/grow & when to balance/solidify your path by creating systems to make it happen

While no business is perfect, developing a strong foundation and having healthy business habits in place will help prevent you from being deterred by uncertain times and better equipped to overcome inevitable challenges.

About the Author: Karol Clark, MSN, RN, is a best-selling author who has a passion for helping physicians integrate effective, profitable weight loss services and retail sales into their practice while improving patient outcomes and enjoying the journey along the way. Her use of non-traditional (easy to implement) medical marketing strategies, along with her dedication to a positive ROI makes her a uniquely different and sought-after weight loss business consultant. Karol is the CEO of Weight Loss Practice Builder and the exclusive membership program for weight loss practitioners, She has more than 20 years of experience working with surgical and medical weight loss patients and assisting physicians build an enjoyable bariatric practice.

About Robard: For 45 years, Robard Corporation’s medical obesity treatment programs and nutrition products have been utilized by physicians, surgeons and hospitals across the United States to successfully treat patients living with obesity. To learn more about us and how we can help your practice and patients, visit us online at, email us at, or call (800) 222-9201.

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