Recently, I sat down with Jack O’Brien from Clinic Mastery to talk, among other things, about You Legal, the legalities of operating a healthcare business and to share some of my experience gathered from building a business from the ground up.
Below are my seven essential steps any business and practice can take to help you create a foundation for success:
1.Focus on what your patients want.
Thinking about your patient needs first enables us to be innovative. The legal profession, as with the medical, sometimes falls into the trap of “this is the way its always been done“. However, people’s expectations are shifting – which creates space for new ideas.
For example – traditionally if you needed a lawyer, you would make an appointment and go and see your lawyer at their office, at a time and place that suited THEM. You Legal has completely changed that – we provide the ability to have virtual consultations, which clients can book online for a time that suits them. We have seen this technology already shifting to the health industry.
2. Think long term.
When You Legal was established, it was a very deliberate decision in our infancy to re-name our law firm. Most law firms are named after themselves – which is limiting – because there is only one of you and your time is precious. By establishing a brand as “You Legal” we created a team as opposed to one person. Similarity, you want your patients to feel there is a “team” there to help them, people feel comforted that they have support of many as opposed to one.
3.Invest in marketing.
I’m often asked what is the silver bullet? I’m not sure there is one. However, one thing I’ve learnt is that you need to invest in marketing. For some people this is a barrier to get over – marketing is a “cost” to the business and more often then not its left for someone to pick up as part of their role. You Legal has a dedicated marketing team, this means our lawyers can focus on lawyering, I can focus on growing the business, our administration team can focus on managing the office, and our marketing specialists can focus on marketing.
4. How can you be different?
Telling your story generates credibility, and at You Legal, we are willing to give away information for free – not a long of law firms are prepared to do that. We differentiate ourselves by being open, having a willingness to share and imparting our expertise without always asking for a “fee” in return, and I know a lot of medical clinics do this anyway. Its creates trust in our clients.
5.Have a shareholder agreement and get everything in writing.
No one can predict the future so by having the rules set before you play the game together is better than making them up as you go along. If you’re in practice with someone else it’s critical to get everything in writing. Things happen, life circumstances change, and you don’t want years of work to come undone because another partner wants to sell, gets ill, etc. Everyone goes into business in the honeymoon stage thinking this is going to be fabulous!! Until something happens, and then it’s not….. and as medical professionals you would know life doesn’t always go the way we hoped.
6. Be clear on employment terms.
Australian employment law is super complicated and what might seem like a simple way to structure your workforce, such as using contractors, can lead to issues down the track. This can include having to pay unpaid super or back pay for sick and annual leave. The differentiation of an employee versus contractor is a tricky one. You Legal uses a combination of employees and contractors, so it’s a viable option, but the terms of these employment contract needs to be very specific to the role being undertaken.
You can check out the ATO definition here. This is an area of the law where you must play by the rules and the ATO is very firm on its stance.
7. Build a culture.
Having everyone pulling in the same direction is critical to success. That can be achieved in several ways – it might be the way you structure your workforce, recruiting people based on values, having permanent employees (instead of contractors) who feel more invested in the business or making sure you’re regularly touching base with all your staff – whatever you choose its essential to implement and stick to it. I find at You Legal – even something as simple as a 15-minute conference call can be enough to boost staff morale.
You can listen to the full podcast – Legalities of Running a Healthcare Business here.
If you have any legal issues you would like to discuss, get in touch with us today our team at You Legal is always ready to help.
* This blog is for general guidance only. Legal advice should be sought before taking action in relation to any specific issues.