5 Things We Learned in What Was a Wild Year
Well that sucked. No point in sugar coating it... 2020 was a crappy year for just about everyone who wasn't a tiger king or anyone associated with Amazon and even then, 2020 probably still sucked. As with any major life obstacle, the value is in the learning and the response and we thought we would share our Top 5 Lessons that might help shape our response to 2021.
Lesson 1 - Speed Wins.
Far and away the most important learning from 2021 was that when it comes to challenges/responses in a commercially competitive environment, those that acted fastest were the biggest relative winners. We saw this most visibly in the hospitality industry where certain restaurants flourished via el fresco dining or by scaling up and advertising their take out and delivery options. The key wasn't how they responded (everyone got there eventually) - It was how fast they responded.
The same can be said for telehealth in private practice - Those that dove in head first managed to create a safe and sustainable revenue stream to keep the lights on. When you see a trend developing - Hesitation will hurt you.
Lesson 2 - Treatment Diversification creates Security.
Across nearly all private practice verticals, 2020 impacted patient flow in different ways. Elective surgeries were bumped and cosmetic treatments were pushed off. Anyone exclusively focused on one of these patient streams had no easy way to respond, which is the true value of diversification. Office based, medically necessary treatments saw the most sustained volume and provided another way to stay viable with reductions in core business.
Lesson 3 - In a time of crisis, over communication is nearly impossible.
Unquestionably, the biggest challenge faced by all industries in 2020 was fear. Rightly or wrongly, people were scared to leave home and as a result, they avoided seeking treatment, even if medically necessary. The industries that managed to overcome this were those who actively began to market their safety protocols and executed a stream of communication highlighting (a) that they were still open for business (most people weren't sure) and (b) that it would be safe to visit. Over communication with your consumer base is hard in normal circumstances, nearly impossible at a time of crisis.
Lesson 4 - Idle time Needs to be Reflection Time.
If there's one gift that 2020 gave us, it was time. Rarely in today's world do we have time and those that used it most effectively will be the biggest winners heading into 2021. If you haven't yet taken the time to reflect on performance metrics, commercial strategy and to establish a robust plan for FY2021, we would strongly encourage you to do so. Those that are prepared to capitalize on the rebound should be able to overcome the performance drought of 2020 and set themselves up for long term success.
Lesson 5 - Be Specialized and Be Findable.
At a time when non-medically necessary treatments came to a screeching halt, the emphasis continues to shift towards specialization vs generalization. Ensuring that you’re delivering real value to patients in real need will also deliver repeatable flow that will draw from a wide geographic area.
In a world now dominated by online self education, patients are not just seeking treatment, they’re seeking experts who delivered specialized treatments. It’s also not enough to simply offer the treatment, you need to let them know you’re delivering the treatment and that other patients who’ve received the treatment are happy with the outcomes (power of testimonials and reviews). Our busiest Swift practices remained busy with Swift throughout the pandemic for those exact reasons.