Stop Your Health Business from Making You Sick
Written by Sophie Auld
Running a health business that helps others achieve their wellness goals can be hugely rewarding. But it can also be stressful. Research released last year showed that small business owners tend to put success above their own wellbeing.
In the survey conducted by Suncorp, more than two-thirds of the 500 participating business owners reported experiencing fatigue, financial stress, loss of motivation, or relationship strain because of their work.
It is possible to maintain a healthy bottom line and a balanced life. Chartered accountant and small business expert Heather Smith offers these tips for running your business efficiently, so you can spend more time practising what you preach.
Smith says that streamlining is key to running any health business effectively. She recommends automating tasks wherever possible and having everything accessible in the cloud.
“I ask myself, ‘Is every step necessary? Can bottlenecks be eliminated? Can the process be automated? Can data be shared between systems?’” she says.
It’s important that tools can “talk” to each other. ”This can be done through a seamless portal, or a trigger, which pushes data into the other solution. Such as a sale on your website could push contact details onto a MailChimp newsletter.”
And while free options can be great, an investment in the right technology can save you time and money, she says. “I decide to pay for technology by comparing the estimated dollar value of the time I believe will be saved…versus the cost of the technology.”
One vital tool for a health business in the industry is practice management software. Free software options are available that will support invoicing and payments, directory and online bookings, keeping patient records, financial reports, diary and scheduling.
Or you can go for a comprehensive solution that will enable cloud integration to your desktop practice management and accounting software. This gives you “real-time visibility of your revenue share in the palm of your hand,” Smith says.
Keep up with your accounting
Bookkeeping probably isn’t your favourite activity, so save time with a cloud accounting solution. “These have many benefits, including active bank feeds – so you have visibility over your financial data, and cloud-based access to business data – so you can work from anywhere,” she says. She advises using the latest possible version.
You can get apps that will help you manage bills by extracting the data from scanned documents and pushing it into your accounting software, and track business-related expenses such as mileage and conference attendance.
You’ll want to keep all this information safe, too. An investment in good internet security software could save you a lot of time, money and heartache later.
Leverage your technology
Once you have the tools, make sure you’re optimising their use. Smith recommends checking your internet speed. “I currently access speeds upwards of 100 Mbps,” she says. “[Ask yourself], are their options to increase the speed of your internet?”
She also advises having a computer that starts quickly. “Review options to boot up fast. That may involve reviewing what’s happening in your startup menu, or servicing your computer, or upgrading.”
Have an efficient office space
To improve efficiency, keep your desk clutter free. In addition to your computer and a good-sized monitor, Smith recommends a web camera, wireless headphone and microphone, ergonomic keyboard, access to lots of plugs and USB ports, a reliable backup device, and a two-metre charging cable.
A good office chair is crucial for anyone spending time at a desk, or invest in a sit-stand desk.
Use staff (in a good way)
While you’re busy helping people get healthy, you can hire staff to do other things. Whether it’s someone fielding phone calls, or a virtual assistant doing routine admin tasks, you’ll want to get the best out of your staff. “Have regular staff training and upskilling sessions, and have mentors within the business that people can go to if they have queries about something,” Smith suggests.
If you have staff, a cloud workforce management solution will cover tasks like rostering, timesheets, employee communication and performance management.
Smith acknowledges that new technology takes time to implement. She recommends assessing how a tool will benefit your practice, versus how long it will take to adopt.
“I suggest implementing some of the easy options and enjoy the benefits from the quick wins,” she says. “For the more significant technology improvements; you can carve out time in your schedule to implement it, or appoint an office cloud champion to project-manage technology implementations.”
About the Author: Sophie Auld
Sophia Auld is a freelance writer, editor and physiotherapist who has worked in healthcare for 27 years.