We hear from many of you who operate your practice within a chiropractic office, medical practice, salon, or in some other business. Even if you are simply renting space from someone else, shared operations can be a wonderful opportunity for building your business.
- It puts you in close proximity to a business with a ready-made clientele.
- It provides an opportunity for mutual support with other professionals.
- It gives your clients exposure to other professionals who may be able to help them.
- It can save you money if you share certain expenses.
- It may enhance your professional image.
Reach Out to the Client Community
It can be relatively easy to reach out to clients of another business, given the cooperation of the other owner or owners. Here are some ideas:
- Mail promotional postcards or email promotionals to part or all of the mailing list of the larger practice.
- Put your flyers or promotional posters in the waiting room.
- Leave your business cards at the desk.
- Leave discount coupons in the waiting room. (Specify one per client, and suggest they pass it to a friend if they don’t plan to use it.)
- Give sample chair massages in the waiting room.
- Give presentations to groups of clients or patients, perhaps joining with the other professionals in the practice or salon, such as naturopaths, chiropractors, or estheticians.
- Write articles for the office newsletter.
- For reaching out to clients beyond the office, note where else the owner is advertising. Can you piggy-back on those efforts? For example, can you add your business information to their flyers? Can you add your information to their paid advertisements (offering to pay a percentage of the costs, of course)?
Work with the Owner or Manager
As you gather your ideas, write them down. If you plan on spending a significant amount that can benefit everybody, write up a sheet of estimated costs of materials, mailings, and other expenses. Then meet with the owner/manager, present it to them, and discuss ways they can contribute. Keep in mind that you want to emphasize the benefits to their business without losing sight of the fact that it’s your practice you are building. Here are some possible benefits to the owner and any other professionals who practice there:
- Your service and your presence in the office may help build his or her reputation.
- You offer a service his or her clients or patients expect and/or benefit from, increasing satisfaction.
- You can refer clients to each other.
- Increasing traffic into the office via your business is something that could build his or her client base.
Ways to Share Costs
If you want to jointly market with the other business or businesses, such as sending promotional mailings or newsletters, make suggestions about how you will split costs. Show what the project will cost, and what you expect the return to be. If you are asking to use their mailing list or take space to display promotional materials such as coupons, business cards, or brochures at the front desk, they are already contributing to your marketing efforts. So make your suggested split fair by figuring in those contributions. Also, consider the effort involved. Are you going to spend your time developing and printing a mailer? Is the office staff available to do some part of the work?
Help Each Other with Referrals
Encourage referrals from the other professionals in the office. This can be one of your best ongoing sources of new clients. Begin by offering these professionals free or discounted samples of your work so they know what it is like. Make sure you educate them about your specialties or focus. Ask if they will hand out your business card or brochure to their patients or clients when appropriate. In return for their referrals, have their brochures or business cards in your office to give to your clients.
It’s Up To You
Even when working under the banner of another business, you can’t wait for someone to build your business for you. Take the driver’s seat, make a plan, and network with the other professionals in your office, gym, or salon. You’ve got a great head start just by being there!