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About Philippa Kennealy

Philippa Kennealy MD MPH CPCC PCC is The Entrepreneurial MD Business Coach who wants to help you build your business!
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Recommended Books and Programs
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For physician business owners and entrepreneurs!

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Tuesday
Feb062007

Networking Made Natural: Top Tips for Physician Entrepreneurs

1-22-07rolodex.jpg

The Entrepreneurial MD's monthly newsletter article for February is now ready for you to read.

It's titled Networking Made Natural: Top tips for physician entrepreneurs, and I wrote it after being inspired by listening to an interview of the author of "Endless Referrals", Bob Burg, by Robert Middleton of Action Plan Marketing.

As I listened to the interview, what struck me most was that Bob's networking techniques were so non-threatening and yet so disciplined that even an introvert could master them!

As I am a fierce proponent of the relationship-building model of marketing, I plan to devote space in at least one more newsletter to help you discover interesting and manageable ways to develop the all-essential skill of networking! You'll use it to your advantage whether you plan to be an entrepreneur or not.  

If you have any questions you'd like answered, here's the place to post them.

Monday
Feb052007

What does an entrepreneurial medical practice really look like?

2-5-07skinproducts.jpg

On a personal note - having just returned from a vacation in Mexico with my family, I was thrilled to realize that I was really looking forward to getting back to work - I missed writing my blog and talking to my clients! Sick, isn't it?

It also helps that it is warmer in Los Angeles than it was on some of the days in Cabo San Lucas!

********************

As someone devoted to helping physicians thrive as entrepreneurs, often within the context of their existing practices, I am always on the lookout for ways a medical practice can be more entrepreneurial.

An article from the Los Angeles Times, entitled Medical merchants: When doctors hawk products, patients aren't the only ones who pay a price showed up in my Inbox today. It resonated with me because I feel strongly that selling private label over-priced products to patients is the lazy person's path to being entrepreneurial. It smacks at best of a lack of imagination, and at worst of quackery .

I had an identical experience several years ago in a dermatologist's office, when I was pressured by the back office nurse to purchase a $29 tube of "special sunscreen for the face". I had detected the almost imperceptible signal given by the doctor to her nurse to push the product, and yet I still felt too awkward to refuse it, especially as the doctor had written IO ("insurance only") on my superbill. What a trap I had created for myself by accepting that IO! And how resentful I felt after leaving the suite. Similar to the subject in the Times article, I did not return to that office.

Like many physicians, I bet you've wracked your brains trying to think of ways to offset your declining income, with all the insurance cutbacks. However, as the article points out, pushing creams, vitamins and "pick me ups" is more likely to cause your patient to cringe resentfully as she forks over the cash, than to create an undying trust in your recommendations.

In the same way, adding testing like EMG studies and nerve conduction studies, or heel ultrasound to screen for osteoporosis can be justified only IF you are willing to use these technologies when indicated, and not as a slick way to generate extra revenue. What we know, per the Dartmouth Atlas of Healthcare, is that the mere existence of a technology means that it will be used, and almost certainly overused, without any improvement in patient outcomes.

I had to review a primary care physician's medical records last year - about 20 of them - and was dismayed to see that every single patient record contained spirometry studies and a urinalysis, irrespective of the presenting complaint. This is NOT entrepreneurial behavioral - this is a desperate attempt to rip off the insurance system without any benefit to the patients!

So what are some creative ways to be entrepreneurial in a medical practice?

Okay, I know that concierge medicine and medical spas are IN, but I believe that it doesn't take a drastic change in your practice to produce entrepreneurial results. It DOES take a deeper understanding of what your patients would value and therefore be willing to pay for.

Since I take the fierce stance that entrepreneurship is a radical act of creativity, here are some simple examples of what I picture an entrepreneurial medical practice to be selling or engaging in:

  • patient education - such a group classes for diabetics, asthmatic teenagers, and new parents.
  • information/education products - such as "self-catheterization" or "self-injection" technique videos, "how to use a pedometer for a 10,000 steps a day walking program" video and handbook, a "how to look your best after a mastectomy" guide, a "how to prepare your child for surgery" audio CD, or a book on "maintaining your spine and wrist health, for computer users" that you co-author with your favorite chiropracter.
  • using technology to streamline office practice operations - such as web-based appointment systems for patients to schedule their own appointments (nope, you don't have to build it. It is entrepreneurial to purchase it and redesign your practice to derive maximum benefit from it). Or to begin using email more effectively to communicate with your patients
  • additional services and complementary therapies - such as acupuncture (many reputable schools now offer training for physicians), or renting extra or after-hours space to nutritionists, psychotherapists, or the master herbalists your patients are secretly seeing.
  • office-based procedures that you would have referred elsewhere - such as getting extra training in minor skin surgery, lump and bump removal, performing colposcopies and infant circumcision.

What are your thoughts about entrepreneurial medical practices? I'd also love to hear of other examples of entrepreneurial activities everyday practicing physicians are engaging in - do you have any to share?

Friday
Jan262007

If you don't have a business plan, are you really in business?

1-27-07roadmap.jpg

The Wall Street Journal published an article in the Small Business / Enterprise section a couple of weeks ago, and its provocative title was "Do Start-Ups Really Need Formal Business Plans?"

The author, Kelly Spors, highlighted a recent study (which you can read here in detail if you have time on your hands!) that revealed that it's a waste of time to spend months crafting a meticulously worded formal business plan, when you'd really benefit from "just doing it!"

From the article and in the words of some critics of formal planning, "it (a business plan) runs counter to what is at the heart of the entrepreneurial spirit: the ability to learn and adapt through experience." In addition, recent research seems to suggest that extensive formal planning may not make much difference to the success and profitability of a venture. Phew - what a relief for someone like me who doesn't have a typed-up formal BP!

Others counter that "plans give entrepreneurs focus and prevent costly mistakes".

However, whichever camp you sit in, most agree that the sound analysis and good clear thinking that go into business planning cannot be skipped. Having a "roadmap" to consult and to set your direction will prevent problems such as underfunding, overestimating your potential profitability, and failing to understand how your business model will generate your required revenues.

I enjoyed reading Guy Kawasaki's take on the WSJ article, as well as that of Jeff Cornwall of The Entrepreneurial Mind

One bullet in Guy's blog post caught my eye - "Keep it short: ten to twenty pages".

What if your business plan could be reduced to one page?

Jim Horan, author of one of my favorite work books - The One Page Business Plan, believes it's possible. And I am excited to let you know that he has agreed to be my interview guest in The Entrepreneurial MD's complimentary monthly teleclass of April. So keep an eye out for more details closer to the time.

I shall be taking a break from blogging next week as I'll be on vacation - unless I am hit by an irresistible urge to share something good!

Have a great week.

Tuesday
Jan232007

Do you want to "Open for Business in Ten Steps"?

starupnation_coaching.gifWow - The Entrepreneurial MD's Project Number One for 2007 is about to begin!

I am thrilled to announce my affiliation with Start-UpNation, Pam Slim of Escape From Cubicle Nation and John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing to offer a 12-week coaching program to help anyone who is serious about opening for business (or recrafting their existing business or practice).

Before I share any details about the program, here's my question to you:

When you picture leaving your clinical practice or organizational job to start your own business, what happens?

  • Are you overwhelmed with a sense of not knowing where to begin?
  • Do you procrastinate when it comes to tackling your first steps “to-do” list?
  • Do you experience fear and doubt about your ability to pull it off?

It may be that you're planning a small business to supplement your current income, a start-up that fulfills a change-in-lifestyle fantasy, or a mini-empire employing others and creating a legacy.

All successful businesses start with the basics:

  • alignment of personal and business goals
  • sound business planning
  • viable financing
  • finding the right people, and
  • knowing how to distinguish themselves in their markets and sell their offerings.

For most people, it ISN’T enough to read books or web articles, no matter how comprehensively the authors cover the topics. They need the guidance and insights from actual people with knowledge and experience!

StartUpNation has long been a favorite resource to refer entrepreneur clients to, as it provides resources for thousands of entrepreneurs through its articles, podcasts, and call-in radio show. However, until now, it has lacked a structured program led by experienced coaches to personally guide people through the initial phases of starting a business.

In response to a huge demand for live help, the innovative company has created a coaching program to enrich and deepen its "Ten Steps to Open for Business" module. In this coaching program, as the coaches who designed the course, Pam and I will be addressing all the basics!

My involvement came about as a result of networking (see - I promise it works!), and a cherished relationship with Pam, whom I had met in a teleclass. She had, turn had forged the connection with Rich and Jeff Sloan, the founders of StartUpNation.

As the first of StartUpNation's affiliated Entrepreneur Coaches, Pam and I are committed to delivering the "Ten Steps to Open for Business Coaching Program" to our course participants, taking advantage of the wealth of StartUpNation resources AND providing our coaching expertise and support in real time.

It's a 12-week coaching program that starts on February 14th (Pam Slim's class) or on February 16 (my class) (this is two weeks later than originally anticipated because of a tight timeline to get all the software testing completed). It combines 75-minute weekly group coaching meetings over the phone with a private online forum for your group, and 1:1 coaching sessions with your coach - me, if you sign up for the February 16th series! And, yes, if you have to miss a class (after all who could realistically commit to all twelve weeks as a physician?), you'll be able to catch up by listening to a downloadable recording of each class.

Is this program for you? The answer is YES, if:

    • You have a specific business idea
    • You are intrigued by the thought of going into business for yourself
    • You don’t have an organized process for how to do that….yet!
    • You’re stuck in your "day job" and working on your business on the side, and your next big step is to go full-time in your business
    • You are a self-starter who would appreciate some support and structure
    • You are ready to take action!

 If this is just what you need to help you kickstart your 2007 with a resounding bang, check out the program. I'd love to have you participate in my group!!

Monday
Jan222007

Physician Executive - profile of a physician with an entrepreneurial dream.

PEJournal novdec 3006.jpgI am delighted to be able to share the link to my November-December 2006 article in the Physician Executive, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College for Physician Executives geared towards physicians who are or have moved into non-clinical leadership or business roles.

The article is titled "Have Dream ... Will Prevail" and it profiles the story of Dr. Susan Reynolds of the Institute for Medical Leadership.

I hope you enjoy reading it.