After a small business does their in depth preparation and goal setting for entering or expanding into the hospital market place, the sequence that follows is broken down into four stages of the companies growth. Each stage brings its own challenges and rewards, but more importantly, they should be completed in order to allow for healthy expansion and increased revenue.
The first stage is referred to as the test phase. Lead generation marketing messages are crafted from the preparation data and placed into different media packages (direct mail, internet forms, email) to be sent to the target test market in a timed and measured sequence. With discipline, this is usually accomplished within 90 days. After wards, the results are measured to see if goals were met and if any adjustments need to be made. Adjustments can pertain to any step of the sequence including copy writing, handling of inbound calls differently and placing more emphasis on a step that may work better than the others. Once this has reached the satisfactory level, plans for the next segment begin.
Next is the launch stage. With the information and adjustments from the test phase, a formal roll out begins in the geographical region in the area of the small business. Care needs to be emphasized on organizing the inbound lead traffic and placing into a definitive next step sales process to insure leads do not fall through the cracks due to information overload. This can commonly happen as the typical small business owner does not make that many contacts and with a large deal flow, they feel that there will be enough work even if a few leads do not get addressed. This is extremely detrimental in a couple of ways. The first being a bad reputation in the home base area and loss of momentum which is required to push the company forward to the point where it triggers and takes off.
As the launch stage begins to come to fruition between a three to twelve month time frame, development of referrals and testimonials will be taking place, if a competent, professional job is being performed and a system is in place to get these from the customer. This is vital to acquiring traction in the companies home territory, which is defined as creating a list of steady clientele with a solid relationship established and those client are also willing to refer others. If this traction is not present, focus needs to be placed on accomplishing it before moving to the third stage.
The third stage is business expansion. If a thorough approach was used during the launch phase, the health care facilities in the initial area have all been contacted and are being followed up with the proper funnel. Some have become customers, the sales pipeline contains open proposals, others are not in play right now and a few have actually went with the competitor. To expand the health care activity of the company, additional profit centers need to be added to the business plan to continue growth. This can come in different forms such as escalating the services offered (premium or different products), training or information and geographical expansion into regional activity. Regardless of what is chosen, mathematically something must be chosen to continue to have the front end ratios of leads coming into the company to be at the proper level to support growth.
The final stage is called the next level. Often this optional phase involves taking the small business national with a methodical healthy approach learned from the regional activity in stage three. This may just include the training or information profit center that was developed and does not involve being on-site all over the country. Many owners do not opt for initiating this activity as pressures begin to mount on the amount of organization needed to follow through with this stage or they feel they have made enough money at the current level of activity.
Seeing a company through these four phases can be the most rewarding experience in a small business owners life, but can only be successfully handled through completing each step in order.