How do I stop competitors from stealing my ideas or taking my people?

Have you noticed the rate of physiotherapy or chiropractor owned wellness clinics in your area is growing? Seems like every which way you look there’s a new clinic opening.

In today’s market, competition is fierce. For example, I recently searched Google for physiotherapy clinics in Vancouver. It came up with 19 clinics in a 2 km radius – that’s like 1 clinic every 105M. And this doesn’t include chiropractic or massage therapy clinics!

To make matters worse they copy your website or the new pelvic program or pilates course you’re running. And they even steal your physiotherapist if they offer something just a little bit better.

Without a doubt we have to have our fingers on the pulse because if we don’t, that competitor who just opened around the corner will take all your business – leaving you high and dry!

So in this post I’m going to share:

  • Inspiration to prove you that you can stand out of the crowd
  • How to stop competitors from stealing ideas and people
  • How to build value that no one can copy
  • 5 ‘no cost’ strategies to build more value

You Can Outrun the Competition

Before jumping into the ‘how,’ I just wanted to share a little inspiration to prove that you can stand out of the crowd and keep increasing your metrics.

I’m a health care business owner myself, operating Clinic Supplies Canada (CSC),  and I can totally relate to the concept of increasing competition. In the past year, I had the majority of my competitors call each of my staff members offering them MORE money to switch over and work for them. We even had 2 competitors who copied our website almost identically.

The truth is, when you are on top or doing well, people will copy you. And that’s what happened with CSC.

CSC had a killer year last year. In fact, the company grew 65%. Our SEO increased by 300%, bringing in over 40K monthly sessions. And as a consequence we’re now doing over 1000 orders per month.

People will want to copy, it’s human nature.

But those times when companies tried to sway my staff, it didn’t work, and the fact that they copied our website is of little consequence because we have something much stronger that binds us as a company – culture.

How do I stop competitors from stealing my ideas or taking my people?

I work with clinic owners a lot and this question of stealing ideas and staff came up recently with one of my clients, Roger – that’s what inspired me to write about it.

Roger asked: “How do I stop competitors from stealing my ideas or taking my people?”

My answer: “You CAN’T.”

The reality is, everybody copies from each other. I copy from other entrepreneurial thinkers and successful companies in other industries (specifically technology companies) and try to personalize, implement in my industry and make my company better.

Do you think Google came up with the first search engine? No. They took an existing idea and made it better. And not just a bit better but A LOT better.

Now that we have the internet, all the good ideas are already out there. People are copying left right and center. You simply can’t stop it.

Build Internal Value that No One Can Copy

Despite having competitors poaching my staff, I didn’t lose any of them to other contracts, even though competitors made a couple of offers over six figures. We even had www.amazon.ca poach my general manager!

CSC was not the first physiotherapy clinic supplier, we’ve outrun our prior competition. Like Google, we strive to reinvent our industry and made it super easy for clinic owners to buy everything from us so they can save that 5 hours each month that they didn’t have. We even sell office supplies and toilet paper and laundry soap – we literally sell everything that clinic owners need so they don’t have to shop at multiple locations.

We’ve done things better than our competitors and always focused on the customer experience. That’s building value. But more than that, we strive for exceptional customer service – that’s a core part of our company culture – it’s internal value that no one can duplicate.

Here’s the thing, your competitors can’t copy your culture and how awesome you serve your customers. Therefore, you can outrun the competition by building more internal value.

5 No Cost Strategies to Build More Internal Value

Here are some of the effective strategies we’ve used at CSC that you can also implement in your practice.

1) Hire people based on core values

Taking the core values of your business seriously is a strategy that doesn’t cost money…but the changes it can bring can be a true game changer.

The core values of your company are the underlying things you commit to that guide everything you do – including hiring and firing!

Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, a company that has built their empire off strong core values, referrals and customer service says:

“Be Humble is probably the core value that ends up affecting our hiring decisions the most. There are a lot of experienced, smart, and talented people we interview that we know can make an immediate impact on our top or bottom line. But a lot of them are also really egotistical, so we end up not hiring them.”

Core values determine your company culture – and this is something people can never duplicate.

Sure, you might also think ‘Be Humble’ is a great value. But because of Tony Hsieh’s unique employee mix, their skills and personalities and the type of business – your company culture would be different – defining you from others in the market.

As a clinic owner you are probably hiring people between the age group of 18-35 years, this age group is known as millennials. In 2015, they became the largest generation in the workforce. If you want to tap into the millennial talent pool and keep them on your team, you have to adapt to their new modes of thinking.

That’s also where core values come into play.

Most managers assume that millennials are just interested in money but that’s not the case. Millennials want meaningful work, being a part of something that means something. Core values help you disseminate this meaning right through the core of your company. Absolutely no one can take that away from you.

2) Delight your employees

Your employees are your brand. Often they are the front liners out there in the public eye. And regardless of whether they’re on the front line or not, without loyal employees most of us wouldn’t have (or build) great businesses.

Therefore, protecting your culture and your employees will do amazing things for your brand and clinic.

At CSC, one thing that has worked well for us is moving from having farewell parties for departing employees, to having welcome parties for new employees.

We go out of our way from the very first day to make our employees feel welcome, like part of the family.

Imagine what it feels like for a new employee to turn up on their first day and there are balloons, a party, and a team lunch to celebrate their arrival. After their day of work, they leave with a box of chocolates and a bottle wine so they can go home and celebrate with their loved ones as well. Imagine…

It’s probably never happened to them in their previous employment and makes your organizational culture shine!

3) Delight your customers

From the very first moment a patient calls your clinic you’re making an impression.

Are you aware of what that impression is? Is it a positive impression? Or could it sometimes come off slightly negative?

Think about these things:

  • When the patient walks into the clinic is it tidy, smells nice with a clear indication on what they should do – go to the desk, take a seat etc?
  • What are your waiting times like – are you always on time or always running late?
  • Are they getting great results from their treatment?
  • As their practitioner, do you personally walk them to the front desk or let them wander there by themselves?
  • Is their after treatment booking process easy or do they always have to wait to rebook?
  • Have you made it easy for them to claim on their health care plans?

All the touch points of your practice influence your customers impressions and perceptions of you – so why not strive to delight them?

Many clinics aren’t paying attention to these small details and they can really make you stand out from the crowd.

Make your customer experience highly personalized, make it professional and streamlined, and wow your customers as much as you can.

4) Measure and improve patient satisfaction

How happy and satisfied are your patients with your clinic? This is something you absolutely need to know.

At CSC we measure patient satisfaction score and use this data to help optimize our customer journey. We constantly evaluate the data to help us figure out how to make our business better.

We use a score system developed by Fred Reichheld called the Net Promoter System (NPS). The NPS measures the loyalty that exists between your patients and your clinic. NPS asks your patients the direct question: How likely is it that you would recommend [your clinic] to a friend, family or colleague? Patients respond to this question on a 0 to 10 point rating scale.

If you want to learn more about the NPS scoring system, I wrote about it in detail over here.

5) Ask for Google reviews

Since people search on Google it makes sense to pay attention to your Google profile, particularly Google reviews. Google reviews give potential patients social proof that your service is great. They also help boost your Google business listing – meaning they can help attract more customers.

Don’t just take my word for it either. A comprehensive survey by Zendesk showed that 88% of people are influenced by online customer reviews whenever they make a buying decision.

The amount of Google reviews you are getting is also a good reflection of whether you are delighting your customers. At CSC we’ve got 19 great Google reviews. We get roughly 2-3 per month. We simply get them by asking our customers if they would go and leave us a review and we make it easy by telling them how.

You can do this by building it into a follow up email that goes out to new patients. And also include it in your newsletters on a regular basis.

As you can see, building internal value doesn’t cost you any extra money but it’s this type of stuff that makes the key differences between you and the competition.

Implement these steps and you won’t have any ‘stealing’ concerns to worry about!

CPA Victoria Mastermind V1

By | 2016-04-18T18:26:28+00:00 April 15th, 2016|Blog|Comments Off on How do I stop competitors from stealing my ideas or taking my people?

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