What media giants like Amazon can teach the private practice owner.

By Nitin Chhoda, PT, DPT

This is an analysis of an article that appeared in the April 23, 2012 issue of Forbes magazine. www.forbes.com/sites/georgeanders/2012/04/04/bezos-tips/

Amazon’s business model has evolved significantly since Jeff Bezos founded the company in 1994 while driving cross-country from New York to Seattle. During a fascinating 40-minute interview at a recent annual event called “Invent” in Las Vegas, Bezos revealed some fundamental insights into the way he enabled Amazon to emerge as the biggest retailer in the world.

Here are five ways in which Amazon’s fundamental business practices can help every entrepreneur, young or old.

  1. “We only win when our customers win. We sell our hardware (Kindle) at breakeven. We make money when people use the device, not when they buy the device.”

    Lesson for the private practice owner

    Focus on a “patient centric” experience. When patients interact with your practice (and your staff), the practice will see more referrals, increased adoption of cash paying programs, higher customer value, and more goodwill in the marketplace. Align with patients as much as possible. Create long-term benefit for patients with new and innovative ways to serve patients.

  2. “The more important question is not ‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years, it is ‘What is NOT going to change in the next 10 years.’”

    Lesson for the private practice owner

    Build a business that endures the test of time by asking, “What do customers really want?” Create a foundation around the things that remain constant over a period of time. A customer will always want better service and more options at a lower price, faster than ever before.

  3. “The big ideas in business are always obvious but it is hard to maintain a firm grasp of the obvious at all times.”

    Lesson for the private practice owner

    The things that matter are right under your nose. Don not look for that “secret sauce” or “competitive edge.” The biggest changes to your business are based on the fundamental principles of value creation and supply versus demand. If you can dedicate time, energy, and resources toward the things that really matter to patients, you will grow your practice and increase value for your patients.

  4. “The balance of power is shifting from providers to consumers.”

    Lesson for the private practice owner

    Shift your marketing from traditional advertising to direct-to-consumer advertising with targeted marketing. As a private practice, reach out to other local businesses that cater to your patients. Align your benefits with them, and this action will help you find new ways to reach patients. Think of innovative ways to reach your customers, since they have the decision making power and are becoming increasingly aware of it.

  5. Successful invention involves a high rate of experimentation, and it’s something that customers care about. Build a customer centric, not product centric, company.

    Lesson for the private practice

    Do not be afraid of trying new things in your practice. If you are right, your patients will give you feedback. If you are wrong, they will not care. The more you experiment, the more likely you are to identify ways to keep and grow your patients.

    Offer additional, ancillary services that help patients get better and healthier, and do not “restrict” yourself to traditional models of care.

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