Stop Chasing The Silver Bullet And Get To Work: Understanding Strategic And Tactical Objectives To Get Things Done – Practice Perfect Podcast Episode #19
"Start thinking about where you're going to play, what can you be the best at? Answer these questions. What can you be the best at? What can your practice do better than all of your competitors? And importantly on the back of that, is that something that the market wants? Because you can be really great at shining toenails, but if nobody wants to buy toenail shining, it's irrelevant. Okay? So think about that. What is it that you can be the best at? What can your practice be the best that that your clients actually want, need, and deserve to get from you?"
Nick Dumitru (00:43):
Welcome back to another episode of Practice Perfect. The title of today's episode is, "Stop chasing the silver bullet and get to work: understanding strategic and tactical objectives to get things done." There's a lot of ways that you can grow a cosmetic practice, but there's only one way you can fail at it, not getting shit done. That's it. I see doctors make this mistake over and over. They go to conferences and they come back and they dump everything that they've learned on the desks of their employees. They'll come back with all kinds of tactics and new tricks and new tools and the greatest and latest offer that they can use to grow their practice, and they try to make it somebody else's problem. The end result is that really nothing ever gets done.
Nick Dumitru (01:31):
Here's the thing about the latest shiny object, and here's the truth about growing cosmetic practices: there is no silver bullet. There's no magic wand. There's no secret tactic that you can use. Nobody's reinventing the wheel here. Nobody's coming up with anything so revolutionary that it will catapult your practice into the stratosphere. It just doesn't exist. I don't care who you talk to. I don't care what claims they make. The fact of the matter is that there are some fundamentals that you have to put into place and you have to do the work. More importantly than that, you have to start to think strategically. Because there's no single tactic that can really make or break your business, you have to start thinking about why you're doing things because at the end of the day, the reality is that the wrong strategy and inaction will cause failure 100% of the time. So let's discuss the difference here between strategy and tactics. I think we've discussed tactics and strategy in previous episodes, but I think it merits going over them again.
Nick Dumitru (02:34):
What's the difference between them? Strategy is the what and the why. What do you want to do? "I want to take the beachhead." "I want to have the largest skyscraper in the world." "I want to have the biggest Botox practice and nonsurgical practice in my city." Okay? That's what you want to do. Why do you want to do it? Those are the fundamental questions. Why do you want to take the beachhead? "Because it will lead to winning the world war," right? That's how military strategists may have thought about it. "We need to take this beachhead because we have to get a foothold into mainland Europe," for example. So there's a why behind it. "We want to have the largest skyscraper in the world." Why? "Because we may attract more tourism. We need to be looked at as leaders. We want to attract more business." "I want to have the biggest nonsurgical cosmetic practice in my city." Why? Sometimes the why is just because you want to make more money, but the reality is that your, 'why,' should include exclusivity, something that you can do better than anybody else.
Nick Dumitru (03:37):
Now, tactics is the what and the how. "I want to take the beach head." What are we going to do to get there? Well, we have to put a bunch of ships together. Right now, we're getting down to the tactical level. We have to start hiring a construction company to build that skyscraper. How are we going to do that? "Well, I know a guy that can make an introduction to a construction company or we're going to tender for bids." The, 'how,' is extremely important when it comes to tactics, but if you don't have the strategy behind it, it's doomed to fail. Because if you have tactics without strategy, your chance of success is greatly diminished.
Nick Dumitru (04:13):
The other thing is action. If you have tactics and strategy without action, you're also destined to fail. So I want you to understand that this paralysis of analysis, this coming back with a thousand different tactics and not knowing why you're implementing them, right? Running around in the circle is not the same as running forward. I've mentioned this before, I mentioned it in my book. Activity doesn't equal progress. You're after progress here. In your practice, you want to move forward. You don't want to just run around in a circle chasing your tail with the latest and greatest tactic that you've come back with from the last seminar that you attended. So let's go over some of the possible growth strategies that you can use to grow a cosmetic practice and understand that really, you should be doing some of all of these, but I have grown practices using just one of these and I do have clients right now they're using a single strategy and it's working just fine.
Nick Dumitru (05:08):
The first one will be social media. The second one will be direct to consumer advertising. The third one will be content creation and SEO. The fourth one is reviews and influencers. And the fifth one is public relations. What I'm going to do is unpack each of these a little bit for you. So in social media, you could do videos. You can go on YouTube, you can have a YouTube strategy, and you're going to be the King of YouTube or the Queen of YouTube, and you want to own that space. You're going to produce the most videos, the best videos, the most interesting, and action taking videos that you can. So that's one strategy you can use with some sort of social media.
Nick Dumitru (05:42):
You can do posts on social media, like Facebook, long posts, video posts. So now you can use strategy both on YouTube and social media. You could start a group on Facebook. Facebook groups are something that Facebook has gotten behind. So that's another social media strategy. You could start a beauty group and really start to market to those people and then start to siphon off patients and clients from those groups. Social media is one way that you could do it. You could theoretically do it as a single tactic.
Nick Dumitru (06:10):
The second one is direct to consumer advertising. This is one that we heavily employee. It's one that I believe in mostly because you have control over your business. So this is something like social media ads, that's interruption advertising. Or you could do search ads where it's seeking advertising, when people are actually looking for a product or service with Google ads in any kind of a social format. You could do Pinterest ads. Anything that goes direct to consumer and you've got control over. Again, I've got clients that are very successful doing just this. They make a lot of money just doing direct to consumer. The advantage is that you can really control the platform because you're paying for it and as long as you stay within their guidelines, you've got a lot of leverage there.
Nick Dumitru (06:51):
The third tactic was content creation and SEO. By SEO, I mean search engine optimization, if you haven't heard the term before. So this is really where you're engaging with the seeking behavior of consumers. They are out there and they're looking for a solution to a problem or they're looking for a provider actively. This is a lot of bottom of the funnel stuff that you can do. They're going to take action right away. Again, this is fantastic. You can put out a lot of relevant content, do your keyword research, make sure that it's relevant and put out the content that attracts consumers and position yourself as an authority. You can build a very big website. You can use blogging, for example, to bring in those people and then get them to take action from your main site, either on mobile or desktop.
Nick Dumitru (07:33):
You could do vlogging. Again, this content creation where you're just producing videos, so not necessarily for social media, but you could put it on your website and then promote that or use SEO to bring them there: informative videos, educational videos, videos that answer questions. All of that stuff you could do. You could do a lot of this content creation. So again, that's another strategy. Absolutely, that'll work. It can work. It takes a little longer. There's a lot of effort involved, but it can work.
Nick Dumitru (07:59):
The fourth strategy was reviewers and influencers. On a previous episode we talked to Joe Sinkewitz, owner of Intel Influence. You can take a look at that episode, have a listen to it, and you can hear more about this influencer marketing. But again, you can recruit people to push your message. That's what influencers do. You can recruit a bunch of people, you can pay them. It's slightly controllable, depends on the quality of the market. You can leverage that once you get it on your own website. But again, this is a theoretical potential strategy. You could also try to become an influencer yourself and get yourself an audience, do all kinds of crazy stuff and get people following you as a physician or a lot of before and after to do surgeries.
Nick Dumitru (08:40):
I don't particularly agree with that, but I do see people in the market that are doing that and are doing well with it. Being in the market, getting this kind of third party endorsement is great for helping people convert better. Again, these kinds of reviews, getting a lot of good online reviews. You can try to leverage review websites and people that are going there will then see your great reviews and then check you out. Again, this is kind of a parasite strategy. It works well. You should be engaging with it no matter which one of these you do. But again, if we look at it as a single potential strategy, in theory, you can get some business that way. Yes, it can work.
Nick Dumitru (09:13):
A fifth one is public relations. The last episode we did was all about public relations. Have a listen to that if you want to learn more about that. But again, this is third party endorsement. This is exposure. It's using someone else's audience to try to build your practice. It can work. It's a longterm asset. It's an evergreen asset. Again, it's another strategy. So you've got all of these strategies, you can look at them and see which ones fit your business. This is why I want you to really start to separate strategy from tactics. When you're looking at, let's say, "I want to build the biggest surgical or nonsurgical practice in my city, which of these strategies are going to help me get there?" Then within the strategies, which of the tactics? "I think social media marketing is the way to go."
Nick Dumitru (09:58):
Maybe you've gone to one too many of these meetings and plastic surgery seminars and one too many of the gurus have been on stage and told you that social media is the only way to go, and you've totally bought into that and you'd like to try that as your strategic objective. Social media; you've got your strategy, your strategy is going to be social media to build the biggest nonsurgical practice. Then you look within social media and see which tactics will work best for me. "Where do I put my money and effort? Is it in videos? Is it posts? Is it in groups? Is it a mixture of the three?" So what's the strategy? And then go down to the tactical level and see how you're going to implement that.
Nick Dumitru (10:33):
What I want you to understand, no matter how you look at this, is that there is a cost to any tactic. It can be financial, it can be time, it can be emotional and spiritual. What I don't want you to do is I don't want you to jump on the latest bandwagon just because it looks, "free and cheap." Right now, I'm doing air quotes. Unfortunately, this is not a video podcast, but just imagine me doing sarcastic air quotes for, "free and cheap," because the fact of the matter is that you still have to go and put in the work. Even if you pay your staff or you have a company do it for you, you still have to pay. There's a payment to be made either with your own blood, sweat, and tears or with your family time. You may be sacrificing time with your kids, time with your spouse or just financial where you're just doling out this money for salaries and third party companies doing it for you.
Nick Dumitru (11:25):
Whatever the case, there's no free ride. Don't think that anything is free. If a guru's telling you that social media is great, "Instagram's the next best thing because it's free, it's free, it's free," it's not. You're a physician, you got to value your time. Your time is worth money and if you're putting your time into selfies, you're still putting in time into selfies. It's still costing you. If you're ignoring your kids to take selfies for your business and then prostituting them on there as well by bringing them into this because someone's told you that you've got to put your family on there, there's still a cost. There's a cost that they're going to pay and the increased exposure and seeing themselves and what that does to them, and there's a cost for you to do the work and put that on there and get it edited and whatever it might be. There's always a cost to it.
Nick Dumitru (12:09):
So think very carefully about the lifestyle that you want to build. That's where I'm getting at with this. When you choose a strategy, it's going to impact your life. It's going to impact your finances and it's going to impact not just your future, but your family's future, your spouse's future. Your extended family's future. Are you going to show up for those family events because you're too busy taking selfies and shooting videos. I'm not saying that that's wrong, don't get me wrong. There's a little hint of sarcasm just because I don't like doing that stuff. But if you're great at that and you love doing it, more power to you. Go ahead and do it, but don't kid yourself in thinking that you're not paying for it in one way or another. All right.
Nick Dumitru (12:48):
Now, that we've gotten clear on not following the next shiny ball, I'm hoping that you're clear on not taking everything and trying to run with it because the point of this podcast, I want you to understand two things here: one is really the difference between strategy and tactics and making sure that any tactics that you learn about when you go to these seminars, when you watch online videos, that they fit into your overall strategy, that they make sense, that they slot in and they support your effort and your overall goal.; And the second thing I want you to understand is that when you're coming back with a ton of stuff that you want to implement because you've heard about it and you dumped it on your staff, the net result is going to be inaction and inaction kills a practice. That's what's going to stop you dead in your tracks.
Nick Dumitru (13:35):
Having to do and redo and redo and redo things all the time because you're always jumping from one thing to the next and never following through is a guaranteed way to not net any results because you're just doing it out of desperation and you're doing it not because it's in line with your overall goals in your strategic objective. You're doing it because you just heard it and it's new and it's novel and that's not necessarily the thing that you have to do. You need to get the fundamentals in place first, then see where these new tactics fit in, what are the latest and greatest technology fits in? If you're going to send out a video make sure that it fits into your overall objective. If you're going to build a website, make sure that there is a reason for it and that people are actually going to access you through your website.
Nick Dumitru (14:19):
If you're planning to do 100% social media advertising, you don't necessarily need the website. That's an extreme example. You should always have a website, but in theory, you wouldn't need that. If you're starting a YouTube channel and you're going to get all of your business through the YouTube channel, you don't in theory, need a website because you are getting all your business from there and you could just get people to call. So all you'd really need is a phone number and the YouTube channel and a ton of videos, and you could in theory, get your business that way.
Nick Dumitru (14:46):
So think about that strategic objective. here's your homework. I want you to sit down and think about where in your market you want to play. When you're thinking about strategy, you're thinking about where you're going to do business and why you should be doing business there, and how you can do business there. If you're in a place where it's completely saturated and the one type of service, jumping into that market may not necessarily be the smartest thing unless you've differentiated or you've got a unique product or unique approach or a unique offer to give to that marketplace so that people can choose you.
Nick Dumitru (15:22):
Start thinking about where you're going to play. What can you be the best at? Answer these questions. What can you be the best at? What can your practice do better than all of your competitors? And importantly on the back of that, is that something that the market wants? Because you can be really great at shining toenails, but if nobody wants to buy toenail shining, it's irrelevant. Okay? So think about that. What is it that you can be the best at? What can your practice be the best that that your clients actually want, need, and deserve to get from you? What can you offer that none of your competitors can? What can you do that they can't copy? How can you become on replicatable, so that you're not in competition with them, you're not in competition with anybody? You're unique in the market and you can lead your marketplace.
Nick Dumitru (16:09):
Next, you want to talk about what is your strategy for being the leader in that space? So once you've identified the space and you know what you can be the best at, what's your strategy to become the leader there, to get the most exposure, to be looked at as the foremost authority? Then we get into the tactics. How are you going to go after that position? So a little bit of strategy, a little bit of tactic: social media, web, video. Start thinking about how you're going to go after it. These are just some of the questions you need to start to answer and once you've got all the answers, sit down and get down to the tactical details, the nitty gritty, what you have to do exactly to make that happen. Because again, like I said, inaction is a killer and the best way to eliminate inaction is to have clear steps to move forward and then take steps towards that because you don't have to do it, rather you don't have to like it, you just have to do it and that's how your staff has to think as well.
Nick Dumitru (17:04):
All right, so that's your homework. You've got your homework. Sit down, take a look at all the information you've amassed from online sources, my podcast, books that you've read, seminars that you've gone to and work out which tactic is best to achieve your strategic objective. Hey, you've got a bunch of stuff. Write it down. If you have to, make a list, make sure you're clear on your strategy, and then identify out of all of these things which can you implement and which ones will support your strategy? Then start implementing the ones that may give you the highest yield and that you can easily implement the quickest and then work towards the longer term goals. After that, that will give you the highest yield and start putting them into action.
Nick Dumitru (17:48):
The most important thing you have to do is stop getting ready to get ready and get something done. So I want you to go out there and make the moves that are necessary for you to achieve your dreams. Thanks for listening. As always, you can find these podcasts that thinkbasis.com or iTunes. Any links or anything that I've talked about in the podcast will be in the show notes, and if you've got any specific questions that you'd like me to address on future podcasts, don't hesitate to go to thinkbasis.com and just leave a message on the live chat over there and we will make podcasts for you. I'll try to find experts or I'll answer your questions myself and I will see you on a future episode. Stay tuned.