(BPT) - Running a small business focused on health and wellness is not an easy task at the best of times, but the past year's challenges to the nation's health have made it even harder. Never before have local businesses seemed so crucial to their communities, especially businesses centered on healthcare and wellness.
For these businesses to thrive, it's vital to invest time and energy thoughtfully. Here are tips that can help local health and wellness businesses continue to expand and grow.
1. Learn from clients
Ask your clients and community members for their opinions about your products and services to ensure you're delivering the care they most need and want. Free and low-cost online tools like SurveyMonkey or HubSpot can help you create a professional survey to unlock these useful insights.
2. Prioritize customer support
Make sure your clients have their needs met by measuring your response time to customer inquiries. Many businesses prioritize responding to patients or clients within 24 hours.
Offer your patients and staff the latest tools for success and safety. To reopen since the pandemic, PPE has been the top priority. Provide sufficient PPE and clearly communicate your health and safety protocols to everyone.
3. Invest in learning
Continuing education will make you competitive with other businesses. Keep up-to-date on the latest skills and knowledge to best serve patients and clients, and incentivize your staff to do the same.
4. Leverage your community
Living well starts with a healthy community. Collaborate with local businesses through creative ventures, like joint advertising efforts and events. Offer opportunities like student internships or volunteerism to community members to continue growing.
5. Find funding to fuel growth
Grants, loans and awards are available to help small businesses thrive. Search 'small business grants' online or visit the Small Business Administration website, sba.gov.
Many corporations also offer awards programs. Since 2016, the Synchrony Pillars Project has honored small business leaders and healthcare providers who support their communities through changing times.
In 2020, the program recognized 20 businesses for strengthening and supporting their communities in innovative, powerful ways. Winners of the $10,000 prize included:
- Dr. Alexander Koh, DDS, of Riverside, Calif., focuses on periodontics and dental implant surgery. The pandemic forced his office to close twice last year, creating a financial burden. Koh will use some award money for PPE costs and payroll. He will also use some of the funds to run his annual paid summer internship program, offering college students - often from underprivileged backgrounds - opportunities to learn about dentistry.
- Dr. Donald Tucker, DDS, prioritizes giving back to his Williamsville, N.Y., community, offering dental services to underserved or uninsured populations. He used a portion of the award to invest in an inner-city dental clinic and purchased additional PPE. Tucker will use remaining funds on a dental relief mission trip to Haiti.
- Dr. Maria Evelina Guerrero opened Green Apple Pediatric Dentistry, the only holistic pediatric office in the Austin, Texas, area, in 2014. Guerrero will use the funds to create a mission day at her practice for people who cannot afford basic dental care. She will also invest in more PPE and continuing education for her staff.
- Twyla Everett started Level Up Fitness and Wellness Center in Waltham, Mass., after watching many in her family and community suffer from health issues. Her minority- and women-owned and operated business is built on diversity and inclusion. They will use a portion of the award to offer discounted orthopedic massage therapy for those in remission from cancer. The business will use the rest for staff continuing education.
- Moving Mountains Foundation in Missoula, Mont., has a mission to support access to healthcare and raise community awareness by empowering individuals with disabilities to show up as their whole selves in their schools, careers and communities. The foundation will use some of the funds to boost community awareness, while most of the funds will pay for early screenings - a critical component for involving kids with disabilities in early intervention programs.
All of these efforts can help health and wellness businesses not only survive, but grow and expand. To learn more about the Synchrony Pillars Project and how it celebrates small business leaders and healthcare providers, visit SynchronyBusiness.com.
All company, product and service names are the product of their respective owners and are for identification purposes only. Use of these names does not imply endorsement.