Monday, June 27, 2011

Creating a Successful Retail Operation (Part I)

As the impact of national competitive bidding becomes more evident and more Medicare patients are forced to receive products and services from those who “won” the bid, there will be many new problems. Some providers may be forced out of business and others will find their sales decreasing and must face that reality! Something must be done to replace that volume. Our industry has lived through many changes to the Medicare program, but few have had the potential to affect a company as drastically as what we face today.

Knowing your company has a good reputation in the community, I want to make a suggestion. I have always been a believer in developing more retail cash sales. If this is something you are already doing, consider investing in it further.

To see how this can work effectively, take a look at how companies such as Target and Wal-Mart function. They are pure retail operations. Visit the grocery chains and look carefully at how they display products. Take the time to walk through the retailers on Main Street or in the local shopping malls. I know that many of you have nice showrooms, but how does your company stack up against what solely retail companies offer?

Now, I want to see if I can help you make that even better! My view is that every provider should work to develop more cash sale opportunities and, while doing that, build sturdy niche markets. Remember, a cash sale is when the customer obtains the product they need and money changes hands. No paper work, no CMNs, no prescriptions. You must develop more retail cash sales

Many senior citizens today have discretionary dollars in their pockets and they do not hesitate to spend them for comfort items. Family caregivers, not wishing to institutionalize family members, seek places where they can obtain the products to make their relatives more comfortable, and possibly reduce the amount of time they need to spend with them.

Take the time to study which disciplines in your company produce the highest profits. Sit down with all of your staff and listen to what they have to tell you. These are starting points. Part 2 of series will address how to most effectively do this.

Special Note: If your company is currently a member of your state association, please solicit all your peers to also become members. If each just brings in one new member, it will improve the strength of the association to represent you as onerous legislations are passed and reimbursements from Medicaid change. Do this now! There is too much at stake to sit by and wait. Double the size of your association and stay solvent.

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