Have You Studied Your Competitors?

I would suggest that you take the time to assess who your competitors are, what value they provide in the community, understand their (and your) strengths and weaknesses, and clarify where your practice fits in your service area’s competitive landscape. A thorough evaluation takes an honest look at your service area and determines what needs to be done to maintain your current market share, as well as steps to further grow your practice by capitalizing on your competitor’s weaknesses.

While analyzing the competition is an essential component of your strategy, I am frequently surprised that most vein and vascular practices do not conduct this type of analysis on an annual basis. Success is achieved not by ignoring your vein competitors but by anticipating competitive issues and influences so that you always have a proactive plan and strategy in place for staying ahead of your competition. There are many ways to compile research on your competition.

First. Begin by compiling a list of your practice’s competitors. Most of the time, such a list is comprised of who your practice considers to be its main competitors. However, there may be other practices that indirectly compete with you, perhaps practices or health systems outside of your perceived service area that are focused on the same patient base or referral physicians as you are. You will also want to include information on vein and vascular practices that may be entering your market in the coming year by establishing an additional location or satellite timeshare. Once you have compiled the list, you can highlight those practices that will be the greatest challenge.

Second. Analyze your competition in terms of clinical competencies, specialty training, number of providers, number of locations, foothold amongst referral physicians, and marketing exposure. How do potential patients see your competition? How do referring physicians view your competition? Take an honest look at their practices. Is your quality commensurate? What is the unique value you provide that your competitors don’t or can’t? Emphasize these benefits in your marketing.

Third. Compile a list of your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses. Be honest and objective.  You will be failing yourself if you allow bias toward your own providers, staff, and clinical services offered to cloud your judgment. Try to see the competition’s practice as though you were a patient seeking treatment. If you have a competitor growing rapidly, figure out what they are doing that’s fueling that growth.

Fourth. Document how your competitors market themselves (Website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, monthly newsletters to patients and referral physicians, radio, TV, direct mail, print ads, relationship marketing with a physician liaison, etc.). It takes time and commitment to compile a comprehensive understanding of your competitor’s strengths and weaknesses.

Fifth. What are the current market demographics for your practice now? Are you growing, declining or remaining stagnant? The competitive analysis will identify current and past trends in your service area. By evaluating your practice against your competition, you’ll likely find new ideas to grow your practice. While compiling a competitive analysis is an interesting piece of work, it can indeed be challenging. Consequently, you may want to seek the help of a healthcare consultant to guide you through this process. You’ll learn a lot about your market and in the process become a more valuable resource for your patients and referring physicians.

 

David Schmiege is the President and CEO of Vein Specialists of America. Your ideas for future articles can be submitted to David via email at [email protected] or by phone at (630) 455-4528.

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