Save Money and Time with These End of the Year Tasks

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How is it possible we’ve reached the end of 2017 already? Why does it seem like the years zoom past us faster than the previous ones did?

As we marvel at how quickly time passes, we, as small business owners will be wise to do some end-of-year clean up and planning tasks to help us accomplish a few things:

  • Spend time now to save time later.
  • Spend money now to possibly save money both this year and next year.
  • Review our efforts to maximize our effectiveness – and our successes – in the new year.

See how many of these tasks make sense for you:

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If an Advocate Launches in the Forest, and No One Hears….

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Consider Bertha.

Bertha has been knitting since learning how at age 12. She’s a wonderful knitter! She has been knitting for decades – scarves, sweaters, hats, gloves and mittens, socks,  you name it – then giving her creations away to friends, relatives, even grandbabies of friends. Everyone who knows Bertha recognizes her superb knitting skills.

Because of her extensive experience, she considers herself to be a professional. Her passion is knitting! So last year, Bertha decided to open a business as a knitting teacher. After all, as much as she knows about knitting, she knows she’ll be a great teacher!

After doing some research, Bertha joined an online organization that supports knitting teachers. She has found a ton of information there, and loves to connect with other knitting teachers in the discussion forum.

Most importantly, she made sure she was listed in the Knitting Teacher Directory – then sat back and waited for her phone to ring.

And waited. And waited. And waited.

But – Bertha’s phone rarely rang. Now she’s upset. Why don’t more people call her to teach them to knit? Only one person has inquired, and that was a friend’s daughter, who she decided to teach for free.

Bertha hasn’t made a dime.

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SAFE! … or Maybe Not?

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Safety has been on my mind this week. It’s one of those concepts that, when related to patient advocacy and care management, can be applied in so many ways, with not so many easy answers.

What kind of safety?  Physical safety, of course.  AND financial safety.

Whose safety?  Your clients’ safety, of course.  AND yours.

The questions aren’t so much about what is safe, or what isn’t.  The questions are about judgment, timing, and consequences, and recognizing safety issues when the problems are obvious – vs – those times that are less obvious that we might miss all together – and what will happen if we aren’t paying attention.

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The Most Expensive Business to Start

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It’s entirely possible to start a new business on a shoestring. We know this, because every publication worth the paper or website it’s published on tells us so:  Forbes, USA Today, Entrepreneur, all of them.

It requires time, grit, determination, attention to detail, great word-of-mouth – oh – and money! More about this in a minute.

The truth is – the concept of starting a business on a shoestring depends on the size of your shoes and therefore, the length and strength of their laces. It certainly doesn’t hurt if they are made of solid-gold, and you can sell them for your seed money.

If you hear a sarcastic edge in this post, it’s for good reason. It’s born of frustration, the feeling that I’m shouting into an empty cave.  I’ve just heard from one more person who has closed up her advocacy practice because she can’t afford it anymore; this on the heels of a conversation last week with one of our APHA Mentors who asked me, “Why do people think they can start an advocacy practice with no investment? Why do they think they can do it for free?”

Good questions. GREAT questions. And sadly, representative of too much reality and too much failure. And, for today, it means I’m going to try to provide this reality check one more time.

Let’s look at that shoestring for a minute. 

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Part IV: The Dirty Dozen Skills, Abilities, and Attributes of Successful Health and Patient Advocates and Care Managers

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And, finally, the fourth and last in our series of skills, abilities and attributes that all successful advocates and care managers must.

We’re wrapping up with 3 additional concepts that are important to the success all private advocacy and care management practices.  Yes – I know the total will be 16 (and we promised only a dirty dozen!) – see Part I about my inability to count 🙂 )

Which of these describe you and your abilities?  Which of them do not?  Where do you go from here?

Do your own assessment! 

 

14.  Never forget  your Allegiance. Allegiance is the foundation of a private, independent advocate’s or care manager’s work; that is – because the patient or caregiver (or someone else whose sole allegiance is to the patient) hires you, your entire focus is on what’s best for him or her.

That is the one major distinction between private, independent professionals and those who work for an organization that profits from the healthcare system. Hospital advocates, insurance advocates – their allegiance is to the companies and systems they work for. While their hearts may be in the right place, and patients may THINK they are being helped, these system-paid advocates are too often, even frustrating to them, unable to offer the best help.

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