So, continuing on with my tale of my little business…I left off describing how ExtraMD ( my local locums company) was going to weather these stormy economic times. I have noticed a drastic drop in shift requests. Over the past two years, we have typically had 10 shifts per month unfilled, almost enough for a full time physician. However, over the last 3 months, I have seen a distinct drop, such that by December we only had 2 shifts that went unfilled.
Next, an urgent care cancelled a shift, saying they were so far behind in their receivables, they couldn’t afford any more debt. We haven’t yet received the money owed for work we did there.
In addition, a large clinic system cancelled over 16 shifts for one month, leaving 4 doctors with out work for February. They emailed me, saying, “Good news for our clinic…we’ve hired a full time physician, so won’t need coverage.” Bad news for us. We do have a 30 day cancellation policy, but the clinic squeaked in at 31 days, so didn’t have to pay the full cancellation fee.
So, what will we do? How will I find work for my docs, keep my company afloat and sleep at night?
Here’s my plan:
Send out a post card mailing, advertising a birthday discount. (ExtraMD is turning 5.) Something cute and eye catching will be on the postcard, like a birthday cake.
Email our clients, letting them know we have a birthday celebration discount going on.
Consider taking birthday cupcakes to our best customers.
Put an ad in the local medical journals.
Talk to the other physicians in our group about leaving business cards and chatting up the business at practices where they are working. As the physician owner, I have done all the marketing myself, but hey, it’s worth a try.
Create a press release targeting the local market about ExtraMD’s birthday celebration and discount. Let practices know that we are a good interim solution during tough times–it’s cheaper to use us than hire another physician, especially if a practice isn’t certain it can support another full time physician.
I’ll keep you posted as to the results. How is YOUR practice doing in these tough times?