Especially in the early days of building a new advocacy or care management practice, you might be very tempted to attempt to fulfill any request that comes your way.
But smart business owners know when to say NO.
Sometimes it seems almost impossible to eek that small word out of our mouths! But there will be as many times it’s important for NO to be your answer as they will be times you can agree. Maybe more.
So many advocates, because they have such HUGE hearts, want to please the person they respond to. But being a people pleaser at the wrong time won’t help you build a strong business.
When might NO be the right answer?
When I first began working for myself, I found lots of “things” that needed to be done.
The phone rang – of course I needed to answer it! Email required immediate replies – or provided a link to something I just had to read, right then. Or, I needed to start dinner. Or I needed to water my plants. or… or… or….
I’m very easily distracted (“squirrel!”) and every little noise or interruption is far more fascinating than the one that came seconds before it!
As a result, I never felt like I was making progress. I had reports to file, marketing to do, web development, articles, and books to write… things that required chunks of uninterrupted time. But the only time that wasn’t interrupted seemed to be late nights or weekends.
I got into terrible habits, because the work – work I got paid for – needed to be done, and I was allowing all those interruptions to get in my way.
Nobody is perfect and you will make mistakes. We all do!
You might forget to return a phone call, or you may invoice a client for too much or too little. You might run late, or even fail to appear at an appointment, or you might make a math mistake on a medical bill review … or thousands of other errors, large and small.
There are three “must dos” when you learn you’ve messed up in some way, as follows:
You’ve got a real live potential new client on the phone… you dive right in and begin asking questions, letting them answer, listening carefully, taking copious notes… a good start, right?
The potential new client seems very ready to speak with you. He seems to know just how to answer your questions. He seems pretty savvy about what the advocate-patient relationship might look like.
What a joy!
Or…. is it?
New advocates are often surprised to hear the advice, “Never transport a patient yourself.”
At first it seems like transportation would be a great service to provide, especially to seniors who may no longer want to, or be able to, drive themselves. How convenient for their patient advocate to provide transportation!
But let’s examine the idea for a moment, and you’ll see why transporting a client is a bad idea.