How To Build A Successful Team for your Functional Medicine Practice

How To Build A Successful Team for your Functional Medicine Practice

If we’re being honest, functional medicine can be overwhelming – not just to the patient, but to the provider, too. 

Providers are responsible for interpreting labs and designing supplement protocols, running payment gateway accounts, designing front and back-office systems, coaching patients to implement lifestyle changes, creating systems to prevent patients falling through the cracks, configuring and connecting their technology deck – sometimes up to 10 or 12 different tech platforms – continuing their education on all aspects of medicine, creating content, and designing, implementing and tracking four to five simultaneous marketing campaigns. But, wait, there’s more… On top of all that, they still need to see patients, have an equal family life balance, and make time for their own self-care.

 

If you’re a functional medicine provider who’s working without the support of a team… it’s no surprise that you’re completely exhausted!

 

But the good news is that you’re not supposed to do all of this. As Allan Dib, author of the 1-Page Marketing Plan, says: business is a team sport. No successful entrepreneur becomes successful without a team. 

According to Allan, “The doctors who do really well are doctors who have scaled their business, who have taken it to the next level through business acumen, marketing, and through building the right teams and systems.”

In S3 Ep 7, Nathan Morris says “Letting go of work in your practice can be difficult, especially if you’re a control freak and a perfectionist, like most entrepreneurial types, are, which are most functional medicine doctors. You didn’t get into this because you followed the herd. But it’s necessary if you’re going to get scalability and leverage in your business, otherwise, you end up effectively paying yourself a minimum wage for routine tasks, while sacrificing high-value tasks, such as being the medical provider that only you can be.”

In Season 2 of Good Medicine On The Go, we recommended integrating a health coach. Throughout Season 3, we’ve recommended hiring an expert for the platform you will run your ads and an expert to set up your email drip configuration. Today, let’s talk about how to organize your team. 

 

Step 1: Building Business Systems

When building a business system, the first step is to define what you want to be done and list out the technology platforms that will be used in the system. The person in charge of the system will either already need to know or be trained on these online tools.

Some technology platforms include:

  • Canva for design
  • EMR
  • LivingMatrix or another intake method
  • PureGenomics
  • InfluxMD or other CRM/email platform
  • Internet Telephone system
  • Supplement Fulfillment
  • Payment Gateway

 

Once you know the technology to drive your business, next, “Create systems to consistently deliver great results” is one of Allan’s rule for successful businesses. 

He goes on to explain in his book the 1-Page Marketing Plan, you win at the game of marketing by having processes that are run daily, weekly, and monthly. These systems don’t have to be that complicated. If, for example, you decide weekly blog posts are something you want to do, all you need to figure out is what, who, and when. What is the plan, who will implement it, and when? In this example, it might be “Mary” who is in charge of writing the weekly post, and getting it up on the website every Monday. 

Once that’s a process, you can add another process, and another, and another process. That’s how you win at the game of marketing without getting overwhelmed.

Next, up, you need to find the person to complete the system. Here’s your team!

 

Step 2: Understanding Roles and Tasks

Creating roles – AKA job descriptions – and then the task for each role is the next step for building successful systems.

When I first started coaching providers, I always ask them if they have a “job description” for what they do. The answer is always no. No wonder providers don’t know what to work on when they wake up. They have too many jobs! 

Let’s start by defining some possible roles and tasks that happen within a Functional Medicine practice:

 

Role: Provider

Tasks:

  • Continuing education
  • Preparing for a patient consult
  • Patient encounters
  • Supplement fulfillment system
  • Content creation
    • Document FAQs and hot buttons
    • Write an outline and give a tip
    • Send to editor to create blog post
    • Same for videos
  • Bi-weekly case management meetings with the collaborative care team
  • Thank you letters after initial consult – nurture campaign
  • Technology configuration
  • Private FB group during office hours
  • Once a quarter Strategic Business Planning Meeting
    • Define which team member will assist you
    • Make 3-month plans
  • Networking with local businesses

 

If your practice has a second provider, like a CCN, RD, another medical licensure, they may have similar tasks. 

 

Role: Office Manager/Medical Assistant/Patient Care Coordinator

Tasks:

  • The person that checks off the checklists, drives the bus, gets things done
  • Technology configuration
  • Answering Phones
  • Scheduling
  • Appointment reminders
  • Ensuring New Patients complete New Patient Paperwork
  • Assisting patients to upload previous labs/documents via the patient portal prior to new patient appointment
  • Update meds/supplements before each encounter
  • System for tracking payments and follow-up appointments are scheduled
  • Billing/accounting reports run each day for a bookkeeper
  • Provide Superbills
  • Supply management (create lab accounts and order lab kits/drop ship to the patient)
  • System for lab results to be entered into EMR
  • Track monthly practice analytics
    • 15-minute calls
    • New patients
    • Lab sales
    • Supplement sales
    • Patients that have not been seen for a while and need to be reactivated
    • Patients who did not onboard, pass to a health coach for group coaching invite
  • Coordinate team meetings
  • Bi-weekly case management meetings with the collaborative care team
  • Update job descriptions, system checklists, and create training manuals

 

You can start with just one person, but as your practice grows you might want to divide these tasks into two or more roles.

 

Role: Implementation Department: Health Coach 

Tasks:

  • Welcome Call
  • Onboarding the patient to practice technology, intake, meet the team
  • Drive the first patient encounter to best prepare the patient for mutual participatory medical model
  • Follow-up after provider’s encounter
  • On-going coaching
  • Lab and supplement support/ sales
  • Create content for marketing campaigns
    • Document FAQs and hot buttons
    • Write an outline and give a tip.
    • Send to the editor to create a blog post 
    • Same for videos
  • Group Coaching Events
  • Bi-weekly case management meetings with the collaborative care team
  • Determine gaps and opportunities in patients’ care paths. Advise and co-create new programs to address gaps.
  • Networking with local businesses
  • Create a deliberate system for word of referrals and collecting testimonies 

 

For more assistance with integrating a health coach, purchase my ebook How to Effectively Integrate a Health Coach in a Functional Medicine Practice. 

 

Role: Sales Copywriter

Tasks:

  • Web content creation
  • Ads
  • Landing pages
  • Email drips (especially the conversion emails!)

 

Role: Editor

Tasks:

  • Edit blogs

 

Role: Videographer

Tasks: 

  • Video production

 

Role: Graphic Designer

Tasks:

  • Make your ad, blog, and web images
  • Value in advance downloads

 

Role: Web designer

Tasks:

  • Work with a designer to create your Ux then give the plan to the web developer

 

Role: Web developer

Tasks:

  • Coding

 

Role: Marketing Director

Tasks:

  • Marketing campaign organizations and business planning
  • Content organization
  • Email Drips configuration and tracking
  • Organization of segments and who is receiving what content
  • Synchronizing CRM and email drips 
  • Google analytics
  • Social Media presence and analytics (possibly social posting)
  • Reactivate Former Patient campaign
  • Contribute to Deliberate word of mouth referral system

 

Role: Ad specialist

Tasks: 

  • Run ads on the platforms they know best

 

Role: Accounting

Tasks: 

  • Tracking revenue and expenses
  • Payroll
  • Reconciling end of month accounting

 

Step 3: Create the Checklist and Training Manual

Once you’ve identified the person (role) who will perform each task, the next step is to clearly define what you expect as part of the task.  

First, create a checklist for completing the task. List out every step involved – even the small ones. 

You can use that checklist to create your practice’s Training Manual. The Training Manual should be a stand-alone document that anyone could use to complete all aspects of the system without any additional resources. When you hire the right person, the Training Manual will be what you hand off to them. 

Step 4: How to Find and Hire The Best People

But sometimes it can feel just as overwhelming and exhausting as doing it all yourself to consider building a team.  How is this done?

Hiring help in the right order is one of the best steps you can take. For most providers, the first person to hire is either a health coach or an office administrator. These two roles take a major burden off the provider and can free you up to perform only the job you can do, plus focus more on marketing and expanding your practice rather than the day-to-day tasks. 

Next up, once office systems are designed, hiring a marketing director. Often, a good marketing director (with experience) can help connect you with an amazing graphic designer, a killer copywriter, a creative social media manager, or a trustworthy web developer. 

For finding people, Allan and other experts recommend UpWork or other freelance sites as a great place to start after asking your other team members and colleagues for referrals. You likely won’t want or need a full-time copywriter or graphic designer, so freelancers are a great option. If you find someone you love, you can always agree to set a number of projects or hours on a recurring basis. 

Found a few great candidates? That’s what Allan calls your shortlist. He recommends sending each person on your shortlist the same, small task – such as a small blog post or basic graphic design piece. Then you can compare skills side-by-side. The worst thing that happens is everyone on your shortlist winds up being great and you have multiple people to turn to for projects.

For Health Coaches, purchase your copy of my e-book How to Effectively Integrate a Health Coach in a Functional Medicine Practice.

For copywriters, in particular, finding the right fit can take time and trial-and-error. Some copywriters specialize in content (blog posts, newsletters, etc.) while others might be a whiz at SEO or know how to write compelling, emotional copy for sales pages. You might need two different writers – one for content, and another for sales materials, for example. A good copywriter will be one of the most important parts of your team, so take your time here. 

 

Ready to Build Your Team?

Making the shift from a solo-prenuer to a business team can be overwhelming… but I hope this information has helped break it down – and shed a light on the many, many tasks a successful business requires. It’s way more than anyone can handle on their own! 

Do you ever wish you could process your roles, tasks, and office system design and formulate a plan with someone who understands you and your practice development needs? Email me and tell me about yourself. Or schedule a complimentary Welcome Call here