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Tooting Your Own Horn, and Playing a Tune People Want (and Need) to Hear
My last two posts have focused on why it’s important for those who want to succeed as private patient advocates realize that their success won’t rely on just their advocacy skills. The bottom line is that success is NOT about an advocate’s skills. Success is dependent on the balance of perception, needs and knowledge on the part of potential clients and the capabilities of advocates to fulfill them. And that means that success is dependent on the advocate’s understanding of how to run and promote a business. In other words: Succeeding in the business of private patient advocacy requires two things: good advocacy and good business. Neither can stand by itself. Good advocacy without business won’t succeed. Good business without good advocacy won’t succeed. Last week, we took a look at two representative advocates to illustrate the concept; Dorothy Anderson is a former NICU nurse who hopes to help families with at-risk newborns make their transition home as safe and healthy as possible. Kurt Schaefer is a former hospital billing specialist who hopes to help people reduce their hospital and other medical bills. Both have impeccable skill sets and capabilities. But neither is succeeding – because they are not business-minded. For balance sake, let’s try a third example. Katherine Lee is an entrepreneur who has decided patient advocacy is an up-and-coming field. Her business sense tells her that she can hire people with minimal skill sets, teach them how to be advocates, begin working on insurance plans to try to corral reimbursements, and pretty soon she’ll be chunking off her own pieces of the health insurance money pie. It will probably upset you to learn that Katherine has a much better chance of initial success than either Dorothy or Kurt does. Why? Marketing and business savvy. You’ve probably heard the question, “If a tree falls in the forest, but no one is there to hear it, does it really make any noise?” Let’s put our own spin on that question. “If a patient advocate has skills and starts a private advocacy business, but no one knows she has done so,…