With a child in high school and another in middle school, I have for the better part of the last ten years, been fully immersed in sports from youth to high school age. The one thing that becomes more and more obvious is that there is a definite lack of fundamentals being taught.

Everything in life has fundamentals. They are the foundation from which things are built. I have already alluded to sports, but fundamentals are the building blocks for education, religion, dare I say politics, and yes, in business. Your business.

One of my responsibilities is to help facilities increase their census. I have heard on several occasions the statement, “we need marketing”. After some questions and discussion, both of us come to the realization that the real need is not marketing, but it is something to market.

An example could be a facility wants to attract more short term stay patients with the focus on hip and knee replacements. The facility places you in a room with a long term resident, not a private room with a flat screen television and WiFi accessibility. These short term patients enter through the main entrance where many long term residents congregate. Now imagine you are a fifty-five year old coming in after a total knee. Your first thought is, “I don’t belong here, get me out of here.” Combine that with the fact that seven day a week therapy is not available, and you have the makings of a very unhappy patient that tells his doctor not to send anyone else there.

This scenario is not meant to degrade long term residents or facilities that do a wonderful job of caring for them. The intent is to bring attention to the fact that you need to be prepared with the basics that short term patients are looking for. Before you embark on a particular strategy make sure you can offer the fundamental requirements to be successful.

The first thing you should do is determine what your facility does well and what things need to be improved upon. Secondly, know what your competition does well and what things they struggle with. You then need to find out what are the needs that are not being met or addressed. You can only determine that by asking questions of the physicians and case workers that can place people in your facility. If everything is going your way then there will be a need in the area that you just happen to have some expertise in. This, however, does not happen very often. You will have to make yourself more attractive than you are presently. What I am really getting at, is that you have to have a plan! In order to have a plan, you have to do your homework.

When you have made yourself a more attractive partner, target the very people that can help supply you patients, and let them know you have heard them and you are ready to fulfill their needs.

By accomplishing this you will have established yourself as a place that takes the time to find out what is needed and provides a viable solution. Then the next time physicians or case workers need help with a particular problem, they will be more likely to look to you to solve it.