The Best Practice Management Software

When operating a medical practice, the primary focus is on helping patients feel better, enjoy their lives more, and improve their health. But to do that effectively, it takes expertise in multiple other areas.

You need to be able to track appointments, stay on top of billing, manage the scheduling of employees, and stay in contact with patients. The best practice management software can help you do all of this, while saving time and effort.

But if the management software for your medical practice is difficult to use, any timesaving benefits disappear. To save the sanity of employees and to allow your practice to run at the best possible efficiency, consider one of our best practice management software recommendations.

The 10 Best Practice Management Software Solutions

You need to present a professional appearance to the patients at your medical practice. Management software does this by enhancing your ability to manage your practice’s day-to-day operations. Some of the key components of this software include:

  • Scheduling of appointments
  • Generating bills
  • Creating insurance claims
  • Generating financial reports for the practice
  • Generating financial reports for individual patients

If your practice cannot generate accurate bills or cannot book appointments without making errors, patients will begin to lose trust in the medical practice. They may wonder whether the practice can care for their health properly if employees cannot even file insurance claims properly.

When you want to create a professional appearance for your medical office, using any of the 10 best practice management software solutions on our list will help.

AdvancedMD

• Excellent feature set
• Simplifies scheduling
• Clean interface
• Verification system
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For those who already own the AdvancedMD EMR software, its compatibility with AdvancedMD’s practice management software is seamless, creating a powerful combination.

But even if you use a different EMR software, you still can use AdvancedMD as your best practice management software, as it has compatibility with many EMR systems.

AdvancedMD’s interface is clean and well-organized, but some users will find it time consuming to figure out all of the various features, especially the advanced features.

Pros

  • Has an excellent feature set
  • Software’s verification system catches simple coding errors on insurance claims
  • Clean interface that simplifies scheduling
  • Strong interaction with same brand’s EMR

Cons

  • Does take quite a bit of time to learn all of the features
  • Overall cost is above average

Advanced Data Systems MedicsPremier

• Reasonable prices
• Easily customizable
• Helps you reduce errors
• Extensive training services
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For the right medical practice, MedicsPremier will be an excellent choice. But this is a software package that you must choose carefully, because it doesn’t work for everyone.

It will especially help a medical practice that needs customization options at a reasonable price. It also has strong insurance claim generation features. However, training is expensive, and some users will find the navigation features difficult to understand.

Pros

  • Easily customizable for your particular practice
  • Tracking insurance claims progress is easy
  • Able to help you reduce errors in insurance claim coding
  • Extensive training services that are helpful

Cons

  • Training is extremely expensive
  • Interface is dated and really needs a refresh to make it easier to use

AthenaHealth

• Streamline billing & claims
• Patient portal feature
• Detailed reports
• Great customer service
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If your practice struggles when it comes to billing, the creators of athenahealth had you in mind. This software streamlines your billing processes, as well as submission of insurance claims. It even generates highly detailed reports that show areas where your practice’s billing results are lagging behind others in the industry.

We also rank athenahealth highly in terms of the training it provides to its customers, getting them up to speed faster than some other software packages.

Pros

  • Excels in billing and insurance claim generation
  • Good customer service
  • Has a strong patient portal feature
  • If you like generating detailed reports, this software excels in this area

Cons

  • Doesn’t work as well for practices that fully outsource medical billing
  • Takes some time to figure out the advanced features

CareCloud

• Easy to use
• Well designed patient portal
• Extremely detailed reports
• Verification to reduce errors
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When you want ease of use above everything else in your practice management software, CareCloud delivers. It has a well-organized interface, making all of the key features easily accessible.

We really like CareCloud’s patient portal, which patients will find easy to use. This encourages them to spend more time entering their own data, saving your employees time in the long run.

CareCloud also offers a strong EMR system, so you can mesh the two easily, if you’re in the market for an EMR system too.

Pros

  • Generates extremely detailed reports to help your practice
  • Patient portal is well-designed and easy for patients to use
  • Calendar feature allows for generation of many kinds of reports
  • Has verification features to reduce insurance claim filing errors

Cons

  • High initial investment required
  • Some key insurance monitoring features require an add-on fee service

DrChrono

• Very versatile software
• Minimal upfront costs
• Highly efficient patient portal
• Streamlined scheduling
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With DrChrono, you’ll receive a versatile type of software that can handle the needs of small and large medical practices, offering an efficient interface that will save your employees time. It also has the ability to match any specialty needs that you may have, giving you customization options.

Its cost is below other management software solutions, especially the startup costs.

Pros

  • Versatile software for all office sizes
  • Includes a highly efficient patient portal
  • Upfront costs are minimal
  • Streamlined scheduling of patients and employees

Cons

  • Customer service responsiveness is hit and miss
  • Report generation isn’t as detailed as some others

eClinicalWorks

• Best for smaller practices
• Easy to use patient portal
• Helpful onsite training
• Reasonably priced
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When you want a reasonably priced best practice management software that also provides high end billing services, eClinicalWorks is well worth considering. It fits nicely with practices that need extra help with verifying insurance claim codes before submission, which should reduce the number of rejected claims.

If you’d like a software package that can grow with you as your medical practice expands and needs extra services, the multiple customization features in this software give you that option.

Pros

  • Nice patient portal that is highly efficient
  • Especially strong in billing services and insurance claims
  • Reasonably priced, especially for smaller practices
  • Delivers helpful onsite training for new customers

Cons

  • Has some extra costs for those who need more features
  • Customer service responsiveness could be better

Greenway Health Intergy

• Multiple customization options
• Versatile interface
• Compatible with Excel
• No hidden fees
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For a medical practice where you’ll have multiple people entering data and using the interface, the Greenway Health Intergy software is helpful.

It allows people to enter data and perform tasks in several different ways, so they can work in the manner that makes the most sense to them. This will confuse some people, but it’s perfect for practices where employees like to learn to use software by jumping in and exploring on their own.

Pros

  • Versatile interface that allows for creativity in solving problems
  • Multiple customization options
  • Reporting feature is compatible with Microsoft Excel
  • Doesn’t have hidden fees

Cons

  • Training is long and involved
  • Interface could use a design update

Kareo

• Easy to learn to use
• No long term contracts
• Great reporting
• Very reasonably priced
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When a smaller practice is looking for practice management software that isn’t going to break the bank or require a long subscription commitment, Kareo is an excellent choice. The interface is easy to use, but the design is a little older than some others.

For those who need full billing services, Kareo has an EMR that works seamlessly with its practice management software.

Pros

  • Very reasonably priced
  • Easy to learn to use, so you’ll be up and running quickly
  • Reporting feature outperforms some other low priced options
  • Good billing generation features, but they do cost extra

Cons

  • Interface is a little dated
  • Starter package is basic, so it may not fit those with complex needs

NextGen Healthcare

• Great for smaller practices
• Easy to setup and use
• Competitively priced
• Very good customer service
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Small practices that need multiple services will appreciate NextGen Healthcare. Its customer service is better than what you typically find for smaller practices, especially considering this software’s low price point.

If you also need EMR software, NextGen Healthcare’s EMR will mesh well with the brand’s practice management software.

Pros

  • Very good customer service
  • Works nicely for smaller practices
  • Handles all of the basic features that you need in practice management software
  • Competitively priced

Cons

  • May not be complex enough for larger practices
  • Report generation features lag behind other options

SimplePractice

• Best for specialty practices
• Wide range of features
• Simple interface
• Strong brand loyalty
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For specialty practices, SimplePractice has features that will help them manage their specific and unique needs versus general practitioners. This is a popular software package among its customers, generating quite a bit of brand loyalty.

It has a competitive price for the small practice, and it has plenty of features to help you stay in contact with patients.

Pros

  • Good management features for patient interactions
  • Simple interface that still lets you get a lot done
  • Has a decent insurance claim generation feature
  • Easy to ignore parts of the software that don’t fit your needs

Cons

  • Extremely basic, so it may not meet the needs of large offices.
  • Customer service responsiveness is below average.

How to Choose The Best Practice Management Software For You

What you’ll quickly learn with practice management software is one product does not fit all clients. With so many choices on the market for helping you manage your medical practice, it’s important to focus in on the features that will help your practice deal with its particular needs.

Calculating Payments

With the billing and patient management information all in one location with practice management software, you have the ability to calculate the out-of-pocket cost for a procedure before it happens. A patient will be able to make smarter financial choices about when and how he or she would like to have a procedure done.

Additionally, when the patient knows exactly what he or she will have to pay out of pocket before coming to the appointment, the medical practice will have a far better chance of being able to collect payment at the time of service, reducing paperwork.

When patients feel as though they have more control over their healthcare decisions and costs, their experience is more satisfying.

Coordination of Scheduling

One of the key components to running a medical practice efficiently is proper scheduling. Double bookings of patients or not having enough nurses in the office introduce hiccups in the office’s workflow.

Medical practice management software keeps the office running smoothly, allowing the proper scheduling that matches the number of planned patients with the personnel required to handle them.

Generating Claims

One of the most frustrating aspects of medical care for patients is the timeliness of billing statements and insurance claims. No patient wants to receive a bill a few months after an appointment because the medical practice failed to anticipate an insurance claim denial, delaying the entire process.

Through practice management software, you can generate reports that show which types of insurance claims often generate rejections on the first attempt, allowing the office to change  how it submits those claims.

You also can generate reports that show any bottlenecks occurring in the processing of patient billing statements, ensuring that patients receive their charges in a timely manner.

Improving Efficiency

Employees at your medical practice often must handle a variety of tasks, especially at a small practice. Your practice management software interface should not be a hindrance to what you’re trying to accomplish. The interface must be easy to understand and use, allowing one employee to handle scheduling or to generate a report on his or her own.

If the software’s features take a long time to learn or add unnecessary steps to performing simple tasks, employees will balk at having to use it.

A complex software package may generate impressive statistics about how your practice is running. But if entering the data takes employees so long that they look for shortcuts or skip entering the data entirely, the data in the generated reports will be worthless.

Self-Managing for Patients

Many practice management software solutions have a patient portal. This system creates a number of benefits, including:

  • Patients may set up and manage their own appointments remotely.
  • New patients can enter personal data before coming to the office, saving time.
  • Existing patients can update insurance provider information or drug lists before an appointment.
  • Patients can choose how they would like to receive appointment reminders, which reduces the number of patient no-shows

This automation reduces the number of phone calls into your practice and shortens the length of those phone calls. This allows front desk personnel to handle other tasks, including focusing attention on face-to-face interactions with patients.

Specialty Needs

If your medical practice handles one or more specialty areas, it’s important that the practice management software can handle that specialty. If the software is too general in nature or doesn’t allow customization, it may not work well for your practice.

Figuring out whether a particular piece of software can handle the specific needs for your specialty areas can be tricky. This is one area where you may want to speak to practices who have a similar situation to yours and who are already using the software you’re considering. The vendor should be able to put you in contact with some of its other customers for questions.

Studying Cash Flow

Ultimately, you want your medical practice to succeed. The right practice management software can help by generating reports that show your cash flow and your level of profitability.

Some software will be able to create more detailed reports than others. A basic system’s reports  will show you which types of appointments or physicians are generating the most revenue.

More complex reporting software may be able to drill down to show you the demographics of your patients, allowing you to generate efficient advertising or helping you figure out what equipment purchases you will need to make in the future to match the needs of the client base as it ages.

System Integration

Many medical practices have other types of software already in use. The practice management software you select needs to be able to mesh smoothly with these other types of software.

For example, if you have an EMR solution already in place, some of the information inside the two systems could overlap. Rather than having employees waste time by entering data into two different systems, the two systems need to share data, so employees only need to enter it once.

Practice management software should be able to share data with software running billing systems, as well as EMR and EHR software. (Because of the occasional overlap, if you are wondering whether you need both EMR/EHR and practice management software solutions, understand that EMR/EHR software contains medical information about patients, while practice management software gears itself toward the clerical operation of the practice.)

Summary: Delivering Efficiency With Best Practice Management Software

When patients visit your medical practice, they want to feel better as quickly as possible. They don’t really care all that much about the day-to-day work that your employees must do behind the scenes to make that happen in an efficient manner.

But you have to care. Making your medical office run efficiently often means having the best practice management software in hand. With the right software, your employees spend less time on mundane office tasks and more time meeting the needs of patients.

Keeping your patients happy and healthy is far easier with the right practice management software, and it will help employees feel happier too.

Quick Sprout

5 Work from Home Tips I Used to Create a Successful Business

Countless people around the world are adjusting to working from home right now due to the current coronavirus crisis. As someone who has managed to successfully work out of my home office for years, I’m excited to share my top five tips to help newly remote small business owners and entrepreneurs be productive and successful when working from home.


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Establish a weekday curfew

Though it’s easy to stay up late watching the new hot show on Netflix or polishing off a project, establish some ground rules.

I have a cut off time of 9 p.m. to turn both the TV and my phone off. Around 7 p.m., I turn “night shift” mode on my phone on to reduce blue light, which studies show can keep you awake at night.

Each morning, I wake up around the same time to keep a normalized schedule and to take advantage of my productive hours. Everyone has certain hours in the day when they feel most productive. Figuring out what your personal productive hours are will minimize work time and maximize efficiency.

Wake up ready to conquer the day

Don’t open your phone and begin working (or scrolling through Instagram) from bed. I’ve started days like this, and it noticeably decreases how productive my day is.

Instead, I journal and meditate first thing in the morning. I use the Five-Minute Journal to write down what I am grateful for, as well as the things that will make the day ahead great. I also do this before I go to bed. Keeping the journal on my bedside table is key, so it’s right there when I wake up and when I go to sleep.

The next thing I do has been a game changer for my productivity. I practice an active meditation method called “priming,” which I learned from Tony Robbins. It has brought me positivity, productivity and a healthy mind, the latter of which is the starting point of any kind of true success.


Related: 4 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Boost Their Mental Health

Where are you working?

Establishing an at-home workspace is very important, and ideally, you should work from the same place every day. If this space allows for natural light, even better. Natural light is proven to boost your wellbeing and overall work performance.

If at all possible, don’t work from your kitchen. I work as far from the kitchen as possible, in order to stay focused on my work and I’m not unconsciously snacking throughout the day.

Don’t work from your bed either, as this can blur the lines between the space where you are meant to relax and the place you need to be awake and in work mode.

Move and reset

Changing your physical state will change your mental state. If you find yourself slumped over at your workstation or stuck on a project, it’s probably time to take a break.

Moving your body is an easy way to access a new perspective and a fresh state of mind. Jumping up and down or dancing might look a little odd in an office setting, but you’re in the comfort of your own home! Jumping up and down or dancing for a quick minute or so will not only boost your mood, but will increase productivity and creativity.


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Take advantage of working from your own space

Since you’re in your own space, personalize it to make it work for you! Find things that calm your mind, but keep you focused on your work.

I use essential oils and music to set the tone for clear focus. I also wear whatever I feel comfortable in. I’m huge on multitasking, as well. I’ll take a walk while I’m on a call to help me think clearer and get my creative juices going. While I’m thinking or planning, I’ll stretch or play with my dog, Leo.

The bottom line is, working remotely for those of you who are used to working in a collaborative office setting will be an adjustment. Try these tips, but most importantly, find what works best for you.

The post 5 Work from Home Tips I Used to Create a Successful Business appeared first on StartupNation.

StartupNation

Two Young Entrepreneurs Turn Coffee Waste Into A New Beverage And Brand

Two young entrepreneurs are using leftover coffee cherry husks to create a new range of natural plant-based energy drinks. Nomad Trading Company is the “not-just-for-profit” startup looking to turn a coffee by-product into an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable supply chain.
Forbes – Startups

How to Stop Playing “Target Market Roulette”: A new addition to the Lean toolset

Modern entrepreneurship began at the turn of this century with the observation that startups aren’t smaller versions of large companies – large companies at their core execute known business models, while startups search for scalable business models. Lean Methodology consists of three tools designed for entrepreneurs building new ventures:

These tools tell you how to rapidly find product/market fit inside a market, and how to pivot when your hypotheses are incorrect. However, they don’t help you figure out where to start the search for your new business.

A new tool – the Market Opportunity Navigator – helps do just that. It provides a wide-lens perspective to find different potential market domains for your innovation, before you zoom in and design the business model or test your minimal viable products. This new framework can act as the front-end of Customer Development. It helps figure out the most promising starting position – market domain – for your customer development process. And it helps identify promising Plan B’s and new growth options if you have already embarked on your innovation journey.

Over the years, I have seen many startups and innovation projects perform a painful “re-start” to completely new market domains. With a little more thinking up front these entrepreneurs and innovators could have identified more promising business contexts to play in, and thus avoided this difficult pivot down the road. But while the academic literature is full of papers covering market selection and the literature has some popular books (Blue Ocean Strategy, et al.) there is a lack of easy-to-use tools to do so.

In large companies and government agencies the problem is even more acute. Where do we spend our limited time and resources on our next moves? While the Innovation Pipeline tells us how to go to from sourcing to delivery how do we prioritize our choices? The Market Opportunity Navigator is a useful adjunct to the curation and prioritization steps.

Just like the Business Model Canvas, the Market Opportunity Navigator has closed the gap between academic theory and books by offering a simple, visual way to navigate the process of how to select what market to start with. Developed by Prof. Marc Gruber and Dr. Sharon Tal and based on hundreds of cases they studied during their practical and academic work, the Market Opportunity Navigator is described in their new book, Where to Play.

In three simple steps the Market Opportunity Navigator can help you:

  • Identify a portfolio of market opportunities stemming from your technology or unique abilities
  • Reveal the most attractive domain(s) by evaluating the potential and challenges of each option
  • Prioritize market opportunities smartly to set the boundaries for your lean experimentations

I asked Sharon and Marc to summarize why market selection is important and describe an example of how to use it.


Different Playgrounds mean different Rules of the Game
There are many ways in which you may have identified a market for your business. Some of you may have identified a market need based on your own experience, or you may have been approached by potential customers, or if you are corporate innovator you may have applied an innovative solution to an existing target market. Yet, are you sure that this is the best opportunity? Could there be greener pastures (larger markets, more profitable markets, etc.) out there for commercializing your technology or unique abilities?

Taking the time to reveal the most promising market – the best starting position – before you engage in a focused customer development process is critical, because market domains vary in their value creation potential, competitive landscape, regulatory regime and risks associated with launching new products. In fact, by not asking “Where to Play” innovators risk choosing an inferior playground – one that does not allow the project to prosper. Beyond the possible loss of revenues, this early decision may be difficult to change, or even irreversible: it influences how you develop your technology going forward, raise money, write patents, recruit employees and pick a brand name. If re-start in another target market is required, such a pivot is painful, costly, and sometimes even impossible.

Finding the best starting position is a learning process that takes time and bandwidth – two scarce resources. So instead of taking a deliberate step back to understand their portfolio of opportunities, entrepreneurs and innovators often just start running. They make a bet and engage in customer development experiments – adopting “local” pivots in a relatively fixed context, until a scalable business model is (hopefully) revealed. This can be a big bet! The search for product/market fit and for a scalable, promising business model should therefore begin with uncovering and understanding the different market contexts in which you can play. In fact, by adopting a wider lens, the search process shifts from 2D (finding a product-market fit) to 3D (finding multiple product-market fits in different market contexts).

Academic research published in Management Science investigated 85 VC-backed startups and offered a conclusion that seems obvious in hindsight: “look before you leap.” The big idea was that experienced entrepreneurs tend to generate a portfolio of market opportunities before deciding where to play, thereby laying the ground for significant performance benefits. In other words, understanding your arena of opportunities is a key asset for entrepreneurs and innovators.

Identifying your Arena and Choosing Where to Play
The Market Opportunity Navigator provides a visual framework to discover, compare and prioritize different market domains and business contexts. It helps you to think about your arena, rather than your industry – a key mindset shift in today’s competitive landscape.

The Navigator walks you through a three-step process that helps you to make a more informed choice. It does so in a friendly, intuitive manner, with a visual design board and 3 worksheets to guide the process.

You can download the Navigator and its worksheets here.

Putting it all together: A Superset of Tools
Mapping out your market opportunities to understand your most promising starting position generates valuable insights for your innovation journey. In short, the big-picture view provided by the Navigator helps you zoom-out to understand “where to play,” while the detailed views of the lean approach and the Business Model and Value Proposition Canvases help you zoom-in and understand in detail “how to play.” Together, they create a superset of tools that supports you in an iterative learning process until you find a scalable, promising business.

Having a market opportunity portfolio to draw from offers an additional benefit. By having gamed out multiple markets, you can bake agility into the DNA of your venture – a key component in the Lean methodology. It allows you to carefully select and keep open backup and growth options.  If a “re-start” is eventually required, it will be less painful and less costly.

Let’s take a look at an example from the startup world to see how the Market Opportunity Navigator works.

We Can Fly Anywhere – but Where Do We Go First?
Flyability develops drones to inspect difficult-to-access locations. In theory, they can custom-build their drone to perform different jobs in completely different markets: industrial inspection, search and rescue, entertainment or surveillance – to name but a few. Each of these markets varies significantly in its business context and in its promise for growth. Furthermore, each market would require its own customer development process to reveal a scalable, repeatable business model – clearly a demanding process that is difficult to run simultaneously in multiple domains.

So how did Flyability find its best starting position – the initial market domain where the founders should engage in detailed customer discovery and build their business? They used the Navigator and its three worksheets to guide their process.

Worksheet 1: Generate your market opportunity set
The founders’ first idea was to use the drone for observing critical disasters, like the reactor meltdowns in Fukushima, Japan. Yet, by going through the first step of the Navigator, the team began to uncover alternative markets where their drone could add value for customers. Among others, they considered drone-based inspection of boilers in thermal power plants, the inspection of oil & gas storage tanks, and intelligence-gathering by police forces. Overall, five market domains seemed interesting and required further evaluation.

Worksheet 2: Evaluate market opportunity attractiveness
Using the second step of the Navigator, the team systematically examined the potential of each market and its unique challenges. This allowed Flyability to map out their options and visually compare their attractiveness. Gradually, it became clear that thermal power plants were a “gold mine” option worth playing in. They could now use the Business Model Canvas and the lean experimentation processes to design and validate a scalable business model within this market.

Worksheet 3: Design your agile focus strategy
Once the founders chose their primary market, they could leverage alternatives to create a more agile company by mitigating risk and avoiding locking-in. Specifically, using the third step of the Navigator, the founders designed a small portfolio of backup and growth options that they would keep open. This foresight laid the ground to early key decisions that have long-term consequences, like how they developed their drone or chose their brand name. In addition, it helped them clearly define which options they would place in storage for now (as focusing is about saying no more than anything else).

By employing the Market Opportunity Navigator, Flyability has not only figured out “Where to Play” it has mapped out an interesting growth path that is appealing to investors. To get a better sense of this process, you can view Flyability’s Navigator below, or read the full case study by clicking here.

Insights for VCs, Tech Transfer Officers, and Social Entrepreneurs
Identifying your arena of opportunities is not only key for startups and established firms, but for anyone dealing with technology commercialization. For VC’s, the macro-level perspective shows the market opportunities that can be addressed by a startup and lays out a clear monetization process over time. It also offers a portfolio perspective when screening initial or successive investments. If you are working for a Tech Transfer Office, a wide-lens perspective is essential for assessing the value of an invention, and for figuring out in which hands you should put it. Furthermore, if you are trying to address a social problem, the Navigator helps ensure you identify a market that allows you to generate an economic bottom-line in addition to your social impact.

Lessons Learned

  • Lean Startup tools offer the details of “how to play,” while the Market Opportunity Navigator helps you to zoom-out to understand “where to play”
    • There are multiple “starting positions” for your customer discovery journey
    • Each starting point has different challenges to overcome
  • What would be your most valuable domain?
  • The Market Opportunity Navigator is an easy-to-apply framework for this process


Steve Blank

6 Reasons Your Hockey Stick Growth Curve Can Go Flat

annual-report-growth-flatEvery entrepreneur thinks he can relax a bit after his business model is proven, funding is in place, and revenues are scaling as projected up that hockey-stick curve. Unfortunately, the market is changing so fast these days that any upward climb can level off quickly, as the core business growth begins to stall. This S-Curve, with no correction, can quickly lead to disaster.

I’m not talking here about a small pivot. I’m talking about the kind of change that moved Apple from personal computers to music distribution to consumer electronics, and Amazon from books to e-Commerce to cloud computing services. On the other end of the spectrum are companies that fell behind the curve and may never recover, including MySpace for social networking, Yahoo with online ads, and Groupon with discounts for group purchasing.

To sustain long-term growth, every company needs to build a repeatable process for innovation and finding new opportunities before their core business growth disappears. The reasons for this requirement, and some practical guidelines for how to prepare, are outlined in the classic book “The Curve Ahead: Discovering the Path to Unlimited Growth,” by Dave Power.

Power has been guiding growth companies for 25 years, and now teaches innovation at the Harvard Extension School. He has helped many companies with this problem, and as an advisor to startups, I see the same common themes leading to growth slowdowns. These are appearing earlier and earlier in emerging companies, as well as in mid-sized and mature companies:

  1. Your original market becomes saturated. Initially, all companies sell to customers who are the easiest to reach and most excited about the new product. As a company begins to penetrate its market, it begins to work hard and harder, often in new geographies, to find more prospects. Marketing costs and time go up, and the growth curve flattens.
  1. Competitors see the same opportunity. New players jump in, and existing players broaden their offerings to cover the same territory. They steal a share of your market, slow down customer buying decisions, making it harder to close new business, and put the brakes quickly on your exponential growth.
  1. Prices begin to decline quickly. The first customers are early adopters who are the least price-sensitive. Unfortunately, the mainstream customers who can really drive revenue care more about price. Thus even if unit sales keep increasing, revenues can lag due to the need for lower prices as the mainstream market takes over.
  1. Customer acquisition gets harder and more expensive. Scrappy guerilla marketing based on personal contacts and word-of-mouth campaigns gives way to more expensive customer acquisition using advertising, trade shows, and a marketing agency. You suddenly need to enhance your in-house social media efforts with a public relations firm.
  1. An expanding customer base demands better support. Serving a growing customer base – with a great customer experience – requires more time and dedicated resources. In the early days, your product engineers could handle customer support. Over time, however, a continuous growth company needs a trained and dedicated support team.
  1. Management overhead and skills required go up. In the beginning, your entire team could meet in your office. As the company grows, functional leaders need to build and manage larger teams, recruit and develop talent, and manage remote offices. Managing the scale and complexity requires more formal processes, which slow the momentum.

Your first objective should be to stretch the S-Curve, which can buy you a few months or a few years. Among the most common ways to stretch the curve include deeper penetration of current markets, expanding into new geographies, new market segments, optimizing pricing and packaging, and driving consolidation through acquisition of competitors.

Ultimately you need to find the next S-Curve, and then the next, and build the process into your strategy, for unlimited growth. This means you need to find new sources of revenue growth to offset a slowdown in the core business. It means finding a large underserved market and addressing this market with a product or service innovation, often with a different business model.

Successful entrepreneurs and successful companies never stop re-inventing themselves. The alternative of not anticipating the curves, and not building the navigation systems into your core engine, is likely to be a long and painful fall off a high cliff. Do you have a plan in place yet?

Marty Zwilling
Startup Professionals Musings

Business Consultation for Pre-Entrepreneurs

Is there any business offering this type of help. I was actually thinking of starting a business doing this but wasnt sure about how to go about it, and a Google search only led me to websites with no brick and mortar building, or personal references to call.

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Startups – Rapid Growth and Innovation is in Our Very Nature!

[CyberMDX in Enterprise Talk] Healthcare Startup CyberMDX Secures $20 Million in Funding to Expand

CyberMDX is a healthcare cybersecurity providre, which delivers visibility, threat prevention, and operational efficiency for medical devices, IoT, and clinical networks.

Read more here.

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Solaire Box raises €1.4 million to construct eco-friendly wooden houses

French startup Solaire Box, which specializes in the construction of eco-friendly wooden houses, has announced closing a pre-Series A round of around €1.4 million, supported by both investment funds and private individuals.   

Founded in 2014, Solaire Box is taking on the construction of green ecological houses in France and further afield. The Paris-based team differs from other players in the sector due to its approach and innovative manufacturing process. Having launched to market in 2017, Solaire Box’s houses are designed with 3 unique aspects in mind, including: a structure made from French pine and wood fibre that offers optimal thermal performance; a large photovoltaic roof that produces up to twice as much energy as consumed by its inhabitants; and, a digital approach to design and pre-assembly, as well as deployment of associated services. With this range of studios and homes, Solaire Box wants to enable its customers to adopt a zero-carbon lifestyle and fight global warming without compromising their comfort.

New shareholders participated in its second funding round, joining existing investors investment fund AVIVA Impact Investing, Inter InvestCapital, as well as individual shareholders, notably via the platform Sowefund, the crowdfunding specialist. The funds include €600K brought by Inter Invest Capital for the development of Solaire Box’s subsidiary established in the West Indies and Guyana in 2017.

Thomas Coquil, President and co-founder of Solaire Box said: “We are proud of the trust  placed in us by our investors, both existing and new, and are delighted that they offer us the means to work even further towards the ecological transition. A revolution is underway in the  field of sustainable housing, and this is the perfect time to seize this opportunity. These funds will enable us to integrate innovative new devices into our products, and accelerate the commercial rollout of our range of homes launched in October 2019.”

In 2020, Solar Box’s innovation programme will allow new eco-components (batteries, green heating, etc.) to be integrated into its models, to increase customization capabilities, and to integrate even more energy-related services. After completing a hundred projects since its inception in 2015, Solaire Box aims to deliver 635 homes by 2023.

Philippe Taffin, of Aviva Impact, commented: “We are very pleased to be part of Solaire Box’s innovative project. With this investment, Aviva marks its active participation in the ecological transition, through a project that also values the French wood sector. In an uncertain economic context, we wish by this round to confirm our support for Solaire Box and wish it every success in its development.”

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