Business was good (but not good enough)

The great American dream...

I was going to give it a go as an independent business owner. Hopeful and thrilling are two ways I'd describe my first few years - terrifying and stressful would be others. I figure these mixed feelings occur with most people after opening a business. If you haven't been in this position, think of it as a few parts adrenaline, a few parts anxiety, and not enough parts sleep.

But at that time, even the slightest indications I'd get that made me believe that my dream would eventually come true was more than enough to keep me going.

This dream was not to just own a successful business - it was to own a business that did more than just "get by". My vision was to own one that steadily grew to the point where another location would be needed, and that would help patients with the latest technology.

And as a result of all this, I'd expected to achieve what's most important - the ability to provide my patients the very best in hearing health care.

During those early years, I was convinced that if I wanted it badly enough, it would happen.

Getting by

My first few years were...OK. On one hand I wasn't as concerned about losing my business as I had been in the beginning. But on the other, it became disheartening to realize that my status quo was exactly what I feared most...just getting by.

I still had that spark, that energy to want to do better as a business owner. And I was still stubbornly searching for that magical elixir that would help me get there. I tried everything from business solutions on the internet to advertising in magazines, and quickly became experienced with trying different things and failing.

My status quo was no longer enough. Worst of all, I began to think that all of my efforts were misguided. After all, my background is in audiology - NOT in business management!

Stop fighting, start growing

Then the best thing that could have happened at that point, happened - I gave up. Not with my business...with trying to do it all by myself. It was then that I began to explore the possibility that others could help me attain my dream.

I had known about AHAA and at times considered talking with them. But even after realizing the likelihood of my business never truly taking off, it was still difficult for me to stop fighting and start trusting anyone's counsel on how to manage my business.

Fortunately for me, my staff, and all my patients, that's exactly what I did. I kept my mind open, began working closely with my Associate Manager, and committed my efforts to following their lead. I now realize that from that point on, I was learning business process fundamentals and management without even knowing it!

It all clicked into place when I began to see how effective (and how EASY) processes such as product demonstrations and patient referrals can be. And what a powerful influence a third party can have during appointments. Our patients noticed the improved efforts we made in providing them the best experience possible - something that I'm proud to say continues to set us apart from our competition.

And since our industry is one that never stops changing, I consider attending Owner's meetings mandatory! It's a time to recharge our mental batteries, learn new techniques to help us do our jobs even better, and catch up with friends. If you're trying to run a business in isolation, you're asking for trouble. These vital meetings are just one of the things that AHAA provides that no one else I'd worked with had.

There's more to AHAA than just buying devices, their tools, and their training. They helped me realize that I could manage and grow a business better than I ever believed (and certainly better than I had done so up to that point).

Their specialty is the mutual relationships they keep with their Associates - they have no interest in taking control of practices and shoving Owners to the backseat. But at the same time, you're expected to work hard on the things they teach.

I had it in me all along

Honestly, managing and growing a business is a skill that didn't come easily for me. The biggest lesson I learned is that you have to put your faith and trust in those that do know, and want to see you succeed. With AHAA, I've grown 15 to 20% each of the last five years despite the economy. It's been fantastic.

So yes, I look back now and wish I'd have started working with AHAA 20 years ago. And absolutely I wish I'd have begun asking for referrals, demoing, and pushing for Third Party attendance sooner. But these days, the only direction I look is forward.

Does Dana's story sound familiar?

He had passion and enthusiasm to spare, but these qualities aren't enough when dealing with factors such as declining industry trends and increased competition.

How about you? Are your dreams just out of reach, making you feel like you're just "getting by"? Let me show you how great the other side of your door can be.

Tina Soika   |   800-984-3272 x306   |

American Hearing Aid Associates
800-984-3272 |