Sunday, November 19, 2017

Decibels 180 Consulting: Our Story

If you happen to be in need of some business help and have considered checking out the Decibels 180 website, here is what you will find about our story and how we got here.  Fellow ear nerds, you can make more money and have more time to vacation and walk around Target aimlessly... the dream is still alive! 

Our Story... 

Chances are, you’ve found yourself here because you’d like something to change.

Maybe you’d like to make more money. Maybe you’d like to work less. Maybe you’re frustrated with your employees. Maybe you’re frustrated with your marketing. Maybe it’s all of that and more.

The good news is, we can help. We’ve been in your shoes.

When we started our practice, we had a goal of someday selling 25 hearing aids a month. Last February, we did 10 times that many units in one month alone.

We know what it takes to build a practice from nothing to an astounding success.

We know about surviving and thriving in one of the most competitive hearing aid markets in the country. We know about the challenges that come with managing staff, hiring and firing, working with your friends and family… and the particular challenges that come when you work with your spouse. We know about the struggle to find and fit great hearing aids from manufacturers that support independent private practice. We know that sometimes you need to come home at the end of a long day and just cry. We think we can help you to cry a whole lot less.

In 2009, we had a baby. He was cute and cuddly and so much more work than we expected. At that point, Mark owned an IT Consulting business. April worked as a Regional Training Manager for Sonic Innovations, which required an enormous amount of travel. Looking to get off the road and find a way to spend as much time with our little guy as possible, we opened our private practice, Decibels Audiology.

We had no idea what we were doing. We lived off Mark’s salary and invested everything we made at Decibels Audiology back into the business for the first 2 years. We never took on debt and we never lost money, but our growth was small and consistent compared to other offices that were taking on manufacturer loans and other forms of debt. We stuck with the slow and steady approach.

In 2011, we had another baby. Once again, our growing family forced us out of our comfort zone. We had to hire staff, we had to train them, we had to keep them busy. We had to start spending some of the money that we had saved to market and drive traffic to our office.

Again, we had no idea what we were doing, but we had the good fortune of hearing a private practice consultant named Greg Sanchez speak at a training event. His fee was $2500 a day, which was money we did not have. We hired him on the spot.

The thing about a consultant is that they can see things with fresh eyes. They can spot problems you can’t see in an instant, and they can work with you to fix those problems. They can force you to define processes and protocols for your business. They can give you an outside perspective on your office, your staff, and your perceived success.

Greg Sanchez whipped us in to shape. We increased our business 125% in our first year after working with him. And even after he went on to bigger and better things, we never forgot the impact that a private practice consultant had made in our lives.

In 2012, Mark sold his IT company and came on board as the CFO of Decibels Audiology. He brought with him IT and accounting knowledge that revolutionized the way we did business. In his first year, we doubled our bottom line. In his second year, we tripled it.

As our business grew, it was important to April to set herself up to work on the business instead of in the business. No one wants to have a multi-million-dollar company that relies on one person being in the office every, single day. She had a dream… to make money as she was doing other things… dropping the kids off at school, wandering around Target aimlessly, and traveling the world in her RV.
Mark didn’t so much care about the Target part… but he was all in for the RV adventures.

Many practices have growing pains on the journey from one provider (usually the owner), to multiple providers. As business owners, we always seem to know just what to do. But how do you pass down that knowledge and empowerment to your employees? The answer is simple: you must have a process for everything. Successful process is built around best practices.

As our staff grew, April used our processes and protocols to train our Audiologists, Audiology Assistants, and support staff to work efficiently and competently… without her hovering over them. In 2017, as Decibels Audiology posted its most profitable quarter to date, we were on the sidelines… watching our staff make it rain.

Having done daily consulting in the past, we knew that this was the right time to launch Decibels 180. Decibels 180 is a consulting group for Audiologists and Hearing Aid Dispensers in private practice. We focus on turning process into profit.

Maybe you’ve owned your practice for 30 years, maybe you just inherited it yesterday. Maybe you’re making more money than you know what to do with, or maybe you’re barely making payroll. Our goal is to meet you where you are and get you where you want to be. We can’t wait to get started!

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