Don’t lose your enthusiasm

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

With national competitive bidding behind them, at least for 18 months, providers may be thinking, “What now?” Here’s a friendly suggestion from industry consultant Vice Crew:

“Everyone has been so consumed with competitive bidding, but I’m telling people they need to refocus on the business of doing business,” said Crew, president of Naples, Fla.-based Reach Development.

“Yes, they still have this wrinkle in competitive bidding but are they keeping their employees energized? Are they thinking about their product mix?”

In other words, channel providers like Ron Reed.

Don’t get the wrong idea; Crew’s not saying providers should ignore competitive bidding or the corresponding industry lobbying efforts. But he wants providers to know that they can’t fight for the industry at the expense of their businesses.

“Wouldn’t it be nice,” Crew asked, “if running their businesses would distract providers from competitive bidding?”

Crew advises providers not to lose sight of their enthusiasm for their businesses.

“There are providers out there who are saying, ‘There are some things I can get back to doing in the midst of all of this,’” he said. “They’re talking up customer service, for instance. They know they need to fall over every customer that walks through the door, because they can’t afford to have them leave empty-handed.”

At the end of the day, competitive bidding may be out of control, but providers don’t have to be, Crew said.

“They need to think, ‘I’m not going to get all caught up in competitive bidding, because I know if I’m running my business as efficiently and as effectively as possible, all of my clients aren’t going to abandon me in one fell swoop,’” he said.

“They need to think, ‘Maybe I’m going to lose a percentage of my business, but I know good businesses adapt and they survive because people want to do business with people they can trust.’ That has nothing to do with competitive bidding.”