Selling Foot Health as Podiatry
Ralph Graham & Beverley Wright: two reviews in one
In the United Kingdom the Foot Health Market is valued in many millions and yet Podiatry practice accounts for only a tiny percentage of that market. The share by professional practice is small even when you include NHS and private practice. One has only to spend a couple of hours watching commercial television to view advertising for footwear, fungal skin and nail treatment, bunions, corn cures, orthotics, insoles, electrical treatments, verrucae and many others to realise that for large corporations selling foot health direct to the public is big business. Add in social media, radio and print and it becomes possible to wonder how a small business private practitioner can make a living let alone a good profitable income.
Standing out in this crowded world sets the tone to convince the patient population that self-diagnosis is not the best way to deal with foot health issues and then paying out money for good treatment. Paying for treatment when the UK population expects most healthcare to be free at the point of delivery adds another barrier. Starting out in private practice is a daunting prospect. Single handed or multidisciplinary, high street or house conversion, bank loan or equipment rental? These and many other questions have to be faced by the new entrant to podiatric private practice. What are you providing, a service certainly, but are you also selling skills and probably prescribed items? How do you value what you have?
I would hope that attitudes have moved on from the 1980s when I was refused a bank loan to buy a thriving practice for the reason that the business had too little stock to be viable. The bank manager said that no value could be placed on my skills and the patient numbers attending the practice. Now new practitioners have to deal with social media, websites, and advertising. They have to understand the power of branding and reaching their potential patient populations. I recommend this book to all new podiatry practitioners and to those looking to improve their practice marketing. The author takes you through the various stages of learning how to brand your practice and fight your way to success. If I had seen this book at the start of my career I would have avoided mistakes and been well placed to succeed in the 21st century practice world.
Taken from the Foreward in Selling Foot Health as Podiatry, 2020
Inspiration comes in many forms and none more so when I was given the privilege of reviewing author David Tollafield’s new book “Selling Foot Health as Podiatry”. This book highlights learning the fundamental tools of communication, promotion and branding yourself, to future-proof your foot health professional business success. Did you ever dream of achieving business success having spent years of research and study to qualify as a Chiropodist/ Podiatrist or Foot Health Practitioner (FHP)?
Once qualified you have the time to seize the world with the opportunity to grow and shape your new skills and knowledge, as a foot health professional. If you choose the self-employed business route you understand you will always have a certain amount of risk associated with it. This is where the book can help the foot health professional new, or experienced, to explore insights into strategies, marketing, consumer and personal behaviour and leadership.The author, a former podiatrist and academic luminary goes back to the early days of his own career in podiatry, when business was not making so many leaps and bounds as they are today in business, irrespective of Covid-19. Even with the impact of the pandemic, and the constant clichés about learning to live with ‘a new normal’ in business; the author takes you on a journey that will challenge you to strive to envision a better, more resilient future for foot health and yourself. The author states that the premise of the book was forged out of ‘material developed in his series of reflective articles published for podiatrists during 2019-20’. I found it an easy read and read it cover to cover when I received it, because I found it very interesting. Although, it is a book that you can just simply pick a chapter, read it, and move on to another topic instead of trying to read it cover to cover.
The author shows tips and ideas of how to support and promote the way forward to a rewarding career in foot health. He invites you to communicate with yourself and others to discuss the changing landscape of research and innovation in the foot health business. Through the authors mastery of storytelling and in-depth experience, along with the collaborative support of other experienced business colleagues noted in the text. You begin to have an insight towards what you should be doing to become more efficient and confident, which, has a rippling effect on your mindset about promoting and rebranding yourself and business.
This is a great book in my opinion. It is complete and comprehensive enough for the new start up, or those foot health professionals that just simply want to inject some more innovation and inspiration into their business practices. The text has several black and white pictures, anecdotes, business and communication models, fact sheets, real-life case study statements foot health professionals can relate to and reflect on in real working life situations. This provides the perfect opportunity to analyse the changes that may be necessary to make a difference and/ or benefit foot health business practice.
All the chapters have something to offer and in the first chapter “what’s in a name” we relive the past with the various titles we can legally assume or as a courtesy title. One which I have used myself for the purpose of this review. The text overall is well written and organised, very educational, practical, and useful for any foot health professional. The author has crafted the benefits of complementing and updating the foot health professional’s skills and knowledge in learning and continuing professional development (CPD), or as a quick guide to good business branding, communication and promotion strategies at any time.
First Published in Podiatry Review the journal from the Institute of Chiropodists & Podiatrists October 2020
Thanks for reading ‘Selling Foot Health as Podiatry’
Published by Busypencilcase Communications Est. 2015
Updated January 2022