Mapping the Way Forward

How The Hill Hear Better Clinic used Strategic Planning for Growth and Transition

Dr. Mike Hill founded The Hill Hear Better Clinic 35 years ago to improve quality of life for his patients. Armed with extensive audiology training, used equipment, and $6,000 in savings, Hill knew a lot about providing excellent patient care, but running a business wasn’t part of his formal training.

“Caring for patients was my main priority, but I also wanted to run and expand the business well. I’ve always loved reading, which has given me a lot of ideas for growth,” said Hill. “Finding the time to determine which efforts were strategic for us and how to implement those was difficult.”

In those early years, a colleague suggested Hill connect with Aileron to find outside perspective and tips for executing intentional business strategy while also caring for patients.

Today, Hill Hear Better Clinic is one of the largest private audiology practices in Cincinnati and has helped more than 10,000 patients. Dr. Hill credits Aileron with providing the thoughtful partnership and strategic planning tools he needed to build a thriving business.

Learning what you don’t know

With his training and experience in audiology, Hill admits there was a lot he simply didn’t know about running and growing a business. After all, profit and loss sheets weren’t part of the audiology curriculum. Meeting with an Aileron Business Advisor started Hill on a journey of discovery led by a like-minded, experienced coach who cared deeply about building an intentional way forward.

“I learned there’s so much to running a business that I hadn’t considered, but I was never overwhelmed. Our Business Advisor was a knowledgeable guide; he helped us clarify what we wanted from the business and what we wanted the business to do for our family, staff, patients, and the greater Cincinnati community.”

Hill and his team broadened their understanding of how their business could operate, grow, and thrive, using their newfound clarity as the foundation. They began identifying what metrics mattered most, then worked alongside their Business Advisor to build a plan forward.

Planning for the future

As Dr. Hill grew his business and supported his son Ryan in pursuing a clinical doctoral degree in audiology, the two worked with Aileron on strategic planning to position The Hill Hear Better Clinic to grow well into the future.

Together they articulated high-level goals, as well as the tactical steps needed to achieve their vision and create competitive advantage. They still revisit that plan regularly and have found the strategic plan to be a living document that helps them mindfully evolve and re-align as needed.

“Because of our strategic planning work with Aileron, we’re able to see the details that form a holistic picture of our business and still operate at a high level without getting lost in the minutia. We can see what is worth investing in to help us move forward.”

Hill has also connected with other family-owned businesses through Aileron, leveraging a community of peers with shared experiences that makes learning and leading less lonely.

“I can’t overstate how helpful it was to have a community alongside us. It’s incredible to feel like we aren’t alone in working through our challenges and constantly learning to be more intentional. Knowing we have that community is yet another element that builds confidence in our future.”

Making a smooth succession

In 2021, Dr. Ryan Hill became the owner of the clinic and manager of the daily operations. Dr. Mike Hill still cares for patients but has reduced his hours and seamlessly transitioned ownership responsibilities – thanks to the efforts the duo invested in strategic planning.

“Today, we have a clear focus on our priorities and a path to continue toward our goals. Our culture is thriving, and we largely attribute that to knowing who is a great fit during our hiring process. We translate the work we’ve done with Aileron to map out what is most important to us in every part of our business. It’s made all the difference.”

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