Dial-A-Doctor is a mobile medical service, offering in-home visits from general practitioners throughout the night, all day Sundays and on public holidays.

In 2020, the impact of COVID-19 saw a drastic decrease in the need for locum medical treatments to help patients return to work or school sooner, as many were already staying at home.

At the same time, community concerns grew around any kind of visitor entering aged care facilities or homes. The changing conditions and collective uncertainty created a major impact on Dial-a-Doctor and their ability to continue providing a valuable service to the community.

CEO of Dial-A-Doctor, Mike Dale, said these challenges to the business came out of the blue.

“Well, just before COVID, we thought we were going to do really well. And of course, COVID come along, blindsided us all, and of course everybody thought Dial-A-Doctor is going to do well because everyone’s sick.”

Instead, Dial-A-Doctor experienced the opposite, with Mike explaining, “We weren't getting any calls. We were starting to close the doors.”

The challenges had an emotional impact on Mike, especially in his responsibilities as an employer.

“I had people that I had to worry about it. It was quite daunting, quite scary in fact, because not only were you worried about whether you're going to be able to put food on your own table but all those that worked for you. You had a sense of obligation and it was scary, it really was fearful.

Mike Dale discovered the SBDC’s PIVOT program in September 2020, and seized the opportunity to take action to save his business.

“The PIVOT program appealed to me because of the word itself: ‘pivot’. I needed help. I wanted to turn this company around. I didn’t want to give up. And then when I read more about the PIVOT program, I really wanted it, I really wanted to be part of that. Because I wanted someone to help me turn it around. “

After participating in a series of webinars, coaching and networking sessions, workshops, and applying various tools, templates and other resources, Mike was able to discover a new approach to help him and his team move forward with confidence. He also realised that there was a whole community of people on the same business journey as him, dealing with the impact of COVID, which made him feel less alone.

As a result of the program, Mike has made changes to Dial-A-Doctor including changing his business plans to 30, 60 and 90 day structures and reviewing them regularly.

“The PIVOT program really changed our whole focus,” Mike said. “We realised we can come out of this if we're persistent, if we can innovate or think differently and look for opportunities to continue to improve. Without the SBDC…we might have closed the doors, but I am forever grateful for this opportunity that SBDC has given us.”

About the PIVOT Program

In August 2020, the SBDC launched the PIVOT program to respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Western Australian small businesses. Blow Your Own Mind, the SBDC’s delivery partner for the PIVOT program, helped develop the mentoring series to assist impacted small businesses to build resilience, be future focused and grow their entrepreneurial mindset to allow them to make changes to their business model to help them survive and thrive.

Nearly 500 business owners from across Western Australia joined the free six month program, participating in live and on-demand webinars and workshops, dedicated one-on-one business coaching and networking to build collaborations and partnerships.

If you’d like to find out more about Dial-A-Doctor visit their website.

More information

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Small business stories
15 December 2021