Business Plans – You Can and You Should

Many of the Paediatric Private Practice owners that I speak with don’t have a business plan and those that do, don’t use it. I am curious about this, I sense fear, worry, time, insufficient know how and confidence sitting at the bottom of this thinking? Am I hitting the mark?

I have always found it incredibly useful to write down all I wanted to achieve across the financial year. I am forgetful, busy, constantly dreaming up new ideas and easily distracted, having it written down helped keep me focused. Regardless of the size of your business a business plan isn’t hard to write and it will help.
Think of your business as your favourite client. For clients we confidently research, collaborate, set goals, list objectives, problem solve, develop and implement strategies, measure and celebrate progress. Now we have to do the exactly the same thing for our business. Just like your therapy plans a business plan provides a starting point, a destination and the best route to get there. It’s a document that summarises where your business is at, what the market looks like, current financial snapshot and forecast and an overall understanding of where you want your private practice to be in the future. Rather than worry about the future, plan for it and work towards it. It will bring a quiet sense of calm, confidence and control over your future and control to your management role. There are lots of business plan formats available online, search and find the one that suits you best. One of my favourites is on www.business.gov.au but your coach or accountant may have other suggestions.
A typical structure includes:
• A Business Plan Summary (write this last)
• The Business – structure, people, products, services, operations
• The Market – competitors, customers, advertising
• The Future – vision statement, goals and objectives and the action plan
• The Finances – current position, budget, balance sheet, profit and loss, cash flow, break even analysis

Next step is to do your research. Use the business plan structure to gather the required data from your practice management systems and your accountant. Market research may be finding out who your competitors are, their services, products and fees. Profile your team, services, prices and systems. Review your marketing materials and online presence. Report on your new referrals, waitlist management, average spend per client, referral sources and funding systems. Best of all consider future opportunities. Uninterrupted thinking and planning time will be required, complete with big bits of paper and coloured pens. The question is, what do you want your business to look like in 12 months’ time? Finally diarise a series of two hour blocks to write it up. It is then very cool to hit print and dash out to get your business plan covered and spiral bound.
A business plan is a living working document. How will you and your team use it? Weekly referencing and monthly reviews are ideal. Your private practice coach is the ideal person to develop and action your business plan with, they will also help keep you accountable.

 
Is it time to start, and finish, your business plan and use it as a roadmap to move forward with clarity and control?

This article was featured in our May Edition of Paeds Biz. Read our latest issue here.
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