Many of the Paediatric Private Practice (P3) owners that I speak with don’t have a Business Plan. There is a belief that their businesses aren’t big enough, that they are doing OK or that they know where they are going anyway. Other P3 owners have a Business Plan, but don’t know why and therefor don’t use it.
What I hear from P3 is the tendency to rattle along in the same old way, trusting in the belief that that the phone will keep on ringing with their ideal clients. I hear that their systems are good enough that they don’t need to do to much more to advertise their services. Interestingly I also hear, quietly and with fear, that there are more and more private practices, growing competition, a variety of prices and services, multidisciplinary practices, one-stop-shops, alliances with Paediatricians and stronger competitor presence on social media. Our sector of the industry is maturing, and so must P3 owner’s business thinking, planning and management.
Back to the Business Plan, simply put a Business Plan is a road map to success. It may seem overwhelming and time consuming, especially for a smaller practice, however it is an amazing opportunity to think long and hard about where you have come from, where you are now and where you want to be in the future. I once read a blog suggesting that private practice owners think of their business as a client. For clients we confidently collaborate, set goals, list objectives, problem solve, develop and implement strategies, measure and celebrate progress. A Business Plan is pretty much the same thinking process. It is 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. You will be left with a greater sense of direction and control over your livelihood.
It is not hard to get started. There are lots of Business Plan formats available on the internet, your private practice coach or accountant may have great 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 software and your accountant. Market research may be finding out who your competitors are, their services, products and fees. I am confident that most of the information will be in your head, now is the time to get all of that brilliance out and down on paper. Finally, you need to book a series of meetings with yourself, you need self-discipline and focus, and it is critical that you set a finish date and stick to it. It will be a mighty fine moment when you hit print, then go full hog and dash off and get it spiral bound as well.
A Business Plan is a living working document. Think about who you will share it with, how you will use it and how often you will check back in and measure progress. Monthly reviews are ideal. How much will you disclose with your team and how will you transfer their individual and collective energy into Business Plan results. Your private practice coach is the ideal person to develop and action your Business Plan with. And they will also help keep you accountable.
So with the new financial year upon us, how will you capture your current situation and plan for your paediatric private practice’s success? Is it time to start, and finish, your Business Plan and use it as a roadmap to move forward with clarity and control?
Lastly a reminder about our Paediatric Private Providers Forum. As always you are more than welcome to call me for a complimentary 30 minute power coaching call. I am happy to help nut out challenges and solve private practice problems.