The sunny and quieter routines of January provide the ideal chance to dream up and document the year ahead. You read correctly the year ahead. Whilst term one may feel like the most you can manage an annual plan makes a difference to your customer experience, cash flow, team vibe, marketing and more. Most importantly it enables you to front foot the year feeling more focused and in control. Let’s deep dive into this topic.
From structure comes freedom. I know you have loads of ideas in mind for the year, but now is the time to write them down, give them a snappy title, book them a date and allocate staff. Examples include all the groups, workshops, parent information nights, team meetings, guest speaker nights, team social outings, performance development reviews and more. Try and plan and book in everything you possibly can. When they are visual they become real. How will it feel to have all this out of your brain and shared with clients and team? Magic.
Parents plan ahead, way ahead of private practitioners. It is terrific to be able to explain to referrers and parents all the programs you have running per term across the year. This is the backbone of collaborating with parents to design their child’s complete year service: individual intervention one term, a group another term, school sessions another term. Magic. Parents find it so much easier to plan the term’s therapy and extracurricular activities well in advance if they have this information. Same goes for school holidays programs.
Provide a commitment and direction. With the year at a glance calendar, your admin and clinical team are able to lock in dates and times for meetings, fun outings, performance development activities. Whilst there will always be unknown’s putting in the basics helps anchor your team and manage their expectations. This is a strong step towards developing routines and rhythms in your business and curbing the smash and grab approach to hunting out last minute meeting times.
Reverse engineer the marketing. With events where you will be selling attendance such as groups, clinical workshops and parents information evenings; if you know the date you can work backwards from there to identify the date you need to start the marketing. Yes, you guessed it, lock that date in your annual plan also.
Where attention goes, income flows. The first thing to do is block out all the school holidays, government and private schools, public holidays and any other special regional and relevant events. With ticketed events, groups and holiday programs and intensives locked into the calendar, you can anticipate where income will be coming in.
Permission is granted for you to dash off to the big blue office supplies and restock on planners, sticky notes. The good stuff happens when you sit, brainstorm what you want to achieve, slam it on sticky notes, flip through the dairy and makes solid decisions about activities and dates. Nut out the entire year. Please. This is an excellent example of working ON your business and the feeling it generates is addictive.
My presentation during the Paediatric Virtual Conference – Love your future, titled “Business Plans: from dream to design and deliver” significantly expands on the notion of forwarding planning covered in this article. We discuss how to develop a unique business plan and more importantly how to deliver it. It feels great to have your private practice destination and a roadmap for how to get there. I look forward to making it a date for the Feb 14th virtual conference.