Have you got a business plan for your practice?
Business plans are a written document that outlines what you are aspiring to achieve in your practice and how you might reach those aspirations. To put it very simply – it provides the direction for your practice so you don’t get lost. If you are feeling lost, or haven't looked at your plan for a while, now is a great time to stop and think of where you are going.
The business plan sets a framework that you can refer to as you go, to ensure your choices and work reflects the vision you have set for yourself. The practice does not just look after itself and you need to ensure you put time into planning where you want to be, and working out how you will get there.
A business plan should be a working document. Something that you can refer to often, and adjust if needed, if you change track or come up with more innovative ideas for running your practice.
Here are some tips to consider when completing your business plan:
The first thing you need to consider is how to incorporate business planning into your current routine. It is really easy to become very busy doing clinical work and postpone the planning side of having a practice. Start by scheduling in frequent business planning sessions for yourself - this could be half an hour a week, or fortnightly time set aside for you to plan.
When writing your plan, ensure you use language that others will understand (avoiding jargon that only relates to your niche service). Remember, you may not be the only one reading your plan (e.g. it can be helpful to show your plan to your business banker, accountant, mentor or staff).
Remember to keep your business plan succinct. It will be most successful if your business plan is a working plan – something that you can pick up and read often – if it is too long, it becomes time consuming to review and arduous to update.
When creating your plan, you will need to refer to existing data in your practice. This may include results of marketing, types of clients, number of appointments and financial figures. If you don't have this data (this often happens when you are first starting out), then you will have to make assumptions. For example, you might assume that you will see 5 clients a day, and therefore, your profit for the day will be X. Remember to write down your assumptions so when you go back to review your plan and make changes, you will know how you reached your calculations.
A business plan is nothing to fear, it involves getting your thoughts down on paper so you can be accountable week to week. A business plan is a great asset down the track when you may be faced with a decision in your practice - it will help you stay focused and choose your options wisely. If you are not confident in structuring your plan, or have trouble starting, then we have the tool for you!
We have created an allied health specific business plan template to guide you through getting your ideas into your structured plan. If you are interested, Click here to check it out!