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May 27th, 2016
Being prepared is the key to success, and stagnation is an easy path to failure. Having a simple plan for the continual progress of your medical practice is a pretty common sense approach, but it’s tricky to ascertain exactly how often you should rethink, add to it, or get rid of things that aren’t working. Shake things up too often and you may as well not have a plan, but if you’re not constantly tinkering the small stuff you’ll be left out in the cold as your competition overtakes you.
As a general rule, you’re going to want to make one large laundry list come the start of the financial year, and all changes should be driven towards your core principles that you outline here unless circumstances change. Change it in minor, day-to-day scenarios, but a good business plan is future-thinking and needs time to come to fruition. Too much tampering can wreck a plan just as much as underpreparedness.
An important caveat here is that if something is broken, fix it. And fix it before it starts costing you financially. It might be vitally important to follow a business plan, but if that plan isn’t working there’s no sense in going along to its ruinous conclusion.
We’re going to be going over the importance of outlining a new plan at the start of your financial year, but updating your medical practice’s business plan is a constant, free-flowing thing that can happen at any time. You should be improving upon it not just at important financial dates, but whenever there’s a chance to improve.
Got some time between patients? Start tinkering. Stuck in traffic, nothing good on the radio? You might be able to sort out a few overheads.
Keep your work life and your home life as separate or as closely-knit as you’d like, but never avoid a brainwave when it comes. Jot it down, don’t forget, and update, update, update.
Disseminating new information takes time to trickle down the chain of command. No matter your industry, regulations are always changing, and new best practices are always emerging.
Come the start of the new financial year, you have an opportunity to re-evaluate the current state of the medical industry against your current business model (with the added important extra of being in total view of your past and projected finances).
Setting a period every year to update your business plan not only gives you focus for the year, it lets your employees know that there are new, specific ways that things must be re-evaluated and performed. It’s an opportunity to re-assess your approach for efficiency and merit, a good time to retrain and reformat, and gives your workers a kickstart in adopting methods across the board.
On top of this, aligning it with the start/end of the financial year means that you’re going to have the most accurate summarisation of your financial information. It just makes sense to double this up with upgrading your equipment and reforming your practises.
Coping with change is a lot easier when you’re given a time-frame and a working model. Good direction from above filters down and makes your entire operation run smoother.
You’re assuredly pretty confident in the ability to understand your current patients, and a business plan is merely going to refine and improve upon your ability to sell to them.
Without thought and preparation you’re going to be missing out on emergent and potential clients that you’ll never even see coming.
With a business plan fully prepared, you’ve constantly got an eye on the future. If you have evidence of a trend, or you’d simply like to try and cater to one that might be emerging, a good business plan will ensure that you:
The inverse of the above point is, of course, that a business plan also helps you adapt to incoming pitfalls and downward trends that you might otherwise overcommit to.
For example, imagine how a company that made VHS must have felt towards the end of their life-cycle. They would have either slowly dwindled out, unable to account for their lowering gains, or they’d be able to transition and restructure (or go into production of DVDs, or a thousand other things) in time.
A business plan is all about looking around you and forging ahead with all the information at your disposal.
Doing a major re-evaluation of your plan each year is a good time to assess how well the last year performed. How closely did you follow your plan, and how well did the facets of the financial year that you were able to influence affect your performance?
If there’s a major disparity in either of these, then you need to put in some more work into creating and following through with your planning.