By Mark Wright, OD, FCOVD,
and Carole Burns, OD, FCOVD
Jan. 6, 2021
A business plan that pinpoints areas for improvement can be a helpful tool to making a successful New Year more likely. Here is how to write–and follow through on–a business plan that takes your practice to a higher level in 2021.
Let’s start by considering the top three reasons we hear why people do not have a written practice business plan:
1) I have been running my practice just fine without one
2) I am a one-doctor practice and do not have a leadership team
3) I don’t have time to create a written business plan
Let’s explore these objections.
I Have Been Running my Practice Just Fine Without One
The hardest decisions in life are not between good and evil, but between better and best. The best approach to managing your practice is to have a written business plan. If you are satisfied with how your practice is performing, then keep doing what you are doing. If you want to raise your practice to its best level, then create the business plan for your practice.
I Am a One-Doctor Practice & Do Not Have a Leadership Team
Even in a one-doctor practice you have a leadership team. It could be as simple as you and your office manager. In every practice, you are not doing all the work yourself (and if you are, then we need to talk). All practices, including the one-doctor practice, will function better with a written business plan.
I Don’t Have Time to Create a Written Business Plan
Time is the most valuable asset you have. You only have a finite number of hours in a day. It is essential to examine how you spend those hours. If you are not taking time each week to work on your practice instead of in it, then you will find yourself busy – too busy – often repeating the same mistakes over and over. Take this year to work on the practice instead of just in the practice and you will find that your practice becomes more organized and your satisfaction levels will increase dramatically. Don’t put this off, now is the time to create the business plan for your office. It will only take you about 30 minutes to do, but it will guide your practice for the coming year.
If you want to spend more time than 30 minutes, then the more detail you put into your business plan, the better it will function for you. Start with 30 minutes, then see where you need to go from there.
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Here’s an outline to help you create the business plan for your office:
As you fill in the details for this outline, try to be as specific as possible. Feel free to change the outline to better meet your practice needs.
• What is your business name and address?
• How is your business legally organized? (LLC, S-Corp, C-Corp, Partnership, Sole Proprietorship)
• Create an organization chart for your practice(s). If you have multiple practices, there should be an organization chart for each office and one for the entire organization. Here’s an example:
• Describe the leadership team and how it operates.
• Describe each department and its operation.
• Identify each employee of the practice and what each person produces for the practice. (Example: The person doing recall produces established patients seen. That’s their product as opposed to what they do to make the product occur.)
• Describe the products and services you offer and why. (Example: Why do you have the frames you have on your frame board? What is the strategy behind your frame selection? What frames do you not have and why?)
• Describe your pricing strategy.
• Describe your target market.
• Describe your market size.
• Describe your market trends.
• What is your competitive analysis?
• Describe your practice SWOT analysis.
• Describe your marketing plan.
• What are your one- and three-year practice financial goals?
o Gross revenue collected
• Based on your average revenue per patient, how many patients do you need to see each week to hit your goals?
• Based on your predicted practice growth, do you need to get more space for your practice, change your office hours, add more staff, add more locations?
• What is your plan for staff wage changes?
• Are you purchasing supplies for the office in the best way?
• Are your cost of goods purchases from optical laboratories being done in the best way?
• What net do you want to achieve and how will you do it?