It’s really going to be 2013 very soon, incredible but true, I have only just stopped correcting myself from typing 2011, mind you 1993 seems like 4 months ago to me. It’s curious how elapsed time does seem to happen in a rather unnerving increasing rapid way, once the day is gone, it’s gone.
So how was 2012 for you? Was it a good one? Did you enjoy it? What will you recall as your largest single business success? What stands out as your biggest boob of the year – come on be honest?
Seriously, it is quite a compelling exercise in honest reflection, take yourself back 12 months and simply list your business objectives for 2012 and then list in a hierarchy the things you and your team got right this year and then the ones that you got wrong. Did you ‘carpe diem’ – seize the day, every day, or did you just drift through the year and are about to sleep walk into 2013?
Most of you will have read Simon Hocken’s excellent article published last November in the Breathe UPDATE titled, “The 7 Mistakes Dental Principals Will Make In 2012 – it makes compelling reading a year later – how true is it of you and your practice? Please read the edited version of the article below then follow the next steps I have outlined and you will be one step ahead of your competitors;
The 7 Mistakes Dental Principals Will Make In 2012
One. They will fail to harness the power of the web to generate new patients and keep their existing ones. Most dental practice websites simply don’t work well enough. They don’t attract enough traffic and don’t create enough leads from the traffic they do attract. They will continue to work with web companies who over promise and under deliver.
Two. They will fail to measure accurately their:
- New enquiries
- New patients
- New patient treatment conversion ratios
- Patient attrition rates
- Active patient values
- Their teams will fail to collect this essential data and so principals won’t be able to audit their front desk’s performance, understand the need for training and scripts or be able to put a number on the opportunities they have missed! Instead, they will focus on cutting costs rather than increasing their NET patient numbers. The bottom line is that if they don’t measure it, they cannot manage it!
Three. They will fail to train their team to enable them to optimise their contact with both new and existing patients. Their front desk teams won’t have a successful sales process to convert enquirers into new patient consultations. In addition, they won’t have a process to reactivate dormant patients effectively, or manage their databases in such a way that keeps their diaries full. Instead, their databases will be full of missed opportunities…
Four. They will fail to optimise the way they pay their associates and support teams in order to maximise their performance. They will continue to pay their associates a fixed percentage of their gross and pay their support teams for turning up rather than on their performance. In these practices, everyone still wins except the practice owners. Performance pay is not a revolutionary idea; it is how the commercial world works from coal mining to laser eye surgeons to prostitution!
Five. They will fail to increase the value of their treatment plans, or the rate of treatment plan acceptance. They will continue to look for new patients rather than increasing their treatment plan value, and treatment plan uptake by the patients they already have – It’s easier, nicer, more fun, more rewarding and more profitable to increase the yield from existing happy patients by structuring the follow up, than it is to find a new patient.
Six. They will fail to prepare for the threat from retailers as they enter the dental market place. They will hope that their patient relationships remain strong enough to keep their patients out of Sainsbury’s and Tesco despite the impact these retailers have had on sectors such as: Financial / entertainment / fashion / petrol / pharmaceuticals / cosmetics / photo processing.
Seven. They will fail to communicate properly with their patients, teams, fee earners, colleagues and banks. Believing that the old way of working will be good enough in the new reality of cultural and social austerity. It has become even more important to understand that the most successful dentists are not the best clinicians, but they are the best communicators with the best support teams.
………So there is plenty of time to get 2013 right (or at least more right than 2012), however, the time to plan for this is now, this weekend November 3rd.
- Start with half a day allocated to building your outline plan for 2013
- First task is to list your ‘real world’ personal objectives for 2013 and consider the macro condition of the economy, at last it seems likely that the UK economy is beginning to climb out of the deep rescission it has been in for the the last 4 years
- Now contextualise your practice within your local economy, if you are based in Belgravia the recession is unlikely to have impacted your business, however, if you are based in Rotherham South Yorkshire conditions are very different . Each local economy will recover markedly differently, understand where your business sits
- List the business objectives you set for 2012 and list the outcomes so far – be honest and tough on yourself
- List the failed objectives and the consequences of these failures on your business
- List your business goals for 2013 by discipline; Financial/People/Clinical/Compliance/Patient Experience/Technology/ and critically Asset Value
- Create a time frame for each objective with 12 review points
Week commencing November 12th allocate at least two days to build a functional business plan for 2013.
Remember to describe the objective, the strategies and all the tactics in language you and all your team understand. Of course, as always, the devil is in the detail!
Then, add your tactics to a time line for 2013 and check that you have all the resources (people, money, time, knowledge) so as to be able to implement your tactics.
We can of course help you with this exercise and towards the end of November, we are running a business planning workshop for participants who want to achieve just this.
If you would like to discuss any of this content please contact me directly, but whatever you do ‘seize’ everyday in 2013 and the best way of doing that is to have a realistic plan for the year that both you and your team understand.
07860 672727 / 0845 299 7209