There’s a scene from the movie “Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid” where Paul Newman’s character Butch says “I have vision, and the rest of the world wears bifocals.”
As you may know, I work with a lot of dentists and chiropractors, and many of them suffer from the same thing the “world” does, they lack vision. While my clients can usually see where they are at in their business, they focus on what happens immediately and they never plan for the long term.
Where are my patients coming from next month? If I want to grow, how much more staff do I need? What asset do I need to build if I want to sell my practice one day?
These are the types of questions that any private practice doctor should be asking, but yet they don’t. While it may be fine to take things one day at a time, if you don’t look to the future you will get eaten alive by your competition, especially if they are working with me.
I teach my clients to look at their business with binoculars, this allows them to see short term, mid term, and long term goals. Once you know your goals, you simply have to work backwards from there. You can’t set out for a road trip without a destination, you will inevitably be lost.
Why is looking forward important?
We are playing the fastest game around, the game of business. The rules change fast and the game waits for no one. Let’s say all your advertising is done in the yellow pages, what if the FCC one day decides that yellow pages are considered junk mail and outlaw it, where do you plan to get new patients from now.
When you look forward, you know where to go and what decisions to make. You have a big plan (long term strategy) and you can devise which moves (short term tactics) will take you in the right direction).
Your practice will experience decent growth just focusing on the now and using various tactics, but with the economy as it is, and the ever changing landscape of the business and medical world, nothing is ever certain.
Sun tzu once said “strategy without tactics is the longest way to victory, but tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” Do you plan to be defeated?
I hope not, so first step now take a sheet of paper and draw 3 large circles going horizontally. In the first write short term goals (3-12 months) in the second mid term goals (12-36 months) and in the third long term goals (5-10 years).
Now you have to come back to these goals frequently to keep yourself on track and now that you have your strategies, search for the tactics. If you need more patients, search online for how to market your practice. If you want more time off but you want to make the same amount of money, close your office for one more day and raise your prices.
Taking control of your practice is the first step to exponential growth. Now that you have your goals written down, go out and get started on completing those goals.