In building and running an independent private practice or small business, there are many items that need to be monitored closely and should be reviewed periodically. Year-end is a traditional time do this, and this week's Letter is a "Top Ten" of items to review as the year draws to a close, or whenever you decide to pause, reflect, take stock and re-assess.
1. Review your client statistics:
How many clients did you have? On average, how long did they stay? How did they describe their problem? What did they need or want from you? Does tracking by gender, age or other criteria, provide insight about your business?
2. Review your referral sources:
How do clients find you? Do you have a solid mix of referral sources? Too few sources makes your business dependent on them, while too many sources is inefficient. Who refers the most desirable clients? Who refers the least desirable?
3. Review your outcome statistics:
How many clients had successful outcomes? How many had unsuccessful outcomes, and why? How many left before you thought they should, and why? Which clients are you most effective with? Which do you enjoy the most?
4. Review your income, month by month:
Look for patterns or relationships with marketing efforts or community events that may impact your business. Does your business go up when school starts or after holidays? Can you capitalize on any of these cyclical patterns?
5. Review environmental changes:
Has the community's awareness of your skills or services been impacted by someone else's marketing, by news stories or controversy this year? Has your neighborhood changed? Have circumstances made your office more or less visible? Are other professionals moving into, or out of, your neighborhood?
6. Review office policies and procedures:
Do any of your forms, brochures, or signs need to be up-dated? Is it time to add color and graphics? Can office procedures be streamlined, computerized or contracted out for better productivity?
7. Review your insurance coverage, lease agreements, partnerships and other documents that impact your business.
Is this the year to incorporate? Consult a professional about making appropriate changes, and meet with your accountant for a year-end review and tax planning.
8. Review every aspect of your professional status:
Review your CE requirements, renew your license(s), pay dues to your professional organizations, and be sure your liability insurance coverage is adequate and current.
9. Identify and study the 3 biggest mistakes you made relative to finances, business and marketing this year.
What did you do, or not do? What did you learn? What steps can you take so that particular mistake or set of circumstances never holds you back again?
10. Be sure to acknowledge and thank everyone who has contributed to your success this year,
including referral sources, advisors, colleagues, and especially your clients. Send holiday greetings, thank you notes, and where it's appropriate, send a gift or token of appreciation.
Have a great week! The holidays can be a time of stress - please accept our best wishes that this year it be a time for peace, joy, and goodwill toward all!
By Philip E. Humbert
Image by Gabi Moisa
Image by Gabi Moisa