You can set your own practice growth goals based on how your clinic is currently performing and how much you want it to grow in the future.
Collect together the data you currently have along with any marketing statistics, patient enrollment numbers, and other information you have before starting your benchmarking. From there, you can set specific quantitative and qualitative goals to guide your practice’s expansion or maintenance. Depending on what you hope to achieve with your clinic, your goals may differ from those chosen by others.
By customizing your goals to the needs of your patients and to your own career goals, you can better understand where your practice is going and how to get there. Goals help you avoid aimless planning and enable you to begin moving forward.
Questions to consider
Before you begin choosing your goals, you need to decide what you hope to achieve with your clinic. You need to ask yourself key questions to guide your strategic planning, such as:¹
- Do I like my work environment? What would I change about it?
- Do I enjoy my work?
- Do I want to see more patients, or does my clinic have the right patient base?
- Do I have the right team?
- Is my staff spending time on activities at work that are unproductive or irrelevant to their job responsibilities?
- Am I running an automated, technology-driven practice, or are there tasks I can automate to make my practice more efficient?
- What percentage of practice revenues go towards operations versus advertising and marketing?
- Is my practice allowing me to be financially independent? Is my practice sufficiently profitable?
- Is my practice growing right now, staying about the same, or declining?
Setting your baseline and choosing your growth goals
Now that you understand what you want to change, you can start strategizing to create or improve your perfect practice. You will need to transform your wish list into qualitative and quantitative goals you can aim for regularly.
If you want, you can set minimum benchmarks. You can start with one year or think about how you might reach your goals five years out, for example. From there, think about the minimum numbers you will need to see to realize your goals during that timeframe.²
For instance, if your practice plans to add twenty new patients within the next quarter, that could be a minimal goal and any additional patients would allow you to exceed your goal. To get there, you may need to increase your marketing and outreach.
If your existing marketing brings in around ten new patients every three months, perhaps you need to double your marketing efforts or find new ways to increase your outreach. Alternatively, maybe you need more referrals from existing patients, so you decide to set referral goals that go along with your marketing work.²
Generally, your goals will be either quantitative or qualitative in nature. Quantitative goals specify particular numbers, percentages, and measures. Qualitative goals are more difficult things to measure numerically, but are important all the same. Examples of qualitative goals include improved customer service, higher patient satisfaction, and better quality care. Regardless of what you choose, be sure to create goals that are within your control and can be meaningfully addressed. If you choose goals that reflect problems you cannot change, you may set yourself and your clinic up for unnecessary frustration later.²
With your new goals, determine what tasks will help you reach each goal and leave out work that is not serving your patients and your work as their clinician. Choose a regular interval, such as once every month or every quarter, when you can look back at your goals and check your progress.²
If necessary, be willing to adjust your goals so they always reflect what you want for your practice. These might change and should be flexible around your needs. If a particular goal no longer resonates with you, feel free to set it aside and focus your energies on other goals.²
¹Levin, Roger. “Six goals of high-performance practices.” Dental Economics. http://www.dentaleconomics.com/articles/print/volume-103/issue-4/practice/six-goals-of-high-performance-practices.html. Accessed: November 2016.
²Shah, Dharmesh. “Measuring What Matters: How to Pick a Good Metric.” http://onstartups.com/tabid/3339/bid/96738/Measuring-What-Matters-How-To-Pick-A-Good-Metric.aspx. Published: March 2013. Accessed: November 2016.