Is your practice’s business napping, whilst you’re too busy practising?

Sometimes we are way too busy seeing patients, to stop and think about looking after our practice too. This sounds like it shouldn’t be a problem, but it frequently is a problem, particularly when you feel like you’re really working hard, and yet not reaping the financial benefits. Maybe you are seeing plenty of patients, but you have a hunch that your practice isn’t the ‘lean gazelle’ that it should be. Perhaps a recent tax bill  has given you a rude awakening.

Where did all your hard earnings go?

This is really common, (don’t beat yourself up about it), and yet somehow as clinicians we find it easier to stick our heads in the sand, or convince ourselves that we’re intelligent souls who can handle most situations.

After all, sheer hard work has always served you well in the past, right?

Picture the scene; it’s a quarter to six on a Thursday evening, and you’ve hot-footed if from your NHS base to your private practice clinic, and your first patient is sitting outside your room. Waiting for you.
You frantically reboot the PC, and try to smile genuinely  at the patient who is watching you through the doorway, whilst you scrabble for that clinic list the reception team asked you for on your way in. You eventually log in (after six pop ups appear on the screen, reminding you about an urgent update that you keep forgetting to give permission to), and three and a quarter hours later, you crawl out of clinic utterly fried. You know you should be ‘doing something about those invoices’, but right now, the only ‘doing’ you want, is something that involves imbibing.

Why you’re trapped in a cycle of diminishing returns.

When we feel like work is frantic, it is often because we haven’t really straightened out our inefficiencies, and looked to maximise on the areas of our clinical practice that are the most fruitful. There comes a time when you’re too busy seeing patients, that you fail to notice that there might be an easier to start a well-prepared clinic on time. Good organisation doesn’t happen by accident, but it does need to be structured into your day. Trying to be all things to your practice (invoicer, procedure-booker, last-minute letter typist, and IT bodger) means that once you reach a certain number of clinic patients, it all goes pear-shaped.

How to escape the wheel:

Firstly, we need to appreciate that when starting small, we need to start with scale in mind. Your practice will grow in size, and so you will need effective, planned (and even documented) systems in place. Putting it another way, every task that is performed in practice life, should have a method of execution, which means that it can take place swiftly, and with the least effort, by the person who’s time is best spent doing it.

In reality, this rarely means you.

The only way to grow a happy and thriving practice is for you to spend your time with patients, and making new clinical referral connections. If you have no energy left at the end of a busy day, you will quickly run out of enthusiasm, and your growth will stagnate.  If you’re already in that rut, the remedy is to block out a chunk of a morning or afternoon on a regular basis, to reflect on why and how you are doing things. You must make time and space for meeting referrers, marketing your skills, and gaining business momentum.  So quit hitting the snooze-button when  process problems occur, and instead, awaken your business-efficient mindset, and regain control of your practice.

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