Do you ever feel like planning or goal setting doesn’t work for you?
Do you start the new year with good intentions, and by the end of February, you’re behind on executing on world domination, and are already drifting?
Did you make plans for 2020 that now seem ridiculous given how the year has wound up?
Yep. Me too.
Many of us are feeling very glad that 2020 is over, and that we survived.
A new year gives us a new slate, but it’s also a year that will be make or break of many clinicians in Private Practice.
You can’t drift into 2021 and hope it’s all going to be ok, because it may not be. Covid’s taught us that.
Even with the advent of a vaccine, it’s not going to be business as usual.
But what if you could have a structured vision for 2021, which wasn’t rigid, but enabled you to actually follow through on your professional and financial goals?
Let's get started.
I believe if you’re a clinician in Private Practice, 2021 is all about getting laser focused on the 3Ms:
Money, Marketing and Me – with ‘Me’ meaning, growing a greater online presence based upon the brand, which is you (or your practice).
What do you need to earn in 2021?
Nobody talks about what is ‘enough’. So, I want you to start with that.
What income number would be enough to give you peace of mind each month? I’m not talking about grandiose ideas of buying a yacht, but I am talking about sleeping easy at night, know the mortgage is paid, and you’ll have enough to cover tax and time out with your family, or because you’re sick.
Your finances are likely looking pretty different to your finances of yesteryear.
I’ve no doubt spent more on bread making and Majestic Wine this year, but have barely spent on commuting, going out or new heels. My income went down, but so did my collective spending.
I know I can lead a happy life on less – so what income do you need to cover your new life? Be brutally honest. 2021 is about recovery and new growth, not accruing debt.
Next you need to look to see what you need to bring in, in turnover to achieve that goal.
Get into the detail of looking at your expenses.
What did you spend on room fees last year – did that figure drop because of remote consultations from home?
How do you see your working arrangements deviating from that going forwards? Where might you need to spend a little more in 2021? All too often I see Clinicians with practices that are failing to grow because they cling on to doing the admin themselves.
Outsourcing frees you up to market your practice, which is the ONLY way you can guarantee growth.
Struggling with your financial figures?
Struggling to work out what your practice needs to earn to cover the bills, pay you and pay the tax man? Then it’s time to have a friendly chat with your accountant. If your accountant isn’t forthcoming with useful info, then get a better accountant. You may have tax savings you could be taking advantage of 2021 if your income will have dropped, so make sure you schedule a financial catch up.
Once you have that turnover goal for the year, divide it up into 12, and see how much you need to make each month. Then do the same for each week. “But what about holidays?” I hear you cry. Well, it’s all about averages – you’ll need to ensure that money comes in that will cover the cost of that time off.
How many patients will you need to see in order to reach your monthly goal?
This is where you need to look back to get an average. For example, I know that I’ll typically see a patient for an initial appointment, followed by 3-4 follow up appointments. I can then calculate the average income I get per patient attendance, and thus the number of patients I need to see each month.
Covid will have changed your patient interactions. If you’re a surgeon, maybe you hardly did in any operating in the spring and summer of 2020, but are hoping to clear a backlog in 2021? Try out some figures based on what your patient numbers would need to be if you were relying mostly on consultations, vs hoping for more surgical cases.
By marketing, I’m not talking about ads that you pay for (although that’s one way to promote your practice). Nope, I’m talking about content marketing and connections.
What are you currently doing to market your Private Practice?
Have you defined your niche areas of expertise, and thus the audience you want to appeal to?
How well does your website serve you? Is it attracting the right patients to your door, with keyword-rich content, or does it read like a stiff brochure of boring medical terms?
Are you regularly producing blog content that speaks to the questions and concerns of your audience?
Are you showing up in vlogs, and getting out there on social media?
Are you actively growing an email list of engaged followers?
And most importantly, are you tracking and measuring what works, so you know where best to focus your time and effort?
This means you – the brand you. You can’t be a clinician and not have expertise, so quit being shy about it. Patients want and need to hear what you have to say, and they want to hear it your way.
Many of the surgeons I coach tell me that the number one reason that they don’t ‘put themselves out there’, is because they are afraid of what their peers will think. They are worried that they will criticised by colleagues (or God forbid, their former boss), if they are ‘seen’ to be actively promoting themselves. Which is daft when you consider that said colleagues or former boss has no trouble with the idea of promoting their own practices.
Stop. Make it all about the patients, and you’ll not go wrong. Make 2021 the year that you get visible online, and in particular, get vlogging!
Join me next time for a class on how to plan out your content for 2021.