In my 20 years of consulting to businesses I see so many people driving their businesses, not being sure of what direction they should be going and not knowing who to talk to about it. What I don’t see them doing is stopping early, taking stock of where they are and resetting the course where they want go. What are my resources, physically & mentally & what are my plans and goals and importantly what are my reasons.
My goal for today is for you to give yourself permission to stop for a moment with your business and start to think about the direction you are headed and you why and is this a reality or simply an unplanned dream. In my years of helping businesses grow, transform, survive, I have observed and experienced myself first hand, some key areas where businesses succeed or fail, especially in the allied health field and I want for you to walk away with some ideas and inspirations about your future direction and how you might want to go about getting there.
We have worked with a number of successful Allied Health Businesses, and through our work with them, we have observed the key characteristics they have in place to ensure their businesses are profitable and sustainable.
What gets you out of bed in the morning and motivated to go to the clinic and drive the business forward. I believe you have one life, not a business life and a personal life and you need to work within that framework to create long term satisfaction
I hear many people say a certain level of income or achieving a wealth target is their overarching goal. I put it to you that this is not the real driver or at least it should not be. What do you want to achieve with the money. What areas of your world do you want to contribute more to?
We all know that at times maybe more often than not for some business is tough. Each day we are putting out a new fire. If money is your only driver and you are not making profit your motivation to succeed will fall away quickly.
How will we know when we arrive if we don’t know where we are going? Steven Covey teaches us in 7 habits of highly effective people, that you must start with the end in mind. Set your goals so that you can work backwards from there.
What you want for your future will be unique to you. How you go about acheiving them will also be unique to you. What your want your picture to look like will be driven by what matters to you.
Goals are not a new phenomenon, but they are incredibly powerful if we choose to use them. It is the discipline to define our goals that can stump us all from time to time.
If you want a great life goals are essential. Written goals also make this soo much easier to achieve.
In a study of Harvard students only 3% of students had written goals. The 3% of students of the class who had written goals were earning on average 10times as much as the other 97% of the class combined.
To work effectively in the long run your personal goals must be aligned with your business goals.
As a professional, you get plenty of technical training, but very few professional education courses that I have been exposed to provide the business training to arm you with the tools to grow or run a business, yet, they all purport to get you ready for the real world.
Here we list the areas that are vital to be incorporated into your formal planning.
We often see this area not addressed in businesses that are not achieving the results they want.
At the very least: Know your ideal client/s… Social media plan Client referral program SEO Plan CRM system Aligned with referral partners
If you are going to succeed in business you must know this
To support your growth objectives you must be able to understand your client base
How often are they visiting, what times of the day are they coming
A good CRM system will: help improve your relationship with current clients Assist in finding new prospective clients Collect, organise and manage client information Increase collaboration with your team and other health providers, through a greater understanding of your clients needs Manage campaigns to stay in touch with existing and prospective clients and fill your diaries
Every Allied Health business I have worked with has a unique way of delivering their patient care.
What they don’t necessarily have is this documented anywhere. 9 times of out 10, it will be very clear to the founder yet when I speak to the team, it is not as clear. We have all done the Chinese whispers exercise.
When we first discuss this with the owner they might suggest that, in the initial induction on day one, this was spoken about.
It is your job as a leader or manager to design and teach the systems to your team and to empower them to excel and grow within the frameworks that you provide.
You need to invest time providing a FRAMEWORK to allow your team to be supported as they grow. You set the parameters that encourage that growth. Training is not about creating robots to deliver a clinical service, it is about giving intelligent people the parameters to operate from in a systemised way that you find to be the BEST way to achieve the RESULTS you want for your business, brand, customers and team.
HOW will you COACH you’re your people to deliver your systems and treatment plans consistently and with the passion it deserves every time.
One example we have seen is a therapist training plan broken into 3 parts.
3 hour induction on the way they do things and what are the business expectations of someone who is a brand ambassador to their clients. Before they even start they are assessed to their current skill set and a rigorous technical training schedule is established and then sessions planned accordingly. Within the first week they also spend a 1 hour training session on the businesses approach to retention. Because we all know the issues many allied health professionals have with feeling like they are selling rather than treating.
As part of the training plan I suggest that you need to understand the mental models that sit behind your own approach and that of your team. Alligning these to a certain degree is critical to achieve the success you desire. I recently talking with an outstanding Physio business and their induction is 4 weeks and the new recruit must do this unpaid. WOW I say, that is what commitment to a treatment plan is.
Provide Growth feedback systems
Your people had amazing strengths in certain areas when they came on board with you, that’s why you hired them. But we all have untapped potential and want to improve. Helping them to continue to grow and develop is essential, and to achieve this, you need to provide feedback. That feedback is based on benchmarks that you have set down already – your KPI’s. It’s the way that you coach the best out of your people, and the qualities that you look to foster in your business that will drive your business success. The strongest athlete doesn’t necessarily win their competition, and the same is true in Allied Health businesses. The therapist with the most knowledge is not necessarily the most popular with your customers – it’s your job as a business owner to understand why, and help develop both the potential of the strongest therapist to be more popular, and the most popular therapist to be a stronger therapist. It’s a process that requires feedback. Feedback provides awareness, awareness allows development. Recognition of development encourages positive growth. Positive growth of your team leads to a successful business. How you give that feedback, and how you encourage this development is up to you.
We use Key Performance Indicators in our life, every day, sometimes even without realising their importance. KPI’s keep us on track to reaching our goals. When you drive, there are things that you monitor to ensure you don’t crash, and these fundamentals in your business are no different.
KPI’s are your driving dashboard of your business, that gives you the snapshot of your most important statistics. What REALLY convinces you that you are on track?
There is a v8 supercar team that took the travelling speed out of their dashboard. Why? It’s irrelevant. It might seem important, but they found that it had no bearing on the drivers ability to go faster.
Given the failure rates of small business in Australia, it’s probably safe to assume that not everybody is aware of what their business health is like, because they aren’t measuring and monitoring it. The great news, is that it’s really easy to take steps today to start working out what’s critical to measure to ensure the success of your business, and achieve your life goals.
How do you tell if your business is running well? What REALLY convinces you?
Key areas for an Allied Health business should be: Number of clients daily, weekly, average over the year Revenue Weekly Number of NP’s & EP’s and the rentention of each category Missed appts Cancelled appts Bookings for the week ahead Unbooked hours for the week ahead Average $ spend per client
You need timely financial information to allow you to understand the performance of your business, and make good decisions and change certain activities, before it is too late.
Capturing this also allows you to see trends and stay in control of your business.
Importantly, WHO holds you to account for the performance of your business? You need to create time in your week to stay on top of these KPI’s and take action when things are not going to plan.
a real-life example of how having accurate client and financial reporting can grow your practice.
A Business we work with changed their booking system. Surprisingly, this lead to a dramatic fall in revenue. The team attributed this downturn to economic and climatic conditions, like an election was coming up, and it was a colder than normal winter, so people weren’t spending. The information sitting behind the numbers told a different story and allowed the business to make changes quickly. In actual fact, because the team did not have visibility over their rebooking performance in this area, and they had to work with a new system, the business was not hitting the results they needed.
By having good quality data and tracking the performance of the business closely, we were able to help the business put a new system in place to track the rebooking percentages of existing and new clients, and get revenue back on track!
Note this is a fully managed business as the owner was on maternity leave, so staying close to the numbers was vital for it to Thrive!
Nearly all businesses want to grow, but not many understand what needs to be in place to make this plan a reality. If you are growing your locations how will you fund these? Bank or Your dollars? At what point will you need additional team resources to help you manage the increased client numbers, be that admin and other professionals? What is the impact on profit of these decisions in the short and long term? What is your break even point?
A competent advisor will help you understand the numbers that are critical to your success.
Some Banks understand specific industries and in certain circumstances will lend money against the practice value
Talk to us about funding because one of the opportunities maybe to fund your growth through the value of your practice, not your personal home!
IMPORTANTLY not all businesses have to grow their client numbers to improve profits.
Starting with the end in mind (to quote Stephen Covey), in the sporting arena we all find this a relatively easy concept to grasp. We set ourselves a long goal that we wish to achieve, and put smaller steps and targets in place to get there! Regularly, this will include obtaining the help of a coach or an advisor to help you achieve those goals. Someone who has a vested interest in seeing you succeed, but will view things from a different perspective, and offer different views on achieving your goals.
In business this rarely happens, as the statistics highlight. 72% of all small businesses do not have a formal business plan
As business owners we often think we should have all the answers. Great businesses seek external advice and guidance to achieve the results they desire and have a formal, yet simple, plan. Lack of planning is a key factor in any business failure!
Many business owners might have a big goal, I want to have 5 locations or 5 team members by a certain date, but that is not enough. You need the framework within which to operate and the shorter term goals targeted to get the long term success you are looking for.
Working with an external advisor on a plan like this provides the owner the confidence and accountability to succeed.
Lets turn to PAGE 7 what revenue goal will you commit to
Who are the critical people within your business who will contribute to achieving this
What key initiatives should be in place to support your goals
Commonly an Allied Health Business starts as a sole operator and then grows organically from this point. Adding locations from which they operate from and then trying to an additional therapist as they go…one at a time.
You are working long hours but you are making good money, so it appears that the strategy you have is working. If however you were to take a helicopter view of this I believe it would then highlight that the business would be very reliant on the owner for every daily function. Take out the owner for anything long than a day or two and the income dramatically falls away and things start to fail quickly.
Creating practice goodwill requires discipline and long term planning. The best businesses do this from the early stages of their development. Regularly this will mean sacrificing profits to get the long term outcomes they are looking for.
When our businesses are small, for example, less than 5 team members, it is easier to control all aspects of our business, like how we treat, how we answer the phone, how we manage rebooking etc.
When we start growing past this level the owners can no longer be across all of the detail. Without documented systems in place and a management structure in place this is where we see the cracks starting to appear. More customers get disgruntled as the service levels drop from what they have had in the past .
You would never dream of getting behind the controls of a plane without reading the manual, and your business is no different. The bigger it is the harder it is to control without a manual. Documenting your systems might feel a bit pointless when it’s just you, or maybe one other, but when your business starts to take off, you will quickly understand the importance of it, or you will come crashing back down. It’s not just about how to use your software package, it’s about your values as a business as well, and it allows you to do things CONSISTANTLY., regardless of who in your business performs the task. You don’t have time to do everything yourself, you need to trust the people around you to duplicate what you do, your way, but with their flare. Yes you might be able to do it better, but remember the rules of delegation if you delegate 5 tasks and they are all done 80% as good as you would do you are still way ahead.
What are you documenting in your business now? What could you be documenting? 2 minutes
Here are my examples.
It is your business recipe book. It’s the “how to” manual to emulate everything that you value. It’s the way that you greet your customers when they come in the front door, to the content of your Christmas answering machine message. Without documented systems, you will find that you do everything twice, and without consistency, and that’s a WASTE OF TIME. Examples: How do you manage price increases? What is your lead time to notify your clients, and what media do you use to do it? What wording do you use in your communication? What training do you give your receptionists to pass on this information? What’s the process?
What are the keys steps you MUST take when answering the phone? How would you like your brand, which is your passion, represented on the phone?
Have you defined the various roles in your business? Unless you do this, it’s very easy to assign responsibility when push comes to shove.
We empower our people through our systems, policies and procedures, and by doing this, we a create consistent delivery of service. Our message is true to our brand and our passion. For me, it’s essential that the business is not reliant upon me. If you want to get “off the tools”, and let your business fly without you, documenting your systems is Raving Fans grow businesses fast. How are you going to ensure consistent delivery of treatments from all practitioners? How you manage the client throughout the entire business is also vital for long term success
One of my favorites is Ray Kroc - the founder of the McDonalds franchise - who once said:"Successful businesses are fundamentally boring - they are a collection of a few simple systems and processes performed incredibly well over and over again".
So you worked really hard and implemented everything that we have outlined before. You now have 2 choices……Sit back and enjoy what has been created. Or To pull from Stephen Covey - After you have developed all of the great habits within your business you need to Sharpen the Saw ie Refine what you have created!
I am not saying don’t take time to enjoy the journey, what I am saying is if you want to keep at the top of your game or to continuously improve your game you have to reflect on your performance and refine the parts that need it.
If we don’t refine our way of doing business regularly we wont get the results we are expecting in the long term.
The use of social media as a selling tool is a perfect example. 5 years ago many people in business did not believe it was critical to success. That has changed today.
You MUST create time in your life to refine what we are doing if we want to improve. You must make this choice. It is a matter of priority NOT time if you don’t make this happen.
Working through this playbook seem like a daunting task. There can appear to be sooo much to do.
But don’t worry……The process that we have developed reduces the time that you need to invest to get this framework underway.
My final piece of advice is…..just START!
From Leads to Profits - Allied Health Presentation q4 financial
Specialist Allied Health Advisors
Level 18, 344 Queen Street
p. (07) 3171 4255
The 7 Key Characteristics of a Successful
Allied Health Business
Formal, documented growth plans
Strong knowledge of client base & CRM System
Specialist services and treatment plans
Contractor and team development programs
Know their numbers
Finance plans to fund growth and succession
A saleable asset
7 Key Characteristics
Why are you in Business?
What are your goals and when
will you achieve them by?
Is your marketing and
advertising plan aligned
with your growth
Who are your ideal clients?
Do you have a strategy to attract
Do you have a system where client interaction is accurately and
Specialist Services & Treatment Plans
Does your practice offer a specialty service and/or treatment plan?
Are they documented?
Do you teach your team how to deliver to this expectation?
Do you give adequate feedback and create
What areas do you want to
encourage growth in?
How do you provide recognition
Feedback to grow
Know your numbers
How do you know if your business is
running really well?
How often should you monitor?
What things are you measuring?
What could you be measuring?
Benchmark to industry or your budget
Does your management accounting system produce accurate information on what it
costs and your profit margins for each client service?
Real Life Case Study – Client & Financial Reporting
Finance plans to fund growth
• Do you have sufficient capital to grow?
• Do you know how much you can
• Do you prepare an annual budget?
• Do you separate fixed and variable
• Have you determined your breakeven
Is your bank providing you with cash
flow, not asset backed, finance?
One page plan
• 72% of all small businesses do not have a formal business plan
• Lack of planning is a key factor in any business failure
• One page plan provides confidence and accountability
Do you have a Saleable Asset?
Are YOU the Goodwill in your practice?
Valuing your Business
• Assessment of key risk and value
• Significant impact on the cap rate
or profit multiple
• Grow your business value even if
profit and cash flow remains
• Valuation benchmarks to identify
areas to improve
Documented systems and processes –
Why are they so important?
• How much of your knowledge is documented?
• How much intellectual property would you lose
if key staff left?
• Create Raving Fans via an automated approach
• Consistent delivery of treatment from all
practitioners in the business
Do your patients receive the same level of service every time they visit?
• What areas are you refining in
your business or treatments
• What should you be refining?
Take outs from today
1. Know your Why, Write it down and
create time to refer to it regularly
2. Make 3 priorities and take action
today. Don’t fall victim to FTI
3. Develop your one page plan
4. Develop your business value
5. Q4 can help map the way for you
Specialist Allied Health Advisors
Level 18, 344 Queen Street
p. (07) 3171 4255