How To Double The Size Of Your Practice

This week’s management tip sounds a bit like a get-rich quick idea.  After all, it isn’t easy to double the size of anything.  It takes hard work, vision and tremendous persistence.  But it isn’t unrealistic and isn’t a scheme.  In fact, many practices across America don’t just double in size, but expand far beyond that.  So it is possible.

What does it take?

We’ve attempted to lay down the basic steps any owner can follow in order to directly expand the size of their practice.  One could call these a road map to expansion:

1.  Think big.

You don’t have to be small just because everyone else is.  There are millions of business owners across the world with highly successful businesses, who are achieving their goals.  You can be one of them.  Don’t set your goals based on what your competition is doing.  Your potential is determined by one thing: what you decide it is.

2.  Exactly state your goal.

Define what you’re shooting for.  If you haven’t set an exact goal in terms of concrete numerical terms, it will be hard to achieve it.  You can’t hit a target you don’t aim for.  Figure out exactly what numbers you want to hit annually and write them down.  If you haven’t exactly stated what you’re attaining, then you won’t necessarily conceive of all the other actions necessary to attain it.  This is where a lot of practice owners fall down.  They want to get bigger, but they don’t state how MUCH bigger.  They’ve got to decide exactly what they’re shooting for if they expect hit it.

3.  Break it down by week.

Figure out how much production or collections you would have to hit per week in order to achieve your goals.  In order to make your goal achievable, you’ll have to take  it out of nebulous annual numbers and break it down on a weekly basis.  This puts the target into concrete terms of what has to be done by the practice each week in order to say, “Yep.  It was enough.”  Or “We did great last week, but let’s keep pushing.”  This serves to focus everyone’s eye on the goal so that you can all be working on the same page.

4.  Figure out ALL the practice numbers to hit your goal.

It’s very nice to say “I want ____ collections” but what does that mean in terms of practice production?  In terms of visits?  In terms of new patients or new clients?  In terms of promotional pieces sent out?  You can say you want more collections all day long, but this means you’ll need more production, which means you’ll need more patient visits, which means you’ll need more new patients, which means you’ll need more promotion and advertising.

If you set a goal to double your collections and production, then you’ll also have to set goals to double every other number in your practice that goes into making up those collections and production.  This is what makes the whole thing realistic.  If you don’t do this, then you just end up making a “wish” for your practice to get bigger.  If you actually figure out the goals for all the other numbers in the practice, you now provide a real roadway to expanding your practice.

5.  Work out the plan for each one of the those numbers.

Now you have to write a plan in order to achieve each one of those numerical goals you wrote down.  Again, it’s very nice to say, “I want to double my new patients” but how is this really going to be done?  You would have to sit down with your New Patients goal and figure out what promotion and advertising would have to go out in order to hit that goal.  You figure out how many staff this would take.  You figure out what resources you would need to do it, and you write this out in a plan.  Do the same thing for Patient Visits, for Production and all the rest.

Of course these plans will change in time, but they give you a starting point.  They at least provide a direction for you to start walking toward your goals.  As you learn more, you’ll change them until you eventually do hit your overall practice goals.

 6.  Get your staff on board.

Now you have weekly numerical quotas for each area of the practice, and a plan of action worked out to achieve each of them.  The next step is that you have to explain all this to your staff.  Get each person on board with the quotas and plans related to their area.  Get their feedback.  They may have some ideas themselves about how these goals could be achieved.  Work with them so that they are an active participant in helping you do it.

Set up a bonus system so that, as the staff get closer to hitting the quotas you set, they are rewarded more and more personally.  The important point here is that you actually get your staff to “buy in” and become motivated to attain the quotas for each area.

7.  Persist.

Achieving anything big requires persistence.  The world will tempt you to give up or wonder if what you originally decided was unrealistic.  It wasn’t.  Keep going.  I’m sure you’ve read about the number of failures Thomas Edison had before he finally succeeded with inventing the light bulb.  The moral of the story is that you just have to keep going.  Progress may be slight.  However, recognize that it is progress.  Little by little you will take the small steps along the roadway you’ve laid out until after a period of time you’ll look back and realize you ARE getting there.

The number one reason for failing to expand a practice is the inability to think big enough and set a goal in the first place.  The number two reason is lack of persistence.  The difference between someone who achieves their goals and someone who doesn’t often is simply that the first one didn’t quit.

No one assumes expanding a practice will be easy.  It isn’t.  But it can be done.  And if you want to be, you can be someone who does it.

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