Strategically planning for the end of the year is imperative to your business. Functional medicine is no different. We are not talking about taxes we are talking about growth and development in your business. Learn how to plan to grow your practice.
Do not miss these highlights:
02:49 - Sometimes as providers, we get amazing ideas of new services that sometimes doesn't take off as well as we thought it was going to
03:38 - One of the things that we do every year is to dissect our business and see what's working and what's not
04:32 - If we continue to put money into something that we can't make work in our practice, it's a loss
05:54 - Consider all the great companies out there and how they became great companies
07:32 - Be the world's best leader in what you do and what you love to do. When you're the best in the world, it's easy to market yourself.
08:51 - What questions should you ask yourself when you're strategically planning at the end of the year
12:24 - How to create a connection and build a relationship with your patients
14:43 - Do not choose too many things to get done in the year. Pick 3 big things that you want to work on and break them down even further.
Transcription of Episode #9:
You're listening to the Functional Medicine Business Podcast featuring Dr. Deb, one of the most creative functional medicine business practitioners in her industry. She shares the wisdom and knowledge that she has gained over 25 years of functional medicine, a pioneer in functional medicine, scheduling, leadership and Practice Management. Dr. Deb has a wealth of knowledge and is eager to share to help functional medicine become more productive, and for the practitioners and patients to live better lives. Our podcast shares the good and the bad of our industry because Dr. Deb knows the pain you live every day building a functional medicine practice with practical tools of how to manage money, taxes and patient care she will discuss it all with you.
Hi, welcome to FMBI podcast. I'm your host, Dr. Deb and today I want to talk to you about strategic planning. Now oftentimes when we hear people talk about strategic planning, we're talking about end of the year, how do we manage our money? How do we move our money? How do we do what we can to prevent ourselves from paying taxes. But this is a little bit different. What I want to talk to you about today is strategic planning end of the year for looking at what you're going to do with your business moving forward. What are you going to plan for next year? So it is December of 2021 right now. My clinic is getting ready to plan for 2022? What are we going to do? And every year we take a look at how well we've done. Have we met our goal for new patients? Have we met our goal for follow up? Have we met our goal for finances? Are there services that we're offering that are doing really well? And are there services that we're offering that really aren't doing very well? And we want to decide what services we're going to continue to provide in the following year? Now I know that sounds kind of weird, like why would we get rid of services? Why couldn't we just keep doing all the services we always do. But if we take a little bit of knowledge from the restaurant business, you know, restaurants that have 60/70 things on the menu makes it great for the person coming to eat, but makes it really hard for the kitchen staff, they have to prepare all this food, they have to have all these different things available makes it really hard on the restaurant owner, because they have to have all of the ingredients to make these foods, even though maybe one of their foods or two of their foods really doesn't do well doesn't provide them a lot of money. They've got a lot of money invested in those foods to provide for you. Well, in our world, we want to do that same thing. So sometimes, oftentimes, as providers, we get this really great, amazing idea And we're going to add a new service to the practice. But sometimes that service doesn't take off as well as we thought it was going to. And now we have equipment and we have services and we have supplies and we have to keep them in stock in case somebody wants that service and we end up ultimately losing money. Or like many of my colleagues equipment ends up sitting in the closet, because we decide it's not doing anything, why have it out and we're not really attracting the clients, so why keep it?
So one of the things that we do every year is dissect our business and say, what's working what's not. And then we go a step further and say, Okay, did we put the time energy and money into marketing these services to see if they were going to make money or not? Or did we just have this service, and nobody's ever promoted it to any of our clients. And that's why it's sitting there not making us any money. I'll give you a for instance, in my practice, we already know we've already talked about it, that there's a particular service that we offer for men's health that we thought we were going to get into and we thought it was going to be great. And we've had this machine for about three years. And it's paid for itself. But it's not we're not profiting anything from it. So we've made the decision this year to take that service out, sell that piece of equipment and use that money towards something else. Because if we continue to put money into something that we can't make work in our practice, it's a loss. Now, there's arguments both sides of the fence, you want a loss, right? But you want a loss that you've earned money off of. And if all you're doing is spending $30,$40, $50,000 a year in marketing something and you can't get it off the ground and you've really tried and you've tried multiple different modalities, then maybe it's not a service that is needed or wanted in your area. or a bigger problem is you have a major competitor that has hundreds of 1000s of dollars to put into the market in that particular product or service and you can't compete with them. Even though you might do it better. Even my, you know, they're all those good things, but you can't compete with them. So all you're doing is spending a ton of money to try to compete with a major competitor, and you're not going to win in that game. So that's what happened for us, we decided we can't compete. We've tried for three years, we've put a ton of money into marketing and this year, we've just decided that it's not something that we're going to continue to go forward and offer, and more. So we're not going to keep the equipment around either. Because there's expenses, there's all kinds of things with that. But we've decided to liquidate the equipment and go someplace else.
So the other thing that I want to talk to you about in strategic planning for your business, in your practice is think about all the great companies out there. How do great companies become great companies, right? So there's one thing that we can look at Walgreens, for instance, has really changed their dynamics over the last 50 years, they made very specific business decisions to grow their business, they got out of the food industry, they were one of the first to have a move up to the counter restaurant in their pharmacy. Well, that was one of their first big decisions, they got rid of that they were not in the food industry business, they were in the pharmacy business. And they made the choice to go from a pharmacy to a convenience store. So they've do both pharmacy and convenience store, then they knew that they wanted to own a piece of real estate where it was convenient for everyone within walking distance from just about everywhere. So hence the Walgreens on every corner, right. But they were very strategic about doing that they were they had a really good plan on what to do. So Walgreens is just one example, we could talk about many different examples. But what I've learned from looking at what makes great companies great. I've used to apply to the functional medicine world. And there are very specific things that we can do. Maybe we don't want to be as big as Walgreens, maybe we don't want to be in everything to everyone. But there are very specific things that we can do to be successful in this industry. And one of the things that I found that we can take away from these big companies is becoming the world's best leader in what you do. So whatever it is you choose to do, maybe you're a thyroid expert, maybe you're a hormone expert, maybe you're a chronic illness expert. Maybe you have people in your practice that all do different things, and each one has their own specialty. So you have a multidisciplinary functional medicine practice, shoot to be the best in the world at what you do. Because when you're the best in the world, it's easy to market yourself, it's easy to decide what services you're going to offer, what services you're going to take away, what are your price points going to be all of that changes when you decide to be the best in the world at what it is you do.
Now, to make that easy, you want to be the best in the world at what you do and what you love not just be the best in the world at what you do and not love it. Because you don't love it every day it's awful and it's a challenge. And it's going to be hard. So choose something that you love doing every single day, and then be the best in the world at it, learn everything you can learn about it, offer everything you can offer, continue to learn continue to grow in that space, and you will never get sourced out of the market. So when you're looking at end of the year strategy planning, how do you position yourself to be the best in the world? Well, maybe some people on your team need to be educated. So what conferences are you going to send them to? What home study courses are they going to do? How are you going to teach your team so that they all help you reach this goal? And it's not just you? What equipment do you need? Which services do you need to offer? Who do you need to partner with? Who can you connect with? These are the questions you ask yourself when you're strategically planning at the end of the year. Maybe you want to create a digital course for your practice. And you've never done that before. So you're going to create a digital course well, how are you going to do that? What platform are you going to use? Who's going to record that? How are you going to promote that? How are you going to polish it? Who are you going to offer it to? And what's the reason behind the digital course is the digital course to make you be the expert in your field so you attract people so you want to pretty much give that away? Do you want to sell that course to bring more revenue in Your practice? Are you doing that to attract more clients to you? Are you doing it to offer services across the globe? Are you just doing it to educate more people, you have to have a plan behind what you want to do with that digital course, it's easy for us to say I want a digital course because this is how I want to treat clients. Okay. But I'm going to tell you, some clients aren't going to want to receive care that way. They don't want to watch a digital program, actually, 80% of the people who buy a digital program never complete the digital program. So yes, you want to get this information out to people, you want them to consume it, you realize that they're probably not going to consume your entire program. But what's your next game plan then? What is there for them if they can't consume your program, but they know they need you, how are you going to move them from your program? To your practice? Is it going to be virtual? Is it going to be in person are they going to see you are they going to see a team member. Really create a plan for what you want that digital course to do for you.
So everyone talks about going digital going virtual these days, and how virtual is the new way for providing care. I disagree with that. I don't think virtual is the new way for delivering care, at least not 100%. There is a population of people that really love virtual medicine. It meets their needs, it fits their goals, they're fine doing it that way. But there is another huge group of people that still like human connection, that still want to come physically to an office and meet with somebody in person. And I'm telling you from a business perspective, I want people in my office, because I want them to see all of the other services that we provide. Otherwise, they're going to go someplace else for those services. If they don't know that you provide detox foot bath, sauna therapy, massage therapy, lymphatic drainage thermography, IV therapy labs, if they don't know that those exist, they're not going to look to you to offer them. And so the the lower traffic you have in your office means the lower your sales typically are, because you want ancillary team members to be bringing in as much income as you are. And so it's really important to have traffic through your practice, because that's one of the ways that you market everything you do. And I think having traffic in the office is really important, it creates a connection with your patients. Besides that, we don't just do virtual medicine to do medicine in an easier way, you still need to make that personal connection with your client or your patient. And you still need to develop that relationship with them so that they never go away. You want those clients that have been with you for 20 years, you want those clients to refer their grandchildren to you and their children to you. And you want that longevity, because it's less expensive for you to attract clients if you make happy clients, and they refer people to you, versus if you're constantly turning over clientele, because you have them in a high ticket program and that high ticket program is done and you have nothing left to offer them or be it's just too expensive for them to continue care with you. I really think it's a long game, it's not a short game, high ticket is great, you get your money in it as quickly, but you don't develop that relationship. And in the long run, it's going to cost you more to have those high ticket clients. So I believe in developing a clientele developing a relationship. And having those relationships with you for decades and decades. It's cheaper, it's easier, it's a nicer way to practice. It's a fun way to practice, you become friends and family, with your clients back like we did in the old days. And you know your family, and you're part of their community, and you're part of their life, and you impact their life, and they impact your life. And that's ultimately what this is all about. It's not about just making money. It's about impacting people's lives. And when we impact people's lives, the universe will provide for us financially. Now, there are smart strategies you can do. We've talked a little bit about that today. But ultimately think about your client, think about where they're are think about what they need, think about what they're asking for, or what you feel you're lacking that they could really benefit from. And then that's how you do your strategic planning.
We spend an entire week in end of year strategy planning. Because we look at all of our finances, we look at all of our patients, we look at all of our numbers, and then we sit down and plan and we plan out what are we going to do? How long is it going to take us? What's going to be done first quarter, what's going to be done second quarter, third quarter and fourth quarter. And we break those goals down and everyone knows who's responsible for what, during the year to make this happen. The other thing that I've learned over the years is not to choose too many things to get it done in the year. Don't try to accomplish 20 things. It's really hard. Most of the time we're setting ourselves up for failure. So pick three really big things that you want to work on. For the next year, whether it's attracting new clients, it's resurrecting old clients. It's offering a new service, whatever that is, break that down in quarters, then you break down your tasks by month, and then week and then day. And then everyone knows who's responsible for what to make that goal successful. And every month, you guys need to sit in meet and say, Where are we at with this? Who's doing what, where are we falling behind? Have we accomplished this goal faster than we expected? Can we move on to our next goal, or maybe you find it a goal that you didn't think you had to have, or you want to add throughout the year because you have accomplished these goals quicker than what you thought you could do. That makes it do-able and you won't stress so much when you're trying to do that kind of thing, versus trying to do everything in a short period of time, you will stress out your staff, you will stress out yourself and you will not be successful if you try to do too many things in a year.
So I hope this helps you guys. Start working on strategic planning and start you know, figuring out what it is you want to offer for the new year for 2022. And maybe even for a bigger game plan. Maybe you want to do five year goal planning and 10 year goal planning with your one year goal planning but today, let's just start small. Let's do one year strategy goal planning on your business? How are you going to grow it? How are you going to get it bigger? And what are you going to do for it?
Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed this episode, and you'd like to help support the podcast, please share it with others. post about it on social media, or leave a rating and review. To catch all the latest from me. You can follow me on Facebook at FMBI, join our free group where we support one another and share our struggles. Thanks again. And I'll see you next time