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Answer these business building questions to determine whether you have a business or simply a job
Can you leave your business for 4-6 weeks, and would the business run just as smoothly as if you were there? Stop for a minute and think about the question, “What do you do every day when you go to work?” Have you ever thought to yourself when you get home at the end of the day, “What did I do all day?” Have you ever had a week’s worth of that question? If you are in the process of business building, you have,
You have asked yourself, “What did I do all day?” Ok … well … you did the obvious: You opened the office. You met your staff and checked in on them. You saw your patients. You handled pressing phone calls and emails. You ate lunch (maybe). Ran some errands. Got back into the office. Saw more patients. Looked at your well-intentioned “to-do” list. Started a new list and transferred 80% of what you wanted to get done on today’s to-do list to tomorrow’s “to-do” list.
You made sure that there were no “fires” to put out before you went home. The day flew — and you get to do it all over again tomorrow.
How many more days will fly by?
Business building and owning your own practice is a lot of work. I don’t need to tell you this.
You work on marketing, billing, collections, babysitting (employee issues), leases, forecasting, patient counseling and treatment. Not to mention, in the back of your mind, your home life and everything that comes with that. If you can relate to what I mention in this paragraph, then it’s a fair statement that you are working in your business. Welcome to being a business owner.
What is working on your business?
When you went to college you were taught the fundamentals that your college outlined as required courses you needed to take. Then you started on your clinical work. You learned what you need to learn to pass your boards and to become a great practitioner. But I will challenge you (and the colleges), what were you taught about being a good, successful business owner?
How many semesters of business courses did you take? If you are like most, not many. When you decided to go into practice for yourself, who assisted you with the fundamentals of being a business owner? Was it a business coach (everyone needs a business coach, but that’s another topic for another day)? Was it a practice owner you studied under when you got out of college? Did you seek out information on the internet? Was it knowledge you gained from all those business courses you took in college? Was the information you garnered about starting and running your own practice: smart, sound and good?? That’s what I thought…
Now is the time to start business building
Not only do you run the day-to-day operations of your business, but I am also going to challenge you to do more. But the “more” I am going to ask you to do is for you and your future. Even if you have been in business for yourself for years and years and you feel you are successful (when I say successful, in this case I mean financially good.)
When was the last time you looked at your business plan? “My business plan?” you may be asking yourself. But, yes, your business plan. Remember, that thing you “designed” years ago for business building and never looked at since you initially put one together? Better yet, when was the last time you looked at your succession plan (you know … your exit strategy)? That’s what I thought. You may be asking yourself, “But why?”
Business plans and succession plans
Both these plans go hand in hand. Both should be clear, front and center, and reviewed on a regular basis. They change as constantly as the economy, the business climate and your personal life. Yes, that often.
The business plan I laid out at the beginning of the year has changed dramatically. And since my business has changed, so has my succession planning. This is the thing … you can’t get to where you want to if you don’t have a plan (map) to get you there. Sounds kind of simplistic, but this simplistic tool is crucial and makes a dramatic difference in your financial position upon retirement.
Business planning and business building
Your business plan gives you an idea about your business, how it’s been going and where you want it to go. This plan outlines where you want to get to and how you will get there.
It doesn’t have to be long, but it needs to be specific and defined. It should be one year out, five years out, 10 years out, and conclude upon retirement. It contains the goals you want to achieve and time frames as to when you want to achieve them.
If you are like most, you have all these ideas in your head, and they are all great ideas. But these ideas very often get rotated from most important to least important. Getting them on paper and in your plan will help you with clarity.
Succession planning (exit strategy)
Your succession plan gives you an idea about when you want to exit your business and how. This is something that is thought about (usually) 2-4 years before you want to exit.
However, this should be thought about 10-20 years before you want to exit. Albeit, the planning for your exit won’t be specifically detailed that far out, but it will assist you when making business decisions with your business plan.
Growing/guiding your business is crucial
Putting effort into designing these two plans isn’t a waste of time. Knowing how to plan and run your business so you can maximize the financial outcome of your exit is vital.
There are many planning steps that need to take place for business building and to make you the most successful practice owner you can be. What better time to start, than now?
I will leave you with this: If you need to be at your business, day in and day out, for it to run day to day … I would challenge that you don’t have a business. You have a job.
BRIAN P. MICHAUD, CLTC, is CEO for Consult Encompass LLC and Encompass Group LLC, and a business consultant and financial strategist. He can be reached at 860-930-5330 or [email protected]