Happy New Year first of all.
I’m sure this year will be an improvement on last year.
Which brings me neatly to the idea of goal setting for 2018. Some private consultants did not reach the goals they intended to do last year. Why is that?
There are numerous reasons. The main one, however, lies in the definition of the goals itself. For example, I want to see more patients. Alternatively, I want to make a lot more money.
The problem with such goals is they are not really goals at all. They are nothing but wishes.
Much better goals would be: I want to see 25% more patients or I want to make 50% more in 2018 than I did in 2017. It matters little what the goal is. What is important is having a very clear and precise goal.
This is much better for a number of reasons.
The first reason is that they are measurable. This means it is possible to compare the 2018 performance against that of the previous year. Is it better? Is it worse? In either case, the answer alone will enable the private consultant to take action. If it is better, ask yourself why? If it is worse, also ask yourself why?
The very fact you have the data available means you are in a better position to move the business forward. Further, you will be making decisions on how to progress based on information rather than “feeling”
The reality is, is that it is extremely dangerous to run a business based on guesswork. Any consultant needs data upon which to base his/her business decisions. It is alarming, however, how many do NOT have the basic information.
In the majority of cases, the data is actually right under the private consultant’s nose. It should be anyway. All MHM clients have a weekly report available to them. It details how many patients the consultant saw that week, that month and even that year. How many patients attended a new consultation? The number of new patients is crucial. If a private practice is not attracting new patients, eventually it will lose money. Sounds obvious?
But do you know how many new patients you saw in December 2017?
How many new patients did you see in December 2016?
Did you see more patients in December 2017 than you did in December 2016?
In the answer is yes, then that’s positive.
But if the answer is no, then that could indicate a problem.
Either way, the supplementary question, in either case, is: WHY??
Once you have the data and once you have decided if you are moving towards your goal or away from your goal, then the next step is easy. DO SOMETHING! Take an action that you think will move you toward your goal. Or take an action that will replicate any improvement you have made. Of equal use is realising what you are doing is not working. If by the end of January 2018 you are, despite your best efforts, seeing fewer patients than targeted, you have identified that fact very early. Early enough to think about an alternative strategy.
Set specific goals to be achieved by specific points in the year.
Monitor your actual performance against such goals at each pre-defined point in time.
Make sure you are either exceeding or meeting your goal.
Now you have a better perspective on what is really happening in your practice and also what it should be accomplishing for you.
And all because you have set goals and not just made wishes.
Happy New Year!