In an ideal world, we would all look forward to and appreciate August, when we all get the opportunity for some down time and potentially a few weeks in sunnier climes. For most practice owners, however, it can be the most stressful month of the year (with January coming a close second).
A great proportion of your patients are likely applying SPF on sunny beaches and indeed members of your team are possibly doing the same. The whole time you still have bills coming through the door whilst revenue is not. It’s quite often the second or third week of September before the appointment book stabilises as people try not to spend in the post-holiday weeks.
This can lead to what should have been a relaxing summer break becoming a stress filled nightmare period. I appreciate there are ‘gurus’ out there who will tell you to just take most of the month off and enjoy your break as you’ll come back recharged and revitalised. That’s easy for somebody who works from home without significant overheads to say. For those of us who operate businesses with premises and staff, there is a very heavy burden of responsibility weighing at all times.
Last year Practice Growth Agency saw a surge of practices use August downtime to really focus their efforts on delivering a great final quarter for the year, which in turn partially insulated them from the January dip in turnover. By having a marketing plan in place for the Autumn, with 2 or 3 campaigns each month targeted to a mixture of new and existing patients there’s no reason why you cannot negate the very worst this month throws at you.
We also had several clients relaunch their dental plan or change provider, just remember if you’re quiet in August they probably are also, so should be able to give you more support during a launch/relaunch.
Likewise, your designers or printers are also going to be quiet so now may be the time to order the collateral for your upcoming marketing campaigns, you’ll be sure to get a discount of some sort if you ask.
Where do you start though?
Firstly, data is going to be your best friend, spend the next week or two closely analysing the revenue generated in Autumn 2016. Look for spikes in certain treatments, fluctuations in your hourly rate, booked time percentages, FTA’s, recall success rates, revenue per clinician in the practice. In short, spend this time becoming familiar with the thing which is going to make your practice thrive, knowledge. It never ceases to amaze me when I carry our practice evaluations how unfamiliar many practice owners are with their figures. They are everything.
As time in practice appears to be becoming ever more precious and less productive thanks to increased regulation, so you should be making life somewhat easier on yourself. If you don’t have time to compile two of the most important tools you need for running your practice, namely your KPI’s (key performance indicators) and a business dashboard then get an expert to do it for you. Don’t struggle in the dark. Have the facts and figures at your fingertips to make informed business decisions.
The important thing is not to stress, just start planning and know that with a little extra work you’ll be able to recoup some of the revenue downturn of this month.
If you need help then perhaps consider our practice evaluation report which will give a holistic in-depth overview of where your business currently is plus a roadmap to increasing revenue from new and existing patients. Through the month of August, we are offering 25% off so perhaps now is the time to get focused. We look forward to helping you to a brighter financial future.