4 Keys to Planning a Successful 2019
As another exciting year of learning, growing, and helping your community nears, is your practice prepared to maximize every opportunity that comes through the door? From setting goals to making marketing moves and more, we’re sharing four key things for a successful 2019.
Set Crucial Goals
At Audigy, we value goal-setting, which helps provide focus, motivation, a sense of purpose, and a foundation for accountability. We help our Members and their teams achieve their personal, professional, and financial goals by creating SMART goals, which play a powerful role in a leader’s tool kit.
What do we mean by “SMART”? It’s all about making your goals specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. This helpful acronym, whose origin dates back to sources such as George T. Doran’s ’80s-era paper, There’s a S.M.A.R.T. Way to Write Management’s Goals and Objectives, makes it easy to articulate what you want to accomplish.
SMART goals, further explained in the graphic below, also provide crucial guideposts along the road to making a compelling vision come alive.
Plan Your Finances
- What is your current working capital?
- Have you been improving your financial health in the past 12, 24, and 36 months — or regressing?
- From team dynamics, individual skill sets, training, and education to cash management, marketing, leadership, and market factors, what elements have driven your financial challenges or success?
- Given the driving factors of your business’s past performance, what’s a realistic growth target?
- What vacations and other absences — by location and provider — need to be reflected in the budget?
- What, if any, industry trends should be considered in planning for 2019?
- What is the landscape of your individual market?
- What is your current market share?
- Does your market support your target growth?
- What are the trends in reimbursement rates compared to your current revenue streams and contracts?
- Do your contracts support your professional and financial goals?
Questions like these — and their answers — not only help you uncover gaps in your finances but also help identify the additional support needed to achieve growth, whether it’s mastering billing and coding issues; refining marketing strategies; or committing to professional development opportunities such as Audigy’s Team Summit, Provider Boot Camp, Leadership Boot Camp, and Patients for Life® training.
As mentioned in a previous post, one Audigy member’s detailed annual planning involves reviewing each of his locations’ individual key performance indicators and how they contribute to the financial success of the entire practice. Transparency, tracking, and focus collectively contribute to his success, which shows in the business’s multiple years of considerable growth.
Key Into Compensation
- Are you looking to hire any new staff in the coming year?
- Do you anticipate replacing any current staff?
- What positions do you anticipate hiring?
- Which positions do you anticipate replacing?
- Are you interested in or planning on adding an extern?
No matter your staffing vision for the coming year, having an effective compensation plan that aligns your business’s and your employees’ interests is critical to realizing your practice goals. You also need to know what to consider in crafting a compensation plan and the key steps to ensuring its success.
Factors to Consider in Creating a Compensation Plan
- Self-funded — Can the plan stand on its own financial feet? Ensure the plan covers all expenses before it pays out.
- Mutually beneficial — Do both the practice and the employee directly benefit? In the best plans, the employees’ success doubles as the business’s success.
- Targeted — Are the core activities focused on increasing the practice’s bottom line? Avoid investing in actions that don’t directly support business goals.
- Linked to self-interests — What drives your employees? Link their personal, professional, and financial goals to those of the business.
- Transparent — Does everyone understand their role in the plan? Choose transparency, including regularly communicating expectations, securing a commitment from everyone involved, and soliciting periodic feedback to tweak the plan as necessary.
Three Steps for Ensuring the Plan’s Success
- Check in often. It’s important to coach, counsel, and motivate when employees aren’t meeting their goals and to celebrate, congratulate, and keep motivating when they are. Hold frequent meetings to discuss goals, targets, and results, and solicit feedback regularly.
- Ensure accountability. Hold people accountable for their work, asking open-ended questions such as “What happened?” “What challenges are you facing?” “What will you do differently next time around?” and “What did you learn?” when employees fall short of success.
- Rally the team. Use the goals and targets to motivate staff, reminding them “We’re only two appointments away, and the reward is so close — you can do it!” and “We had a rough go last week, but if we really push it this week, we can get back on track and closer to the reward!”
Anticipate Your Marketing Needs
A critical factor in your business’s growth: having a strategic marketing plan. At Audigy, we ask five core questions when helping practices set their marketing blueprint for the coming year:
- What went well this year?
- What could be better next year?
- How strong does your brand’s presence seem within your market?
- Whom do you consider your top competitors, and how are they marketing?
- What marketing concerns, if any, do you have going into next year?
These core questions help you better anticipate your practice’s specific marketing needs. Keep them in mind, and take a look at the following additional steps to guide you in crafting a winning marketing mix for 2019:
- Set measurable goals — key performance indicators — and track your results. If you aren’t tracking results, you won’t know what’s working. With Google Analytics, trackable phone numbers, pay-per-click ads, and word-of-mouth referrals, tracking marketing results is easy. For each marketing tactic, you should be able to determine the cost per call, per lead, and per appointment.
- Diversify your marketing tactics. You don’t want to put your marketing dollars into too many buckets, but you also don’t want to put them in only one. Using multiple marketing tactics across multiple verticals — digital, print, grassroots outreach, and the like — offers a better chance of reaching a higher number of prospects. Do you have an online review strategy? Is your website optimized for mobile? Is your Google My Business profile claimed, filled out, and optimized? Are you using email marketing for your email database? Consider these crucial questions in moving forward.
- Exercise patience. If you’re seeking a silver bullet in marketing — one idea that’ll knock all others out of the park and work every time — you won’t find it. Marketing takes time; no overnight results here. Think of marketing like a pyramid, with all of your different tactics building on each other to support your brand and market presence. Over time, these tactics will yield results.
- Remember existing customers. You invested a lot of marketing dollars to bring in patients the first time, making them aware of your products and services. Then what? It’s important not to forget them when moving on to new customers.
- Ditch the fear of testing ideas. In other words, avoid sitting in analysis paralysis — you don’t know until you try. It doesn’t mean piloting every possible marketing tactic. Rather, be adaptable in the ever-evolving world of marketing to help ensure your tactics stay timely and relevant.
- Pursue referrals. If someone you trust — a friend, family member, or physician, for example — recommends a health care professional, you’re more likely to follow their lead rather than randomly pick someone from a phone book or online listing. Let that knowledge inform your outreach to local physicians, who can drive referrals to your practice. Doing so also gives you the opportunity to educate; some physicians aren’t aware that hearing loss is linked to multiple medical conditions. Sharing this knowledge can help keep you top of mind when their patients need hearing help.
Is achieving results you never dreamed possible on your to-do list for 2019? Count on Audigy, where our business experts are ready to help you experience the most remarkable year yet for you, your practice, and your team. Learn more about Audigy’s services.