It is easy to understand why many physicians aren’t particularly interested in strategic planning. Some of them have never done it, and some just don’t see the need. It seems they have enough on their minds just trying to keep the practice on firm ground, let alone thinking about what should be done next year.
In my opinion, they are missing out on a powerful opportunity to protect and guide their future. If you are part of the management team of a medical practice, clinic, or ambulatory surgery center, or run a medical billing service, I hope this information will inspire you to create a formal strategic plan that positions your business for a brighter future.
Why Strategic Plan?
It’s similar to a professional basketball game. Coaches have a clear vision of the team’s strengths and weaknesses. They also find out as much as they can about the opposition. Effective coaches draw on the team’s capabilities and plan a series of strategies to outsmart the competition. The coach intends to win the game and makes sure the quarterback leads the team, never straying from that objective. This same approach applies to the business of medicine.
Healthcare is so complex and changing so rapidly that a practice must have a strategic plan in order to survive. The larger, busier and more complex the practice, the more critical this becomes. It’s reasonable to expect that every medical enterprise is faced with different issues within its walls and in the community where it resides.
How we respond to these critical issues, the decisions we make and the results we achieve, are directly related to how well we understand our business and how well we prepare for the future.
What if There Is No Plan?
Without a plan practices may not be prepared for growth or unexpected circumstances that affect how they perform (survive or thrive) in the future. They will not recognize the opportunities or take steps to overcome obstacles to protect their future, improve their market share or help them become more profitable. There’s a chance they will be blind-sided, because they didn’t see a potential threat and take proactive measures to overcome it and protect the practice. This could result in eroding your market share, causing a decline in revenue and deterioration in staff morale. If the practice experiences these types of changes there is tendency to hit the panic button and a solid foundation can quickly feel like quicksand.
The Strategic Advantage
Strategic planning provides a blueprint for the practice to follow and get it where it intends to go.
It will result in better decision-making when it comes to expanding services, adding providers, investing in equipment, or preparing for inevitable retirement.
Strategic planning is a proactive process rather than taking a reactive approach to making decisions. It provides a concrete plan to protect, and even flourish, in times of uncertainty.
Many medical businesses recognize the need to hire a skilled consulting team that can dedicate the time necessary to examine your position, provide an objective analysis and conduct a strategic planning retreat to guide the process and develop an effective plan.
A solid strategic plan will examine the marketplace, the community and the competition, and take a critical look at your past and current business performance. It will clearly address challenges and provide an opportunity to develop an action plan that focuses on business strengths and potential opportunities, while overcoming potential threats. It will be the powerful source that helps you accomplish impressive achievements in a competitive and economically challenging environment. So what are you waiting for?