Updated: Nov 27, 2022
In the early days of starting my private practice, I'll admit that I wasn't too concerned with strategic planning. As someone who has always been driven by helping others, I decided early on in my career that I wanted to work with children who have severe communication disorders. I knew that I could make a difference in their lives and give them a voice that they otherwise might not have. So, I set out to build a state-of-the-art AAC practice that would serve these children and families. But I had no strategic plan in place. So why was this a problem, well simply put it caused me to not have a plan for any contingencies that happen due to procedures that are out of my control (i.e. insurance, benefits, economic downturns, pre-authorization, billing, etc.).
I still truly believe in bringing these patients the best case but this also means guiding and helping clinicians build the same state-of-the-art practice without the same pitfalls. So let's discuss strategic planning.
Let's define what we mean by "strategic planning." Strategic planning is the ongoing organizational process of using available knowledge to document a business's intended direction. Strategic planning is the ongoing organizational process of using available knowledge to document a business's intended direction. Companies use strategic planning to identify strategic objectives, lay out action plans to achieve those goals, and track progress along the way. The strategic planning process starts with an understanding of the company's current state, including its strengths and weaknesses. Then, the company sets strategic objectives and identifies the steps needed to achieve them. Finally, the company implements the plan and tracks progress to ensure that it is on track to achieve its goals.
Having a strategic plan in place can enable you to track progress toward goals and make adjustments as needed. When each department and team understands your company's larger strategy, their progress can directly impact its success, creating a top-down approach to tracking key performance indicators. By taking a strategic approach to planning, your company can set itself up for success.
5 Benefits of Strategic Planning
1. Creates a Sense of Direction
One of the biggest benefits of having a strategic plan is that it gives everyone in your organization a sense of direction and purpose. When everyone is working toward the same goals, it's easier to make decisions that align with the company's overall objectives—and avoid costly missteps.
2. Increases Operational Efficiency
With a strategic plan in place, you can start to look at ways to increase operational efficiency within your practice. Are there processes or procedures that could be streamlined? Are you making effective use of technology? Are there bottlenecks causing delays? By taking a close look at your operations, you can identify areas where small changes can make a big impact.
3. Increases Market Share and Profitability
A well-executed strategic plan can help increase market share and profitability—two essential components of any successful business. By taking a data-driven approach to setting goals and target markets, you can ensure that your marketing efforts are focused on areas where they'll have the greatest impact. And by regularly measuring progress against your goals, you can make course corrections as needed to keep your practice on track for success.
4. Increases Durability and Sustainability
In today's ever-changing healthcare landscape, it's more important than ever for private practices to be durable and sustainable. A good strategic plan can help see you through tough times by providing a roadmap for making difficult decisions—such as reducing staff or cutting expenses—while still keeping the long-term health of your business in mind.
5. Helps You Be Proactive Instead of Reactive
All too often, businesses find themselves reacting to market changes instead of being proactive about them. But with a strategic plan in place, you can stay ahead of the curve by regularly assessing your current situation and making adjustments as needed to stay on track. This proactive approach will help position your practice for continued success—no matter what challenges come your way.
Strategic planning may not be the most exciting part of running a private practice—but it is essential for long-term success. By taking the time to develop (and stick to) a strategic plan, you can improve operational efficiency, increase market share and profitability, make your practice more durable and sustainable, and position yourself to be proactive instead of reactive when faced with challenges.
Today, my practice is thriving and we are making a positive impact in the lives of the children and families we serve. I am so grateful that I reached out for help when I did because without it, I'm not sure if we would be where we are today. If you are feeling overwhelmed in your business, don't hesitate to seek out strategic planning assistance. It could be the best decision you ever make.