I recommend you spend a couple of hours over the next few days giving thought to your goals. Once you’ve determined very specific goals, write or type them out on a sheet of paper.
Do not just write down the number of visits you want to see each week. Too many chiropractors are still hung up on the “I want to see 300 a week. I want to see 500 a week.” (If you’re still in this mindset, you must read my previous post The High Volume Lie, which had quite a few comments.)
Here are the goals I would recommend you have, in order of significance…
1. Gross income and net income.
Contrary to what some politicians believe, paying taxes and hiring employees isn’t your main purpose in business. Profit is the reason you started a business in the first place. If you just wanted to just adjust patients, you could work for someone else. You opened your own practice to make a good income and life for yourself and your family. Reaching this goal will determine who well you accomplish the next 4 goals.
#2. Number of New Patients Per Month
You might be wondering why this isn’t #1? Simple really. If you aren’t taking home an income to feed your family, it doesn’t matter how many new patients you have. Back in my “dumb days”, I had plenty of new patients, but gave away so much care my family struggled to make it. (Read about my dumb days inside the Ultimate Chiropractic Ads site.) To find out how to increase your new patients monthly, look at my last couple of blog posts, where I make some predictions of what’s going to happen in 2010.
#3. Average Dollars Collected Per Visit
This is one many chiropractors neglect. It doesn’t matter if you see 300 a week if you’re average collection per visit is only $10. This number is really telling about your practice. It will give you an overall picture of how well your doing with adding additional services plus how well your staff is doing with collections. To figure the REAL number for last year, divide total collections by the number of patient visits. (To figure the FAKE number in case the real number scares you, look at your “recommended care plan sheets” and divide the cost by the recommended visits.)
#4. Case Value Average
This is the average value each new patient case will generate in your office. (Figured by dividing your total monthly or yearly collections by the number of new patients you saw in that period.) The higher this is, the more likely you are getting paid for what you do and giving the patient quality care. Above $2000 is good, below $1000 means you’re going to be in trouble if you hit a slow month of new patients. Hint: You don’t raise this number by recommending care the patient doesn’t need, but by adding additional products to your practice that the patient does need or want. Examples: massage, rehab, decompression, and supplements.
#5. Number of Visits Per Month
Here we finally get to many chiropractor’s favorite question, “How many you seeing a week doc?” Weekly is okay, but I think setting goals for the month is better. Weeks can go up and down depending on holidays, vacations, etc. This number is important, but not nearly as important as the above 4.
These are the five must-have goals. You can have others of course, and should.
I recommend using The One Page Business Plan by Jim Horan for getting it easily mapped out.
I got this book last year and it is by far the best book on business plans. Don’t think you only need a business plan when you start up a new practice. This book helps you lay out a real vision, mission, and attainable goals.
It’s a step-by-step easy to follow workbook and CD-Rom. (After being completely misled by an early chiropractic coach about the terms “vision” and “mission”, this book helped to finally clear this up.)
The good news is that it helps you produce a concise business plan (hence the name of the book) which you can refer back to easily. I printed it out and kept it on or by my desk all year.
Then, throughout the year as you consider new strategies for your practice, you can ask yourself, “Does this new addition to my practice fit my vision and my mission?” or “Will this new marketing tool help me reach my objectives?”
By doing this, it will help you to stay on track. You’ll be able to look at it quickly and get a reference point for where you are headed.
In addition to having my business goals on the One Page Business Plan, I have an additional paper where I write my personal goals. This includes family vacations I plan to take, the number of books I plan to read, spiritual goals, marital goals, etc.
Get started now with your goals. By next week you’ll want to hit the ground running with accomplishing those goals.