Winning tactics for year end reflection

 

It’s that time of year again ; when business owners look back over the past year to analyze what factors contributed to their successes and shortcomings. At Shift we’re no different. This past week our team came together for our year end strategy session (we really do practice what we preach)!

We all headed into the session knowing what level of involvement would be required ; partially because all of our sessions are highly engaging and partially because Mohamed sent us an agenda and topics of discussion prior to the meeting….that’s why we love him.Over the course of a few hours we covered everything from company culture, 2017 financials, 2018 targets, client onboarding, staff onboarding, and we even revisited topics like our mission statement. It was a lot!

You would think that after all of this, we would come out of the session completely sapped, but it was quite the opposite. Armed with a realistic budget for 2018, an understanding and agreement of what worked and didn’t work in 2017 and a focused action plan, we were actually charged with excitement! Ready to take on 2018!

As a dental or medical practice owner you might ask yourself, how is this relevant to me ?

The straight forward answer is that when we review our client files (also part of our year end review) there is a direct correlation between practice success and planning. Our clients who took budgeting seriously for 2017 were able to reap the full benefits of budgeting and benchmarking, and their results show this. Here is a quick overview of these undervalued management accounting tools:

  1. Budgeting – It’s well known, but rarely well done. This is crucial because it forces you to take a hard look at your operations. If done properly, budgeting gives the practice owner a realistic idea of what constraints their business faces (ie. cash flow, patient retention, collections), how much they will need to earn in revenue to cover expenses, and as a result how hard they will need to work to reach their profitability targets.
  2. Benchmarking – When a company compares their results to budget, prior months or years, and industry standards to help improve their operations. Benchmarking is not rocket science, but it does take consistency in your reporting and access to the right data . The benefits include :
  • more clarity on what areas of your business need improvement
  • data to support the need for change
  • an understanding of where you stand compare to your goals

Lastly, most small businesses are run collectively by all employees, not just by the owner. Therefore, when it comes to strategic planning for the coming year the effort should also be collaborative. Listening to your employees to learn what worked and what didn’t work will help you replicate actions in your business that supported your growth, and exclude activities that didn’t. Also, by sharing your practices goals and targets with the team you open the door for your employees to provide recommendations for operational improvements.

We hope this post encourages you to start 2018 off on the right foot ; with a robust budget and strategic plan for reaching your goals in the coming year.

Happy Holidays from the Shift Team !

 

Post by Mona

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