Budgeting for your Practice in 2017
As we ring in the new year, there’s no better time to reflect on the upcoming year and brainstorm what it may bring to your dental practice. Check out our three-step guide below to start quickly and effectively creating a snapshot of what 2017 may look like for your practice.
1. Review Wants, Needs, and Goals
- Wants: Is 2017 the year to upgrade to an item you’ve been pining for? From updating your staff breakroom to finally furnishing a spare op, identify what upgrades you’re hoping to make this year, and what time of year it would be most convenient. Explain your vision to the necessary provider/vendor ahead of time, as they may be able to suggest upcoming specials and ways to get the best deal in terms of cost, installation time, ect.
- Needs: Is your front desk computer’s slowness increasing patient wait times while frustrating staff? Maybe your printer is on its last leg? Identify items in your office that hinder staff and production, and plan to upgrade if it makes sense. While a new purchase, like a front desk computer, may seem pricey at first, it’s a wise investment when considering that slow/failing equipment costs patient and staff satisfaction, overall production, and potentially patient loyalty and referrals. If you’re having a hard time deciding if a technology investment is wise, we’re happy to provide unbiased and expert advice that puts your best interest first.
- Goals: Did you vow to increase your practice IT security last year (like email encryption, data back-up, or online security), but it didn’t pan out? It’s time to get serious and address security goals promptly to minimize risk of breaches and audit penalties. Hackers and infections are unfortunately growing rapidly in our tech-centered world, and your patients rely on you to keep their sensitive information secure. We know the realm of IT security can be overwhelming; that’s why we’re always here to help get you on track. Contact us to discuss your practice security goals, or to request a mock HIPAA audit that will help identify your practice’s IT security strengths and weaknesses.
2. Review Current Technology Lifespans
- Your trusted IT provider should be able to supply you with a hardware report upon request. These reports should, at the very least, detail the equipment (computers and servers) you have, along with a guideline of when it’s time to replace. More detailed reports may include purchase dates, warranty information, and even expectations of replacement costs to help you can create a realistic annual budget. If your report does not include that information, your IT partner should be able to provide it upon request.
- After reviewing your report, it may be helpful to inquire about the following your IT provider:
- Determining when it’s time to replace a machine (regardless of the estimated lifespan). This will help you extend your technology investments to their full potential, and not a moment sooner.
- If your report shows an overwhelming number of machines needing replacements, work with your IT partner to create a replacement plan that won’t break the bank. A good partner will gladly help structure a plan that will save on installation costs, utilize potential promotions, and find ways to pass additional savings onto you.
- Remember! Smart technology investments are always good for business.
- Be realistic about what needs to be replaced. Don’t stretch outdated technology to the brink, as it will cost you in other ways (see above under Needs!).
- You can always replace working-but-slow workstations, and keep them as backups for emergency situations.
3. Prioritize Based on Your Budget
After reviewing your wants, needs, goals, and current technology lifespans, determine your budget for the year. Allow first for replacements and needs, then goals and wants. Make sure to consider any new hires you’d like to make, new marketing initiatives, ect; and time lines in which you’d like to accomplish them.
As always, we are happy to help consult on your individual practice needs and goals to help ensure your unique vision is done in the most economical, efficient, and timely manner. Contact us to discuss your 2017 investment questions or plans!