The Living Business Plan
A business plan can be an invaluable tool throughout your entire career. As you continue to evolve your practice, your business plan can help persuade others to assist you in achieving your vision, and ensure you stay on track with your long-term goals.
What does a business plan do?
- Defines the purpose and direction of your practice
- Provides a clear statement of your mission and vision
- Outlines who you are, your purpose, and goals
- Defines how you plan to move your business forward
By keeping this document refreshed over the years to accurately reflect your current situation and needs, you will be better prepared to face the many challenges of practice ownership and management.
Five ways a business plan serves you throughout your career:
- Confirms the viability of your business. Suppose you need financing for an upgrade, redesign or expansion project for your practice. The financials included in your business plan – tax returns, profit and loss statements, etc. – can show that you have met your original targets for your practice and are on track for continued growth.
- Guides your business through difficult times. The vision outlined in your business plan can serve as an anchor to help you and your staff stay focused on long-term goals during challenging periods. For example, if your vision is to be the most technologically advanced practice in the local area, then you know that purchasing second-tier equipment during a down market will ultimately undermine your brand.
- Defines values in the workplace. A thorough business plan typically includes a statement of your values – for example, “we seek to create a friendly and happy environment for all our patients.” Defining your values is important for building and maintaining the work environment you truly want. As you face challenging decisions related to personnel issues or business opportunities, the values outlined in your business plan can be a critical guidepost.
- Provides a benchmark for evaluating progress. The projected monthly sales and operational expenses detailed in your business plan provide specific goals to reach for and benchmarks for measuring your progress. Realistic performance goals allow you to plan future expenditures for your practice, such as adding an associate or a new operatory.
- Prepares you for market changes and trends. A well thought-out business plan takes into account the surrounding market and competitive environment, and how these might impact the success of your business. Periodically reassessing the market you work within can better prepare you to react to demographic changes or take advantage of new trends.
So don’t just create a business plan at the start of your practice, and then file it away. Think of it as a “living document” that can support your vision and further your objectives – at any stage of your career.
Thanks to our guest article writer, Justin Fodor of Wells Fargo. Justin is the Business Development Manager for Wells Fargo Practice Finance in the Great Plains region managing Iowa, Kansas, and Nebraska. In addition to his expertise in the dental, optometric, veterinary and medical fields, he advises doctors on a variety of more specific financial matters including credit management, practice acquisitions, start-up projects, practice expansions, business refinance, and practice equity loans. Justin brings over 7 years of experience working with healthcare professionals, and speaks nationally at tradeshows, seminars and dental and veterinary schools.
Contact Justin: email@example.com | (510) 506-4275