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Recession-Proof Your Practice - Page 2


I explained to her that engineering a turnaround in her practice would take time, but if she could commit herself to business coaching every other week for the next four months, I felt confident that she could greatly improve her practice. My coaching plan for her included four distinct phases: Review, Recommit, Rebrand, Reinvest.

Review: Taking an Honest Inventory

During the review process, we needed to assess Dina's practice quickly. I asked about her overall profit picture: gross income, expenses, net profit. What was her biggest expense each month and why? Which services were the most profitable? Which the least? How long did the average client stay with her? What was her average fee per hour? How much time did she spend on unpaid tasks (answering phone calls, doing administrative work, taking notes)? What was the breakdown in profits between those who paid with managed care or insurance and those who paid out-of-pocket? Dina's initial response was what I expected: she didn't know.

"I really don't track these things, Lynn. I wait until tax season for my bookkeeper to tell me the bad news," she joked.

This was her first piece of homework, I said: to get to know her practice inside-out. I requested that she use any type of system that made it easy for her to produce an overview of her practice—software-generated reports, paper-and-pen analysis, a spreadsheet—so she could learn where her practice stood today and track the progress of our work during the next four months.

I likened her disregard of this practice information as a form of dissociation: "Dina, you won't be comfortable taking action if you feel you don't have enough information to make the right choices." She promised to have the analysis completed by our next session and put a positive spin on the work required: "It'll keep me busy when I have no clients to see."

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