5 Steps for Mid-Year Planning

The first quarter has come and gone. Has your year started off the way you expected? And just like that we are already through the first three months of the year.  How is the year treating you?  Are you on your way to meeting your goals? How does your budget look against actual income and expenses?

DCs., like many small business owners, can get too busy to take the temperature of their business at various points in the year.  Yet, it is critically important to both the long- and short-term success of your practice to understand just where you stand against your business plan.

To do this, you should plan on a mid-year check up that looks at key elements of your finances as well as your performance.

  1. Ask yourself if you are sticking to your annual goals.  The only way this works is to answer honestly. Despite best intentions, it is likely you are not accomplishing a goal or two.  Don’t worry. This happens to all of us.  We start the year with optimism and full of possibility of achieving more than we did the year before. Yet, life happens and we get behind on things that aren’t a priority or part of our day-to-day routine. That’s okay, but you need to take a close look at why some goals are lagging behind the others.
  2. Now that you’ve assessed how you stand with your goals, take a look at the numbers.  Are you seeing the number of patients you’d like? Are your revenue numbers on pace or above last year? While some of you might have this tied into your actual goals, you’ll want to go over the numbers with your accountant to make sure you measure well against what you had anticipated. If revenue and patients are lagging behind, then you may want to step back from planned office improvements or equipment upgrades for a couple of months to determine whether the downturn is a trend or a fluke. If you are ahead of expectations, take a look at the tax implications as well as ways you can wisely invest the extra funds.
  3. Evaluate marketing strategies.  Look at your advertising and social media (including website) strategies.  Are  you getting the traffic you want?  If not, consider whether your budget can handle additional marketing efforts such as direct mail or radio advertising.  Evaluate your website to make sure it is up-to-date with information that is helpful to both current and future patients.
  4. Take a look at taxes. If you had to pay taxes today, what would it look like? Is it what you anticipated? If not, what should you and your accountant and/or financial planner adjust? There is nothing worse than a surprise as you work on filing your taxes, so keeping an eye on your responsibilities is important.
  5. Beef up your retirement, if possible. Even if you just opened your practice as a young DC, you need to keep your eye on what you will need when you go to retire. There are a number of ways you can beef up you retirement savings like adding to your 401k or opening an IRA. Either way, check with your financial team to make sure you are doing what is best for you.

While this all may seem time consuming, it is important to remember what you are working towards.  If you take the time to evaluate where you are against your expectations, you’ll put yourself in position to succeed.

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