At this time of the year, when we look into our practices’ future with our practice-building crystal ball and start to envision how we’d like to close out 2017, we often come up with certain practice-building goals. However, just like the common New Year’s resolution of losing weight, the goals we set for our practices can barely be remembered a few weeks later—let alone achieved. Here’s a step-by-step plan to stack the odds in your practice’s favor.

Step by Step

First, and perhaps most importantly, don’t focus on too many goals. The more specific and fewer you make your goals, the better. For example, saying: “I want to make more money” is not as good of a goal as: “I want to grow my practice’s top line revenue by 15%.”

Second, put a time stamp on your goal and create quantifiable ways to measure milestones: “I want my practice to grow 15% by the end of 2017, and I will measure growth monthly. If any month is less than 15%, I’ll take additional steps the following month to get back on track. If, at the end of the second month, we are still not on track for 15% growth, the goal will be adjusted down 1 percentage point per month until we’re on track. After two sequential growth months, the goal will be dialed back up.” The more specific, the better.

Notice that while there is a lot of language around the goal, it’s still only one goal. Putting this degree of specificity and a definite timeline on multiple goals is one reason why attempting to achieve multiple goals is often futile. There is too much to track and measure, not to mention actually doing the work involved in hitting those goals.

Third, break down the task into smaller, manageable steps and track each of those with the same time reference method used above. For example, “To have a 15% increase in business in February, we will have a 6% increase in converting patients over from two-week to one-day disposable lenses, and we will complete two scleral lens fits. We will increase the soft lens conversion rate by emailing patients information about the daily modality along with their yearly exam reminders. To achieve the scleral goal, we will call on three area corneal specialists three times each in the next month. We will also send a snail mail letter to all of our current keratoconic patients and those who had acuity that was less than 20/30 with their current toric soft lenses.”

Of course, the exact parameters aren’t what’s important here. What is important is that they have been recorded.

Fourth, share the above—all of it—with your staff. Doing all of this work and prep can be instantly torpedoed by an uninformed receptionist who says, “You got a letter about what?” Or, “Oh, sorry Dr. Cornea. We don’t fit those types of contact lenses here.” Yeah, it happens!

Fifth, be willing to course correct and pivot as necessary as you are getting deeper into things. If you’re at 16% after four months, increase the goal to 17%. However, only do so if you tack on necessary changes to make that extra percentage point—all the while keeping your staff totally informed and up-to-date with any changes.

Be Goal Oriented

With some introspection about choosing appropriate goals that are aligned with your core practice principles and values—and a little bit of planning—you’ll find that achieving your practice goals can be much easier and more readily attained than sticking to a new diet! CLS

Dr. Gerber is the president of the Power Practice, a company offering proven and comprehensive practice and profit building systems. You can reach him at and follow him on Twitter @PowerYourDream .