Two thousand eighteen is only a breath away. If you are like me, it seems like November and December race me toward the new year while I do everything I can to hold on for dear life. Both personally and professionally, things in the last quarter seem to be a blur of busyness. In times like this, I like to take a moment to do three things: 1) Reflect on the year so far; 2) Plan for the remaining push in the year; and 3) Make arrangements for next year.
Regardless of whether you are a practice owner and have the direct financial benefit of your practice in mind or whether you benefit little from the financial outcome, making goals around patient numbers and patient revenue will always bring about better care. For instance, if you are making more money, it means that you are either seeing more patients and helping to make their lives better, or you are offering more updated and healthier options for your patients, which generally cost more.
1) Reflect on the Year So Far
As goal setters, we often look toward the future for ways to improve upon what is currently offered. However, looking back allows us to see how far we have come. What did you plan for 2017? What have you accomplished?
This year, I set out to grow my contact lens practice. Specifically, I wanted to present myopia control options to more patients. I ran the numbers in a data analysis program that I use and noted that I grew my contact lens business by 22%. As a whole, the program showed 9% growth as a national average. Additionally, my myopia control lens options are on track for the year to far exceed my previous year’s numbers.
2) Plan for the Remaining Push
My revenue per contact lens fitting is up 5% for the year. This is a great number to track because it takes into account the money that you charge for the fitting itself as well as the revenue that you are making from the sale of lenses.
For example, as a specialty lens fitter, I capture nearly 100% of my specialty lens patients’ material fees. On the other hand, when looking at what is best for my standard soft lens-wearing patient base, I know that buying a large supply of contact lenses will benefit the patients and the practice. However, my patients in soft lenses are comfortable shopping around (and how can I stop them?).
When I can control the purchase of contact lenses in my office at the time of visit, it benefits my patients by helping them stay compliant, because they are less likely to wear their lenses longer than prescribed.
The obvious way that it helps my office is by generating more money from the profit of the sale, but there is an additional benefit of having a sale at the time of visit—patients are less likely to call in and “disrupt” the flow of the office.
When a patient calls in and orders lenses two to four times per year, it can be very disruptive; it takes the patient time to order the lenses and the office time to process the order. Thus, my push for the rest of the year is to increase my revenue per contact lens fitting by capturing more time-of-visit sales.
3) Make Arrangements for Next Year
My orthokeratology and keratoconus business grew substantially this year, but I am not satisfied. I know that the team that I have assembled, the product offerings available, the experience that I have, and the innovation that I bring is just what some patients are looking for.
If I am to grow my business for next year, I need to start thinking now about what I am going to be doing in the first quarter so that it can be implemented and we can benefit for the whole year.
As you direct your practice toward the end of the year, make sure to not lose sight of where you are and what you have planned for your finish and for next year. CLS