How to Build a GREAT Allied Health Practice
#1: 7 Key Characteristics of a GREAT Allied Health Practice
Over the past 20 years I’ve specialised in helping business owners in allied health to grow, improve their cash flow and, importantly, transition from personal to practice service delivery.
In the coming weeks, I aim to provide a series of practical insights, each designed to change the way you may be thinking about your allied health business. My goal is to put you on a path to enjoying not just business success, but greater reward for effort and much valued work-life balance.
I’ve come to recognise 7 key characteristics of truly successful allied health practices. But before I indicate what they are, it’s important to say up front that each of the successful allied health professionals I’ve worked with has a stand-out commonality: They all operate a ‘practice’ delivery model as opposed to a ‘personal’ delivery service…
The reality of being a successful allied health business owner is that it involves more than just being an effective practitioner. Your role will also include office administrator, bookkeeper, marketer and HR manager. Without appropriate support, you will very quickly run short of the time you need to spend with clients, to generate the level of income you hope to earn.
The unfortunate truth is that if you deliver services personally and, at the same time attend to everything involved in running the business, your income level is likely to fall, at least initially. This no doubt, may cause you to wonder whether being in your own business was the right decision after all.
In simple terms, one reason for going into business is to leverage the labour and skills of others so that income may be generated on your behalf. This will involve keeping the work up to each practitioner to maximise their hours while managing the costs associated with service delivery… which brings me to the 7 key characteristics I mentioned at the outset.
In my experience, successful allied health practices have:
- Formal documentation of their business growth plan
- Strong understanding of their ideal client profile
- Specialised services and/or treatment plans
- Accurate and timely financial data
- Team and contractor development programs
- Surplus capital to fund growth
- Structured management, including a succession plan for the business owner.
As you can see, it all begins with a business plan. Yet interestingly, 72% of small business owners (including those in allied health) have no plan at all.
For most busy practitioners, the thought of spending time creating a plan is overwhelming. Yet avoiding the preparation of a plan will be at your peril.
I work with allied health professionals to develop what is effectively a one-page business plan. The framework brings together what you ‘want’ to achieve as a business owner and what you ‘need’ to do to bring what you want to fruition. As you might expect, each of the above 7 key characteristics is addressed in the business plan.
Your business plan is not a set-and-forget activity. It is a ‘living’ document that sets guidelines and benchmarks while retaining some flexibility to allow for changing circumstances.
By creating clarity around your goals through creating a plan, you will gain a better understanding of your business. Further, even if you consider yourself a non-financial manager, you will then be able to implement financial management practices capable of providing meaningful information that will allow you to make sound business decisions.
In my next article, I’ll write about planning for GROWTH, but in the meantime if you would like to know more about preparing a one-page business plan, please contact me on 07 3171 4255 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Please take our FREE Business Risk Survey for Health Professionals.
A director of q4 financial, Grant Titman is a Certified Practicing Accountant and Business Advisor.
Grant specialises in helping established allied health business owners who typically employ 6 or more professional staff, and who seek to GROW, IMPROVE THEIR CASH FLOW and TRANSITION to a profitable Practice Delivery model.
The information contained in this article is general and is not intended to serve as advice. No warranty is given in relation to the accuracy or reliability of any information. Users should not act or fail to act on the basis of information contained herein. Users are encouraged to contact q4 financial professional advisers for advice concerning specific matters before making any decision.