As each year comes to a close, it’s time to review the year and plan for the following year. Take a look at your strategic plan. Did you set goals and measure performance? Which areas of your practice performed best? Did your veterinary practice software boost your business efficiency?
If you reached all your goals, you are in great shape. Planning for the next year always begins in the fourth quarter, so now is the time to start planning for next year. Setting up your strategic plan — and sticking to it — is the key for a successful year.
Here are some success-driven ideas for the coming year:
Plan an inventory management success strategy
Have you taken a look at your inventory fee schedules this year? Most practices only look at fee schedules on an intermittent basis, often once per year, but are not maintaining them on a consistent basis. What most owners fail to realize is over 60% of products are set to fixed pricing. That means they are not updated when inventory costs change … and the practice could be losing money.
Let’s take a closer look at this. The average practice spends around $75,000 in products per full-time doctor per year. With the average practice employing 2.5 full time doctors, this adds up to $187,500 in consumables for the year. With 60% of products set to fixed pricing, losing out on a typical 14% markup can result in a loss of almost $16,000 in the first year, and a three-year compounded loss of nearly $50,000.
Utilizing the inventory management tools within AVImark or ImproMed veterinary software can make this an easy fix. By setting up variable pricing, many practices have saved thousands of dollars annually without losing staff time. This has allowed practices to keep consistent margins while also more efficiently using employee time to focus on practice growth and patient care.
Assess the need to replace or add hardware
Many veterinarians believe that hardware lasts 5 to 7 years, but add on long hours, limited ventilation, and pet hair and dander that can cause overheating and damage, and in reality, practice hardware will likely only last 3 to 5 years.
According to Gartner Research, most healthcare providers spend between 3% and 5% of revenue on IT infrastructure each year to keep practices running smoothly. We recommend implementing a rolling replacement plan, replacing one or two of your oldest computers each year. This will help you avoid unexpected hardware failure and keep you in control of your finances.
Wondering whether any of your hardware is nearing end of life? We offer a free hardware analysis for your AVImark or ImproMed system, so you can know for sure.
Review staff performance and develop a training program
A study by IBM found that a company loses 10% to 30% of its original capabilities every year. Within three years, each company loses 41% of its staff. By year six, only 24% remains. On the flip side, companies that invest $1,500 on training per employee can see an average of 24% higher profit margins than companies that invest less.
Any business that doesn’t believe in training and enhancing employee skills is paying a much steeper price than it realizes. Fortunately, we live in a digital era which enables us to complete training courses from anywhere, yet we still seem to push aside training and professional development to work on other immediate needs. Studies show that training increases worker productivity, improves employee satisfaction and motivation.
We offer numerous avenues for AVImark and ImproMed software training, as well as continuing education credits through web-based training and certification. Well-trained staff waste less time, money and resources and produce higher quality work.
Strengthen your online reputation
Negative reviews can hurt your business, but positive reviews can mean more patients! The internet can have a powerful impact on a veterinary practice’s success since it’s the first place most prospective clients go when seeking out a new practice. What’s more, 87% of potential clients will research a practice before scheduling an appointment — and more than half of those will be looking at online reviews and ratings.
Reviews on social media sites like Facebook, Yelp, and Google+ are overtaking word of mouth as the best source for practice recommendations, so practices today simply can’t afford to be complacent about their online reputation.
A Harvard Business School Study showed that a one-star increase in online reputation can result in a 5 to 9% increase in revenue.
It’s important to know your social ranking. With Rapport’s Social Engagement Solution, you can see how your practice’s marketing score compares with the scores of local competitors. Now you can see everything in one spot- your reviews, ratings, visibility score, listing on top sites, how many likes your practice has on Facebook, and the number of visitors going to your social sites.
It’s important to build on the momentum from your previous year planning, focusing on areas that equal the highest return for your business and staff. With some strategic planning and continuing advancements in technology, this next year can be your best year yet.