Preparing for the future is something that every small business needs to be doing. In reality, it's best to constantly be planning ahead, but with hectic day-to-day schedules that come with owning your own business it's easy for plans to fall off the highway. As we enter the fourth quarter of the year, it's a common time for many business owners and employees to start planning for the future and thinking about what's ahead.
Where do you see your business in the next year, or five years? We've put together a list of five things your optometric practice can start thinking about today to start planning for your business of the future.
5 Ways to Prepare Your Optometric Practice for The Future
One of the first steps in planning for your business's future is by setting goals. Start with goals for the coming year, but don't be afraid to get out there and think about what you want to accomplish in 5, 10, or 15 years down the road. You also don't have to think of your goals as just professional, personal goals will likely align with many of your business goals as well.
A common process for setting goals is to use the SMART method. Using the SMART method you will set goals that are Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
An important thing to remember with your goals is to not be afraid to change them. In six months you might find that some of your goals are changing, or your path to attaining them is different. Make sure you are regularly checking in on your goals and make sure to revise them with changes or adjustments when needed.
Define Your Mission Statement and Culture
If you've struggled with hiring good employees and keeping them around it might be time to look at your office's culture and mission statement. You've maybe kept the same mission statement for years and as your practice has changed you haven't updated it. Refreshing things like your mission statement can help encourage an overall improved culture in your office. Looking at things like your employee handbook can help you determine some areas where you can make adjustments and create a culture that is more appealing to today's workforce.
Update Your Business Plan
If you've been practicing for more than five years, it's maybe been that amount of time or longer since you last looked at your business plan. It could be the time to dust off that old binder and see how far you've come and what has changed from your original plan. Maybe you never even wrote a business plan in the first place. Now is a better time than ever to make updates or start that first draft. Use these tips from Fast Company on writing a business plan in 30 minutes or less.
Buy Supporting Software
Making sure that your practice is modern and full of tools and technology that will make it easy for you and your staff to do your jobs is a great way to invest in your business, and in the future of your practice. The best optometry software systems on the market can keep your practice running smoothly in every corner of your office. The price tag can sometimes seem daunting, but the benefits of a good and comprehensive system will be seen by everyone in your office, including your patients.
Invest in Yourself (and Your Team)
Investing money back into your office is probably the best way to build for the future of your practice. But with expenses constantly popping up, it can sometimes be harder to invest in your business than you'd like it to be. Setting aside a monthly, quarterly, or yearly percentage of your cash is a good reminder to always be putting money back into your practice, either on new marketing efforts, staff hires or bonuses, new office furniture, new hardware, or new equipment. As tempting as it can be, don't just pocket the extra cash. Investing it into your business will help you reach your long term goals and bring in more revenue down the road.