Practice Plan Marketing Director Les Jones explains why it’s best to invest in change when your practice is doing well, and how by doing so, it can build on your positive state.
There’s no such thing as a straight line in business. Every business goes through peaks and troughs and there are always internal and external influences that mean change is always on the horizon.
Having a clear understanding of where you currently are (from a number of perspectives) can be extremely useful. It helps you to think about where you are on your journey, and also how you should best approach the future.
Take a look at the image below. It’s called a Sigmoid Curve. It’s a very simple tool for helping you to analyse where your business is at a given point in time, and helps you to make better strategic decisions for the future.
In essence, the line represents a life cycle. It could be the life cycle of your practice, a key service offer or perhaps your market. Each part of the line represents a key phase in that life-cycle.
Birth: When something is conceived. It could be that you’re thinking of taking over a squat practice or introducing a new service, such as tooth whitening.
Development: The idea is launched – the practice opens or the service is offered to patients for the first time.
Growth: Customers want what you are offering and demand increases.
Maturity: When things start to plateau off a bit – you might have saturated your market or reached the full potential within your current parameters.
Decline: Sales or patient numbers start to fall, perhaps because competitors are taking away your business or the services you offer are no longer attractive.
Take a minute and think about your practice and then plot three points on the curve.
• Where you think your practice is right now
• Where your key service is (in terms of patient demand for it)
• Where your market is – is it growing or declining?
What do the positions of the three points tell you? Is your practice declining, even though your market demographic is growing? Is your practice growing, but market opportunity is on the wane?
If everything is going well for you at the moment – ask yourself another key question: When is the best time to invest in change to maintain and build on your positive state?
Logic tells you that the best time to change is NOW! (Point A)
Why? Because everything is in your favour – you have a growing and loyal patient base, you are doing well financially, the banks are happy to support you and you probably have a settled and motivated team. Which is why, for many people, change at this point is counter-intuitive – why change when everything is going so well?
Most people only think about change when things start to go into decline (Point B). But of course, this is when change is most difficult and stressful – the momentum is downwards, the patient base is dwindling, the money is drying up, you’re less likely to receive financial backing and the staff are nervous and restless.
So, if you’re in a strong position at present, now is the time to invest in the next curve, whilst you have the resources and momentum to see things through in a planned and structured way.