How to Create Measurable Goals for Your Allied Health Practice
Creating measurable goals for any business is a fundamental component of building for success. Of course, we all know this by now because not a single day passes without seeing something about goal setting on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook or any number of other social media platforms.
There are some goal categories that most people would see as universally applied to all business. For example, a goal relating to profit or a goal that relates to debt to equity ratios. However, in an allied health business there are some goals that apply in a more specific way. That is to say that allied health businesses have a mix of generic goals and allied health specific goals.
Before we explore this in more detail, let’s have a refresher on setting goals.
The primary consideration with goal setting is that the goal needs to be realistic and measurable. For a full summary on this you might like to re-read our blog on How To Set Realistic Goals That Align Your Team.
So, remembering our goals need to be realistic and measurable, let’s now take a look at the top 3 measurable goals for an allied health practice.
#1 New Client Volume
It is a pretty simple fact that without new clients, at some point your practice will cease to serve the community. So, in the interests of ensuring that is not the case, this is a pretty good place to start. Depending on how many team members you have, you will be looking to responsibly grow their new client bookings in order to sustain both the team member and the practice.
As a general rule, it is a good idea to aim for a balance of around 15% new clients to 85% existing/retained clients.
When you set the goal:
- Set your practice a goal by individual practitioner.
- Identify the main sources of referrals and ensure you know the expected volume per source.
- Make sure the team know what the goal is and encourage them to contribute to meeting it.
Every allied health practice should be measuring retention. If you are not sure how to measure it then have a refresher by reading Client Retention Rate In Private Practice: What Is It And How Do You Measure It?
In essence, retention is the measure by which we identify how many clients or patients return AND for how many visits they return. The percentage of your clients that come back and the number of times they come back is very important when it comes to measuring the return on investment for marketing, rental, wages, etc.
Setting a goal for retention is not particularly difficult. However, depending on the period you measure it over, it can be a bit tricky to see a measurable change. For example, if you have spent five years seeing clients or patients an average of 5 times then lifting that average to 6 is going to take some time. (Tip: Use sample data over shorter periods of time to measure for meaningful changes.)
When you set the goal:
- Ensure that as each client/patient appointment is concluding that all practitioners are forward booking the next session. Don’t leave it for the client/patient to make contact for the next appointment.
- Ensure that during each session the client/patient is aware that progress takes commitment.
- Get the client/patient to commit in the first session that if at any time they feel like discontinuing treatment that they agree to make a final appointment to discuss.
#3 Average Session Rate
Average session rate is a critical measure for profit margin. Any time a session rate is discounted for any reason such as bulk billing, concession or other discount consideration, your average session rate will be affected in a downward fashion. Many of the practitioners we work with find they are discounting more sessions than they realise. Ultimately this means their average session rate is significantly lower than their set session rate which has a huge impact on the profitability of the practice.
When you set the goal:
- Allocate a maximum number of low value appointment spaces in in your diary per week.
- Make sure those spaces are not during peak times.
- Track your progress.
In many respects, setting the goal is the easy part. The key to actually succeeding in reaching the goal is monitoring the progress. If you don’t know how the practice is performing in a particular area, then you simply have no way of knowing if you are on track to achieve it or not.
Monitoring progress gives you the opportunity to take corrective action if you find you are not on plan. But it also provides you with the opportunity to adjust the goal up if you find you are progressing towards it more quickly and easily than you expected.
Monitoring will give you the information you need about how you are progressing towards the goals. Corrective action is what makes sure you actually reach those goals. Some things to remember when undertaking corrective action:
- If a process isn’t working, change the process.
- Bring your team on the journey with you.
- Get help to stay on track.
- Be accountable to yourself and the team you lead.
- Coach and guide your team to improve individually.
When the Goal is Achieved
So, what happens when your retention hits the goal target or when your new client volume is where you want it to be? The simple answer is that is the time to stretch. Typically, you will find if you reach the goal and stop thinking about it, things will start to slide back to where they were. The best way to ensure that happens is to always have the next goal in mind. If you reach an average of 6 sessions per client, then you should already know that your next goal is to reach an average of 7 sessions!
Practice goals, just like life goals, require us to keep moving forward. We all need a target to aim for and we all need a goal to strive to achieve.
As a final note, here’s 4 minutes and ten seconds of “Keep Moving Forward” motivation for you!
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