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The Business of Allied Health: 7 Traits of a GREAT Practice

The Business of Allied Health: 7 Traits of a GREAT 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, you’ll receive practical insights that may change the way you think about your business.

Best practice allied health care can get you on the path to enjoying not only business success, but greater reward for your effort and a better work-life balance.

Truly successful allied health practices share seven key characteristics. Before going into these, it’s important to note one of the key characteristics of successful practice owners…

Practice delivery vs. personal delivery

Every successful allied health professional I’ve worked with over the years has one stand-out commonality: they 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 may even cause you to wonder whether starting your own business was the right decision after all.

One reason for going into business in the first place is to be able to leverage the skills of others so that income may be generated on your behalf. This means maximising practitioner hours while managing the costs associated with service delivery.

This leads us to the main features of best practice allied health…

The 7 key characteristics of best practice allied health

All successful allied health practices have the following characteristics, from my experience:

  1. Formal documentation of their business growth plan
  2. Strong understanding of their ideal client profile
  3. Specialised services and/or treatment plans
  4. Accurate and timely financial data
  5. Team and contractor development programs
  6. Surplus capital to fund growth
  7. Structured management, including a succession plan for the business owner.

As you can see, it all begins with a business plan. Yet interestingly, 72 percent of small business owners (including those in allied health) have no plan at all.

The value of a business plan

For most busy practitioners, the thought of spending time creating a business plan is simply overwhelming. Yet skipping this important step will be the single biggest mistake you make in your business.

You can develop an effective one-page business plan very easily. The framework brings together what you ‘want’ to achieve as a business owner and what you ‘need’ to do to bring this about.

As you might expect, each of the seven key characteristics mentioned above should be addressed in your business plan.

But remember that your plan is not a set-and-forget activity. It is a ‘living’ document that sets guidelines and benchmarks, while retaining the flexibility to allow for changing circumstances.

Your business plan helps you get clear on your goals, understand your business better, and become clearer about the financial requirements.

Many allied health professionals lack financial management expertise but it’s important to spend time on this key aspect of your business and introduce practices capable of helping you make sound decisions to reach your goals.

Planning for GROWTH is the topic of the next article. 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 grant@q4financial.com.au.

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