As the summer ends and the last quarter of the year approaches, our attention needs to start turning toward the upcoming year. This is the perfect time to start working on a strategic plan for the next year! I’ve seen too many people wait until January to start working on their plan, or even worse, they try to wing it, but you cannot elevate your practice if you don’t give yourself the space to reflect backward on the previous year and create an intentional plan that provides clear direction for your team. You need to make your next year better than the previous one, so use these six keys to create a masterful plan to do so.
- Revisit Your Why
Like Simon Sinek says, you have to start with your Why—your core purpose—as the first step in planning your business and determining if and how you want to grow. If you don’t have one already, you need to identify your core purpose. If you do, then you must make sure that your Why is still true to the core of who you are. Without that reflection and intention, you’re unable to provide clear direction for your team, and they’re unable to find the momentum to rally behind you.
- Revisit Your Core Values
In addition to devoting time to your core purpose, you must also pay attention to your core values, because they’re what drive your business. As Kirk often says, “The more you lean into your core values, the more the crazy stuff disappears.” They govern how you behave and how you expect others to behave, they help you filter your decisions, and for these reasons they should be at the heart of your plan. Like your purpose, if you don’t have a set of core values established, you want to make that a priority, and then revisit them every year. Look in the mirror and really assess how your values showed up this year, then modify them if needed and share them with the team.
- What Do We Do?
With your Why firmly established, your next step is to look at your What—take a long, hard look at your practice and identify what you offer to patients that sets you apart. There are so many dental practices in the world, so you have to differentiate yourself if you want patients to come to you. A great place to start is with the book The One Thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan, because reflecting on what you do really well will let you get clear around the core competencies in your practice and plan for your next year. Do you want to add new services? Do you want to enhance the patient experience? From there, you need to make sure the message gets out to your patients, so let your marketing plan tell the story of what you do.
- How Will We Succeed?
In order to have a successful year, you need to be able to know if you’re successful, and that requires the use of data. You have to reflect on the data from the current year before you start planning for next year, so look at what you’ve accomplished so far:
Based on that data, you can now set practice goals that are realistic, yet still stretch you a bit. With those goals in mind, think about the targets you will set and measure to know if you are reaching your goals.
- What is Most Important Right Now?
You’re going to be gung-ho in January, but remember that you can’t do everything at once, and certainly can’t do it well. There are four quarters in the year, so prioritize your efforts and break things up. To do so, you need to take a deep dive into your practice and examine your core values and purpose, what you do, how you’re going to make it happen, and your goals. This process will generate a lot of ideas, so take time and identify the most important thing(s) you need to start doing, stop doing, or continue doing.
- Who Must Do What?
This is the accountability component, and it’s the key to the consistency that will get you to the finish line. Once you’ve created your strategic plan, you must share it with your team so you can assign accountability and make sure someone owns all the priorities and tasks you’ve established. In doing so, you’re bringing clarity to the individual responsibilities within the plan.
It’s a cliché, but still incredibly true: when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Since you’re planning either way, why not plan for success by following this blueprint? If it feels like too much, lean into your coach. If you don’t have a coach, let ACT help! Schedule a call with us and get some direct help, download ACT’s One-Page Strategic Plan and learn how to put shape to your vision, or sign up for one of our amazing To The Top Study Club sessions on October 20th and October 27th! You can go through life without a plan, but if you have one, you’re much more likely to reach the ideals you’re trying to achieve, letting you have the Better Practice and the Better Life you’ve always wanted!
A huge component to strategically planning for next year is setting your goals and targets. . .but aren’t those the same thing? It may seem so, but they’re fundamentally different. Tune in next time and let Heather Crockett show you how understanding that difference will set you up for success!
Miranda Beeson is a Lead Practice Coach at ACT Dental.