The last two months of the year are always a whirlwind. You’re trying to tie up all the loose ends for this year while looking ahead to the next. It’s like living in two different time periods. And, on the top of that, with all the holiday-related activities going on at the end of the year, it can be tempting to put the practice on autopilot and pick up the pieces in January.
But you don’t want to do that because then you’ll end up getting off to a slow start.
Here are four things to do now that will jumpstart your January:
Nail down your annual goals for next year
Evaluate how your ortho practice performed in key categories, including production, referrals, case acceptance, overhead, etc. Target at least a 10–15% improvement in most areas. Break larger objectives into smaller sub-goals. For example, if the goal is to increase total referrals by 15% in 2018, then two sub-goals could be to increase parent referrals by x% and doctor referrals by y%, in order to achieve a combined 15% total increase.
Create your marketing calendar
Map out the first six months of the year. Put in tentative activities for the second half of the year. If you plan to host events such as open houses or referral seminars, get them on the calendar as soon as possible. Identify your most successful strategies. Find ways to build on their success. Jettison the poor performers and brainstorm new strategies. If you haven’t used Facebook ads, consider trying out some next year. They can give you the ability to inexpensively target parents of potential patients by age, interests, location and other characteristics.
Keep patients on schedule through the end of the year
Cancellations tend to crop up at this time of year. Work with parents to keep their children scheduled. Emphasize that you want their child to complete treatment by the required time, not after it. If parents cancel due to other commitments, make sure to reschedule patients as soon as you can to prevent them from becoming overdue for debonding.
Communicate your holiday schedule early and often
If your practice shuts down during the holidays, let parents and patients know the office’s schedule as early as possible, preferably at least a month ahead. Post it in the office and on Facebook and the practice’s website. Make sure you include an emergency number in case patients run into a problem with their appliances when the office is closed.
Finish the year strong by following these four recommendations. You’ll put your practice in the best position for getting off to a quick start in 2018!