The Planning Process for Early Stage Development of your Group Dental Practice or DSO
"Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." - Abraham Lincoln
Various versions of this quote have been attributed to our 16th President and most of the variations are based on the amount of time, but the overriding point is one that gets down to the aspect of working “on” our group dental practice (DSO) versus working “in” our group dental practice (DSO). Many of us talk about this, but how many of us actually have scheduled time set aside every week, month, quarter and year devoted to planning, developing and executing our strategy?
Strategic planning is the discipline of sharpening your saw and it doesn’t “just happen” when you’re done with patients. It also doesn’t “just happen” when you’re alone and usually tired. Planning is a process, and the process starts with blocking time. Can you commit to blocking 2 hours of every week and 4 hours one day per month? If so, that would gain you 10 hours in a typical month (for a 4-week month: 2 hours per week * 3 weeks + 4 hours on the 4th week).
I would also advocate devoting one full 8-hour day once per quarter and two full 8-hour days once per year to focus on “big ideas” and action plans for the business. Ideally these full days would be off-site. If you pre-planned this into your calendar, you would gain approximately 152 hours of sharpening your saw per year.
Two 8-hour days annually = 16 hours
One 8-hour day for 3 quarters = 24 hours
4-hour day once per month for 8 months = 32 hours
2 hours per day for 40 weeks = 80 hours
Does that sound like too much? What if you could get half of that? Successful businesses don’t grow by luck and happenstance. They grow by looking into the future to determine where opportunities will be, then putting a planning process into effect to capitalize on those opportunities. In short, successful business create their own outcomes.
Sounds simple, right? This first part usually is. The place to start is in freeing up time to plan your process, so you can determine your priorities. In our next blog post, we’ll discuss topics to fill those blocks of time as well as how to prioritize those topics.
Have questions on what a planning process looks like or how to start one of your own? Feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to continue discussion on these topics or any others related to trends in our industry. TUSK is a practice brokerage, strategy and M&A advisory firm specializing in the dental market.
TUSK will be a Breakout Session presenter at Dykema’s 4th Annual Definitive Conference for Dental Service Organizations in New Orleans, LA June 15&16, 2017 where we will share “Strategies for Financing Your Growth.” We hope to see you there as well!