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Acupuncture Today – February, 2010, Vol. 11, Issue 02

Getting Set for the New Year

By Stanley Greenfield, RHU

The new year is here whether or not you are ready. Everyone is talking doom and gloom but you can be productive if you get to work right now. That is really the key phrase: "Get to work." This is not the time to sit back and feel sorry for yourself.

Those who don't wallow will have a good year. Are you one of those who wants 2010 to really shine? If so, here are some ideas to make that happen.

Watch your cash flow. The difference between just surviving and success depends in large part on your cash flow. There is not virtue or future with an excessive overhead. It is now time to take a close look at your overhead, both professional and personal, and make sure you are getting your money's worth.

Set up a cash/emergency fund. You need to have a fund that is in a money market account so you can get to it whenever necessary. If you don't have one, now is the time to start. An initial goal would be $10,000. Your ultimate goal should be enough to cover personal expenses for three months.

Review your marketing goals. This is not the time to cut back on marketing. You need to continually develop your pipeline of patients, so review your marketing plans now. It may be time to look at new marketing strategies that won't strain your budget but will increase patient and cash flow.

Maximize referrals. Ask everyone for referrals and expect to get them. When was the last time you reviewed your files to see if your patients have brought in their spouses or kids? Do it now.

Get feedback. Now is an ideal time to find out what you're doing right or wrong by asking your patients. You may get some good ideas.

Review your Web site. You may have been too busy to update your site and keep things fresh. Add new features that can attract new patients, such as a blog to establish you as an expert. A Web site should be more than just a billboard.

Employ energy conservation initiatives. With the cost of fuel and electricity so high, any and all conservation measures can save you money. Adjust the thermostat to minimize energy usage. Upgrade to energy-efficient equipment. Use energy wisely, both at home and the office. It's good for business and the environment.

Time to shop. It is time to do some comparison shopping. One place to start is your insurance policies. Many people just renew policies rather than shopping around for better deals. With premiums increasing, it pays to check out your options. Make sure you take full advantage of deductibles and "packaged" policies. Next, take a look at your bank and the charges you are paying. It is time to see if they will treat you right, or what another bank will do for you.

Plan ahead. Where do you see your practice in three years? Five years? What will it take to get there? What can you do now to make it happen? Meet with your accountant to strategize your tax planning for the rest of the year.

Set some goals. These should be both professional and personal. If you have a written business plan, it is time to review and up-date it. If you don't have one, maybe it is time you had one. You need direction and focus. It is 2010 and you are going to have a great year

Click here for previous articles by Stanley Greenfield, RHU.

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