There's something about the end of the year that creates a sense of urgency around goals. Was November and December a big push for you and your team to hit yearly goals? Did you and your team feel more stressed? Or did you get to enjoy the holidays, knowing you have systems in place to hit your yearly goals? There's a big difference in practices that plan well and those that don't. It shows in the numbers as well as employee morale, which again affects your numbers.
While you may perform well throughout the year and hit your year-end goals, do you know how you got there? If you didn't meet your goals, how do you keep from making the same mistakes year after year?Evaluating your practice will help you not to underestimate or overestimate your dental practice's performance. We have some tips on how to evaluate your dental practice performance in a way that sets you up to perform well next year.
1. Start with a birds eye view of your year.
First, figure out what your goals were and if you met them or not. You and your team should be constantly aware of your goals for the year. If you didn't set goals for this year, that should be the first note you make for starting 2019 out on the right foot. Assuming you did set goals, either go to your dental KPI dashboard and easily view if you reached your goals or run your reports from your practice management system to find out. You should have multiple goal categories such as production, provider, procedure, patient recall or reactivation, new patients, etc... that you are evaluating.
*Pro Tip: Using an automated Dental KPI Dashboard reduces time running manual reports and gives you insight into your practice in real-time.
2. Next, break your year down into quarters.
Once you have all your numbers in front of you, you can begin to break down the year into manageable chunks to see where you performed well and where you might need to strategize for next year. Even if you hit your goals it's important to see the ups and downs throughout the year. You may have over-performed in some quarters and underperformed in others. That shows you your opportunity for growth in 2019 that you may not of known was possible.
Was Q1 better than Q2? Why of why not? Did you hit your goals in 2 out of 4 quarters? Why didn't you hit them in the other 2? Did you have unexpected sick time or vacation time taken that you didn't plan for at the beginning of the year when you set your goals? Was there a natural disaster that shut your office down for days or weeks? These things happen. Some of these events are out of our control but many are not. These are the things you need to start asking yourself and your team. Figure out what happened and why. Then you can begin to figure out how to avoid the "unexpected" events like time off by planning for them as much as you can for next year.
*Pro Tip: Schedule your providers time off at the beginning of the year to see how their time off effects your yearly goals. Then you can plan around it in other weeks or months to still hit your desired goals. Using a dental intelligence platform that allows for this will save time and help you forecast for the year.
3. Break your quarterly dental goals into months/weeks/days.
This is where the rubber meets the road. Each year is broken down into quarterly goals, monthly goals, weekly goals and daily goals. Daily goals become building blocks. When you do the little things every day you start to see a difference in the long run. It's just like dental hygiene but for your dental practice.
Ask yourself and your team the following questions:
- What months were my best? My worst? Why?
- How do those month compare year after year? Is September always slow and December always overly busy?
- Which week's out of those months were best/worst? Did someone have vacation/sick time we didn't plan for? How much sick time is typically taken on average across the practice each year? How can we plan for that next year? Did we get everyone's vacation requests at the beginning of the year?
- What can we do each day to ensure we are hitting our daily, weekly, monthly production goals so our quarterly and ultimately year-end goals are achieved or exceeded?
4. Include your team in your goal evaluation process.
While it may be important for you to go over your numbers by yourself or with a dental consultant first, you'll want to include your team at some point in the process. This helps create team buy-in. After all, they are the ones who will help you achieve your goals, or not.
If you just tell your team you need all vacation time at the beginning of the year but you didn't let them in on why you need them so far in advance, you'll just frustrate them. If you show them how it'll ultimately help everyone reach their goals you'll get a lot more buy in. People often need the "why" behind the "do" to keep morale high and give them some skin in the game.
*Pro Tip: Having a dental consultant on your team provides many benefits to your practice and your goals. Their role is to help you meet your goals by coaching you through the ups and downs of the year.
5. Put a plan into place for next year with your team.
After you've exhausted your evaluation with your team, get their input on how you can better reach or exceed your goals next year. Break it down starting just like we did in the blog. Start with your yearly goals, break them down quarterly, monthly, weekly then daily. Provide incentives to keep them motivated throughout the year. Get their ideas on how to reach the goals. They may even set higher goals than you if you get them excited enough about it. But remember to set S.M.A.R.T. goals for your dental practice and your team so that the goals are achievable but not too easy to where you don't have to try.
*Pro Tip: Plan your next year's goals in December so you can start the year off with your goals already in place.
The only way to grow is to constantly be a student of your own practice. Even if you consider yourself "successful," there is always room for growth. Dive into your year-over-year performance numbers so you can discover trends. Is one month or quarter always slower than another or was it a fluke this year? These things are good to know when setting goals so you set goals with educated strategy and numbers to back in up.
A great way to reach your year-end goals is doing the little things every day. Our Free Morning Routine checklist helps you and your dental practice stay productive each day helping you achieve ultimate success.