How to create a business plan for your optometry practice
You would not go on a road trip without planning the route out first on a map, right? Of course not. Well, then why would you launch a business without first laying out in detail what the business was, what your goals are, and how you will go about reaching those goals?
Business plans are key foundational parts of any business strategy, and that is especially true for optometry businesses. Just like the road map for your vacation, without a business plan in place, you risk becoming lost and could even find yourself in a precarious situation.
But business plans don’t just help you define and reach your goals. Business owners with business plans in place grow up to 30 percent faster than those without a plan, and most successful businesses, even small mom-and-pop ventures, have a plan in place.
This blog will investigate how to create a business plan for your optometry practice and provide you with important considerations to make along the way. Let’s get started!
What is a business plan?
A business plan is a document that outlines your business, its objectives, and how those objectives will be reached. It includes information such as details about your product, your marketing strategy, and your finances. How long the plan is depends on how complex your business is – it could be a few pages or it could be much, much longer.
A business plan ideally should be created when your business is getting off the ground and then updated periodically, perhaps every few years, as your business matures, as your conditions change, and as your market evolves. You may even wish to throw your old plan out and start one over from scratch.
Revisiting your business plan as a team on a periodic basis – perhaps, for example, at the beginning of each calendar year, fiscal year, or sales season, can help you and your team see your goals more clearly and position everyone to work towards a common objective.
Why is a business plan important?
A business plan is important because it can include detailed information that will help your business succeed, particularly as it confronts developing challenges or market fluctuations. It also helps keep your team focused on a common goal and tracks their progress as the business grows and matures. Further, having a solid business plan in place can help attract outside investment if that is something you are looking for – it can even be used if you are applying for a bank loan to expand or acquire a competitor.
What should a business plan include?
Your optometry practice business plan can include any number of topics that are important to you, including:
- A market analysis: A rundown of your competitors, the opportunities that are present, and conditions that could affect your industry or your particular office.
- A competitive analysis: An analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.
- Customer segmentation: A rundown of your customers based on specific characteristics, including age, income, condition, insurance plans, and more.
- Optometry marketing strategy: How you will connect to your customers and advertise your business, including tone, content, budget, medium, and more.
- Operations plans: The basics of how your business will operate with an eye on productivity and efficiency, including your EHR software and EHR software system.
- Cash flow projections: An estimation of how much money it will take to run your business and what your projections for income are.
- Growth goals: An overall guide that will lead you to both short-term and long-term growth.
How to create a business plan for your optometry practice?
Creating a business plan may sound like a big task, and while that is true to some extent, the process can be broken into smaller segments that make the work easier to digest.
Here are the basics steps to follow:
- Write an executive summary – a one-page elevator pitch that includes a mission statement, the products and services you will offer, and your financial growth plans.
- Describe your company, including its name, its location or locations, and the key people who are major decision makers or who have unique skills or technical expertise.
- State your business goals, with a focus on what you want to accomplish in both the short-term and long-term.
- Describe in some detail your products and services, including how they work, how they are priced, who the customers are, what your supply chain or order fulfillment strategy looks like, your sales strategy, and your distribution strategy, if applicable. Make sure to mention your optometry electronic health record (EHR) system and how you will use that to streamline operations and save money and time.
- Conduct market research and describe it, including what sets you apart from the competition and who your competitors are.
- Go into some detail on your marketing and sales plan, including how you will advertise your office and where those ads will be.
- Perform a financial analysis of your optometry practice, including metrics like net profit margin, a ratio of debt to liquidity, and accounts receivable turnover ratio.
- Make financial projections, including how you will earn enough money to pay your debts, an estimate of monthly or quarterly sales and expenses, a rundown of major capital expenses, and profit estimates over a three-year period.
- Create an appendix and put other information in it that is related but was not included in the previous sections, including permits, patients, bank statements, credit history for you and your business, equipment leases, key employees, and more.
Complete your business plan by choosing the right electronic health record (EHR) system
Once your business plan is complete you can move toward launching your operations. A key part of this is choosing the right EHR system. Choosing an EHR right after your business plan is completed will save you time as you will more clearly understand how your business will be run and what you need your EHR to contain. A good EHR will have easy patient scheduling, templates, order pages, 24/7 access from any device, task management capabilities, and a simple, intuitive user interface.
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