A Little S.W.O.T. Never Hurts
Now more than ever, practice owners and management teams have an increased interest in making better decisions in order to maximize practice health. Many of today’s decisions include addressing increased levels of uncertainty and anxiety concerning the current state of affairs as well as what the future may bring.
Strategic planning provides a comprehensive and beneficial opportunity for the practice team to reflect and clearly understand: 1) Where they are, or “Current State,” 2) Where they are going, or “Future State”, and 3) How they get there, or “Action Plan”.
One of the most widely used methods in strategic planning is S.W.O.T. analysis which includes an assessment of practice: 1) Strengths 2) Weaknesses 3) Opportunities and 4) Threats. S.W.O.T. analysis includes the assessment of four areas:
What are the strengths of the practice? How do these strengths differentiate the practice from the practices down the road?
Example: Our practice has a positive team culture and low employee turnover. This is one of the reasons we realize high client retention.
What areas of the practice could benefit from improvement? Could these areas actually lead to opportunities?
Example: We haven’t reached out to our feline patients as much as we could and if we did it may provide an area of significant growth.
What areas of the practice present opportunities that may have been previously missed or over-looked?
Example: Increased attention to our feline patients will improve our feline patients’ quality-of-life as well as increase client visitation.
What are the existing threats or anticipated threats?
Example: What are the possible threats of existing practices within a five-mile radius and what will be the impact of the two new practices currently under construction?
The strategic planning process involves organizing, planning, openness, accountability, timelines, and follow-through. Making the decision to experience the process is making a commitment to honest reflection of the overall organization and practice vision.
Whether strategic planning sessions are conducted by professionals or the practice management team, taking the time to reflect and plan with the help of S.W.O.T. analysis is extremely insightful. It’s a powerful planning method that will help the practice team get back in touch with where they are, where they are going, and how to get there in order to thrive in these very interesting times.