“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

Did you ever ask yourself this question during any stage of your practice career? Long gone are the days of starting a business out on a limb and hoping for the best, with the release of Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) 5th Edition, a business plan is listed as one of the new standards required.

Indicators in the RACGP Standards 5th edition provides the following guidance on business planning:

Criterion C3.1A – Our practice plans and sets goals aimed at improving our services.

You must:

  • plan and set business goals.

You could:

  • write a statement of the practice’s ethics and values
  • maintain a business strategy
  • maintain an action plan.

Criterion C3.1B – Our practice evaluates its progress towards achieving its goals.

You could:

  • maintain progress reports about the business strategy or action plan
  • create a strategy for continuous quality improvement
  • implement quality improvement initiatives

Whether you are just starting out in a new practice or other stages of the practice life cycle, establishing a business plan is not merely for meeting the new RACGP Standards 5th edition requirement but is critical to achieve your business goals.

Whilst the initial phase of developing a business plan can be overwhelming, a well-developed business plan will set the roadmap of the business progression and guide/support the operational success of a practice.

We have listed some top tips for you to consider before you embark on the journey of developing a business plan.

  1. Determine who the plan is for
    Target a business plan specific to your practice and the unique offerings you can bring to the community
  2. Conduct relevant research
    Understand your current status quo (structure, marketing, finances strategies) and identify the opportunities that are available. By having accurate and up to date information, you will be more confident with your forecasts and analysis.
  3. Be practical with your process
    Identify the areas your business plans will address and do not attempt to complete your business plan from start to finish.  Good planning takes time and effort to ensure you are mapping out the best road to success possible. Break down the components of the business plan and tackle the areas that are more relevant for your practice first and set aside the areas that don’t have immediate impact.  You can always jump back to the other sections later.
  4. Get guidance
    If you aren’t confident in completing the plan on your own, you can enlist the help of a professional to review your plan and provide you with the relevant advice and direction.
  5. Review
    As with any document, a business plan will evolve over time with the changes in your practice circumstances or the industry.  You should conduct a regular review to ensure your business plan is on track with the vision of your practice.

With extensive experience in helping medical and dental practices to thrive, the team at MGI South Queensland can help you with your existing plan or the development of a business plan to concrete your roadmap to success.