• Kelly Chard

Success is not a one size fits all model

Assuming that all medical and dental practice owners want the same thing for their practice, and their career reminds of the old saying “all men prefer blondes”, it just isn’t the case.


As a practice owner in 2019 you undoubtedly have well-meaning financial information and advice firing at you from all directions. Daily you read and hear information from a range of sources regarding practice growth strategies, tax minimisation, ATO and billing compliance, passive income stream building, practice valuation goals, reducing costs and implementing automation and technology changes.

This well-meaning information overload can be exhausting without even considering the information exposed to clinical and patient-related matters. Of course, it is great to be informed and to position your practice for success. But sometimes it is time to stop and focus on the things that matter, to you as an individual, to your personal goals and your unique practice.

My client: Knowing when to shift the goal posts

Last week I met with one of my successful multi-site owner clients for our regular quarterly strategy meeting.

In previous meetings we focused quite heavily on financial KPIs – profit results, billing and consult data, new patient numbers, growth projections, break-even points etc. All things successful practices “should” be monitoring and tracking.

By mid-meeting I could tell that this data wasn’t cutting it. These financial metrics, while necessary, are not linking back to the priorities and direction of the client right now. While in the previous quarter, the client’s family and personal circumstances had been running smoothly. This quarter a change started to occur, and it became apparent that the balance of financial versus home life focus was out of whack.

This quarter the success factors were not about dollars. They were about life – managing time, family and life stresses. So, we switched up the conversation and the KPIs accordingly. Now alongside the profitability figures, there exists KPIs focused on leave taken and planned, self-gauged stress rating and presence at school pickups/events. The focus on fee revenue has been expanded to monitor and grow non-owner reliant revenue. The emphasis on expenditure has shifted to cost v benefit and time saving rather than just reduction.

Success is not only financial

I love financial KPIs and metrics (I am an accountant after all) and can’t stress how important it is to know your business results and to know how to use this data to make smarter decisions.

As a rule, though, financial goals alone will not deliver success. Achieving your financial goals enables your personal, family and lifestyle goals.

Sometimes the financial goals may have to be put on hold or adjusted so that you don’t lose sight of the personal goals. While hard to do when you are responsible for a busy practice and the people employed and working from within it – which is why you need to be aware.

Think long-term

There are times when financial metrics are crucial and will be the critical KPIs to monitor – for example when setting up a new practice or planning for a practice sale.

However, if you are looking for long-term success, your accountant and advisers should be encouraging you to focus on the key drivers in your individual success story – understanding what family and lifestyle goals are important to you right now and in the future and weaving this into a financial and business strategy that will last the distance. A great accountant or adviser will be relatable and “get” the direction that you want for your practice and your life. They will be personable, realistic and hold strong personal and business experience.

Success for your practice is not about achieving someone else’s vision. It is not just about the numbers – it is about weighing and analysing the numbers – and then using them to enable you to achieve what matters most to you.

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