Planning for a lean period

Empty Seat Let’s be realistic, no matter what stage your business is at it’s not always going to be plain sailing. Following on from my last video on how to hire people for your clinic I’d like to discuss the issue of having a lean period in your clinic and how to plan for it. A lean period in a healthcare business generally happens around holiday time or staff departures. If you plan for it and you know it’s coming then you don’t have to stress about it. I heard a great phrase the other day “control the controllables”, in other words plan for what you can control and adapt to the rest. I’d also recommend trying to build some sort of a contingency fund for difficult times or expansion within your business. Here are 5 tips to help plan for lean periods regardless of what stage your business is at.

Hire more staff – If you go on holidays and you’re a sole trader then your clinic doesn’t generate any income. If you’re happy to be a one person show then that’s fine, just ensure you’re putting money away when you’re working really hard to cover the costs when you go on holidays or don’t see clients during vacation periods.

Other revenue – If you have a second room in your clinic, then think about renting it out or rent your own clinic out when you’re not using it (Check your less). Ideally this would be to another complementary therapy or practitioner within your field. Even if you only get €100 per month (€1200 – nice holiday) it makes more people aware of your clinic and the services you offer.

Financial advice – Spreading the cost of your expenditure over the year is key to success. Most businesses fail in the first 3 years because they don’t plan their expenditure. At present I have a monthly direct debit set up with revenue to pay my tax. This way I can spread the cost out over a year rather than panicking to pay a huge tax bill at the end of the year. Speak to your accountant in relation to this matter.

Put some money away – If your clinic is going really well and you’re seeing more clients than usual then don’t spend all the money, put it away for the periods such as Christmas, Easter, your holidays, staff holidays or staff leaving. Having good software helps you plan for your lean periods, this way you can spot trends.

Spread your bills It’s all about having adequate cash flow, don’t have all your expenses coming out at the end of the month. Otherwise you’re in panic mode at the end of every month trying to arrange payment for rent, electrics, wages, subscriptions etc. Take a look at what you can spread out over the month.

If you have good systems in place then lean periods will pass! At PracticeNav we have all the information and know how to develop good systems to suit your business. Take our Online Audit which gives you instant results, or you can contact PracticeNav via email on to find how we can help. Feel free to ask any questions in relation to this.

Colin Phillips
Business Consultant

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