• Overview

    Have you carefully considered why you are going into private practice, whether it's a new or an existing practice? What are your goals and what do you want to achieve from going into practice? Where do you envisage yourself and your practice being in five years' time?

    These considerations should form an integral part of your business plan and provide a solid foundation for its ongoing strategic direction.

    You may be someone who has a natural interest and ability for managing the business aspects of running a practice, or you may not. If you have a practice manager, he/she will be able to assist and support you with certain operational aspects of your practice. However there will always be decisions which you will be required to take ultimate accountability and responsibility for.

    It is important that you involve your practice staff in the development of a practice strategy. This can lead to an increase in staff motivation and a willingness to take ownership of their contribution to the strategy. As a team you can work together to:

    • document an overview of your immediate and longer term goals
    • create a welcoming and suitable atmosphere for patients
    • set standards for acceptable professional behaviour and conduct
    • define the principles and values by which your practice will operate
    • ensure your practice operates in an ethical environment
    • align with risk management processes
    • define parameters to determine and acknowledge achievement of milestones and goals.

    Improving your practice

    The key elements you should use to establish your individual and practice identity are:

    Avant's Getting Started in Practice - Key elements you should use to establish your individual and practice identity  

    Each statement should be written in a concise and unambiguous manner, so that it is transparent to everyone how your practice functions. To have a positive influence on your business, the above key elements must be embedded into every aspect of the business.

    They should be reflected in:

    • the business plan
    • the practice policy and procedure manual(s)
    • staff induction contracts/documents
    • signage in staff-only areas (such as reception/admin, tea room, etc.)
    • practice meetings (through training and discussion)
    • new initiatives
    • practice brochure, website and public documents (this should be limited to the mission statement if it is appropriate for public viewing).

    These statements should then be reviewed and updated on a regular basis. As the principal of the practice, you will have the major impact on the success of adherence to and achievement of these statements.

    Once you have established the overall direction of your practice with these three statements, you can then proceed in setting specific business objectives which:

    • should be consistent with your strategy
    • define individual business targets and related outcome parameters
    • set out how you develop your business
    • assist you in achieving personal and professional goals