Home  Library  Is Your Future so Bright You Have to Wear Shades?

Is Your Future so Bright You Have to Wear Shades?

By: Gavin Shea

Whether you're a new graduate or a veteran practitioner, one way to help you secure your future is to document your expectations in an annual business plan. It can be an indispensable tool for communicating business objectives to lenders, contractors and equipment vendors as the need arises. And by making it a habit to refresh your business plan every year, you can remain prepared for potentially unexpected opportunities such as the perfect new location or a great deal on equipment for your practice.

Below are some components of an effective business plan. At Wells Fargo Practice Finance, we offer a variety of free business plan templates available online (see wellsfargo.com/practicefinance) to help you organize your planning and research.

  1. Executive summary -- Provides an overview of your plan and can include the following:
    • Practice description -- a brief overview of your practice and services, including where your practice is located, your ideal patient, and any specialty services you offer.
    • Mission statement -- outlines your practice philosophy and rationale for creating your practice.
    • Financing requirements -- provides a summary of the capital you will need to get your practice up and running if you're a new practitioner, or cover overhead for the next year if you have an existing practice.
  2. Practice description -- Goes into greater detail about the structure of your business, your qualifications for managing the business, and your business resources. This section can help demonstrate that you have the personal know-how and resources to ensure practice success, including:
    • Practice history -- a description of your professional experience to date, including your professional education, or if the practice is established, more about the practice growth
    • Management team and key personnel -- identify the principals responsible for financial performance, key team members and their roles, and professional advisors and how they can help you grow your business.
  3. Market research -- Demonstrates that your practice is based on a solid grasp of the local market and potential for success, and can include:
    • Market description -- describe who lives in your practice community and what sort of growth you have experienced or is predicted for this area over the next 10 years.
    • Potential customer -- describe your ideal patients, including characteristics, needs, income level, education, gender and age.
    • Competitive environment and analysis -- define how many other doctors are practicing in the area and the range of services they provide.
    • Competitive advantage -- what benefit or advantage does your practice offer that competitors in the area do not?
  4. Marketing plan -- Describes the internal and external marketing activities you plan to use to attract patients and grow your practice. For example:
    • How will you create awareness and keep patients coming back?
    • How will you set yourself apart from the competition?
    • What is your marketing budget for the next year?
    • What is your marketing mix - the balance between print advertising, promotions, referrals, email, and other elements of marketing?
  5. Operations -- Details the day-to-day needs and functions of your practice and can include the following:
    • Location and premises - include why you chose your location, the number of operatories, and whether you will own or lease the space.
    • Hours of operation - describe what the work week looks like for every employee and associate.
    • Equipment and supplies - describe the equipment required now and in the future, and who your major suppliers will be.
    • Staffing - include recruitment plans, staff roles, compensation and personnel policies. Identify the resources you are using to create job descriptions.
  6. Financial Forecast -- The financing package you receive from your lender may be based on the numbers in your forecast, so consider doing your homework and make these calculations as accurate as possible:
    • Income and cash flow projection for the first 12 months of practice operation.
    • Capital and operating expenses - the total funds needed to build and/or operate your practice. Be specific and include categories, such as contractor costs, loan payments, staff salaries, rent, utilities, lab fees, supplies and other minor expenses.

Consult with your advisors to ensure your business plan is realistic, and set an annual date to review and refresh your plan. A business plan can help ensure a bright and successful career.

About the Author

Gavin Shea is the National Director, Healthcare for Wells Fargo Practice Finance. With more than 17 years of banking experience with an emphasis in practice lending, he leads sales and marketing strategy development and implementation throughout the national footprint. His industry background offers practitioners a unique perspective as they approach some of the most important decisions in their professional lives. With more than 30 years of practice lending experience, Wells Fargo Practice Finance specializes in helping healthcare professionals acquire, start and expand their practices with various financing options and a signature Practice Success Program. Contact: gavin.m.shea@wellsfargo.com or 844-626-4317

View all articles by Gavin Shea


Want more strategies for practice success?

The best way for us to help you meet your needs is to hear about them directly from you. If there's a business, financial or practice-related topic you're interested in, let us know. We'll do our research and get back to you.

The articles and materials on the Wells Fargo Practice Finance website are provided for general information only and do not constitute, nor are they intended as, a substitute for consultation with accounting, tax, legal or other professional advisors. Wells Fargo makes no representation regarding the articles available in the Strategies for Success Library or the completeness or accuracy of the information contained therein. The articles and the information contained therein may be incomplete, may contain errors or may have become out of date. Wells Fargo makes no commitment, and disclaims any duty, to update any of the articles or materials in the Strategies for Success Library.

The views expressed in the articles are those of the authors alone. They may or may not reflect the views or opinions of Wells Fargo.

All financing is subject to credit approval.

All financing is subject to credit approval.

All financing is subject to credit approval.

All financing is subject to credit approval.

All financing is subject to credit approval.

All financing is subject to credit approval.

All financing is subject to credit approval.

All financing is subject to credit approval.

All financing is subject to credit approval.

All financing is subject to credit approval.

Wells Fargo Stagecoach Logo