Fridays for practice development?

So far my plan for spending some time on practice development /management/marketing has not happened.  There is always something more important that comes up. The way things are going it will not happen unless I take some action.

My plan from next week is to set aside Fridays for all matters related to practice. I will try and avoid doing any direct client work on this day. It is important I do this. Even in the short term it will save me so much time. More importantly it will give me a clearer picture where I want to go. I want to make sure “my ladder is leaning against the right wall” (Seven Habits).

They are some key areas that I need to work on. These include:

  1. Billing - This may be a shock to many- I do not know where I stand with my billing. Are my clients paying me what I am due?  This will be my first key task.
  2. Business Plan – I need to do this. It will help clear my mind on the direction I want to go and set out a route map. Of course the map will change as nothing in life works out as you planned. From this marketing plan, staffing needs etc will flow.
  3. Systemising – this is such an important area. It will make a real difference to practice efficiency. I will plan a staged process. I need to make sure my plan does not stay just a plan. I have started on this some time ago.
  4. Website – These has been left as it is for some time. I need to revive it. I need to restart blogging. Review and maybe change the content. Also learn about and apply SEO.
  5. I use FileCenter .It has transformed the way I work. I just love this software. It beats all the other far more expensive software I have used. I like its simplicity. We have set this up really well for client records. We have not got round to setting this up for practice management – templates, marketing, planning etc.   
  6. Planning of client work. We are okay on this at present. They are just a few areas I need to improve on. One of these is to review our work flow.
  7. My personal finance. Make sure I have enough to live, emergencies and of course retirement. I do not think I will retire. I may reduce my hours.
  8. Paperless – We are there now with paperless. We need to deal with incoming snail mail straight away. We tend to let it pile up before we scan and shred.

Can you share your experience? I would be interested to read you experience of practice development and practice management.

Comments
petersaxton's picture

1 Billing    4 thanks

petersaxton | | Permalink

1 Billing

This is so easy to do. Presently I have a list of debtors. I had to the list when I raise an invoice and delete from the list when I get paid.

2 Business plan

You can set out your ideas but it's not a priority and you dont need to go into detail.

3 Systemising

I am listing ideas and templates.

4 Website

Your website is really good. Obviously it needs to be kept up to date. My website is rubbish but I haven't dealt with it yet.

5 FileCenter

I have a folder system in Explorer. I have save Excel files there. Letters going out are saved to Word. Letters coming in are scanned and saved as PDF. I save old Outlook messages as msg files. I try to keep things as simple as possible and I only rely on Microsoft files and PDFs.

6 Planning of client work

I have spreadsheet lists of all my client work. I put work to do in a Word file.

7 Personal finance

I have property income but otherwise that just flows from accounts work

8 Paperless

I get relatively little in the post and what I do get only takes a few minutes to scan and file.

ShirleyM's picture

Delegating?    3 thanks

ShirleyM | | Permalink

Make more use of your employee.

I only have one employee, but she takes care of pretty much everything except the actual technical work, most of the clients meetings, and preparing quotations.

We plan the work schedule together, which is 12 months in advance, and then we tweak it as we go along. She gets the work in as planned, monitors progress, does the billing and the collecting, arranges meetings for sign offs, etc. She deals with all the callers, liaises with clients and suppliers, arranges meetings and callbacks, completes the bookkeeping and most of the bank recs. She is an absolute gem and she gets the practice running as smoothly as  possible.

We work to checklists, and jobs are passed backwards and forwards at various stages.

Basically, my employee does everything she is capable of doing, and I just do the tasks she cannot do.

EDIT: I keep one day a week where I do not not take phone calls from clients, or allow meetings. I use this for any tax/technical work where I do not want interruptions. If I don't have anything that needs that level of concentration I take the day off :)

BKD's picture

The question is, Shirley    2 thanks

BKD | | Permalink

Does she also clean your desk for you? I'd hope that you'd be a better person than one that would have someone else clear up after you ;)

FirstTab's picture

Staff    3 thanks

FirstTab | | Permalink

Thanks for the response. It was good to read how others handle practice management. I hope to read more from others.

Shirley, in term of staff you have what I would like. I am getting there. My staff was an intern. She has done well so far. I think it will take another year before she is confident enough to take over the tasks similar to your member of staff.

 

ShirleyM's picture

BKD - we share :)    3 thanks

ShirleyM | | Permalink

My practice isn't big enough to need domestic staff, so we share the cleaning, although I probably do the least. I'm not too proud to wield a vac, or clean the loo. My policy is to never ask my staff to do anything unless I am prepared to do it myself.

We have a very good relationship; I think it is because we both like and respect each other, and we never take advantage of the other persons good nature.

@FirstTab ... you sound as though you know what you want for your practice. Keep plugging away and you will get there in the end.

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