Suggestions, Advice, and a Checklist to Prepare for the Last Quarter and an Exciting and Successful 2021
2020 is coming to an end, and we can all breathe a sigh of great relief. This year has been intense and insane. At the beginning of March, we were hit with the biggest threat to our country, our health, and our economy – the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses were closed for months before opening again from May until now. Cases are rising around the country and we are all fighting hard to keep businesses, including dental and hygiene practices open.
As dental and hygiene professionals, I can only imagine just how been stressed to the max you have been, making changes to increase the safety and health of your patients, yourself, and your team. There is just no room to worry about anything else. 2020 has made sure of that.
But even though we are living through a new normal, some of the older processes might have gotten lost in the shuffle. Let’s make sure that preparing for your final quarter and 2021 is not one of them. This post will provide suggestions, advice, and a checklist to help prepare you for a successful 2021.
Updates and Upgrades
One of the most important things to review are any updates or upgrades that need to be made to your software/hardware. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but using older software, such as Windows 7 or older does leave your data vulnerable to malware, including the dreaded ransomware threat.
Last year, you prepared your office with the notion that Windows 7 support would be ending in January of this year. Support for Windows 7 is over. So, if you are currently still using Windows 7, it is time to update to Windows 10. In addition, review the age of your computer and any other software or hardware you might be using and assess whether it needs to be updated or upgraded based on security and functionality.
Update your fee guides and keep on top of all updates and upgrades so you don’t have to worry about security vulnerabilities or problems with functionality further down the line.
Evaluate 2020 Goals and consider 2021 Goals
Evaluate your goals from this year, and the destination you mapped out in order to get there. Ask yourself:
- Did you reach your practice goals?
- If yes, how?
- If no, what can you do to improve?
- What have you done to improve patient experience?
- What are your new 2021 goals and how do you plan to achieve them?
These are just a few questions to consider moving forward. Reflect on your 2020 goals and review those goals you achieved and the ones you didn’t. Learning what worked and what didn’t will help when composing promotions and other means of communication for the next year and even the next three months.
Keep an eye on external factors
Once you’ve taken a good look back at the current year’s goals, what’s been accomplished, and what requires more time or resources, it’s time to look outside of your practice to all the external factors that may be negatively or even positively affecting your goals.
Assess your competition and ask yourself “how are your competitors performing?” and what do you notice might be their marketing techniques, and are they planning to expand? Ask yourself what your marketing plans are and always take into account the impact of social media on your practice.
Remember that the online platforms you adopt have had a stronger impact because of the pandemic and should be considered a more crucial form of communication for not only the rest of this year but next year as well.
Time has flown this year. It feels like March was just yesterday, and yet here we are in October already. So, when you say to yourself “I have three months left, I don’t have to start this now”, think about how fast time is flying. Look out your window and see the colorful leaves falling from the trees.
Start now and utilize those three months to plan and reflect and consider strategies for the future of your practice not just for 2020 but for 2021.
Create a plan for the last quarter
“Businesses that fail to plan, plan to fail.” You have probably heard this popular adage before. That’s because planning is essential to the continuing success of your business. Create a plan for the tasks ahead and stick to that plan. A way to do that is to create for yourself a checklist. Checklists make life easier and reduce the stress of trying to remember all the tasks you have yet to finish. Also, there is an incredible sense of relief that comes with looking at your checklist and seeing that all your tasks have been checked off.
Discuss new goals with your team and patients
It matters what the members of your team think. It also matters what your patients think, so don’t leave either of them out of your planning. Let them have a say in how the next year will go. Have meetings (safely) and communicate with the people who can see your goals and ways to achieve them from a different perspective.
Involving your team in strategy meetings for 2021 will encourage them to contribute ideas, suggestions, and help you make a plan that they will be more willing to get behind; it is not just the boss’ plan but the company’s plan.
Including feedback from your patients will help, too. Let your patients provide you with invaluable information in the form of referrals, surveys, and feedback on their visits.
Don’t wait to prepare for the new year and the months ahead. Time goes way too fast to squander. Review and update or upgrade your software/hardware and equipment if it’s necessary to do so.
Evaluate your 2020 goals and start planning your goals for 2021. Remember to discuss your goals with your team and patients to further the success of your practice.
To help you further, I have composed a checklist that you can use to keep you on track this last quarter. Just click below and download the PDF:
I know that with everything going on, it’s a lot to remember and worry about on top of the pandemic, but keeping on top of your tasks for the final quarter and beginning of the new year will help you reduce the stress of those tasks when it comes closer to 2021, as well as provide you with crucial information for a successful upcoming year.
In my search for the most current update on preparing your practice for the new year, I found a podcast provided by Dental Town that will be an amazing resource for you. Click the link below and listen to this podcast in your free time to learn more about how to prepare for an “exciting and successful 2021.”