The Season of Candy Corn
Don't you love this time of year? The weather is getting cooler, football is hitting it's stride and the leaves are just beginning to change. But I think this time of year is best represented by the candy that is now readily available.
Candy Corn is the small triangle shaped, tri-colored, waxy sugar bites that can be found around Halloween. You can find Candy Corn until Thanksgiving, but it is usually a little stale by then.
If you think about it, most seasons can be represented by some sort of treat. After the season of Candy Corn comes Pumpkin Pie season and then Peppermint Season. The New Year will usher in the season of no sweets because of our resolutions. Then of course, "Box of Chocolate" season; everyone's favorite.
In the time that I have been practicing, the seasons that affect the flow of the practice have been shifting. When I was in school, all of the staff doctors said, "You never do any business during the month of December." Now, we all know it can be one of our busiest months because of end of the year benefits.
Like most people, when I talk about "seasons", I mention things that are outside of my control, like the weather that leads us to call them "seasons" in the first place. But also outside of our control are insurance enrollment dates, specials from the competition, the internet, ICD-10 implementation, E-Bola and El Nino.
Yet, we can still influence the seasons of our practice. We do it all the time, but usually in a reactive manner. (We ramp up marketing efforts when it is slow.) We should do what we can to keep our practices steady, by knowing what the trends are within our practices, plan for them and shift them in a direction we want.
Above is an income chart for a typical practice by month. Each color represents a different year. What "seasons" can you identify from this snapshot? I see some inconsistency in the front half of the year, but fairly flat income. Then every August, there is a big spike in income, followed by a big drop. Then, the last part of the year either has a really strong finish or just fades away.
This practice needs to identify what happens every August and implement a strategy to finish every year strong. Is this by design or is it by accident? Either way, it is an opportunity.
For our members, we have created a recommended seasonal flow chart to help you focus on various areas of your practice in a planned manner. It doesn't eliminate reactions, but it helps make sure that your reactions don't allow you to neglect major parts of the practice.
Leadership OD members can access this "Recommendation Sheet" on their membership page.
Enjoy the season of Candy Corn and have a great weekend.
Mike Rothschild, Leadership OD
P.S. If you are not a member yet, it's easy and you can JOIN TODAY.