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“Don’t buy a dog and bark yourself” – this was the heading of a chapter in the book, The Rule Breaker’s Book of Business by Roger Mavity, which I read recently.  I loved Roger’s take on the art of delegation.  It is often assumed, like many other business skills, that as we enter private practice and we start to grow, or if we manage a service and have a team around us, that we automatically possess the skills to delegate tasks to other people.   I am not great at delegation, and will be the first to put my hand up about that… something about being a perfectionist I think!  How do we work out if we need to delegate?

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How on earth is it December already?! I still had lots of things that I was going to do this year, and time is running away. I had announced at the start of the year I was going to do a three-day walk on a mountain whose name I cannot even remember, before the end of the year! Nope, that has not happened. I got a little busy!

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You have probably heard the saying, “happy staff, happy clients” and I do believe that  - the mood of a workplace is contagious.  This week I was at the airport and I heard a staff member that was working in the airport café say to her colleague “I wish everyone had come to work in a better mood, it’s starting to rub off on more and more people”.  True – you may have felt this yourself at work before.  So what do we do?

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Usually, at this time of year, there seems to be more patients that need seeing, less time to concentrate on getting everything wrapped up before Christmas, and less time in the day. This can make for an exhausted team. I know I like to get on top of all my admin before the Christmas break, so I can go away feeling stress-free, but I often feel this time of year is like the storm before the calm!  I need to make sure I make this time of year a good lead up to Christmas for my staff. After all, we all want them back after their Christmas holiday. What specifically do I do now to keep my team motivated and keep us all sane along the way?

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There is a wonderful quote that I love… “If you don’t change where you are going, you will end up where you are going”.  Now, that is a great plan if you are really happy with where you are going… but if you have hit complacent mode or are just stuck in your routine… stuck in bad habits… think about whether those are the places you want to continue to go in your practice or in your personal life.  What are you going to do in 2017? I have put together some steps to help you get organised early on and make a plan for this year.

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Starting a practice is very rewarding but it can also be challenging and take up more time than you realised – administration time is one of those forgotten time-consuming roles that you will need to devote time to when you start up. Having some good knowledge of basic business skills will help you ensure you hit the ground running and that you are making the most of your time and resources. Here are 4 skills I think are essential when starting up a practice.

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Being a brilliant therapist does not mean things will always be ok.  Every day, there are inherent risks to running a healthcare business, and they cannot be ignored simply because we have a good rapport with our clients, or get really good outcomes for them.  Things can happen – they really can, and we don’t plan for them, but the best action is to try and avoid them. Here are five ways you can do this now in your own practice.

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If you are in the process of setting up your practice for NDIS or thinking of registering as a provider, here are 5 small but useful tips that might help you to understand how you can apply NDIS smoothly into your practice.

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Running a healthcare service without a marketing plan can be a bit like winking at someone in the dark. You know what you are doing, but often nobody else does.  We need people to know how our services run, what we do and how we can help.  Where do you start though?

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Having a plan for your marketing is important, it helps you ensure your money is going to good use but the planning process itself helps you learn about the different forces and factors that may affect your success. Writing and researching for your marketing plan gives you the chance to learn about your industry and allows you to work out strategies and set specific goals and timeframes for achieving them.  One of the hardest parts is knowing where to start?!  For those who are not sure where to begin to create a marketing plan, I have developed 7 steps to help you.

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How are you travelling with leading your practice? Are you headed in the right direction? Are you leading with purpose? Coming up to the end of the year, what is in the diary? I hope that you have planned some time to reflect on the year and plan the coming year. If you leave this until Christmas, you might find it a bit hectic, and if you leave it 'til the New Year, you miss the opportunity to plan early so you can hit the ground running!

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When I first started my practice back in 2006, I used to work during the day and then do the usual home duties like cook dinner, bath the baby, talk to my husband, do some washing, put the baby to bed, and then when all was settled, go and do my practice admin – it might have been ordering, writing client notes, preparing invoices…. And I did this for a number of years.  I speak to lots of practice owners who are not alone in this.  It is about what suits you, and for those who DON’T like late night admin, I have some tips for you!

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Everyone knows the old phrase "To fail to plan, is planning to fail", and there are numerous resources and articles out there that can guide you in the planning process and help you formulate a plan for any aspect of your business. There is, however, an important step that many people overlook in implementing their plan, meaning their carefully created plan can sit for months without any action!

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When I work with fellow allied health professionals, I often hear people say, “I am not sure where I am headed” or that they started a practice and are finding it hard to plan for where they might end up, having never been in practice before. I get that! Sometimes, it can be hard to work out where you are going if you have not been in that situation before. But a vision for your practice is really important. How to write a good one? Glad you asked!

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Today, I want to chat about something we all encounter at some point, that stops us from getting to where we want to go in our professional life and achieving our goals...

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What do you do when you don’t have the capacity to take on all the referrals you receive?  When your diary is full, but the new referrals just keep coming.  One of the ways to manage this is to create a waitlist for your services.  Before launching in, there are a couple of things to think about that will help your future clients who are destined for your waitlist.

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This week in our membership we have been exploring the topic of getting more referrals. It is a common thing that I hear from many allied health practice owners – how to get more GP referrals? Over the years we have run various online resources about how to communicate to referrers and build a relationship, but I really believe BEFORE you get to that point you need to go back and start at the beginning…….. and ask yourself these questions.

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I often talk to people about having the ‘ideal’ practice, something that they can love and a business that can give them the things in life they like, but that doesn’t just happen – you have to work at it. Just like ourselves, where a healthy body and mind gives us the energy, resilience and focus to take on life’s challenges, a healthy practice also allows us to take on the ebbs and flows in health care and still benefit from the wonderful attributes that private practice brings…. without bringing in negative stress to your life. So what is a healthy practice?

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Last week, I completed a TAFE Statement in HR Mentor, Difficult Conversations in the Workplace. It was a great reminder that difficult conversations are sometimes unavoidable in business but with the right approach and planning, they can achieve outcomes that are not necessarily detrimental to your practice.

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If you employ staff in your private practice, you would be aware that an employee is entitled to long service leave after a period of working for you. Did you know that for staff employed under a Modern Award (e.g., Health Professionals and Support Services Award 2010 [MA000027]) long service leave entitlements differ in each State and Territory?

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Last week we had the pleasure of catching up with Craig West, CEO of Succession Plus, Australia's largest business succession and exit planning firm who provide mentoring, advice and strategy for clients looking to prepare their business for a successful exit. I was interested in finding out more about what the term succession planning means, and why we should all have a succession plan as allied health business owners.

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On the weekend, I flew to Perth in Western Australia to speak to a wonderful group of Speech Pathologists in private practice. We had a great day talking about regulations in healthcare, tips for running a better business, and ways to tweak marketing so we can ensure we offer great value and customer service. It is a wonderful learning experience to get out and talk to other practitioners in healthcare about their thoughts, ideas and concerns in healthcare today. "Busy-ness" is one of the key areas that impacts on one’s ability to running an effective practice – how can you do all those little things that are important when you are so busy seeing clients? Here are the five things that I think we sideline when busy in our day to day business…. Are you forgetting to focus on any of these?

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Coming into Christmas or holiday periods can be a quieter time for many practices. This is often when staff take leave, or you yourself may take leave. Often, clients are away as well on holidays and this means that your cash flow can be affected at this time. It is important to look for ways to improve your cash flow during the year but importantly at this time. One way is to reduce your utility bills. We have put together some ideas to reduce your electricity bill this period.

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I have never been the best at being a neat organiser. I have a messy desk, a messy bag, and my home computer has those great piles of paperwork beside it. Does it make me unproductive?

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It is very near to Christmas and I find things get so hectic around here in our therapy practice. There seems so much to do and so little time, and the lead up to Christmas gets a little frantic. But why?

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I don’t know about anyone else, but the EOFY (end of financial year – I know, I didn’t know that either when I started in the business, so don’t feel silly) was a busy time at our practice. Students, stock take, reconciling accounts, and then of course I went and took a holiday right in the middle. If you are an employer like me, there are a few important things you need to ensure you do swiftly following the end of financial year. Here is a rundown of what you should take account of... now!

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One avenue that you can explore as an allied health business owner is looking to access grant funding to springboard your growth or transition. Before you launch into a grant application, let's look at some important considerations.

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Business plans are a written document that outlines what you are aspiring to achieve in your practice and how you might reach those aspirations. To put it very simply – it provides the direction for your practice so you don’t get lost. If you are feeling lost, or haven't looked at your plan for a while, now is a great time to stop and think of where you are going.

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There is not a great deal of point in spending time writing your goals if you are not prepared to then spend time facilitating their achievement during the year. It is important to set some habits around goal achievement and also give yourself some motivation for this.

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I used to do a lot of my planning in my head. Just thinking and then making random announcements to my team of new things we were going to start.  Once I applied for a grant to run an after-hours clinic – we were successful, and then I announced the project to my team – I never thought about their thoughts on working after hours!  Certainly, something we should have planned out.  That taught me a valuable lesson in sitting down to plan my practice quarterly with team members.

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Having started to plan the upcoming year, I spent some time today going over my to-do list and getting it organised ready for January.  I love to-do lists but have had to work really hard over the last two years to contain them.  Here’s how I changed several to-do lists into one working to-do list…….

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I am looking forward to the new year.  There is something each new year that happens in my brain that says – the calendar has clicked over, things will change!  I will have more time to do things, be more active, and tick all those things off my to-do list.  Of course, we all know that this does not happen unless we plan a way to make it happen.  Here are some tips to ensure you have a great new year and that you have achieved your goals come next Christmas!

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If you have joined me over the past couple of weeks as we have explored why difficult conversations are sometimes necessary in the workplace and how to plan for these – today is the big one! How to actually run that conversation.

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Today, I will share with you some tips on how to prepare to have a difficult conversation in your workplace - effective planning can lay a good foundation toward positive outcomes.

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A policy and procedure manual are really important component of having a successful practice. There are so many benefits going forward if you have a well-constructed manual that guides the expectations of your team’s performance. If you haven’t developed one, have a half-finished manual, or have an old one that might be out of date, here are some tips to get you back in the game.

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With Easter not far away, hopefully, you have started to think about what you need to do at your practice when there is a holiday period. Easter eggs have been out in force this year in the shops – for a while too – each time I grocery shop, I panic about when Easter is and if I am organised. Seems to always sneak up on me, even though the signs of Easter are in the shops for months!! The Easter period means different things to each of us, but the common thread, if you are running a private practice, is that you may have a closure period coming up. Here are 5 things to consider this Easter in your practice.

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When starting your business as a provider, one of the first points to consider is your business structure. This involves being a self-employed contractor or service provider. The way you structure your business has a direct reflection on taxes and income (examples include sole trader or company). It is recommended that you discuss your business structure options with an accountant before getting started. Following this, there are responsibilities of self-employed providers or private practice owners under the NDIS and it is worth learning and planning for these ahead of time. Let's explore some of the areas you will need to consider:

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If you have followed our blog for the past few years, you will know our passion for marketing in allied health. We love helping you find creative, practical and ethical ways to share your unique service benefits with your target health consumers.

There is, however, one thing that we always recommend to all allied health professionals – and that is to make sure you have some sort of tracking system or base line established so you can measure your results!

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The week before Christmas!  Mine feels busy!  I have lots to do and there are still clients who need our help right up until Christmas Eve.  I quite thrive on being busy but I then worry about forgetting things.  It is really nice to go on any break knowing that you have left work feeling like things were in order – well, I like that anyway.  So, a few tips today on what to check off your list before you head on leave this year…

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When I started in practice, I just thought about getting started; just opening up and building a name for myself.  I certainly didn’t start off thinking about the end, and I often wonder how many of us do that.  Have you considered your exit plan? 

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It is no secret that the life of a practice owner or that of a therapist can be at times a roller coaster ride. Pressured to learn at lightning speed, make decisions on a daily basis, often regarding the health and goal attainment of others as well as our own. Working hours can be long and sometimes we just yearn for a more rounded work-life balance.

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I always hear a lot of allied health practice owners do two things – opposite things! People seem to either fret about competitors or they are oblivious to any competitors even existing (of course, it is easier to pretend they are not there!). In private practice, you cannot avoid competitors. Have you really thought about your competitors? Here are a couple of tips…

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Here in Wagga Wagga, harvesting is nearing completion. This means it’s nearly Christmas! Going into the New Year is a good time to reflect on your brand. Do we need a brand in healthcare? I believe we do. I really think branding in healthcare is underestimated.  We often brand ourselves to our referrers, but do we consider how we engage our clients, our business partners and the public? Branding can seem foreign to the healthcare worker, but I encourage you to get this unsung concept in private practice working more effectively.

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