The end is near. Be prepared.


The End is Near. Are You Ready?

At this hectic time of the year, be sure to keep your eye on the road ahead.

Jim Thomas
From The Editorial Director

Fall may be the most important season of the year. Certainly, there's the World Series, football, the start of the holiday season and any number of other events. But even without these, fall shapes up to be a pivotal time during which many organizations not only examine the current year, but plan for the new year.

So let me ask, what have you planned for 2012? Hopefully, you've put some effort into answering this question already.

Equip yourself for 2012 now

If you've started planning, you may consider the purchase of equipment or software. Certainly, tax incentives, such as Section 179 of the I.R.S. tax code, can provide a timely incentive for purchasing equipment. (For an explanation of the section 179 deduction, visit And of course, the well-publicized incentives for meaningful use of EHR may prove advantageous to your practice.

In addition to financial incentives, consider the impact of new equipment on operations efficiency, patient care, revenues and practice marketing. As we've discussed countless times in OM, both performance and profitability can often be achieved through an investment in new equipment. This is a message that bears repeating, especially at this time of the year.

Create a formal plan

A discussion of 2012 would be lacking without another theme that regularly surfaces in OM: developing a solid business plan.

“Many factors critical to business success depend upon your plan. These include: outside funding, credit from suppliers, management of your operation and finances, promotion and marketing of your business and achievement of your goals and objectives,” notes the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) website (

The SBA explains that the essential elements of a business plan include an executive summary, market analysis, company description (a “high level” look at your practice), organization and management, marketing and sales, service or product line, funding requests and financials.

Is it necessary to devise such a plan, even if you've done without one in the past? Yes, say the SBA and small business experts alike. Among other things, a plan enables you to think creatively, look at your practice objectively and ensure that you don't lose sight of your goals — all valuable management skills for any practice leader looking toward the future. OM