BUSINESS: Strategies

Sail Through a Profitable 2020

How X, Y and Z can help make next year your best year in practice

The year 2020 is around the corner. It’s likely that most of us are working on marketing messaging, in-office signage and social media content, looking for some cute and magical “2020” connection to enhance our practices. It’s not a bad idea, but cute and magical have very short shelf lives. Instead, I recommend putting your efforts into a long-term view by using three letters, X, Y and Z. Doing that, vs. coming up with a cute slogan, will help you sail through a profitable 2020.

Many of us make a New Years resolution that says, “In 2020, I’m finally going to lose weight.” And like nearly all Americans who say that, we’ll fail. Similarly, many doctors will make a practice resolution of, “In 2020, I’m finally going to make more money and grow my practice.” Certainly, weight loss and income-increasing resolutions fail for a lot of reasons. But one thing they have in common is that they don’t leverage the power of X, Y and Z.


What’s needed to succeed in either case is a starting point, an end point and a timeline: X, Y and Z.

In the case of weight loss, we already know that X, Y and Z need to be defined: “I currently weigh 165 lbs. (X). I will weigh 145 lbs. (Y) by July 1 (Z).

In the case of our practices, “My practice usually produces $500,000 every six months (X). I will make $600,000 (Y) by June 30 (Z).

X to Y by Z is simple yet incredibly potent. Here’s why:

Stating the resolution (goal) in this format forces us to answer the next question with similar requisite parameters.

Specifically, if we are committed to state X, Y and Z vs. “I want to make more money,” in our above business example, we now have to answer, “If we want to make an extra $100,000 in the next six months, that’s about $770 per day. How can I accomplish that?”


Once again invoking X, Y and Z, but this time as three separate task points, we can say:

X: Every day we will conduct five-minute morning huddles to review our daily goal of making an additional $770 per day.

Y: Every day during these five-minute morning huddles we will review patients for the day as well as their reasons for their visits and their history with the practice.

Z: We will ensure that at least 50% of patients for the day have some concrete plan in place that allows us to add value for the patient and provide better care, while helping us get to our goal of $770 per day.

For example:

Mrs. Smith’s husband hasn’t had an eye exam in seven years. Let’s make sure to remind her. At his last visit, he complained that his eyes were dry. Let’s send Mrs. Smith home with information about our new dry eye disease program.

Mr. Jones last tried contact lenses four years ago, and she couldn’t achieve lens comfort. That was before we started using the new brand A that’s been working for patients just like him.

Ms. Frame is picking up her glasses at 3:15. She absolutely loved that new sunglass line we just took in, and wanted to wait until she got her driving glasses before ordering the sunglasses.


With this simple framework, now each staff member is once again reminded of our daily goal and the actionable steps to support it. With this degree of continued focus, we have a much higher likelihood of completing that resolution for 2020. OM