This is part of a series of blog posts: The Top 10 Questions Therapists Ask Me.
#9: What numbers do I need to track in my practice?
Let’s talk about the numbers in your business. Are you glazing over? Feeling dread? The numbers involved in your practice may bore you or stress you out. I can promise you that when you know these particular numbers, you’ll make better business decisions.
Track only what is necessary and let go of the rest, because your time is precious.
Here I’ll tell you the 5 numbers you NEED to track in order to know what is going on in your business.
Why track at all?
Why not just do the work and let the numbers work themselves out? When you don’t track, you don’t know the true story of your business. On a good day you will feel that your business is doing well, and on a bad day you’ll feel that your business is failing. Tracking these numbers will help you step back, feel grounded, and see the real story. When you have the real story, you can adjust your strategy wisely.
So here are those 5 numbers:
Average number of sessions per month
Keep track of every single session you have, and you’ll be able to calculate this easily. The easiest way is using your appointment calendar. You may already be recording this without realizing it. Add these up at the end of the month and keep a record so you can calculate the average. Consider using a spreadsheet.
Average number of intakes per month
When you see a client for the first appointment (not counting a free consultation), note that in your calendar so that you know how many people are coming into your practice. Calculate this average over time.
Write down the fee you charge for every single session, and you’ll be able to calculate this monthly. The easiest way is to record it in your appointment calendar, and then calculate at the end of the month on that spreadsheet.
Average number of Inquiries per month
These are the calls and emails that come in from potential clients. The easiest way to track this is using a spread sheet. On that spread sheet, have a column for each of these things: date they contacted you, name (You need to keep this spreadsheet in such a way that the identities of the people are totally protected), referral source (how they found you), and current status (playing phone tag? scheduled an appointment?). The headings will look like this:
Date, Name, Source, Status
You’ll know what practice building methods are working best, and you’ll know for sure that no calls or emails are falling through the cracks.
Expenses per month
Track every practice expense. Consider using an online program to make this tracking easy. For a simple therapy practice, programs like mint work fine. When you know exactly what your practice costs to run, you know how much you need to earn just to pay those bills. You can also look at your expenses and cut out anything you’re not using. If you don’t track your expenses, you’re very likely to miss a bunch of deductions at tax time.
When you’ve been tracking those 5 things for a while:
You’ll see more clearly when your efforts are working. For example, if you’ve been working hard on marketing and your monthly income hasn’t gone up, take a look at your inquiries per month. If that number is going up, you’re probably going in the right direction and the impact hasn’t hit your bank account yet.
You’ll see what isn’t working. Let’s say you’ve been basing your projected income on how many sessions you THINK you have each month. If you discover you have a lower average number of appointments per month than you thought, you might adjust your schedule. Maybe you’ll discover that you need to have 20 openings in order to have an average of 15 sessions per week.
Next week I'll answer the question: Why aren't my practice building efforts working?!