The holiday season is almost upon us but before you start making your plans, there are a few things you should organise to prepare your health clinic and ensure you end the year on a high. This should include celebrating the practice’s achievements over the year, marking important milestones, and getting yourself and your team ready for a well-deserved break.
Get started now so that those last few weeks aren’t any more hectic than they need to be! Here are five tips to keep in mind to ensure that the end of the year doesn’t catch you unawares:
1. Decide on Your Opening Hours
As December rolls around, your team may want to take leave to spend time with their families over the holiday season. Meet with your employees to co-ordinate who is taking leave and when, and schedule your rosters accordingly. Then, decide on your opening hours for the period factoring in your team’s availability.
Many businesses choose to close between Christmas and New Year to give their employees a good break, which coincides with a period that tends to be quieter anyway as clients are spending time with their families too. Look back at your bookings from previous years to determine when you are likely to be busy so that you can encourage staff to take their leave during quiet periods. (*Tip: You can use the Reports in Power Diary to do this.)
2. Update Your Clients
Anytime from mid-November onwards, you should get in touch with your clients to wish them a happy holiday season and thank them for their support over the year.
Use this as an opportunity to include a reminder to book now if they want an appointment before Christmas, and share your updated opening hours for December and January. Use the communication method that best suits your clients; this will usually be via a text message or email. Ensure your receptionist is also communicating with clients who come into the practice and print out a notice of your opening hours that can be put up in the waiting room.
3. Build on Referrer Relationships
As December creeps upon us, it’s a great time to thank your referring partners. The only downside is that everyone thinks they are standing out by sending a card and a (likely predictable) gift such as chocolates or wine. While this is definitely better than nothing, it’s an opportunity wasted.
This year, be imaginative and show that you really appreciate the partnerships you’ve built with a memorable gift or gesture, in a way which won’t appear forced ‘just because it’s Christmas’. (Could you gift an experience, a framed print you know they’d appreciate, a set of new mugs for their office, or something else unique?)
Think of this as a way to build your relationships and ultimately grow your health clinic. By showing real thought and appreciation, you’ll be more likely to be at the forefront of their minds when they are referring clients in the New Year.
4. Plan a Party
With the practicalities out of the way, it’s time to put some fun back into the festive season. A party helps to end the year on a high, so don’t forget to plan your team’s end-of-year function. It’s a fantastic opportunity to honour the individuals who make up your team and thank them for their contributions.
And if you work by yourself, don’t think this doesn’t apply to you! Be proactive and arrange an end-of-year meet up with other practitioners in the same position. It’s been a long year, and you’ve accomplished so much, it’s important to mark these achievements with a celebration.
Here are our top tips for making your end-of-year party a success:
- Plan and book it early so that you can choose your ideal time, date and location. If you’ve missed the boat, you can be more original and celebrate the start of the year with a party in January!
- View it as a team bonding opportunity. It’s a chance to reward your team for all the hard work that they’ve put in and can also be the perfect time to re-inspire them to tackle the new year with you.
- Decide whether it’s for team members only or if partners are invited. This will depend on the type of team you have, and its size. There are pros and cons for both options, but including partners can go a long way in building employee loyalty.
- Think about employee gifts. They should communicate thoughtfulness, appreciation, and, if possible, also be useful. A good option is a voucher, but personalise it by buying each employee a voucher from their favourite store.
- Make the food and drink selection clear if necessary. This might mean allocating a budget per head or limiting the number of drinks that can be ordered.
- On a tight budget? There are still many things that you can do, such as a catered brunch at the office, or meeting for an end-of-year celebration over breakfast rather than in the evening.
5. Bring Some Holiday Cheer
Don’t forget to bring the holiday season to your health clinic and really get creative. Getting into the holiday spirit doesn’t need to cost a lot of money, and your whole team can get involved in the fun.
Some office celebration ideas include:
- Add decorations to the reception area, waiting room and even your practicing rooms. Get the whole team involved with arranging the displays.
- Prepare a small gift for your clients – something to make them smile. This might mean a bonbon, a Christmas tree decoration, or an indigenous seedling to give away as a thank-you for their support.
- Think about adding some edible treats for clients and staff. Home-baked cookies, candy bars, or Christmas chocolates can all help set the mood.
- Or, plan a festive tea or other events where clients are invited to pop in on a certain date to enjoy some merriment before Christmas.
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Extra tip: Get Your Business in Order
If the year has run away from you, now’s the time to play catch up and tick off any “to-do’s” that you haven’t been able to do yet. Check with your bookkeeper that your accounts are fully up-to-date, follow up with any clients that need to settle outstanding invoices, and tackle any other outstanding tasks.
This will help get you into the spirit of the holidays so that when you finally get some well deserved time off, you won’t spend it worrying about the things that you didn’t get around to doing. It also means that you’ll start the new year fresh with a clean slate, ready to take your health practice to the next level.
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To really feel prepared for the holiday season, we recommend first adjusting your health clinic’s operating hours and communicating these to your clients, then tackle any outstanding to-do’s. Once you’ve got the business affairs of your practice in order, it’s time to put some festive fun in the mix. Be creative with your referrer gifts, and get yourself and your team holiday-ready by planning a party and bringing some festive treats to the office.
If you know a practice owner that needs some inspiration for the last few weeks of the year, we’d love you to share this with them!