Ask these questions to find the right management consultant.
What questions should you ask to find the right partner for your practice? Guest Post by Skytale Group.
Guest Post by Skytale Group: Deciphering Complexity Into Clarity.
A practice consultant can be a vital resource in reaching your goals and building a business you love. An outside consultant may be the fresh set of eyes your business needs to identify pain points you may be overlooking, opportunities you may be missing, and a perspective you may have never considered. Finding the right consultant is the first step. You want to work with someone who gets results, but you also want to work with a consultant who inspires your team and is genuinely someone you enjoy working with. In our experience, asking the right questions from the beginning can give insight into whether you’ve found the right partner for your practice.
Ensure they understand your vision
Are you looking to improve and tweak what you have, squeezing the most juice out of our existing lemon? Would you like to improve existing operations to make work more enjoyable and less stressful and make the team more cohesive? Or, are you looking to grow quickly and expand and therefore want to make sure your systems are in order before you replicate them throughout new locations? Is your goal to improve and streamline what you have, or are you in hyper-growth mode? We work with both spectrums, and, in our experience, these business owners have different personalities, the practices are very different, with different goals and objectives. Your consultant should be very clear on your vision and direction and should be aligned with you in achieving that vision.
The question to ask: This is more about what questions the consultant should be asking you, but you can get a preview of the conversation by asking “What questions will you ask early on in order to understand my vision?”
Create a clear path
Once a clear vision is communicated, the next step is to create a roadmap. Where are you going? Where are you now? Then comes filling in all the in-between. We are financial consultants, so we create a financial roadmap. What revenue supports your desired growth or, what revenue supports your existing overhead? How do we plan for and then achieve that revenue? What are the pain points that exist now or that are likely to come up along the way? How will the consultant specifically identify those pain points, and what is the plan to work with the providers or the team to solve those pain points? Identifying the issues, and then setting a clear roadmap toward solving the issues is critical. Often times, practice management consultants aren’t clear and try to tackle everything all at once, overwhelming the team. Identifying the priorities that will have the biggest impact and the most obvious success (i.e. the low hanging fruit). When success is achieved early on - when a problem is solved, or a new procedure that creates efficiency is put into place - the team can see the results. When they see results, they are more inclined to continue to work hard with the consultant to enact change.
The question to ask: “What is your process in identifying pain points and enacting specific change? How do you typically work with your clients and their teams?” You’re looking for a clear roadmap, a system, a process, an agenda. You’re looking to see that systems have been developed to specifically help you. She’s not just going to wing it and throw everything out at once.
Measure measure measure
How do we know if we are on the right track – if the consulting is working? We set specific and measurable goals with our clients- goals that, if achieved, show that the pain points are being corrected. If growth is a goal, what new patient volume, or conversion of callers, or case acceptance is required to achieve that growth metric. Then, we should measure those key performance indicators regularly. In our monthly meetings, we review the actual data and compare it to the goal. Where are the variances? What needs to be revisited? Together we get specific and granular and let the data tell us whether the consulting is successful and our plan is working.
The question to ask: “How do you measure our progress as we work together? What specific key performance indicators do you track?”
Ongoing coaching relationship
If the greatest golfer of all time still has a coach, we all can benefit from a coach. We see our clients as long-term partners. Your practice should be aiming for constant improvement – whether it be increased profitability, reduced team stress, better patient care – there is always something to improve upon or an opportunity to pursue.
The question to ask: “How long do your client engagements usually last?” You’re looking for a long-term partner here.
Finding the right consultant can be a game-changer for your practice. An outsider’s perspective is so valuable in ensuring you are watching all angles of your business. Our clients share that they have previously felt like they were on an island, owning the business, running the business, without someone to talk to about their ideas, strategy, and issues. If this sounds familiar, consider finding someone you can strategize with. You have a vision for your business. Surround yourself with partners to help you reach that vision. Of course, you have to be receptive to change and enter the relationship with the right attitude to get the most out of your consulting partnership. Asking the right questions will help ensure you’ve found the right partner.
If you are looking for support growing the financial side of your business, be sure to utilize these questions regardless of whichever.