Is your Practice in Phase I or Phase II?
Firstly, a couple of definitions: “Phase I” refers to the state of a practice where the owner is very much the driver. Without the owner’s constant presence daily – billing, handling client demands, delegating work etc. – very little would get done. In this case, the owner is a huge cog in the wheel of the practice. Unfortunately, that often means that owners feel like they have created a monster – something they are now chained to, that they cannot escape from and that makes it very difficult for them to pursue other goals in life.
Phase II on the other hand is a condition where the practice runs without you! There is, however, a process of getting from Phase I to Phase II. So, you can be 10% in Phase II or 90%. At 10% you’ll be starting to get some roles off your plate and at 90%, you’ll have the practice almost running without you, while still obviously getting reports on progress and doing some mentoring of the key people on your team. The point here is that getting into 90-100% Phase II is not an overnight process. – but one very well worthwhile achieving!
As a consultant to practice owners, moving the owner out of Phase I and well into Phase II is often a major goal and focus. Usually, the first and easiest step is to review what non-technical roles they are handling as these require less training and time to offload. Examples include handling calls from clients who simply want to book an appointment or get a copy of last years’ return. This involves reviewing the duties of the administrative personnel and moving more responsibility to them. So, listing the non-technical duties you perform for about a week, can really help get a lot off your plate.
On the nontechnical as well as technical side, it really helps to get your hat written up! If you want your standards of service maintained as you offload responsibilities, this is only possible if the nuances of how you perform these tasks is captured. Nowadays, we have great Apps that you can use to record how you do these tasks, and that will also convert them into a written format for you.
Start small! Find an area you like to get off your plate and just focus on that. Also, follow the rule – that you only train once! What that means is that if you spend time training someone, they must take notes and return those notes to you in a typed format so you can capture and use to train others.
The bottom line is – unless you want to be stuck with the role you have now forever, get it written up and into the hands of your people! Don’t assume they know how to do it the way you want it done. Get it nailed down exactly, and then insist that they follow it. Only then, can you bit by bit extricate yourself and achieve the freedom to enjoy the rewards you deserve – of having built your own practice and not settled for working for someone else.