Do you have a plan for your business in case you want to take an extended vacation? Are the standard practices and protocols of your business written down and accessible in case of an emergency? Are you able to take a step back from your business without it coming to a halt?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about creating a contingency plan for your practice with Mary Beth Simon.
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Meet Mary Beth Simon
Mary Beth guides business owners to create contingency plans that prepare them and their teams for extended vacations or the unexpected, so the business can continue to run successfully in their absence. She founded Niche Partnership Consulting after seeing the turmoil that a lack of contingency planning caused when a dear friend developed terminal cancer.
Mary Beth is a national conference speaker, and a continuous learner, and loves helping business owners find peace of mind since retiring from a 30+ year career at Vanguard.
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In This Podcast
- The problem with how most people run their private practices
- Benefits of joint responsibilities
- The main components of a strong contingency plan
- A business continuance playbook
- Mary Beth’s advice to private practitioners
The problem with how most people run their private practices
Business owners tend to be quite optimistic about the future.
They tend to imagine themselves as always being around and able to handle a problem in their business if one were to come up, and they don’t often consider what would happen if they couldn’t be the one right there and then solve the problem.
We have these optimism biases I guess you could say that when someone needs to step in and assist us and they want to assist us, we don’t have the tools in place that will make it easier for them to … provide us support when we need it.Mary Beth Simon
Since the pandemic, a trend that Mary Beth has noticed in private practice owners is they have taken on more responsibility in terms of running the back end of the business.
This might’ve been a necessary step for the sudden change and the need to adopt a more technological approach, but many of them haven’t taken a step back yet to offload some of that responsibility that doesn’t necessarily have to belong to them exclusively.
So creating a contingency plan is an opportunity to take [that] step back and get some clarity around all of the responsibilities that they have taken on and [it] gives them an opportunity to assess if there’s anybody else on their team or potentially a contractor who they could train and transition primary ownership of some of these roles to that person.Mary Beth Simon
Benefits of joint responsibilities
You don’t have to have joint ownership of your practice if you don’t want to share the business with another owner, but you can hire another person to share roles and responsibilities with you.
I do see a lot of business owners that don’t want to let go of financial roles in the business, [or] maybe don’t want other members of the team to handle payroll … and [so] there are other options when we think of the support network around the business, potentially bookkeeping services, payroll services, that kind of thing.Mary Beth Simon
It’s an individual assessment that the owner makes.
However, regardless of whether you hire a person to share joint roles or responsibilities, or pay for an external service, it is important that you as the owner evaluate what you are doing and externalize what can be done by someone else.
The main components of a strong contingency plan
1 – Create a personal contingency plan first: as a business owner, a lot of your business contingency plan will depend on your personal one.
2 – Create a business contingency plan: all of the essential documents related to the business will be located in one place. Review this plan during tax time and update anything that needs to be updated, and review it with your second-in-command.
3 – Create a business continuance playbook: how the business will continue to survive and thrive if you were to step away for some time.
The essentials of a business contingency plan include:
- Keeping all important documents in one place
- Working with a password management system like LastPass
- Identifying a second-in-command for the business who would be willing to give access to the contingency plan if you have to step away from the business
I recommend that everyone has a fireproof [and] waterproof safe either at their home or at their business or possibly both, and that’s where [a physical copy of] the binder should be stored.Mary Beth Simon
A business continuance playbook
What are the responsibilities that the owner takes on daily, weekly, monthly, annually, and quarterly in the business?
Document all of these roles and responsibilities and assess them to see which roles already have documented procedures for them.
In the procedure documentation process we identify who is the primary process owner, so typically the business owner at that time, and who could be or is the backup process owner … if it makes sense, the goal is to document the procedures … and train another person to be the backup … eventually make that person the primary and the business owner the backup.Mary Beth Simon
Many practice owners of private practices might struggle to feel like they could trust someone in their company to see all of the important information regularly.
If this is you, consider working with another private practice owner, and you two can be each other’s helper.
Mary Beth’s advice to private practitioners
One of the best reasons to create your contingency plan is to achieve more and better-structured time off from your business so that you can rest while your business continues to succeed.
Sponsors mentioned in this episode:
- Request a free 30-day trial, at blueprint-health.com
- Trust me, don’t waste any more of your time, and try TherapyNotes.
Useful links mentioned in this episode:
- Visit Niche Partnership Consulting and connect on YouTube and LinkedIn.
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Meet Joe Sanok
Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.
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