In your Private Practice, do you do anything specific at the end of the year to wrap up loose ends, and bring the fiscal year of your practice to an official close?
Whether you are a “New Year’s resolution” type-of-person or not, I find that the end of December and beginning of January are the perfect time to take a step back from your business and reflect on how things went for you in the previous year, and what you’d like to do differently in the upcoming year.
Many of us take time off around Christmas, or experience a bit of a slowing down of clients due to the holidays, and it’s the perfect time to re-group and implement any necessary changes.
There are several things I do each December and early January to keep things running smoothly and efficiently in my practice that I’d love to share with you.
Schedule Time Off in the Upcoming Year
In December, I like to check in with myself about how I’m feeling, and how I felt throughout the year, in terms of my energy expenditure. Did I feel rejuvenated and on-my-game throughout the year, both in my business and with my clients? How much time off did I end up taking? How many days per week was I working and how many clients did I see per week? Did I get away for a relaxing vacation at least a couple of times? And how did all of this work for me? Did I like my schedule and did the amount of time off feel just right? Or does it need some adjusting?
After reflecting on what went well, and what didn’t go so well in the past year, I’ll use this opportunity to create a plan now for the upcoming year. I try to schedule my weeks off in advance, including planning and booking any holidays, so they don’t fall off my radar, and I have something exciting to look forward to throughout the year.
Re-vamp Your Schedule
Similar to scheduling time off, as you’re reflecting on how your year went, you might consider adjusting your schedule. Do you like working longer days over 3 or 4 days? Or shorter days over 5 days? What is your ideal number of clients to see each week? If you need any tweaks in order to feel better about the way you’re running your practice, now is the time to do it!
Increase Your Prices
Many counsellors and therapists increase their rates on January 1st. Especially if you haven’t increased your rates at all throughout the year, now is a good time to do it. Many clients will expect it, as cost of living goes up each year and if you were employed at a salaried or hourly job, chances are you’d get a 3-5% increase there. So why not give yourself a raise in your own business?
If you’ve already raised your prices this year, but your practice is full or nearly full, or you have a waitlist, you might consider raising your rates just for your new clients, and giving your current clients another 6 months or a year at their current rate.
Do Your Taxes
But wait … it isn’t tax season, is it? No, don’t worry, tax season still isn’t until April, but I find if I wait until then, it also becomes a source of stress for me. I’ll also be a quarter of the way into the New Year, and my attention is anywhere but on last year’s income and expenditures. I try to track my income and expenses on a monthly basis by using a software program that automatically imports the information from my accounts, but it still needs reconciling at the end of each month. If I’ve fallen behind, December is a good time to catch up. And while I’m at it, I might as well do all my taxes now so I can start fresh in January and not have to worry about going back and doing it in a few months from now.
Also, in my business, I allocate a certain percentage of my income to taxes, business expenses, personal expenses, and savings. By reviewing my income and spending at the end of the year, I can get an overall picture of how I did. If I over or underspent, and what I need to focus on or do differently for the upcoming year. If I’ve overspent on my business expenses, or didn’t set enough aside for taxes, I’d rather know that in January, than in April when taxes are due and I’m already 4 months into the next year, making the same mistakes!
Schedule any Special Events
Do you offer anything in your practice besides one-on-one counselling work? Do you run groups, courses, or workshops? I find it really helpful to map out my annual calendar ahead of time. This not only helps with my projected budget, but it holds me accountable and helps me feel a lot more organized!
Need help wrapping up your fiscal year and planning for the next one? Book a free 20-minute Business Mentorship Consultation. I’d love to chat with you!