In building and runnng an independent private practice or small business, there are many items that need to be monitored closely and should be reviewed periodically. Year-end is a traditional time do this, and this week's Letter is a "Top Ten" of items to review as the year draws to a close, or whenever you decide to pause, reflect, take stock and re-assess.
1. Review your client statistics: How many clients did you have? On average, how long did they stay? How did they describe their problem? What did they need or want from you? Does tracking by gender, age, or other criteria, provide insight about your business?
2. Review your referral sources: How do clients find you? Do you have a solid mix of referral sources? Too few sources makes your business dependent on them, while too many sources is inefficient. Who refers the most desirable clients? Who refers the least desirable?
3. Review your outcome statistics: How many clients had successful outcomes? How many had unsuccessful outcomes, and why? How many left before you thought they should, and why? Which clients are you most effective with? Which do you enjoy the most?
4. Review your income, month by month: Look for patterns or relationships with marketing efforts or community events that may impact your business. Does your business go up when school starts or after holidays? Can you capitalize on any of these cyclical patterns?
5. Review environmental changes: Has the community's awareness of your skills or services been impacted by someone else's marketing, by news stories or controversy this year? Has your neighborhood changed? Have circumstances made your office more or less visible? Are other professionals moving into, or out of, your neighborhood?
6. Review office policies and procedures: Do any of your forms, brochures, or signs need to be up-dated? Is it time to add color and graphics? Can office procedures be streamlined, computerized or contracted out for better productivity?
7. Review your insurance coverage, lease agreements, partnerships and other documents that impact your business. Is this the year to incorporate? Consult a professional about making appropriate changes, and meet with your accountant for a year-end review and tax planning.
8. Review every aspect of your professional status: Review your CE requirements, renew your license(s), pay dues to your professional organizations, and be sure your liability insurance coverage is adequate and current.
9. Identify and study the 3 biggest mistakes you made relative to finances, business and marketing this year. What did you do, or not do? What did you learn? What steps can you take so that particular mistake or set of circumstances never holds you back again?
10. Be sure to acknowledge and thank everyone who has contributed to your success this year, including referral sources, advisors, colleagues, and especially your clients. Send holiday greetings, thank you notes, and where it's appropriate, send a gift or token of appreciation.
Have a great week! The holidays can be a time of stress - please accept our best wishes that this year it be a time for peace, joy, and goodwill toward all!
Some of you who tuned in for this morning‚Äôs press conference ‚Äď in which seven Labour MPs announced they would quit the party ‚Äď might have heard a surprising commentary. ‚ÄúBetween this and Brexit we are actually fucked,‚ÄĚ an unknown male voice could be heard saying as the even was broadcast live across the BBC Two and BBC News channels. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs going to be so divided ‚Ä¶ The Conservatives are going to win.‚ÄĚ
A BBC spokesperson said: ‚ÄúDue to an error, we inadvertently broadcast some background comments from another microphone during our coverage of the press conference this morning. We apologised on air once we realised our mistake.‚ÄĚ
This is interesting from Guardian media editor Jim Waterson ‚Äď
If you want an example of UK electoral law loopholes: The Independent Group, which looks/swims/quacks a lot like a political party and is asking for donations, is actually a private company. So it isn't subject to electoral law rules requiring them to declare financial backers.
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer reprises role as cleaning lady during festivities in home state of Saarland
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the leader of Germany‚Äôs Christian Democrat party, returned to her home state of Saarland over the weekend to reprise her annual role as Putzfrau Gretel (Gretel the cleaning lady) during carnival celebrations.
Dressed in an apron and checkered headscarf, Kramp-Karrenbauer cracked jokes about December‚Äôs CDU leadership election, the fight banning diesel vehicles and political dysfunction in Berlin in front of a crowd of more than a thousand people.
Internet expert exposes unsecured database believed to be targeting Muslim minorities
A Chinese surveillance company has been tracking the movements of at least 2.5 million residents in a province where Muslim minorities have been the target of a far-reaching security clampdown, internet experts have found.
Victor Gevers, of the non-profit group GDI.Foundation, which supports an open internet, discovered an unsecured database online that contained the name, sex, ethnicity, ID number, birth date and employer of residents in China‚Äôs western province of Xinjiang.
European People‚Äôs party and Socialists & Democrats have run parliament for 40 years
The ‚Äúgrand coalition‚ÄĚ of centre-right and centre-left that has run the European parliament for 40 years is set to lose its majority for the first time following elections in May, according to the institution‚Äôs internal forecasts.
The centre-right European People‚Äôs party and centre-left Socialists & Democrats have long called the shots in the EU parliament, but polls suggest the two big groups will win only 45% of seats, down from 53%.
Donald Trump returned to the attack against Andrew McCabe on Monday, in response to an interview in which the former deputy FBI director discussed his new book and made claims damaging to the president.
Two former military pilots, a customs officer and celebrity bodyguard among the accused
Sitting on the tarmac at Punta Cana international airport in the Dominican Republic, the private plane was set to take off for an overnight flight to Saint-Tropez in France when police swooped.
Inside the aircraft, a Dassault Falcon 50, officers found four Frenchmen ‚Äď two pilots and two passengers ‚Äď along with 680 kilos of cocaine, with an estimated street value of ‚ā¨20 (¬£17.5m), in 26 battered suitcases.
Hans Leo Maes captures the bridges and stairways that link up the hilly, population-dense city
Hong Kong is known for its flashing lights, neon signs and high-rise skylines. But the architect and photographer Hans Leo Maes documents an alternative side ‚Äď the city‚Äôs interconnecting staircases and bridges.
‚ÄúThe extreme population density in Hong Kong means [structures] are stacked and linked by stairs, often external and very visible,‚ÄĚ Maes says.
There‚Äôs a whole new craze in east Africa, fuelled by secondhand inline skates ‚Äď and a desire to unite
Photos and story by Duncan Moore
Nairobi‚Äôs traffic congestion is notorious. Minibuses known as matatus battle for space with cars, motorbikes and hand-drawn carts, causing excruciating gridlock.
Through this automotive battleground dart the daring members of the Kenyan city‚Äôs inline skating community, deftly weaving between moving vehicles, holding on to buses for speed and jumping over potholes.
Idea of topping municipal plant in Copenhagen with urban ski resort won accolades for Danish architecture firm
It might be the first waste incinerator the neighbours actually want next door. The shop at the foot of the Amager Bakke waste-to-energy project in Copenhagen is packed with families desperate to be among the first to try its unique selling point: the ski slope on the roof.
‚ÄúI live so close by that I could follow the development,‚ÄĚ says Ole Fredslund, who lives in neighbouring Amager, as he helped his sons Felix and Victor strap on their boots as the slope opened its lifts for the first time on Tuesday. ‚ÄúI guess 90% of the focus is on the fact that there‚Äôs a skiing hill coming, so in a way it‚Äôs very clever. Everybody talks about the ski hill to be, not the waste plant to be.‚ÄĚ
Russian agent allegedly in Bulgaria when Emilian Gebrev poisoned in 2015 and in UK when Skripals attacked
The first sign that something was wrong with Emilian Gebrev was an itchy, bloodshot eye after a dinner in April 2015. The next day he had strange visions of flashing lasers, followed by uncontrollable vomiting. As friends rushed him to hospital, everything went black and he slipped into a coma.
Communities clash over natural resources as arrivals from South Sudan and DRC plunder environment for fuel and construction
The cutting down of millions of trees has sparked angry clashes in parts of Uganda between local people and refugees who have been fleeing conflict in neighbouring South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The timber is being used for house construction, fuel and to make charcoal. In the north and west of the country, where an estimated 1.1 million refugees are living, massive deforestation is drawing protests by local communities.
Mike Pezzullo admits department faced ‚Äėurgent‚Äô circumstances when deal done with little known firm Paladin
The head of the department of home affairs concedes bureaucrats awarded a controversial $423m contract to Paladin to provide services on Manus Island because of an ‚Äúurgent‚ÄĚ set of circumstances, but Mike Pezzullo denies he was ‚Äúdesperate‚ÄĚ.
Officials from the home affairs department told estimates on Monday they were, in essence, forced to conduct a closed tender process for the contract because the government of Papua New Guinea advised the then Turnbull government in July it could not provide services it had signalled it would provide because it had entered a caretaker period.
Analysis of community where 73% of residents contracted Zika in 2015 offers new clues about epidemic
Scientists studying the 2015 Zika outbreak in Brazil have discovered that people previously exposed to dengue may have been protected from the virus.
Three-quarters of the inhabitants of a favela in the country‚Äôs north-east caught the mosquito-borne Zika virus during the epidemic. The outbreak left more than 3,000 babies across Brazil with microcephaly, a birth defect caused by mothers catching the virus during pregnancy.
In the midst of Venezuela‚Äôs spiralling economic crisis, Natalia and fellow members of a Chavista collective have stepped in to take over production at a local bakery, La Minka. Authorities had suspended operations when the owners were accused of overpricing their loaves and hoarding flour. In March 2017, with the tacit support of the government, the collective began selling affordable bread. This is the story of their fight to safeguard the bakery‚Äôs future and keep the Chavista dream alive
I had to gain the confidence that always seemed to come naturally to my partner to release my inner handywoman
Last year my partner and I moved into a new house. The whole exercise was exhilarating ‚Äď finally, a place we owned ‚Äď but it also unearthed in me a desperation, a deep frustration. For a long time I‚Äôve wanted to be someone who fixes things, builds things, someone who is capable in practical day-to-day tasks. I own tools, I have ideas and I tinker with my surroundings, but I‚Äôve never felt completely at ease in the tasks that various men in my life seem to take on with no backward glance.
In our just-built house there were so many jobs to do with drills, hammers, caulking guns. My drive to learn by doing was offset by disorientation and self-doubt. I wanted to begin improving our house, but I didn‚Äôt know what sort of screws I needed for the curtain rod brackets, or whether I could just drill straight into the plasterboard. My partner, a man, didn‚Äôt have much more experience in these things than I did, but approached the situation with a confidence and bluster that only confused me more.
Cardinals around the world are joining the pope at a forum on tackling abuse. But only radical reform can solve the crisis
When the first meeting in the Vatican of cardinals from around the world to discuss clerical sexual abuse was announced, hopes were high among Catholics. Finally, it seemed, the courageous, mould-breaking Pope Francis was going to force through root-and-branch reforms to tackle the scandal that has done such damage to the reputation of the institution he leads.
Yet even before 180 cardinals assemble on Thursday in Rome for this unprecedented four-day summit, the chance of such prayers being answered is looking increasingly remote. The Vatican press office has been downplaying the event as simply an opportunity to remind senior clerics of the patchy efforts that global Catholicism has made this past quarter of a century to address the thousands upon thousands of cases of priests molesting, abusing and traumatising children in their care.
From Russia to Turkey and Iraq, the rout of the caliphate brings new political considerations and shifting alliances
The collapse of the Isis caliphate‚Äôs last stronghold in Syria is sending shockwaves across the region, changing the calculations of the major powers as they jockey for advantage. Triumphalism in Washington, Moscow and Damascus risks obscuring the human cost of a ‚Äúvictory‚ÄĚ that may quickly prove transitory.
Of immediate concern is the fate of civilians, mainly women and children, displaced from formerly Isis-controlled areas where many were held against their will. The independent International Rescue Committee says up to 4,000 people are fleeing towards the al-Hawl refugee camp in north-east Syria.
Since 1992, more than 11,500 Colombians have been killed or injured by landmines, a legacy of more than 50 years of internal conflict. Many impoverished amputees without access to the healthcare system have resorted to making homemade prosthetics from wood, leather, metal and plastic bottles
The US vice-president rebuked European powers over Iran and Venezuela on Saturday, in a renewed attack on traditional US allies, rejecting a call by Germany‚Äôs chancellor to include Russia in global cooperation efforts. Describing the results of Donald Trump‚Äôs presidency as 'remarkable' and 'extraordinary', Pence told senior European and Asian officials that the European Union should follow the US in quitting the Iran nuclear deal and recognising the head of Venezuela‚Äôs congress, Juan Guaid√≥, as president
A man opened fire on Friday in a warehouse in Aurora, Illinois, an hour's drive west of Chicago. The shooter, identified as 45-year-old Gary Martin, was an employee at the industrial complex in Aurora. He also wounded five police officers before he was shot dead
Donald Trump has declared a national emergency to secure extra funding for his wall at the US-Mexico border. Trump‚Äôs decision came after weeks of wrangling over his campaign promise, which led to a record 35-day partial government shutdown, damaging his approval rating.
Residents of a coalmining region in Siberia have been posting online videos showing entire streets and districts covered in toxic black snow that critics say highlight a man-made ecological catastrophe in which British industry is compliant.
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