Success loves preparation: forecasting, budgets and rugby

I love numbers. I'm not someone who will spend several hours looking for a 10p rounding difference, or need everything explained to me to three decimal places, but I understand how important they are to a businesses success. I make no secret of the fact that I am a massive fan of cash flows, budgets and forecasts. Yawn you might say, but stay with me whilst I explain…

Let's forget about numbers and dentistry and actually, let's forget about business as well. Instead let's imagine that you are a sports coach. As I am based in Cardiff, for this example I am going to be the coach of a rugby team. I'll let you choose your own sport because I'm nice.

So I want to make sure that I have the best rugby players on my team. The kind of people who always got picked first in P.E. They need to have the drive and determination to succeed. They need to be team players all working towards the same goal.

I'll make them practice of course. I'll make them practice rugby type things, such as running, catching and being kicked in the head. They'll be tough my team. The best.

You're probably somewhere else in the UK; you could even be across the road from me in Cardiff, also training your team hard. You have the same goal as me and that is to win. The date for our match is set; next Saturday at Pontcanna Fields. Be there or be square as the child-like saying goes.

Friday night though it rains. Pontcanna Fields is water logged, but our teams are raring to go. They're the best that rugby can offer, all star players with well rehearsed set pieces. Bring it on.

So who will win? Well actually it won't be the team who is better at playing rugby, it will actually be the team who is better at playing rugby on a water logged pitch.

You see, there is no point in practicing in perfect conditions. Yes you'll win some matches but the weather does what it likes. The team that dominates the league will be the team that can handle the rain, the ice and the blistering heat.

Why should your Dental Practice be any different? Could you cope with your version of a water logged pitch? What if the NHS altered your UDA target, a large percentage of private patients canceled their direct debit or another dental practice opened down the road, in Sainsbury's so was cheaper and had parking? How quickly could you adjust your playing style? Would you be able to win that match?

Forecasts, budgets and cash flows shouldn't be something that you save for special occasions like when you need to obtain finance. They should be an everyday occurrence; just something that you do to make sure that your team has a pretty solid chance at winning the league, whatever the weather.


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