Business Planning in a Changing Market

Author: Kriss Barlow, RN, MBA

This article has been updated by the author to reflect 2013 trends and market dynamics.

Healthcare changes are occurring at an unbelievable pace and the need to do more with less is certainly part of everyone’s reality. In the marketplace you can feel that pull to just live for today and put off long-term planning until things calm down. But how long can an organization stay innovative and on the cutting-edge practicing this “manage today” philosophy?

Without a doubt, tomorrow’s leading organizations are committed to balancing today’s survival with strategies for future success. The impetus generally starts at the top. They provide the overall strategic direction. From there, everyone has a role in creating a plan, the right map for focused service delivery and growth. A business plan allows you to define your activity and outcomes. It details what you can offer, to whom and who else has it. It articulates where the product, service or organization is focused for the next eighteen months.

Here are some ideas for developing a succinct business plan.

  • Think about the current market, future market and method to get there. Write the plan with this in mind.
  • To establish momentum for the plan, involve many members of the team. Use their input not to slow or complicate the big picture planning, but to understand current perceptions, where they think opportunities lie and barriers they face.
  • Establish short term and long term recommendations within the plan.
  • Consider ALL the target audiences that may be impacted or may impact the completion of your goals, including physicians, consumers, payers,
    employers and small niche groups in these categories.

Above all, make the plan real. An effective plan calls out what the organization is capable of achieving within the prescribed period. Taking the time to make certain that your department or service line is on the right path takes much less time than implementing a poorly construed action and then having to re-do the approach.