By Gyl A. Kasewurm This article is a part of the March/April 2017, Volume 29, Number 2, Audiology Today issue. What’s your business plan for 2017? Responses may include, “I want to make more money,” or “I want more vacation,” or perhaps “I want to see less patients.” Regardless of the reactions, chances are that the wishes won’t become reality unless you have a specific plan to accomplish them. Every year, business owners should take the time to sit down and do a little planning, just to make sure that the new year will be a good one for business. Many practice owners are so busy working in their businesses that they don’t take the time to create a formal, written plan for a new year. Our industry is fraught with new obstacles, so a formal plan and established goals can help ensure that the business is on the right track. Wishing and hoping that business will go well really isn’t enough in this competitive and challenging world of hearing health care. It really doesn’t matter if the business is a startup or 30 years old, a written business plan is necessary to keep the business on track. A well thought out plan can force business owners and operators to think realistically about the outlook for the coming year. Too many owners don’t bother to write a business plan because they feel it is too much work and unnecessary if they aren’t looking for financing. But, actually, a good business plan can infuse new life and direction into a business and provide a means to be proactive instead of reactive when obstacles occur. Jack Welch, retired chairman and CEO of General Electric once said, “Control your destiny or someone else will.” In business, controlling your destiny means having specific plans, roadmaps, and budgets. A good plan defines a set of goals and defines the actions necessary to achieve those goals. However, a plan must also have the flexibility for intervention when something isn’t working or when unexpected disruptions in the market necessitate change. The plan should be fluid and open to change. Sometimes you can pound a market that isn’t working and exhaust your budget. It’s like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole, and, of course, that just won’t work. As one example, Lego started by making wooden ducks. A few years later, after a fire burned down the factory, management switched to making plastic toys and the interlocking bricks spawned a multi-billion dollar business. This content is an exclusive benefit for American Academy of Audiology members. If you're a member, log in and you'll get immediate access. Member Login If you're not yet a member, you'll be interested to know that joining not only gives you access to top-notch resources like this one, but also invitations to member-only events, inclusion in the member directory, participation in professional forums, and access to patient resources, tools, and continuing education. Join today!