Flavor in Numbers
By Kristen Wilson, PT, DPT
Earlier this month, my husband, oldest son, and I had the pleasure of traveling out of town for a getaway.
True to our usual form, we settled into our hotel, unpacked, and immediately began researching the local food haunts. As lovers of food, we often center our vacation activities around experiencing the local cuisine. Anyone who shares this penchant for culinary greatness will surely appreciate my love of the app Yelp, which rates restaurants and shares customer comments. Five stars usually accompanies descriptions of great ambience and tasty food with unique ingredients, an obvious no-brainer that gets added to our list. 2.5 stars? Hard pass. After thorough research, our decisions were final, and we pieced together the schedule of restaurant visits for the upcoming days to satisfy our stomachs and hearts.
My preoccupation with numbers transcends my review of local fare and permeates the bones of my private practice. As a newer business owner 10 years ago, I made most of my decisions based on feel with little reliance on hard data. This process led to limited growth, reduced confidence in financial decisions, and little profit. Through my experience with Peer2Peer Networks, guidance by a fantastic numbers-oriented mentor, and ample practice with building and reading spreadsheets, I have gained an appreciation and hearty respect for the information benchmarks and data gleans on the functionality of a private practice. Implementing regular data review has not only resulted in an overwhelming increase in profit margin, but most important, reassures me that the decisions I make are sound and responsible. This, in turn, translates to improved buy-in from my team and an enhanced ability to communicate my mission and values to customers. Numbers certainly don’t define who we are, but much like the addition of spice to a good meal, they add flavor and context.
This month’s issue of Impact offers depictions of data in ways you could never imagine. From harnessing the basics of Connie Jeon’s online-only feature, “Financial Literacy,” to diving deep with Scott Hebert on “Lifetime Value: The Missing Link in Your Practice’s Growth Strategy,” you’ll find the information necessary to satisfy your numbers craving. And if you’re one of those practitioners who believes looking at numbers will make you a cold-hearted business person, PLEASE take a moment to read Russ Certo’s piece, which shows how he used data to impact underserved communities. Like a menu, there are options for every palate in this issue.
Our profession’s diligence in using research to justify care matches well with our business focus to use data to drive financial decisions. And our section resources offer varied guidance through webinars, past Impact articles, and mentors. If you’re new to numbers, don’t be afraid to dive in and find the combination of data that gives you the best information. Like tasting a new dish, you can determine whether the combination of flavors suits you and modify the recipe to yield your best results. Back in the day I never appreciated the world of information that data could provide my practice, however now, I crave all the numbers I can sink my teeth into. Bon appetit, my friends!