Hundreds of small healthcare practices start up or change hands every year. New practice owners quickly learn what it takes to survive and create successful practices while establishing the work/life balance we all so desire.

It all starts with culture. Culture is about attracting and hiring the people who would be most successful in that specific role. And it’s about driving the behaviours that makes the practice successful. Without exception, the most successful practice owners understand that it’s all about people: hiring and retaining the right people, eliminating ineffective people and providing the necessary resources for staff members to master their tasks.

As the owner of a practice, you must have a positive attitude and accept 100 per cent of the responsibility for the results and performance. When you accept responsibility, you can act to make the necessary changes to accomplish the desired results. Leadership is a commitment or choice to serve others by stepping up to take responsibility. Successful leaders have a clear vision for themselves and for their practice. They hold themselves and others accountable to achieving the practice vision in a way that reflects their personal values and the values of the practice for which they work for. Outstanding leaders are constantly working to achieve clarity about their next step and take decisive action when timing’s right.

Another valid attitude of success is the streamlining of practice processes. Unfortunately, this is probably the least understood task. Practice processes are how things are done within a practice. Every practice has some processes; some are clearly defined, others are implicit. Many practices integrate customer service into their practice culture and achieve this through training and the design of relevant practice processes. The intention is to increase productivity and reduce costs while generating the same, or better, outcomes. Successful practices understand the need to continuously improve their processes, to become more efficient and productive, and to respond to changes faster while providing better service to their patients.

The rewards of owning a practice really can be life changing. With discipline, executing the strategies and staying on course you will minimise risk and enjoy the vast rewards, especially when the time comes to sell your practice.