We do not learn about writing business proposals in optometry school, but this is an essential document when it comes to approaching lenders, attracting associates or potential partners to join the practice, and even retaining patients. A business proposal (also known as a business plan) demonstrates to stakeholders that the practice is sustainable and healthy.
Here, I’ll walk you through how to write a business proposal when subleasing an optometry practice.
What is a business proposal?
A business proposal is a document setting out a business's future objectives and strategies for achieving them. The proposal is used by organizations before subleasing a clinic to an optometrist. The proposal can establish milestones and you can track progress as well as future projections to get an objective evaluation of the accomplishments of the practice.
As a prospective practice owner or subleasing doctor, your goal is to run your optometric practice like a normal business, with the important caveat that your primary focus is providing top-tier eyecare to your patients. A business proposal outlines your plan to not only achieve your healthcare goals but profit and stability, as well.
Components of a business plan
- Title page
- Proposal letter – includes information about you
- Executive summary
- Financial Analysis plan
- Marketing Analysis/Plan
- Operations Plan
- Human resources plan – if needed
- Possible competitors including SWOT analysis
Let’s dive into what each of these sections needs to include.
The title page includes the name of your practice, the name of the person the business proposal was written by and written for, as well as their positions.
A proposal letter is kind of like your cover letter and is also written in the same format. It provides information about you and what you are planning to offer. It includes a very brief summary of what someone will find in the rest of the proposal and opens the discussion for a possible agreement.
The executive summary describes what makes the practice unique and provides how the practice plans to stay viable and sustainable. An executive summary provides the legal structure of the practice, where you define whether the practice is sole ownership, partnership, or with a corporation. List out any accountants or lawyers involved with it.
The executive summary also includes what services and products will be provided, the business vision, and a mission statement. Lastly, state any short-term and long-term goals of the practice. Short-term goals are almost always focused on increasing patient base and marketing whereas long-term goals are about growth and increasing total revenue.
A good financial plan is key to a strong business proposal. The financial plan should be very interactive and visual with graphs, tables, and charts. The goal is to provide growth projections over the next 5 years.
It should include pricing of services and products provided, as well as all the costs needed to run the practice. This means the liabilities including rent, bills, and investments in marketing. The financial plan should also include projected income and a cash-flow forecast. Including a balance sheet in the financial plan is often the best choice for providing an overview. You should also include seasonal variations in the financial data.
When it comes to running optometric practices, a market analysis of the area is extremely important to understand the future of the practice and to forecast projections. Marketing analysis should include subsections on demographics, your clinic location, hours, and community, and industry outlook. All this information explains to the recruiter, banks, and other stakeholders why your practice will be sustainable and profitable over the next few years.
Another benefit of this section? Marketing analysis creates a background for a marketing plan on how to approach the community when it comes to advertising. You’ve already done most of the research!
Marketing allows us to communicate with current and future patients about our practice, services, mission, and approach to eyecare. It’s what allows us to grow our practices. Marketing analysis must go hand in hand with marketing plans to target specific communities, industry landscape, patient demographics, and practice strengths and weaknesses.
Crafting your own marketing plan? Check out our complete course on Optometry Practice Marketing.
There are two types of marketing plans: internal marketing and external marketing. Internal marketing includes the use of effective patient/staff communication, brochures, posters, newsletters, etc. External marketing includes mail and emails to patients, practice websites, advertising, social media promotions, and other events. A good marketing plan includes effective strategies where the right amount of time and money (not too much, not too little) can give the desired results.
This is the plan to actually run the practice itself. This section shows the potential stakeholder about how you will run your practice. It defines the roles of each person in the practice—from the owner or subleasing doctor to associate optometrists to practice staff—and outlines how the practice will reach its goals and increase profitability.
This is where you include all the practice’s objective goals. These include but are not limited to:
- Patient retention
- Recall effectiveness
- Patient growth
- Patient referrals
- Scheduling proficiency
- Patient satisfaction
Human resources plan
Building a strong team requires leadership and training. A strong team of staff and other doctors are key to a successful business, so your business proposal should include a plan to maintain that.
This can be a generalized approach to developing and maintaining staff and maximizing their contributions. It should describe recruiting, staffing, compensation, office policies, staff retention, and performance management.
SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Targets. SWOT analysis helps you to build on what you do well, identify what you are lacking, and plan how to improve. It is also designed to help you to minimize risks and take the greatest possible advantage of chances for success.
Lastly, point out any competitors within the area with their strengths and weaknesses to show how your practice is unique and will differentiate itself from your competitors. This will give a quick insight into how your practice will stand out in the community.
Provides a quick summary of the business proposal in which you revisit your mission statement and reinforce the idea of progressive growth over time.
A strong business proposal is not only used for your initial application but should be a document that grows and is updated with the practice. It should be referenced and adjusted in response to changes within the practice and demographics. As a living document, the business proposal can provide your practice with a strong foundation for success.