Conference Reviews

Building a Business Plan

Reviewed by Daniel S. Tsze, MD

I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that Drs. David Banks and David Werner would be giving a plenary lecture on how to prepare a business plan for both new and existing sedation services.  I enjoy the challenges and the perpetual learning inherent in our profession, but the prospect of having to write up a business plan for a sedation service imbued me with a sinking feeling of dread coupled with a heightened desire to procrastinate.

Thankfully, I was quickly put at ease after just the first few slides. I knew that I was ill equipped for the task when I could not even name the six essential components of a business plan: business description, market analysis, marketing plan, operating plan, financial plan, and executive summary.  Key elements emphasized by Dr. Banks included the importance and centrality of a mission statement, which would serve as the roadmap at all decision points and the need to highlight not just the financial, but also the inherent value of the service (i.e. the value your service brings that may not be able to be measured financially). 

What personally struck me the most was the need for a detailed and comprehensive market analysis and plan.  I have always thought of a sedation service as an endeavour where, "If you build it, they will come".  It quickly became clear that this mantra alone would be less than convincing to VPs reading my proposal.  Rather, I knew that by incorporating the specifics detailed by Dr. Banks, I would have infinitely greater success in garnering buy-in and support.

The theory of the business plan was then brought to life with an example detailed by Dr. Werner.  He detailed the nuts and bolts of how they addressed each component of the business plan when presenting the prospect of a sedation service to Sterling Children's Hospital.  Many of the elements and specifics were helpful to note, and many appeared generalizable to what many of us could use in our own business plans.  An attractive example of an inherent value he presented was a benefit to the provider, specifically, the opportunity for ED physicians to transition to providing sedation as a growing part of their practice later in life, and thus extending their career.

This was an excellent talk with immediately applicable points for both new and existing sedation services, and I highly recommend that anyone who needs to create a business plan obtain a copy of Drs. Banks and Werner's slides.  Their talk contains a bounty of information, will effectively serve as a clear roadmap for both the novice and veteran alike, and will most certainly be close by my side when it comes time for me to prepare my business plan.

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