PT Practice goals

Reach Your Practice Goals With Certainty

How many new patients do you need to add per month, to hit your practice goals in 6 months, 12 months?

Do you know how to get there with evidence-based certainty?

Whether or not your targets are already set, practice goals are easier to set than they are to reach. This year, take the guesswork out of growing, by using your own practice history – or data – to reach your numbers and have the most successful year yet.

Preparing Practice Goals

 Don’t Limit Yourself (Yet)

The first step in goal setting is to work towards a bigger purpose, and align your team around it. The practices that are most successful are able to create a vibrant culture, with the right people on the bus, pushing it in the right direction.

What do you want your practice to ultimately become regardless of any limitations? This step is essentially making a dream, but a dream becomes a goal when you make a plan and we’ll get to the plan next.

Don’t be afraid or feel ridiculous for having a huge dream. You are the visionary for your practice and you need to be! Limiting your vision will handicap the entire organization. Limits come later when it’s time to figure out how long it will take to reach the goal.

I recommend getting outside the practice & away from the inbox for a while to take this first step. Let your mind work free of distraction. If you have trouble getting creative, check out this 30-Minute Goal Setting Cheat Sheet from The Balance | Small Business.

Plan Attainable Steps

Once you have the end goal in mind it’s time to work in “realistic” factors. What points in your practice goals can you reach by the end of this year?

Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean you limit this year to the resources you have right now. New staff, new tools, investing in increased budgets, these are all ways you can stretch what has previously been possible. Remember you started this practice to thrive not just exist!

Here are some ideas for creating a marketing plan:

Start with what you were able to accomplish last year, and decide how much you aim to increase that by. Don’t sell yourself short, but this number shouldn’t be your end goal we discussed earlier either. If it is, your end goal might not be high enough! (unless you’re setting up to sell your practice).

One of my favorite methods for writing out annual goals is the SMART method:

The S.M.A.R.T. Method

The SMART goal method is a widely used means for organizing goals and tracking progress. It dates back to 1981 from a consultant named George T. Doran. SMART is an acronym for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-bound

When writing goals, make sure each one meets these 5 criteria. Much research and teaching have since been done on this method, and if you haven’t already I recommend reading up on it. Here’s a great article from SmartSheet.

Once you have this year’s piece of your goals decided, it’s time to make a plan to reach them:

Goal setting for Physical therapy practices

Use Data To Reach Your Targets

In order to make an achievable plan without guesswork, you need to know a few things about your own practice:

Know Your Patient Acquisition Cost

Most industries call this Customer Acquisition Cost or CAC. The simple definition is what it costs you to get one new patient into your practice. To calculate that, use this easy formula:

  • Marketing and sales spend ÷ Number of new patients = CAC

To start off with the best data, run that calculation for your entire practice based on last year’s numbers. For more help, check this article on acquisition cost.

Know Which Channels Work Best

Next, if possible, do it again for as many marketing channels as you can such as Print ads, Newsletters, Google & Facebook ads, MD Referrals, etc. Now, if you don’t know how many patients each one of those areas was responsible for, then this step won’t be possible. But, if you have data from specific sources determining which areas have a cheaper CAC will help big time this year because you can confidently increase those budgets.

  • TIP: If you don’t have exact data, evaluate trends to make better decisions. Was there a month or two that stand out last year for new patients? Did you run any marketing campaigns during that time specifically?

Other Key Data:

There are certainly other metrics that can help you reach your practice goals more easily. Some practice data you want to know includes:

  • Leads to Prospect Conversion %
  • Prospect to Eval Conversion %
  • Phone Call to Patient Conversion %
  • Cancellation %
  • Cancellation to Rebook %

And that isn’t a comprehensive list. WebPT has a great article on metrics.

Anyway, that covers the preparation. Ready to move on to reaching your practice goals?

Well, to move forward we need to work backward…

using data to set practice goals

Work Backwards From Your Goal

Working backward means you start with the target, then use your metrics to calculate the correct estimation of effort needed to reach that target.

For example:

If you want to grow from 65 patients/week to 100 patients/week, that’s almost 54% growth and, if your average patient is worth around $900-$1000 in income, that’s as much as $147,000 more $/month!

How do you get there? Well, if our CAC is $50, and I need 35 more patients/week, that is a marketing spend increase of $1750 a week or a little over $7,000/month.

Sound like a lot? I know. But, look at the income potential again. $7,000 getting up to a $147,000 return is a great investment, isn’t it? So you can see how when you use data, you’re not making a guess. You’re making an investment.

Where you put that money depends on knowing what works.

Let’s say you convert 50% of phone calls, your website generates 10 phone calls a month, and gets 500 visitors a month. 50% is a good number, so how do you increase calls? Logically, you increase traffic!

If you went from 500 to 1500 visitors a month you are likely to see phone calls increase to 30, meaning you’d likely see at least 15 new patients or $13,000 – $15,000 in new income.

For that much revenue increasing your web traffic is easily worth as much as $1300-$1500 per month.

See where I’m going?

You can work backward with many areas of sales & marketing.


  1. Have a target
  2. Plug in metrics
  3. Then increase the effort/investment as needed to reach the target

“What If I Don’t Have the History or Data I Need?”

Many practice owners have this question, and that’s ok. Data doesn’t just happen, it’s a job by itself in many cases!

At the very least, start with your practice’s CAC (marketing/sales spend divided by number of new patients). You can start by assuming this same number across your channels even though that’s not usually true.

Just be sure to figure out what works going forward (This is where a marketing data training, consult, or working with PT-specific marketing agency could be worth it’s weight in gold).

What’s next?

If your goals aren’t set, start there. Brainstorm, dream big and be the visionary your practice needs. If they are set, start getting data and working backward. You can make sales and marketing decisions much more confidently with just a few simple formulas.

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