Believe it or not, it is that time of year again! The holidays are here. This might be something you’ve already experienced in private practice or it could be the first distinct and definitive time that really all of your clients will be out of town (at least most of them will take off for some part of the holidays). If you have already experienced this, then I definitely encourage you to observe how this holiday season is or is not different…just super helpful in budgeting for the future. When we can predict what our practice will do, we can plan so much more accordingly. If this is the first holiday your practice will see then let’s talk about bracing for the impact of the holidays!
There are a few main areas in your practice that might take a hit and I’d like to help predict these for you! I am focusing on some concrete ways your practice is impacted AND I think more importantly the more insidious ways the holidays can be impactful.
Obviously the holiday season is going to have a financial impact on your practice. Maybe you budgeted for this already and the hit won’t be so bad (at least it is expected). I’d say the rule of thumb is to expect most clients to take off the week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve (at a minimum). If the number of clients coming into your office is going to be super low, maybe it is helpful to consider taking the time off. It is super important to have time away from our work. We must recharge. I have heard some folks describe enjoying the slow time to still see some folks who are around and use the extra time to catch up on work that they have pushed off due to time constraints. So, financially current clients will take some time away AND the other financial hit that can be difficult is that our phones will likely take a break from ringing for a bit. This could last a while and could be scarier than having your current clients cancel. Expect this, it will happen. It does not mean your marketing efforts in summer and fall did not work it just means people tend to prioritize differently around the holidays and it might take until February for the calls to come back in!
This is the less obvious aspect of how the holidays impact our practices but nonetheless important to get a head of! My busiest month has historically been October. Super exciting to see the numbers go up and great to see more of the clients I work best with. Having this high in October is thrilling and it can set up an expectation that all months will continue this way. When I reflect on why October is likely the busiest month for me, I link it back to taking summer months to hit marketing hard.
That means it take some time to let the fruits of that labor come through. The down time in late November and December does not take away how hard we work in other months, our results might just look a bit different. The down time around the holidays might actually be a time to circle back to some marketing and networking approaches so as to plant the seeds that will definitely sprout again. Just because the speed at which new client calls come in might dip, does not mean your efforts aren’t working…keep at it and you’ll notice a difference into the new year!
I am realizing that I as I am writing this it is coming across as potentially a little doom and gloomy, and that is definitely not my intent. My goal is to be somewhat cautionary with this post. The holidays are a wonderful time to spend with friends and family. They can be energizing and give us a much needed break. They can also set our practices into a bit of a lull and the more intentional you can be heading into the December and even beginning of January the more your practice will thrive! Happy and Healthy Holidays!