Business Analysis Questionnaire

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By Miki Fairley

This questionnaire will help you in analyzing the current state of your business and in planning future strategy to thrive in a competitive environment.

  1. How is my business doing now as compared with last year and three years ago?
  2. Do I now have more competition in my own market area? If so, who and what is now my competition?
  3. From what I can discern both in my own market area, as well as regionally and nationally, am I likely to face more and/or different competition (from non-traditional sources) in the near future?
  4. Am I gaining or losing referral sources?
  5. How are MCO and other insurance contracting affecting my business?
  6. Am I keeping up with current trends in O&P and developments in the overall US healthcare field? Do I know what is happening? Am I doing anything to keep up continuing education?

Increasing Efficiency

1) How can I save money without sacrificing quality? For instance, is my billing going effectively, or do I have too much in old A/R? Does my billing staff follow up promptly on unpaid claims?
2) Would it be more effective for me to outsource much or all of my fabrication to what I considered a qualified central fab company, thus eliminating fabrication time, re-dos, and possibly technician expense, if I employ a technician(s)?
3) If I have others working for me, such as a certified orthotic fitter, does this person handle the less complex work, while I concentrate on the more complex cases as a clinician? In my office staff, do I have the higher-paid staff doing simpler work that lower-paid administrative/clerical people could do?
4) What is the highest revenue-producing aspect of my business? If I have sidelines, such as post-mastectomy work, pedorthics, DME, etc.-am I making or losing money or just breaking even on these aspects?

Facing Competition

If competition is definitely cutting into my business, or seems very likely to in the near future, what can I do?

1) Do I personally know my referral sources, such as doctors, and build ongoing relationships with them? Am I easily available to answer questions or address concerns or recommend certain devices? Am I willing to go to their office, the hospital/clinic, the patient's home, etc. if needed? Can my referral sources reach me if needed when the office is closed or I'm away?
2) Do I educate referral sources, consumer groups, and the community about what I do?
3) Do I have a good local reputation for quality and care?
4) Can I carve myself a niche which will distinguish me from my competitors? Can I become an expert in certain specific area(s) of O&P and make this known through communicating/marketing/inservices, etc.? Should I add another service to my business that would make me more desirable to referral sources?

If you feel that you need some assistance in analyzing your business, here are some possible sources, according to Randy Schmitke, CPA, MBA, CFO of O&P Digital Technologies, Gainesville, Florida:

  • A consultant or your accounting firm;
  • Contacting a local university to see if you can have some graduate MBA students do a company analysis for educational credit;
  • Online and print educational resources.

A caveat to keep in mind is that there is no "one size fits all" when it comes to business advice. Your business is unique, despite some similarities with others. Also, if you engage a consultant, accountant, or MBA student, you need to give him or her clear direction as to what you want to know and what you want them to do, since there are many ways a business analysis can go, Schmitke advises.