Douglas Stallbaumer: Start mapping your future now

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Douglas Stallbaumer uses a scene from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to explain why HME providers need a solid business plan. To paraphrase, Alice tells the Cheshire Cat that she doesn't know where she's going. The cat responds that it, therefore, doesn't matter which road she takes. The business plan is the roadmap for the company, says Stallbaumer, and gives direction as to how it should be run in the future. Without it, like Alice, a company doesn't know where it's going--and key decisions, like forks in the road, become meaningless. Stallbaumer says his Medtrade session, "Is Everything Going as Planned? Raising Capital or Developing Focus, Your Business Plan is Critical to Success," is a must-attend for C-level managers.

HME News: Are business plans something HME providers often overlook?

Douglas Stallbaumer: I don't want to segment out home healthcare providers. Business across the board overlooks it. A lot of (business owners) run by gut and feel. Breaking things down and taking the time to analyze and critique and map out the strategy of your business is really kind of an introvert's way of looking at it.

hme: What are some of the more important elements of a business plan?

Stallbaumer: Executive summary and company profile. This should include a mission statement that describes your business and why you're there. Competitive analysis, marketing strategy, staff qualifications, financial information--those are the basic things.

hme: Is there an area where HME providers fall short in their business plans?

Stallbaumer: The most difficult thing for them is to really come up with a competitive analysis. What is it that's keeping them from succeeding? Sometimes they find out their competitor is not outside their front door--it's inside their own head or inside their own business.

hme: And where do they excel?

Stallbaumer: Where they really succeed is in innovation. Necessity is the mother of invention, and they're finding ways to do things. They're reaching out and really finding ways to solve problems.

hme: Is it important that the business plan be flexible?

Stallbaumer: It's definitely a living document; it's something that at least quarterly you need to adjust. You need to see whether you're living within your means, whether you're moving in the direction you need to, and make course corrections.

hme: What's one thing participants should take away from yoursession?

Stallbaumer: I hope they'll go back to their business and get involved and actually start to analyze their business. I hope they'll take this as a reason to go back, look at their business plan and start mapping out their future.