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Investment vs Expense

The cost of confusing the two

In this business, both yours and mine, one of the more frequent questions is, "What will this cost?" For some, that is truly the deciding point. And in some cases, it's a sensible one. No one should embark on a path that puts them in a stressful debt situation.

But when it's not a matter of dollars, what IS the difference?

Those new shoes are an expense (unless you have no shoes at all). If you have to make room for them in a closet already jammed with shoes, then they're an expense. Period.

A new car is an expense. It's worth less money the minute you sign the papers and drive away. But it's also an investment. It gets you where you need to go and that's a primary need. Think of that as a kind of hybrid.

An efficient patient management system backed up in the cloud is an investment. It may cost money to purchase and maintain, but it makes your practice function more efficiently, saves both your staff and your patients time and keeps your records from falling prey to loss, misfiling and for the most part, physical loss or hacking. Not to mention you HAVE to do the EMR thing anyway.

The decoration of your office, your web site, your brochures, your surgical tools, attendance at industry meetings and all (well, nearly all) the technology you buy are investments. You know that all these will improve your business.

Marketing your business, however you do it, is an investment.

So, go for the expensive card stock, pay well for a web site that works for you 24/7, incentivize your staff, hire a photo tech or pay to train a staff member, pop for the unexpected bonus, offer your patients loyalty incentives and serve good coffee in real cups.

Then when your investments pay off handsomely, go buy those new shoes!
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