When you hear the words intelligence thrown in with competitiveness, your mind wanders to the other dental practice down the road or that shiny new clinic in town with the enormous signs offering lower fixed priced treatments right? You might make a mental note to run a whitening special leading up to the Christmas party season, or look into updating your reception with new chairs and bigger better screens.
But the reality is a lot harsher and more bitter than that. And it all stems from the wrong perception around being competitive. And it is these misconceptions that competitive intelligence debunks.
Competitive intelligence focuses on the important information regarding the market in general, and how you can compete with the changing trends of that market. You could be a monopoly, the only dental practice in your area offering new age technology in the practice, but if you aren’t focusing on the market trends, you could easily find yourself struggling to stay relevant in the very near future. Let’s look at the factors that you need to focus on when considering any aspects of competition.
What Decisions Are You Making?
Being aware of what is going on in your the market is important, but what is more important is to focus on the information that serves your long term goals. Where do you want your business to be in five or ten years from now? What steps do you need to make to get there? What market analysis do you need to conduct that would assist in making those decisions?
Focus solely on those elements in order to yield productive results. Don’t seek data for the sake of data. It is like checking the price of every product when you enter a supermarket for the sake of knowledge. As long as you don’t plan on purchasing a new toaster any time soon, you don’t need to know anything about toasters. You can use that time more productively.
Focus on Your Consumers
The market for you is defined as the patients you want walking into your practice – those you would consider your ideal patient avatar. They are the ones you need to attract and be acutely well informed about. What are their likes and dislikes? Where do they hang out? Who do they ask about references for medical concerns? What technologies are they using? What is their decision-making process when searching for a dental practice?
Think about the changing trends around your suburb and within your communities, region, across Australia and even the world at large. What are the technological impacts that are going to affect your business and your business model? What are the economic issues that will in turn affect the government’s policies, health care programs the income of your patients?
All this analysis empowers you with the knowledge to make sound decisions regarding your practice.
You have got to keep yourself alert to the changing landscape, look at the trends and understand where they are leading for the next 5, 10 or even 15 years from now. Uber, Airbnb and Samsung did not take over their competitive markets overnight.
There are great resources that offer trend reports about the future. Read up and do your research.
The VUCA Strategy
Anybody with a military background understands the impact of the VUCA strategy. Similar strategy is also applied in business. The only difference is, where it stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous in the military, it stands for Vision, Understanding, Clarity and Agility in the business world. These four strategies are of extreme importance when it comes to planning a business’s growth. And to plan your growth you need to be aware of what changes will impact on your patients and the communities they live in.
The Blind Spot
The key element during any strategising process is to challenge the biases, your blind spots, your assumptions and the limiting beliefs you have around your practice and your patients. Businesses like Nokia, Kodak and Blackberry are great examples of organisations that, though incredibly competent, did not see the changes coming. They did not empower themselves with the knowledge of the changing landscape around them. And thus, failed to remain relevant in the market in the long run.
Get a Business Coach or Mentor
Now, for a dental practice owner, all this information can be overwhelming and a little too much to handle. Even if you jot down tips or make mental notes, you probably don’t have a plan that you can immediately apply to your business.
Sure, you need to learn more, but it takes time and trial and error to successfully implement competitiveness into your business. A business coach or mentor can serve as that sounding board and provide a protective armour for any possible decisions which might be bias or blind spotted.
Its comforting to have another head – one external to your business – but on your side – working through your decisions with you to caution on factors you may not have considered and to reassure you of those good opportunities.
Becoming a Good Leader
Leadership is often associated with large organisations having multiple teams to handle. It doesn’t matter if it’s just you and your DA at your practice, smart leadership can help create a system for future growth. You can’t just let your skills as a technician guide your way to success, you need to plan out and purposely pave the way to a successful business.
Competitive intelligence helps you stay relevant in the long haul, and it starts with small steps towards lifting your own market awareness. I challenge you to build daily habits which will assist you to learn more about your patients, your market, your community, the products and services in your dental field, the broader global business of dentistry and the issues – be they local or global – that impact on the lives of the patients you have now and those you will want to attract in the future.
It doesn’t have to be very time consuming. Build habits around reading the local newspaper and school newsletters, subscribe to community and industry blogs and informative podcasts. Sign up for local government publications, industry apps, dental industry, business and product websites and catalogues and plug into platforms that distribute information that is relevant to you. The way information is delivered you can have all the data you need coming into your business inbox.
P.S. Whenever you’re ready …. here are 4 ways I can help you grow your dental practice:
1. Grab a free chapter from my book “Retention – How to Plug the #1 Profit Leak in Your Dental Practice”
The book is the definitive guide to patient retention and how to use internal marketing to grow your practice – Click Here
2. Join the Savvy Dentist community and connect with dentists who are scaling their practice too
It’s our Facebook group where clever dentists learn to become commercially smart so that they have more patients, more profit and less stress. – Click Here
3. Attend a Practice Max Intensive live event
Our 2 day immersive events provide access to the latest entrepreneurial thinking and actionable strategies to drive your practice forward. You’ll leave with a game plan to take your results to the next level. If you’d like to join us, just send me a message with the word “Event and I’ll get you all the details! – Click here
4. Work with me and my team privately
If you’d like to work directly with me and my team to take your profit from 6 figures to 7 figures …. just send me a message with the word “Private”… tell me a little about your practice and what you would like to work on together, and I’ll get you all the details! – Click here