Have you ever tried stacking a bunch of boxes together and moving them from Point A to point B? We all have at some point. And we all have tried to squeeze just one more in. Stack one more, and then just one more; it is more about the challenge than saving time and energy. Because it does take more energy and definitely more time to balance more than you can handle than it does to just go slow, take your time and move the boxes in a methodical manner. But who wants to go slow when you can actually just keep stacking? But there is a bit of a problem with that.
How are you going to carry all that weight forward when the stack is so high it is blocking your view and so heavy that it is unbalanced and stumbling right within your arms? You want to control it, hold it a little tighter, balance it a little more but it finally gives in! AND comes tumbling down on the floor. You can of course bring the pieces back together, be more strategic and get things under order, but until you do, you would have lost your most valuable and irreplaceable source that is time.
The Difference between Growth and Scale
This is exactly the same problem many businesses face. They are just so busy stacking up that they don’t stop to assess whether the foundation of their business is strong enough to hold that much weight. And then to match it up, they just hire a few more arms that may or may not be suitable for the job.
Growth is great for any business, but if it isn’t planned, then you will hit the ceiling sooner or later and you may have to get back down to make the foundations strong. This is why more and more successful businesses focus more on scaling than they do on growth. And if you believe both these terms are two sides of the same coin that you need to take a closer look at your coins.
Scaling is when you take a 360 degree view of your business, plan the next step, focus on the infrastructure and your human resources and then make the leap. The difference would be that of someone who ‘runs really fast’ and someone who ‘runs really fast AND trains’ for a marathon. While the former too would get a great start, might even get ahead of everyone, but he will soon have to slow down because he didn’t pack up his energy drinks, slowed down to replenish his energies and really strategically map out the race. Compared to that, someone who did consider all these things may take a slower start, but he will reap greater rewards at the finish line; or at least will make it to the finish line in time!
Following are the major three considerations and factors that can be game changers for your dental practice’s growth:
Just Stop for a Moment
Before you can even begin working on your practice, you need to work on your goals for that practice. What are your goals? What do you expect your practice to look like in five or ten years? Now you may want to grow at a pace of 30% each year, but do you have the infrastructure and the workforce to healthily grow that fast? Having a plan is not just about getting to point B. It is about jotting down the little details that will get you there. To break it down into little doable chunks so that you can hold yourself and your team accountable for the little things that will contribute to the bigger picture. And it’s not just you that needs to be aware about that plan, your team needs to be on it too.
You need to sit everybody down and let them know what the plan is, designate tasks and give timelines. A good way to do that would be to take your team out of town for a few days and really spend the time to build that plan and then divide it into quarterly, monthly and even weekly chunks. This enables everyone to be on the same page and actually feel like a part of the growth.
These are your most valuable assets. From your receptionist to your dental hygienist and dental assistants, they are all an integral part of your growth. And the most costly expense too. If they aren’t really contributing enough to validate their salary, then it is time to re-evaluate. Sometimes even a competitive employee may be detrimental to the practice’s culture and could hinder other employee’s performance, because of which it could really bring down his own value. Businesses, in the flurry to continue growing, end up hiring aggressively without screening employees; due to which, end up hiring people who are more of a liability than an asset.
And even if they do end up hiring great people for the job, they aren’t able to get the most out of them due to lack of communication. The employee may not know what is expected of him or you may not truly be tapping into their maximum potential. If you could even get 1% more value out of them then it could really add up in the bigger picture. So truly invest your time and energy into hiring the right people and then retaining them with great leadership.
The Money Matters
Unfortunately, most dental schools don’t teach money management. ‘How hard could it really be?’ you ask. You just need to decide on a budget, rent a pretty office, get some fancy chairs and latest machinery and you are all set and ready to go. Perhaps that’s a great start. And it’s not the start that is the most difficult anyway. It is about managing a healthy cash flow- and really understanding the importance of it. Your business may be doing great in your accounting books, but if you don’t have a healthy cash flow, then those books or the business isn’t worth much.
The first step would be to hire a competent accountant; someone who really knows that his job is more than just to keep records. It is also important to be able to openly communicate fees structures and charges with the patients. Many a times, dentists are hesitant to talk about money matters with the patients. They don’t know how to ask for a down payment for an expensive procedure. And the truth is, most patients are willing to pay if only they are made aware of the fact that they have to.
The fact is, there may not be enough minutes in an hour or hours in a day, but by making most of the time that you DO have, you can really take your business up a few notches. But it all starts with awareness, understanding and the will to take it slow.
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