For better or worse, there are more dentists graduating out of dental school than ever before. Compared to only a few decades ago, the ratio of demand and supply has greatly tilted towards more supply and less demand. What this means, especially for young dentists, is a reevaluation of their future in dentistry. Will there even be enough work with a higher number of dentists entering the market with each passing year? The answer is ‘of course!’ But will it be enough to create the lifestyle you had wanted to create for yourself AND save up for a decent retirement? Possibly so; but it will require better planning and strategic abilities to create, develop and scaling your business, among other tips and tactics that is what we will be covering today.
Creating a Workable Plan
The first step toward creating a sustainable truly satisfying career in dentistry is to create a plan. We often talk about the absolute need for having a constructive plan and well-defined goals for your practice. Fact is, as much as you love practicing dentistry today, would you still love it 20 to 30 years down the road? On average, a person works for over 50 years of their life, do you think you can be fixing teeth for that long without losing motivation/love for dentistry?
This does not mean you think of an alternate career 20 years down the road, but it’d be wise to prepare. A good idea would be to find an alternate business that you could focus on two days of your working week, or perhaps focus on other businesses related to dentistry like opening up a lab, or maybe becoming a YouTube sensation by giving out oral hygiene tips for kids, the list goes on!
There are gazillions of ideas under the sun, but each and every one of them would require planning.
Ask any successful business owner and they’d tell you that they found an opportunity by finding gaps in the market. A great example of this is Dr. David Penn who created Southern Cross Dental when he found out that implants created locally for around $250 could be imported for less than $10. He found opportunity, seized it and currently has an immensely successful enterprise as a result. But what is most inspiring is how he managed to create and run Southern Cross Dental while running his own practice as a young dentist.
Similarly, you can too look for great opportunities for business within your own field. Just because most of the other dentists you know plan on increasing a chair in their practice every year and owning a new practice every few years doesn’t mean it should be the right path for you too.
Creating Multiple Streams of Revenue
You need to be able to create a stream of income other than one that relies on you showing up to work every day. What if you decide to take a break one day or some health concern doesn’t allow you to work indefinitely, how do you plan on coping? Having multiple streams of income not only helps you create a cushion but also allows you to take more risks and make decisions more rationally since the consequences and fear of failing diminishes considerably.
Dealing with Setbacks
No amount of planning can help you prepare for setbacks. This is a bitter pill that you will need to swallow from time to time. If someone had mentioned any chances of a pandemic even six months ago, you probably would have reminded them that we live in an age of technology and medical advancements beyond our imagination. Yet, life throws curveballs in the funniest of ways and the best way to deal with them is to dust yourself right off and try again.
Fact is, you will face challenges regarding communicating with your audiences and stakeholders and problems with team members and delays in reaching milestones; but that is totally fine. All these setbacks and challenges wouldn’t define you, the way you deal with them will! The best way to tackle such problems is to continue to learn new skills and methods for doing business. Look closely at and read about how others are interacting better with their patients, how they are able to create a happy and respectful culture in the workplace and overcome unforeseeable obstacles.
Creating a Long Term Sustainable Competitive Advantage
If there was just one method to strive and thrive in the current competitive market of dentistry, it is to find a long-term sustainable competitive advantage. In the simplest of terms, this means finding out what makes you unique? What is it that allows you to stand out amongst your competitors? What can you offer that your competitors can’t?
It is a common belief that the most successful dentists aren’t the most skillful but rather the ones with the best interpersonal skills. Does that sound like you? No? If not, then what can you offer instead that will make patients overlook your introverted nature? Or what can you do to work on your communication skills?
Do you offer the cheapest services? Are you sure that you can sustain the cheapest services long term? People don’t always prefer going to the cheapest dentist in town. Sure, they might go to the cheapest if they need their teeth cleaned, but anything slightly more complex, and they don’t mind spending extra just to ensure they are in safe hands.
You will need to find your Unique Selling Point and market yourself and your business accordingly not just to succeed but perhaps even to stay in business in the long run!
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