Have you ever tried Googling ‘How do I make my dental practice the best in the world?’ Well, you aren’t alone, I still do that sometimes (read: all the time!). We all want to be there- on top of the competition, looking down and making mental notes of why the others didn’t succeed and why you will never be as ‘mediocre’ as the rest of them. But what is ‘mediocre’ anyway? What differentiates between a superb dental practice and a pretty average one that is just breathing to survive each day?
Needless to say, there isn’t just one factor, or one reason. The recipe to success comes with a pretty extensive ingredient list, and each ingredient needs to be added in just the right amount at just the right time for you to eventually create the bittersweet taste of success. Does it sound too complex to even contemplate? How about I break it down for you, based on the experiences of the best dental practitioners out there?
What is Your ‘Why?’
The success of a dental practice does not depend as much on which school you went to, who you practiced for, how many patients you see each week or even how much money you make. Before anything else, it depends on why you are doing what you are doing? This is the first step to the success of any business or personal venture.
You need to know why you are doing what you are doing. Do you want to own a dental practice because you love what you do or because you’ve always dreamt of designing a wonderful dental space for patients?
The road to anywhere is never easy. If you have ever tried to lead a ‘simple’ life, you’d know how complex even that can be. It can be quite difficult to fight temptation, de-clutter your life from matters that don’t matter and disconnect from people who make it complicated. Even that requires constant effort and, of course, persistence. And that holds pretty much true for any path you want to follow. As a dental practitioner, you will experience setbacks and hurdles, but you need to make sure you focus on your ‘why’ and persist through each day like your life depends on it. The word ‘failure’ is the end of the road, and so as long as you keep walking, the road will never end, and you will never fail!
Okay, all that was a little dose of poetic talk we need every now and then to keep us motivated. Real goals come from real efforts and for that you need to have a really solid plan. Ask yourself where you want to be in the next 10 years. Would you like to own a practice with a team of 15 people? Invest in digital dentistry? Go overseas and learn new techniques? Invest heavily and then retire early?
You need to plan ahead in order to meet your goals. You cannot reach your destination without knowing where you are going! If we are driving from Sydney to Melbourne and we are diverted along the way due to road works that’s fine. We know where we are going and what we are striving for so we can get ourselves back on the road to Melbourne pretty quickly. If we drive out of Sydney not sure where we are going and get diverted due to road works then we could end up anywhere.
We just wouldn’t do it. We wouldn’t drive out of Sydney not sure of our destination. So why would we be driving our practice every day not sure of our goal or destination.
Setting Up the Culture
This is an extension of your strategic planning. So much has been said about establishing a healthy culture, but it still remains one of the most troublesome areas of most businesses. YOU are responsible for setting the vision and your team is responsible for creating it. And this vision you need to establish right at the beginning. Even if you are the only person in your ‘team’ you need to stick to your vision and remind yourself of it again and again. Make it a habit to talk about the vision on team meetings so that it ingrains itself and forms a healthy culture, which will then sustain itself. You should be having the same commitment to culture whether you are a two person team or twenty two person team.
The world of dentistry, just like every other profession. It will continue to evolve and grow. Newer technologies and better treatments will always be introduced. By staying in the know of these matters, you can make sure you always stay ahead of the pack. The day you decide you know everything will be the day you would unknowingly decide to stop growing.
Treat Patients Like You Would Treat Your Family
If there has to be one secret to imminent success in a dental practice, then this has to be it. The more compassion and genuine concern you show towards your patients, the more they’d trust you and want you to heed to their dental troubles. And the best possible way to do that is to help them buy the right treatment, rather than trying to sell what you have. The more concern you show towards their dental health and troubles, the more they’d turn to you for them. And from a business perspective, this will result in the best, cost-free marketing strategy there ever was- referrals. Great businesses reach their true potential through word of mouth.
Create a Comfortable Environment
You will be spending more time at your practice than you’d be spending at home. So make the experience worthwhile. The environment should not only cater to the comfort and needs of your patients and staff members but to yours also. You cannot expect to provide quality care in an environment that does not resonate your style and values. So personalize the space according to your aesthetics and vision.
Don’t Forget to Have Fun!
This has to be the most important aspect of it all. Just because you need to provide serious healthcare doesn’t mean you cannot have fun and make it fun for others.
Nobody likes a grumpy leader who seems unenthusiastic and uninterested in their own practice. So rather than getting bored at the head of the pack, be a part of the pack and sing Hakuna Matata at every opportunity that you get!
So there you have it. Your comprehensive guide to acing a dental practice. As you must have noticed, the success depends comparatively more on internal factors and personality traits than it depends on external influences and conditions. So start from within and everything else will wrinkle out all on its own.
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