Cultivating the skill set you need to be a good businessperson can feel like diving into deep water without a lifeguard. When dental schools only teach us clinical skills, we’re left to tread water on our own.
One of the things that makes me feel more professionally fulfilled is when I can help other dentists take their practice from a job to a business. I’m here to throw you a life vest.
We’re in the middle of a mini two-part series here on the blog discussing how you can take your practice and mold it into something that scales easily. Whether you want to grow the practice you have or you want to open a new location, the four keys we’re discussing today are essential components you need to put in place to ensure success.
But first – if you haven’t read the first part in this series, “The 4 Types of Dental Practices: Which One is Yours?” I suggest you to take a moment and read it. It’ll set the framework for this blog. You can read that blog post here.
The Four Keys to Creating a Scaling Framework
Each of us has a maximum capacity for how much work we can produce in a given day, week, or year. If your business is key-person dependent, your business is limited to the work of your key person. A scalable business, on the other hand, is not limited by a key person because it’s supported by a well-oiled team with the same goal.
In short, the only way to scale a business is to give up control. Not entirely. Not completely. But it is necessary to place our faith in others to carry some of the weight of our business.
To that end, there are four keys to creating a scalable business:
• Build out your assets
• Create a self-managing team
• Design a robust strategic business plan
• Consistent execution
Let’s talk about each of these in a little more detail.
Build out your intellectual property assets.
Let’s take McDonald’s as an example. They’re one of the most systemised businesses in the world, which creates consistently. You can order a McDonald’s hamburger in any country have the same experience and the same burger. This consistently between their processes from location to location has created an ultra-profitable business. So how do we do this on a smaller scale?
If you are still running a key-person practice, chances are, you already have developed standard responses to situations you encounter on the job and keep them stored in your mind. Creating intellectual property assets is really about putting it down on paper so even if you are not there, someone else can do it to your standards.
When we’re talking about creating intellectual property assets, there are really two options: Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) or frameworks.
SOPs are like a checklist. They’re a great way to standardize basic tasks. You might have an SOP for disinfecting your lab, for instance. You might also have an SOP for new patient intakes. This is a great way to simplify, create consistency, and reduce mistakes.
Frameworks, on the other hand, are more like road maps. They give you a structure so you can get from Point A to Point B, but each person can add their own flair. This is a great way to guide person-to-person interactions.
Create a Self-Managing Team
The key to building a successful team is to build a success office culture. Our job, as business owners, is to find A players and immerse them into a world-class culture.
We can think of culture as a telescope. It’s a series of lenses that magnify and sharpen our focus. The first lens of the telescope is your practice’s values. What makes us tick? When we have our values in place, it allows us to be authentic and creates a lens through which we can filter decisions.
The next lens is the vision of the practice. Where are we going? What do we stand for? Your team wants to be inspired, so inspire them!
The third lens is stories. What stories connect us? What stories bring us closer together? It’s about your team understanding and respecting each other.
The fourth lens is rituals. What rituals does your team perform that unites them? Is it celebrating birthdays? Is it a Monday morning inspiration meeting? Choose rituals that support the culture you want to create.
The final lens is behaviours. When every other lens is in place, it creates refracted light that shapes our actions and leads to happy, productive team members.
Design a business plan.
This section alone could be an entire blog series so I’m just going to touch on it briefly. I like to keep it simple and barebones. I want my business to be like a Formula One car – everything that’s necessary and nothing that’s extraneous. We’re looking for a strategic plan that offers clarity and focus.
What are your objectives? Where do you want the business to be in a year? Five years? What are the key results that will help us meet those goals? What are the activities around that?
Take five great businesses from five different industries and the one commonality that you’ll find between them is the ability to execute. It’s a massive strategic advantage. It’s huge.
It’s so important that you slowly add in new work and projects. Think about it like this: if I threw you a tennis ball, you’d catch it. If I threw you two tennis balls, you could probably catch them. If I threw 20 tennis balls at you at once, you might not catch any because you’re overwhelmed. It’s the same thing when we agree to too many obligations, projects, and work at once.
Don’t try to catch 20 tennis balls. Aim to catch the most important one or two.
It’s possible for anyone with a dental practice to create a true, scalable business that can not only create revenue for you but real value and legacy.
We’re so excited that the Savvy Dentist app is now available for both iPhone and Android through the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, respectively. Not only is this a great central location to get all of our blog posts and podcast episodes, but it has additional resources. We’re adding more all the time.
If you haven’t already, please also considering following the Savvy Dentist Facebook Group. Our group is full of tips and tricks as well as a good group of like-minded dentists to support you.