Wouldn’t it be nice to just get a template of how to plan, start and successfully run a dental practice business? To know exactly the number of hours one needs to put in to get desired results? To know where to look for the most suitable team members and just exactly how to operate a business smoothly and glitch-free. Unfortunately, success doesn’t come with a handbook, but it does have a pattern. There are some commonalities among those who manage to pave a pathway to achieve their own personal definition of success and joy, and we have deciphered those codes right here just for you!
You want to be sure that you are passionate enough to want to do this for a long time, possibly the rest of your life. Are you going to open up a practice for the right reasons? Is it something you are doing for the love of it or just because it is the ‘natural course to take’ once you become a dentist.
If it is the latter, then know that there are plenty of pathways to select from. Directions that would better align with your interests. All the time you invest in figuring out what you truly want to do with your life will ultimately pay off much better than any pathway you select on a whim or because of other people’s definition of success.
Do Your Research
Sure, you don’t need to have every little detail nailed down, but you want to make sure that there is a market for what you want to sell. You should have a solid business plan before you even think about getting the finances ready or selecting dental chairs. This is one major step that differentiates between those who succeed and those who struggle to make their business relevant. You don’t need a 200-page report on what you need to do to open up a business, but you should be able to answer all your what if scenarios, the why do it that way and how to’s in order to move on to the next step.
In order to make room for another one, just like any competing business in any market you really need to think out of the box. You need to present something that others have not been able to. Ask dentists what makes them different, and you’d commonly hear answers like:
“We are just like them, but better” or
“My crown margins are just that little bit better than the person down the road” (which means absolutely nothing to the patient) or the worst one
“I can do as good a job, but cheaper.”
This is not you being different or innovative, this is just you looking for an excuse to stay in business. Your prospects are not looking for your excuses to be in business, they are looking for an excuse to bring their business to you. Your patient experience needs to be unique in order to succeed long term.
Create a Specific Market
As much as you’d like, you can’t tick everyone’s boxes with the type of service that you provide. Find a niche market and cater to them specifically. Ask yourself who are your favorite patients? What kind of people would you look forward to serving to? Kids? Elderly? Complex procedures? There will be patients that will be a good fit for your practice and your team and others that wouldn’t be, and that is perfectly alright. By understanding your niche better and creating the perfect patient avatar, you could easily market your business accordingly and increase your chances of success.
How many patients per day does your business need to financially succeed and thrive? Does your current structure and team have the resources to accept that many patients? What will happen when your patient base exceeds that number? When should you start recruiting new members in your team? All these questions need to be answered way before you actually get in that situation where you just start hurriedly hiring new employees without proper screening, onboarding and training.
Winners don’t wait for success to come their way. They plan for it and they prepare for it. Don’t start a business with the mindset that ‘if it grows, then I’d deal with it then.’ Instead, you should have a step by step plan that ‘when it grows to this size, I have these options’ I need to do this smoothly, operate my business through that lens to achieve that vision of growth.
Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
As practice owners, it is quite difficult to trust anyone with certain tasks. It is like a newborn baby, you want to take care of every little detail yourself. Until a few months down the road while you realise you need a little help to retain your sanity and be able to do anything-other-than-take-care-of-the-baby. Trust comes with time and knowing your team are capable.
You will need to trust your team members to do the jobs that you have hired them to do. Train them well and then delegate tasks to them. Delegate don’t abdicate. Slowly and gradually you will need to move on from working in your practice to on your practice. Because if you don’t then you will be limiting your own personal growth and the growth of your business.
Processes keep a business organised and the people in it, sane. It is as simple as that. It helps team members understand what is expected from them and allows them to help keep the practice running like a well-oiled engine. You will need to create these processes keeping in mind the unique demands and requirements of your practice. This is one task you’d be better off taking care of yourself; once you have created the process, you could go on to hire a practice manager.
Recruit the Right People
There are no wrong people, just people that are a better fit for you and your practice values and vision. When recruiting team members be thorough and be diligent. Ask as many questions as you can to find out if a person is the right fit. Don’t just look at their resumes and their years of experience. There is a reason why Google and Apple no longer have a degree requirement. Not to say you should be hiring anyone that can read a balance sheet to become your accountant, but just that there is more to team members than their educational backgrounds. They need to align well with your culture, your vision and your goals. They need to “get” you and what you are wanting to deliver.
Have a Growth Goal and Know your Limits
Is it too soon to be talking about limits? Absolutely not! You should have this limit set up way before you even open up your practice. Know your own personal expectations from your practice. What team, strategies and actions are required to meet those expectations? Is your goal to stop doing clinical days altogether? Do you plan on eventually selling your practice or open more practices? How many practices do you wish to own? What is the timeline? What happens when you are able to meet all those milestones? How do those plans align with your personal goals?
If you have answers – a clear vision – to all these questions you have yourself a road map which can help you remain focused. It doesn’t mean you can’t take a different path if a new opportunity comes along. But it means you have a map to take you where you want to be. And this map can be the one thing that will help you stay confident and conscientious when you need navigate through tough times when they come along. Let’s face it, a challenge can change the way we operate but it really doesn’t change the burning goals we hold dear and the vision we have of the future we want to create.
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