ULTIMATE GUIDE TO BUILDING AND STAFFING YOUR OWN DENTAL PRACTICE
Leading and thriving with your own dental practice poses some interesting challenges. As a matter of fact, the nuances of managing patients, maintaining professionalism in the office, hiring the right people for full time jobs and all the nitty-gritty of business management can take its toll on you, resulting in disillusion and anxiety. Yet, in spite of this seemingly difficult situation, so many dentists have gone on to build successful dental practices across Canada. Whether it is Vancouver , Calgery , Saskatoon , Toronto or a rural practice.
If you are interested in building your own practice, then this blog post is for you. We have distilled and summarized successful practices into actionable tips that you can start implementing today that will eventually lead to further success.
Building your own dental practice? How can you afford it?
Venturing out in today’s world to start a thriving practice can seem daunting and overwhelming to some. A lot of things have changed in Canada in the last 6 or 7 years. With the density of dental offices popping up inside the major cities, competition is fierce. Because of ultra low borrowing rates it has made sense for single office practices to form larger corporations and go on a buying spree. The price of acquiring a practice in Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal is now pushing a million dollars on average. Many offices are now owned by a major dental corporation. Might seem like a futile task to take on larger competitors but you can use the ultra low rates to either purchase an existing practice or build yours from the ground up. Dentists with good credit can finance up to a 100% of the purchase of a practice. Also with the current low rate environment a Dentist can enjoy reasonable net cash flow for a highly leveraged business. Another option is to look outside the big cities and to start a more rural practice. There are still plenty of areas across the country where Dentists are needed. Areas such as Newfoundland, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick still have as high as 2500 patience to 1 Dentist. Compared to the major cities around 1000-1200 to 1. With a low cost of living and cheaper start up costs a state of the art practice can be built for as little as $350,000. Things to consider in a ground up project is the services you will be providing the community in the future and any future expansions. Whether increasing the size of one office or building new practices in the same town or the next one over.
Hiring the right staff
Running a dental practice is not just about yourself and patients. You will need to rely heavily on staff that have to be on the same page and have the same vision as you. This is a very critical part to running a smooth and successful dental office. There has to be admin, dental assistants and dental hygienists to help get the job done and make sure the patients are well attended to and money is collected and bills are paid on time. Now there is no magic bullet or test to help you with this process, but over time you need to be aware of what is working and what is not working. Asking patients for their feedback is a great way to know if you have hired the right person.
What’s Your Unique Selling Point?
There are a million and one dental clinics out there. Why should I patronize yours? Your ability to answer this question with precision and clarity is a strong distinguishing factor between your practice and the one next door. This is the perceived value you are selling to your patients, it should be compelling, unique to your business and captures the essence of your practice.
What’s Your Dental Office Culture?
First impressions can be difficult to change. Hence, you should go out of your way to make your patient’s experience memorable that it leaves a lasting footprint in their mind.
Starting from the front desk, to the paint on the wall, the room decor and the general atmosphere of your office; everything should be carefully and meticulously arranged to give that pleasant and unforgettable experience to your patients. Also don’t forget to keep the outside of the office clean and presentable. From removing cobwebs, leaves, discarded cigarettes and washing windows on a regular basis.
Be Flexible With Your Payment Options
One secret tool of the successful dentist is their flexibility with financial options available to their patients. They have made it so easy for their patients to finance their treatments without much hassle.
There are options for debit or credit cards, personal check or cash. Billing the insurer direct is a huge bonus for most families. They even go further to accept special financing --- all these are geared to make it as easy as possible to transact with them and their patients love them for it.
Become Your Dental Patients’ Biggest Fan
It is not enough to provide quality dental services; you must listen, learn and engage with your patients at a deeper level. Emotionally connecting with your patients will not only earn you their trust, it also guarantees their loyalty and you can bet they will become your greatest advocates.
Today, leveraging technology especially social media has made it easier to connect and engage with your patients and prospects on an ongoing basis. Dentists who have built a thriving practice for themselves have mastered the art of marketing using technology.
Think of Ways To Improve Dental Patient Referrals
Happy and loyal patients is a great source of advertisement and new patients. People trust those they know, be it a family member, friend, online recommendations. Hence, it should be your priority to figure out ways to get referrals from your patients. It is often said people will tell 5 people if they enjoyed an experience and recommend it to others. Vice versa they will tell 20 people if they didn’t like something and would recommend against it. Another way to get more referrals is by providing a small gift. Could be a gift card or perhaps a key chain. Either way the human brain works in mysterious ways and providing a gift to someone will make them feel obligated to return the favor. Also the most important part of all of this is to remember to ask for the referral. People cannot read your mind so please don’t hesitate to ask. If you provided a great service you should not feel ashamed at all.
Audit Your Dental Practice Processes
From scheduling appointments to follow ups and all the other details that go into running your practice. Taking a close look at them could unlock several actions that can be streamlined or eliminated to free up time, improve workflow for your staff and generally make your operations less stressful. These little changes can have great impact in customer services and experience with the result of more revenue and decreased cost.
Train and Retrain Your Staff
Having well trained and professionally oriented staffing system in every department of your practice could be the difference between a happy loyal patient and a disgruntled one-time patient. Your full-time job employees are very important as they keep the system running on a regular basis. You should cherish them and get them updated with the latest trends in dental practice.
When you seek to employ more dental specialists, a rule of thumb is often to ask for recommendation from other practitioners. However, the online platform is a better outreach to meet people who are capable of carrying out certain tasks. Posting a job offer online enables you to seek the right candidates across the Country.
There you have it, the ultimate guide to succeeding in your dental practice career. What are your thoughts on them? How has your experience been so far? Let us know! If you’ve found this article valuable or know of a friend that would need it please share.
Written by Curtis Bebek