What Does It Take To Have A Great Dental Practice
When you tell people you are a dentist what goes through their mind other than fear and the need to tell you their dental history and horrendous wisdom tooth extraction experiences – where by the way it seems every dentist puts their knee on the chest to pull the tooth!! Well I must have missed that as part of tooth extraction 101 and ergo have been using the wrong technique for over 25 years. But I digress…
Perhaps I should put it this way – what do people think you do in your role as dentist everyday? Teeth drilling –
Yep that’s it everyone thinks all we do is drill teeth all day. Well yes we do but we also do so much more, in fact so much much more than that…
We are doing:
- Customer service
- Marketing/Social media
- Team training
- Continuing education
- Business planning
- Team development
- Stock control
- Maintenance and repairs
- Meeting reps
- Dealing with complaints
- Writing blogs/newsletters
And the list goes on and on and on
Phew … that is overwhelming. Yet everyone thinks we are sitting around waiting for teeth to drill.
The Issues Dentists Face
There are two issues that having such a long to do list presents.
- You get worn out trying to juggle so much everyday as well as your patient list and being responsible for production.
- Where do you focus if you want to improve your practice and make changes? Which area is going to give the best return on investment of time and or money?
The problem I see here, and it is one I have been guilty of and many of my coaching clients suffer from it too, is that we think we have to master every aspect all at once and that we must be the ones to be in charge of making it happen.
The other issue is that most dental coaches or consultants tell you that you only need to focus on (or they only offer services in) one aspect of your dental practice to achieve success…
This strikes me as a seriously flawed approach.
If you work on improving marketing but your team are not trained how to convert leads into appointments you are losing marketing dollars at hello each time the phone is answered.
Or if your practice is chaos from lack of systems or your customer service sucks you could be great at treatment planning but your case acceptance is going to dive bomb because the experience you offer leaves so much to be desired.
Now the alternative approach of trying to master all aspects of dental practice at once does not work either. You are spreading yourself thin, trying to do too much and lack focus, direction or a strategic plan.
I believe you must focus on four aspects of your practice to improve production, team morale, your ability to lead and provide a patient experience that works – and works consistently every time.
The Four Foundations of Dental Practice
- Culture, Values, Fun!!
Leadership – You The CEO
This is where you develop your skills in business, communication and management as well as self-awareness, personal development and an understanding of what you need to feel fulfilled and happy.
Strategy – A Plan, A Vision and A Why
Where are you now, where do you want to be, how are you going to get there and who is going to help you achieve it?
10 years from now where do you see your practice, where do you see your life and yourself?
What needs to happen in the next 12 months to take you closer to that?
What can you do over the next 90 days to accomplish that vision?
Break it down, prioritise it and take ACTION!
Systems – Make Businesses and Fortunes
Without systems you don’t own your business it owns you.
Get all your processes down on paper; systemise everything you do and how you do it in your dental practice.
Train your team in your systems and make sure you review and improve the systems regularly to ensure you are working to give the best service, in the most efficient and cost productive way.
Values, Culture and Fun!!
Decide what the values and culture in your practice will be. Live by them, make decisions by them, hire and fire to them.
Develop a culture that you set not one that happens by default – do you want an open, honest, accountable environment – then create it.
Have fun – enjoy your dentistry, your patients, your team and yourself.
Balancing everything you need to in your dental practice is tough. You need to be committed and focused and be focusing on the right things to take your practice to the next level and ensure your life of all work and no play.
With these four foundations as your guide you will be better placed to know what is needed and when and be able to build a fortunate dental practice that you enjoy.