Owning a business is rewarding, but it’s rarely easy. Balancing finances, operations, marketing, staffing and more is a lot to take on. The difficulty of business ownership increases by a substantial degree for dental professionals, who must also juggle complex medical procedures and patient relationships in addition to their existing responsibilities.
The confluence of all these factors can culminate in a hurricane of overwhelm for a young dental practice owner. Luckily, there are plenty of steps to take to help reduce the severity of this craziness, allowing you to focus on building patient relationships, doing great work and enjoying your free time without stress.
From taxes to overhead to insurance reimbursements and more, financial management can be a formidable task – especially for someone with a dentistry degree instead of a business degree. One of the best ways to make sense of these extensive financial elements is to hire an outside resource, such as a CPA, financial consultant or advisor. Hiring such a service may seem like a costly proposition, but it should be viewed more as an investment than an expense. Not only can their guidance help educate a practice owner and empower them in the future, the opportunity cost savings can be enormous, eliminating hours of confusion and needless work.
A successful practice should operate like a well-oiled machine. Every moving part should have a function that it completes with competence and timeliness. Generally, complex machines are accompanied by a manual with a detailed explanation of its functions and abilities. A dental practice can be viewed the same way, and the creation of an operations manual can help it function to the best of its abilities by clearly defining and explaining every facet of its operating procedures.
The benefits of a comprehensive operations manual are many. It can aid and expedite the training process for new hires while setting clear expectations for existing employees and bolstering retention (DentistryIQ recommends including precise benchmarks for the measurement of rewarding of employee performance). An operations manual can also ease the process of expansion, whether an office is growing or opening a new location, by helping new staff replicate existing success.
Marketing can often be forgotten or overlooked in lieu of the first two areas. However, make no mistake that this step is just as important as finance and operations in terms of running a successful practice. A practice must first determine its competitive advantage, the characteristic that makes them stand out or the service it provides that nobody else can. This can be determined by interviewing its best and most loyal patients. Those people will reveal exactly what is keeping them coming back and referring others, and this information can be used to promote the practice on its website, social media pages and beyond.
Taking control of these three elements of practice management can help unify and simplify all of the moving parts to achieve peak performance.