It’s been over a decade since I worked in a dental practice. Since then, I’ve used my own business to coach over 1,000 dentists in their growth strategies. As a result, I often find myself thinking about what I’d do in certain situations. Of course, I’m not a dentist, and it may be that none of my, “If I were a dentist…” statements matter. However, I’ve found that an outside perspective can often cause others to consider their work from a different angle. The reanalysis and improvements that come with this new perspective are why I’ve decided to share these statements with you today. Some of them may directly help you, and others may not, but they will all challenge the way you think about your business.
- If I were a dentist, I’d buy an existing practice from a retiring doctor. It wasn’t until last week that I realized this is not always an option. If you have a specific area in which you’re searching, there may not be many practices available. It may be a waiting game. The transition process to ownership may be less than ideal. I know financially, a start-up will almost always be a few years behind an established practice. Financially speaking, in my ideal world, I’d buy an existing practice as soon as possible. Also, this doctor would be retiring. That’s right. He or she would be “hanging up the shingle”. Whatever that means. I wouldn’t want to deal with him or her trying to take patients from his or her new location 10 miles away.
- If I were a dentist, I’d make it my mission to find a true manager. I’ve seen a lot of great office managers, but I’ve seen far more okay office managers. In order to be able to focus on dentistry whenever possible, I’d have to have an office manager that is a total badass. He or she would provide monthly reports, keep the team in line, handle payroll, and jump in to handle difficult patient conversations. I’d pay this person very well and they’d be a big part of why I remained sane. I’d provide leadership training and we’d make an awesome team.
- If I were a dentist, I’d market myself aggressively without shame. I’d market my business in a way that made sure every person in the community knew that I was an option. I’d have a monthly email newsletter and daily social media posts (done by my team) and I’d invest in SEO, PPC, Facebook, and Instagram advertising. I know that I can attract a new patient for $150-$500 and that once they’re a part of my practice, they won’t want to leave because I’d have some quirky amenities (coming later).
- If I were a dentist, I would not work with my spouse. I love my husband enough to know that if he’s my employee, it’ll have some damaging repercussions on our relationship. I know I’d have to maintain my position as CEO of my practice, and my manager needs to play a support role to me. I know our relationship wouldn’t support this.
- If I were a dentist, I’d grow to accommodate amazing associates and I’d spoil them. I’d make it very easy for a young parent to work for me. I’d give them the exact framework to fill their schedule and keep their patients happy. This would be because I’d have invested the time in creating systems for every process within my business. (For those saying this isn’t realistic, I hear you. However, I know it’s possible.) Once my business was running without me providing most of the clinical dentistry, I’d be looking to purchase my next practice.
- If I were a dentist, I’d host quarterly team appreciation days. We’d take a full day off 4 times per year just to get to know each other better. This single activity would create collaboration and openness beyond what you could get from an annual workshop.
- If I were a dentist, I’d carefully select CE events based on what applies to my annual growth plan or current pain points. I’d also do everything possible to avoid boring CE because it makes me want to punch myself in the face.
- If I were a dentist, I’d go live on Facebook every Wednesday to educate the community. I’d talk about things like oral cancer, the link between periodontal disease and heart disease, why your comfort matters when visiting our team, and anything that will educate.
- If I were a dentist, I’d dedicate one full business day every other week to work on my business systems and team training.
- If I were a dentist, I’d offer the following to patients: blankets, Netflix, kind welcome, office tour at first visit, to hang their coat, a bottle of water, a warm cookie when they leave (like Godley Station Dental in Georgia), my team would match and present professionally in stealthy scrubs. Most importantly, my team would act as a family, making it much easier to in turn treat patients like family.
If I were a dentist, I probably would not practice clinical dentistry because I’m so deeply passionate about business. That’s likely one of the reasons I’m not a dentist. But because of that affinity for business, I can help you become a better practice owner. For help with the business support you need to create your ideal practice, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me: Grace@identitydental.com