How Do You Know You Are Winning If You Don’t Know The Score?

I really hoped I wouldn’t have to write this piece. During 10 years of writing Newsletters and Magazine articles I’ve broached this subject many times and in many ways and still Dental Principals are getting tripped up, month by month because of a lack of knowing what’s really going on in their business.  A lack of competent score keeping.

I know why some of you don’t do it.  Not doing it didn’t used to matter so much, the sky wouldn’t fall in and everyone still got paid, maybe the overdraft just got a little bigger but hey…
Every week, I see the consequences of not knowing what’s going on.  I see the panic when the bank rings the Principal to say that the business has reached it’s credit limit and the staff wages are due to be paid on BACS transfer tomorrow.  I see the scrabble about for funds, the witch hunts, the sleepless nights, until the ship gets bailed out enough (usually by the Principal’s credit card) to stay afloat, until the next time.

Last night I spoke to 40 dentists at a Belfast ‘Study Club’ hosted by David and Brenda Nelson (who are justifiably proud of their beautiful Practice. See ).  On a show of hands, less than 6 attendees knew:

  • Whether their practice was growing or shrinking and their active patient list size
  • How much profit they made last month
  • How much they or their Associates or their Hygienists gross per day (or per hour)
  • How many enquiries they had last month and from what source
  • How many of them booked New Patient Consultations

And none of them knew their:

  • Average New Patient Spend
  • Average Returning Patient Spend
  • Cost of New Patient Acquisition.

So, what use is it to know these things?  Should you know these things?  Maybe not.  Just maybe your practice is bucking the UK trend, is growing fast, profits are soaring, patients are queuing up along the street to get through your door. If that’s true, I’d stop reading now and get on with treating them.

However, if it’s not like that in your practice, if you are chasing:

  1. More Profit
  2. More New Patients
  3. More Returning Patients

……then how about finding out what’s going on now, before you carry on implementing the many tactics you can use to grow your practice.  If you can’t measure what’s happening now, how will you know if your tactics are working?  By looking at the gaps in your appointment books?

I don’t want to hector you, I don’t want to nag, but please can you just fix this once and for all.  It’s a simple thing to do and it will either let you sleep easy or (justifiably) wake you up at 4am to worry about the state of your practice.  Either way, at least you will know what’s truly going on.  I know that some of you don’t like spreadsheets and some of your teams push back when you ask them to collect information on enquirers.  I know that some of you don’t meet with your managers every month to review your figures. I know that most of you don’t do these things, but you could change.  Believe me, knowing what’s going on is exactly what you need right now.

I know you can implement this in your practice, but you probably won’t because you are busy.  And this isn’t supposed to be a pitch for Breathe Business, but if you decide you really want this information then we will help you.  We have templates, toolkits, plug and play solutions to get at these numbers.  We can put these into your practice in a just a day.  You could have this data before the end of February if you really wanted to…

For your sake and for the sake of your business, please, please keep an accurate score.

By the way, with reference to Jonathan’s editorial, I’m a
Yellow/Red – The Doing Socialiser

If you want some help from me,
My direct line is 07770 430576

My email is

With All Good Wishes,

Simon Hocken BDS.
Director of Coaching

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