By DR SIMON HOCKEN
Some of the dental practices I go into are, in reality, a collection of messes. The owner focuses on what must get done: compliance, providing a support team, ensuring the surgeries are equipped and functional, getting patients into the diaries, paying the team and the suppliers, CPD and very often, not a lot else.
The practice staggers along and the messes pile up until one of them (tax bill, maxed out overdraft, patient complaint, incompetent associate, dishonest practice manager) turns one of the messes into a crisis.
This means that some areas of the business such as financial control, performance reporting, marketing, sales management and (importantly) having a plan for growth get little or no attention and the result is a gentle, persistent decline in the practice size, turnover, profitability and value.
However, some practices I go into have no such messes. Every element of the business is under control and there is a plan in place for growth. Sure, there’s always room for improvement but in terms of business process, all the boxes get a tick.
It’s about 80 per cent group one and 20 per cent group two. And, of course, it’s all down to the owner’s attitude, beliefs and behaviours. When we work with practices in the second group, we can help them grow quickly because there have strong foundations already in place and the practice can be scaled up quickly, increasing profitability and value.
Successful practice owners with growing businesses have 15 things in common:
- They are often great clinicians and are passionate about being a dentist.
- They are professional, ethical, honest, prepared and punctual.
- They realise they can’t spend all their time being a clinician because their team and advisors need uninterrupted time with them.
- They are responsive and their follow through is quick. They reliably answer emails, return voicemails, complete their to do lists (and turn up for meetings early!).
- They are proud of their practice and the clinical outcomes that it consistently achieves.
- They work really hard, both in their practice and on their practice.
- They lead a tight-knit, loyal, skilled, hard working team and outsource all of their practice’s other needs.
- They have their fingers on the practice pulse with monthly KPI reports
- They have a plan for growth
- They are sales-focused (not costs-focused)
- They don’t draw all the profit out of the practice, so there is cash on tap to develop it
- They have a team of talented advisors
- They have good financial planning and they have taken care of their tax planning
- They have an exit plan
- They are brave (not foolish) and have found a way past their gremlins
If you would like some help or advice with becoming more successful, personally and professionally, get in touch.
With best wishes,