Come on, another New Year and you know you need to do something. I don’t mean start the diet or get back in the gym. I mean, sort the practice out! And I’m not talking about decorating the loo (although if it needs doing, it needs doing), I’m talking about taking action on getting some big wins for you and your practice!
I was at a meeting in a practice a few days ago where the principals hadn’t touched anything (I mean anything) for ten, perhaps 20 years, simply stripping all the profits out year on year and yet, because of their lack of action, they are leaving tens of thousands of pounds on the table!
So. Here are my seven biggest wins for you and your practice. Do any three of these in 2018 and you will make more money and have more time. Here they are, in no particular order:
- Update and refine your social media presence. The point of having your practice on social media is that it’s a real-time platform. Which means that you have to post daily. (Not weekly or monthly!). Old posts are, by their very nature of no interest. It’s unlikely that you or anyone in your practice will have the skill-set or the time to do this effectively, so you will have to outsource this to a marketing company. Preferably a small one who understand the dental sector and have a track record of success! When you get this working (and it is particularly effective in bringing in new adult-ortho, implant and facial aesthetic patients) it’s a very economic marketing tool. First Action: Critically review what you are doing now and identify practices who do this well.
- If you’re approaching, or over 40, leverage your practice so that you can: Work 3.5 days clinical, 1 day on the business and have a three day weekend. In 15 years of doing this work, I have yet to meet a middle-aged dentist who wants to work clinically for 5 days/week. It’s simply too demanding. Fortunately, time spent working on your practice is just as profitable as wearing gloves. And, limiting your clinical contribution to 3 or 3.5 days, allows you to work on your practice AND have three clear days to recover at the weekend. First Action: Financially model your practice with you working 3.5 days a week. If you don’t like how this effects the profitability, look at what your gross would have to be in 3.5 days per week in order to maintain or even grow your profitability.
- Sort out your reception team. So that they can handle telephone and email new patient enquiries successfully (that is, they book 80% of the telephone enquirers and 35% of the email enquirers a new patient appointment). The other big hole in your bucket is likely to be your recall system. Patients are being more slippery when it comes to booking check-up and hygiene appointments (unless they are on a plan) and you need receptionists who are trained to get 90% (not 80%) back through the practice front door. First Action: Measure your recall efficiency. You will be shocked…
- Sort out your patient journey. Your customer service is no where near as good as you think it is/hope it is! The gold standard here is to have a written and agreed patient journey with a host of effective “critical but not essential” tactics to wow your patients and then have all your team (including clinicians) trained in executing this perfectly, naturally, and all the time. That’s everyone, all the time, even the associates! First Action: Have a friend mystery shop your reception as a new patient and report on their experience.
- Online booking. In practices we work with, online booking is worth around two new patients a week, most of whom book online at the weekend. Without this facility, you will miss circa 100 new patients a year that are going to a practice with online booking. And you still think it’s expensive? First Action: Talk to your web designer and software supplier about setting this up.
- Stop being the highest grosser! Many Principals are the highest grosser in their practice, many grossing in excess of £350k/year. There are many reasons for you to stop being in this position. The two most important are: If you’re a big-hitter it will be very hard to sell your practice for what you think it’s worth and secondly, if you’re the biggest hitter the practice really hurts when you take time off. First action: Model the practice financially with you working less and bringing in another associate.
- Book yourself a three or four week holiday in 2018. This is likely to be a luxury that you’ve always denied yourself and yet you’ve earned it! Once you’ve tried it, you will (I promise) arrange this every year going forwards. As long as you plan it carefully, your practice will be healthy and well when you return, the patients will still keep coming and the staff will still be in situ. And you will be more energised, relaxed and ready for work than you have ever been. What’s not to like! First Action: Book it in the diary!
If you would like some help with implementing any three of these seven (or even all seven) call me for a chat!
Happy New Year!
With All Good Wishes,
m. 07770 430576