Which Comes First, The Dentist or the Entrepreneur?
There is an old saying about putting the cart before the horse which is an analogy for doing things in the wrong order. When you hear the words “dentist” and “entrepreneur” it is usually not in the same sentence – but it should be. Managing a successful dental practice takes training in business planning and execution. No one promised a schedule full of patients just because you hang out your sign with DDS or DMD after your name. Dentists want to do dentistry, and that can be accomplished once you realize that being a skilled and savvy business person will allow you to practice the way you have always wanted to.
The experienced entrepreneur looks at the dental practice and divides it into 5 operational systems:
1. Delivery of dental services to the patient from dentist and hygienist providers
In addition, the dentist entrepreneur looks at the operational systems and realizes the need to embrace the following:
1. Building the dental practice of your dreams takes motivation. You have to want it to struggle to achieve it. This is an inward drive that cannot be outsourced to your office manager. When you disconnect from your business systems, you are working for the practice instead of it working for you.
2. Are you willing to take calculated risks to achieve success? Your attitude toward risks shapes your drivers to success. In twenty years you don’t want to say “If I only had done___, I would be ____.”
3. Continually build and bring in new services and technology. If your goal is for your solo practice to be the best it can be, it takes innovation and creativity. Keep connected with your team; they will have great ideas if allowed to express them openly at team meetings.
4. Running a practice is not a cookie-cutter exact science. Be willing to accept that you can make mistakes, and if you do, embrace and learn from them. Change the systems that brought about the errors so you can identify and correct them before they become repeated mistakes.
5. Learn to work smart. Identify the most important tasks that will help you achieve your goals. Get training for your team, because without them working with you toward your goals it will be an uphill climb. Determine the most productive time of the day and get as much accomplished during that timeframe as possible. Don’t be afraid to seek out help in situations that have you stonewalled for an answer. McKenzie Management has spent decades helping dentists find the answers to practice success.
6. Hire smarter. You may have to pay more, but consider it an investment in the practice’s success. Work with your business staff daily going over reports and production collection statistics. Communication is imperative in creating sound business acumen. When the staff knows you are vested in the daily success of the practice, they will follow your lead.
7. Have balance in your life. Take care of your health, your family, and nurture your spirit. Don’t get into the habit of working long and arduous hours without lunch breaks and getting out late at night. Being busy doesn’t mean profitable, it can mean inefficient and stressful.
As a dentist, your clinical skills may be at a point where you feel great confidence. Aligning your business and entrepreneur spirit to your clinical skills will bring a feeling of freedom hard to explain until you are there. Recently I was told by a client, “I wish I had sought out your help years ago.” Don’t “put the cart before the horse” any longer.Forward this article to a friend
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