Don't Let Debt Keep You From Meeting Your Full Potential

By Sally McKenzie, CEO Printer Friendly Version

When you’re constantly worried about money, you’re not able to focus on growing your practice and reaching your goals. Instead, you spend your days stressed out and wondering how you’re going to pay all your bills each month. You’re exhausted, frustrated and uncertain about the future.

The truth is, many dentists struggle with debt—and it’s not just an issue for dentists straight out of school. I’ve worked with plenty of experienced clinicians who somehow ended up between $300,000 and $500,000 in the hole. Business credit cards, loans, mortgages, equipment leases and lines of credit are typically among the factors that contribute to their financial woes.

No matter what these dentists do, they can’t seem to get ahead. That’s why they come to me for guidance. I’ve helped many dentists take back control of their finances so they can finally meet their full potential.

If debt is a problem in your practice, I can help you do the same. To get started, you have to determine why your practice is drowning in debt, then you can focus on making the necessary changes.

The first step: Admit you’re struggling with debt

Debt is something most dentists just don’t want to talk about. They’ll steer the conversation to other issues they’re seeing in their practice, avoiding this topic as long as they can. They think they can fix their money issues on their own, but the reality is, they don’t know how. If they did, it wouldn’t have gotten to this point in the first place. So, they continue to make the same mistakes, and they go deeper and deeper into debt.

Once you recognize there’s a problem, you can come up with a plan and start making the necessary changes to get your practice back on track. That leads us to step No. 2:

Take a good look at your practice management systems

Weaknesses in practice management systems contribute to your money problems, which is why I suggest you take a step back and really look at these systems for flaws. Can’t remember the last time you actually did this? That’s a sure sign you have outdated systems that are holding your practice back. You really should be monitoring these systems every month. That way, you can catch problems before they do any real financial damage.

Now is the time to start paying attention to these systems. Get to know them and how they should work so you can easily identify issues. Understand how they impact your profitability. Really knowing these systems and making them as efficient as possible will help ease the debt burden that’s keeping you from meeting your full potential.

When looking at your systems, you need to be honest with yourself about their shortfalls and willing to make the necessary changes. This takes a commitment from both you and your team members, so I suggest you get them involved as early as possible.

Does the thought of this seem a bit overwhelming? Just remember you don’t have to do it on your own. An experienced dental consultant can help you really dig into your systems and develop an improvement plan. A consultant will quickly see how the systems are being mismanaged and will know what it takes to get them back in working order. Just don’t get frustrated with the process. Even with outside help, this isn’t a problem you can fix overnight. It will take time and commitment, but trust me, it’s well worth the effort.

Get ready for positive change

After you put the work in and your systems are finally running as they should be, you’ll see what I mean about it all being worth the effort. Your practice will be much more efficient, and that will lead to a boost in practice productivity and profits. Debt will no longer hold your practice back, and you’ll be able to purchase the technology you’ve been eyeing and complete upgrades that will make the practice more comfortable for your patients. Everyone’s stress levels will go down and team members will be happier to come to work each day. Patients will notice all of these changes and will have a more positive experience at your practice—which could lead to an increase in patient retention numbers as well as referrals.

To really help you see why improving your systems and managing debt is so vital to your success, I want to give you a few numbers. Once your systems are running like well-oiled machines, you should expect revenues to increase between 25 to 35 percent within two months. Not bad, right?

Let’s get started

If debt is keeping you from meeting your full potential, it’s time to make some changes in your practice. Once you do, you’ll finally start reaching your goals. Instead of worrying about how you’re going to pay your bills each month, you can focus on growing your practice and providing patients with the best care possible. Reach out when you’re ready and I’ll help you get there.

Next Thursday: Debt holding you back? Get your finances under control with these tips. Share this Newsletter

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