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9.26.08 Issue #342 Forward This Newsletter To A Colleague

Do You Have the “Local” Advantage or Disadvantage?
by Sally McKenzie CEO
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I like to buy locally. Many of us are partial to the local farmers’ market, the local restaurants and the local sports teams. Your area news media are always looking for the local angle in reporting the day’s events. After all, “local” is where you live and earn your livelihood.

When it comes to hiring a practice management consultant, dentists sometimes want to “buy local.” Occasionally we hear dentists lament, “I need a practice management consultant in here once a month, and so I want to find someone local.” And that would be the 5th most common practice management myth. It’s actually a two-part myth: first is the idea about what constitutes “local” and second the idea that you need a consultant in your practice once a month.

Certainly with some purchases, it does pay to buy local. But we discourage practice owners from hiring a consultant based primarily on proximity. You need experience and expertise, particularly if you are looking at making an investment that should have a profound and positive impact on your practice and your profitability over the long term.

Without question, there are some very committed local consultants available; however, too often we find that dentists who go this route end up paying for consulting services twice. Those practices that lean toward hiring someone locally usually end up later seeking out a company such as McKenzie Management because, although the local individual did help in some areas, he/she simply did not have the experience, expertise or resources readily available to address the many different scenarios that come up in practices.

Why are cancellations and no-shows up? Why are collections down? Why is production lagging when the schedule is jam-packed? Why are new patient numbers dwindling? Why doesn’t the staff get along? Why do I keep hiring the wrong people? Why can’t I figure out how to get the right reports off my computer system? Why can’t I get the insurance company to pay? Why don’t patients accept treatment? And so on. A local consultant may have some answers to some of those critical practice questions and concerns, but the chances that he/she will have hard data to back up assessments and system-specific knowledge to address shortcomings in each system is sometimes lacking..

This individual may live in the area but not necessarily know or understand particulars of the local economy without the economic data on hand. Perhaps he/she may have some concept of the local mindset regarding dentistry, but most likely has no access to reports on the psychographics that are behind those mindsets.

Moreover, oftentimes the locals have worked in just a few similar practices and are quick to apply their limited experience to every practice they walk into. After nearly 30 years and thousands of practices, we at McKenzie Management are well aware that your practice and the one across the street may have some similarities, but that they also have some major differences.

In addition, what many dentists don’t realize is that McKenzie Management consultants are often more “local” than they think. Yes, our headquarters are in La Jolla, California, but our consultants live in every area of the country, from rural to suburban to major metropolitan regions in the North, South, East, West, Midwest and Great Plains, and Canada. Not only are they likely to already be in your neck of the woods, they also have the experience, knowledge and resources to back up every single finding and recommendation that they deliver to you and your team.

Finally, regarding the idea that you need someone in your practice every week, consider this: The benefit of working with a company like McKenzie Management is that once the arrangement concludes, your practice should have the tools, training and expertise to excel on its own. Ultimately, you and your team will have the confidence and the ability to make critical decisions, track your systems, address shortcomings and celebrate success over the long term, even as the staff and the practice change.

Rest assured that once you are a McKenzie client you are always a McKenzie client and additional assistance or the answer to your question is just a phone call or email away—24/7 and 365 days a year.

Now are you ready to try a new twist on a local favorite (namely, your practice)? If so, give me a call.

Interested in speaking to Sally about your practice concerns? Email her at
Interested in having Sally speak to your dental society or study club? Click here.

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