2.8.13 Issue #570 info@mckenziemgmt.com 1-877-777-6151 Forward This Newsletter

New Opportunity in Your New Practice
By Sally McKenzie, CEO

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It’s a package deal. You just bought a practice from a retiring dentist. You get the patients, the equipment, the records, the parking spaces, the computer system…and the staff. Inheriting employees can be both a blessing and a curse. If you’re lucky, they will be instrumental in your success, thanks to their established relationships with patients, knowledge of practice systems, and openness to change. If you’re not so lucky, they will present a host of challenges, barriers and frustrations, particularly if you don’t establish your expectations from day one.

Taking over a practice requires change management. The dentist must share her/his vision, goals, and expectations for the practice and the team immediately - not a year or two after settling in. Helping employees to adapt to the change in leadership and helping the doctor determine if this team is the right fit for his/her practice starts with clear direction and written expectations from the doctor, as well as ongoing feedback. Otherwise, the dentist may well find him/herself in the middle of a power struggle. 

Make a conscious effort to establish open and clear communication. Give your new staff plenty of direction and feedback. Establish expectations for employees early on, and if necessary, provide training to enable them to meet those expectations. Make sure they know how you want things done. Hold regular staff meetings to ensure that everyone is on the same page and can quickly address problems, concerns, and specific challenges as changes are being made.

Identify issues that could be problems with patients or among the team. If you are instituting a new collections policy or other major change that will affect patients, it’s imperative that the doctor and staff talk through a well-developed strategy for implementation and work through major changes step-by-step. This will enable doctor and team to anticipate resistance and plan to positively and proactively address it.

Create a problem-solving environment, so that employees feel comfortable speaking up and asking for direction, guidance, and assistance if they are having difficulty reaching a goal. If you become short-tempered, impatient, negative or cutting, staff will shut down and shut you out. Focus on building team commitment and communication up front and you will significantly reduce the pain of change and establish yourself as the leader of your practice and your team.

Next, gear up your external communication and marketing efforts to bring new patients into your new practice. Below are 12 tips to get your name out in your community. Best of all, many of them won’t cost you a dime.

  1. Join your local chamber of commerce and your local dental society. Both are excellent for networking, continuing education, and getting your name into the community.
  2. Hand out your business card to everyone you meet. And give your employees business cards with their names on them to hand out as well.
  3. Offer to write articles about oral health for your local newspaper.
  4. Contact your local talk radio hosts and offer to come on their shows as a guest from time to time to discuss advances in dentistry.
  5. Offer to speak to local organizations and high schools during career days, etc.
  6. Make sure that everyone in your building or business complex knows that you are a dentist and new patients are always welcome.
  7. Advertise in your church bulletin regularly.
  8. Give parents of small children a laminated card that explains what emergency measures to take if a child suffers trauma to the mouth and an extra copy to give to a friend.
  9. Send a congratulatory note to those recognized in the newspaper for special accomplishments or deeds, be they adults for a business announcement, weddings, graduations, birth announcements; students for an academic success, or athletes for an athletic achievement.
  10. Continually educate new and existing patients on the services you have to offer.
  11. Send out news releases to small local papers about continuing education classes you and your staff have completed, services offered, new products available in the marketplace, advances in oral health, etc.
  12. Never let your patients leave your office without something in hand that educates and reminds them of you, your team, your practice, or your services.

Establishing a successful new practice with a new team in a new community takes time and real effort. If you would like help with your new acquisition, contact us at 877-777-6151 and inquire about our Practice Acquisition Program.

For more information on this topic, visit my blog: The Lighter Side

Interested in speaking to me about your practice concerns? Email sallymck@mckenziemgmt.com
Interested in having Sally McKenzie Seminars speak to your dental society or study club? Click here.
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