“If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going.” - Maya Angelou
The relevance of Angelou’s poetic perspective is accurate. Where you’ve “come from” in 2020 will prepare you to get your solo dental practice ready for 2021.
Without dwelling too much on 2020, you can’t help but consider it a year like none have experienced in recent history. You, like other solo, private dental practice owners are perhaps picking up the pieces from the sweeping COVID-19 pandemic “storm.”
Wisdom would encourage you to extract whatever valuable insights you can from the 2020 tumult and set a strategic course for the year ahead.
Strategic preparation that will get your solo dental practice ready for 2021 (and beyond)
Take responsibility for what’s in front of you
Others might refer to “taking responsibility” as accountability. And that’s certainly at the core of how you should prepare to lead your dental practice as 2020 transitions to 2021.
You’ve no doubt been focused on survival for a good portion of the year. With that focus (though essential) a number of otherwise vital tasks have not been accomplished.
If you’re willing to take responsibility, that obligation starts with you (the practice owner). For what it’s worth, it’s truly a matter of “speed-of-the-leader-speed-of-the-team” at this point.
- Be first-in-line to own and take action on changes to be made. Carefully assess your dental practice realities as you wrap up the year…and personally take a stand to be first in all things accountability.
- Give encouragement and necessary feedback to your team. Guide rather than command! And know that delayed feedback will delay progress (something you perhaps can’t afford at this point).
- Take initiative and encourage an action-based mindset throughout your team and practice culture
- Monitor and track your personal commitment and your team’s commitment to change, strategic plans, and overall practice progress.
Compel your patient-base to say “Yes” more often
Case acceptance is an evergreen goal for every dental practice—yours is no exception. The challenge is often a matter of being focused on patient acquisition to the practical exclusion of retaining patients around their commitment to treatment.
”The average office has a case acceptance rate of 25%, according to Practice ZEBRA. Meanwhile, industry leaders are achieving 89%. These are high-profit, high-margin cases for your team, so you’ll want to keep your finger on the pulse.”
- Change your case-acceptance from “selling” to “serving.” Even so, adopt the “selling” mantra that says, “don’t pre-judge.” Set your expectations that patients will value their health over cost issues.
- Start and end every treatment conversation on a foundation of trust.
- Increase your patient education process. Consistent streams of relevant, useful content via your blog, social media channels, and in-office technology will help ingrain treatment value.
- Stay solution and outcome focused in patient interactions. Help them see the value behind the treatment.
- Stay in-touch with patients. Your follow-up systems are as vital as your patient on-boarding process.
Slow-your-roll on staff hires
It’s not about scaling back on hiring new team members. It’s about being more strategic and patient.
Unsuccessful hires can cause you to grind through resources and time. Long-term payoffs will follow a more calculated staff on-boarding process.
- Confirm that your team candidates see, hear, and witness your practice culture and values in action. Ask them to share their insights and discoveries to affirm you’re on-the-same-page.
- Clearly outline their role alongside the skills and competencies required to fulfill it daily.
- Cull candidates via targeted job postings that specifically promote the position you’re hiring. Avoid general, ”We’re hiring…” job listings.
Up your business of dentistry “game”
Being a dentist in this era requires you to prioritize business ownership alongside your core skill as an oral healthcare provider. Times have changed in the dental industry.
- Improved technology
- HR (Human resources) evolution
- Increased CE options
- Dental insurance upheavals
Dentistry requires business-savvy to embrace, invest, and empower your practice around these shifts and more.
- Adapt to insurance provider changes while attempting new (potentially more profitable) work-arounds such as dental membership plans, opportunities to bill medical insurance for dental treatment, etc.
- Build your team around clearly defined practice workflows that maximize their skills and personality types
- Invest in technology and refine your practice management and clinical processes around innovative solutions including cloud-based practice management platforms
- Stay aware of industry trends and their impact on your practice’s stability, profitability, future growth, and valuation factors.
Value your role as an oral health provider
No one is skilled at the oral condition as much as you. This realization is a boost to your provider-esteem and how you approach each patient’s oral health.
As a dental professional, you’re aware that the oral-systemic health connection is real. And you’re committed to directing your patient’s attention to their risks.
- Educate your patients about the link between their oral health and their general physical health. Be specific about disease centers such as periodontal disease, etc.
- Encourage your hygiene team to be on-the-same page with you as you educate and inform patients
- Envision a healthier lifestyle for your patients during diagnostic conversations and treatment presentations
Trends provide useful perspective…if you allow them to strategically prepare you for a better future. Check out the following resources as preparation for the months ahead:
Prepare your solo dental practice for growth in 2021 and beyond
Planet DDS has experience with the ins-and-outs of how to run a successful solo dental practice. Our dental practice management software, Denticon, provides a streamlined system for planning, managing, and tracking the success strategies we just shared.
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