By Patty Flanagan, Adviser at Jameson Coaching
A Million Dollar Dental Practice
It sounds like a stretch from where you are right now, doesn’t it? It might be, but you’ve never been afraid to set goals for your million dollar dental practice.
Before you begin setting big goals and working toward them, it’s vital you recognize that growing your dental practice takes time: Your practice won’t become a million dollar business overnight. It’s a process, and the best thing you can do to set yourself up for success is to relax into it.
So, a profit of $1 million is your goal. Now that you’re relaxed and have accepted it’s a process, let’s talk about the details of achieving that.
Setting SMART Goals
While we know the big goal is $1 million in production, your ultimate goal needs to be broken down into several smaller goals. We always want to set SMART goals because it helps to clarify what it is you need to be doing.
What is a SMART goal? It’s a goal that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.
The best goal to start you off on your mission to a million-dollar dental practice is a 20% increase from your current production numbers. Many of our doctors break this 20% increase down by day, week, and month, so it is not overwhelming for those involved in working toward this accomplishment. By breaking it down into weeks, days, and an appointment mix, you should be able to see where that additional 20% needs to come from. Often, it is as simple as adding one more composite, a few adult fluorides, and a full-mouth series or two.
Now that you’ve broken down your specific goal, you’ll see it’s measurable, attainable, and relevant. As for being time-based, you will want to set up times to evaluate your success and ensure that the practice is on track to meet the goal. By having times allocated for evaluation, the business can regroup and refine areas that may need a little tweaking.
As for that big goal of a million dollar dental practice, look at the gap between your current production numbers and that of $1 million. Try to view it through a 20% lens, seeing how many times over you’ll need to increase your production by 20% to attain your big-number goal. Get out your planner and mark it all down. Record your goals for each 20% increase on your calendar for the next year (or two or three, depending on your starting point in production).
Once you know the “what,” it’s time to work on the “how.” So let’s talk about the 5 steps to put you on the path to your million dollar dental practice.
Step 1: Clarify your vision.
You are the captain of the ship; you must know where it’s headed, or it will flounder. What is your vision? What do you see for yourself and your team? What about your patients? Who are you most interested in serving?
Once you have those answers, a vision for your practice’s future should be clear. That vision should be guiding your steps as you work on meeting the goals you’ve set. If you’d prefer to move your practice to work more extensively with seniors, then your SMART goals should have an action plan that includes providing a service mix, as well as a marketing plan that will attract the seniors you enjoy.
Step 2: Develop your million dollar dental practice team.
Who is underutilized? Where can you improve as a team? What could you learn from each member of your team?
Dental teams want to make an impact. Often, they have great ideas but little time to express them. We recommend creating a learning environment in which each dental professional learns from each other’s experiences. It is imperative to make space within your practice for those learning opportunities, or your team will become stagnant, the overall employee satisfaction rates will decrease, and you’ll be left wondering what you have to do to get better help. Foster growth and creativity, and learning will soar. Teams want to be a part of growth and change!
Teams need leaders, and they need game plans. That means understanding where each person fits within the team, the role they play, and the results they produce. Your team needs a strategy that includes space for each member to flourish and grow.
A great place to start in developing your team is with a team meeting. Before you start recounting all the reasons you don’t want to schedule a team meeting, please finish this article and then come back to learn more about creating team meetings that are fun, effective, and met with enthusiasm.
Step 3: Implement systems.
At Jameson, we believe that systems are the key to continual success. A system is something that is the same, day in and day out. It can be counted on as a process that works consistently and is always predictable. The system will never change within a practice unless the decision-makers determine that it must be updated to reflect current standards. This helps team members and patients alike know and understand expectations. Great system implementation decreases stress and increases profit. One such system is accounts receivable.
Are you comfortable with your current system for billing? It’s vital to have set fees that reflect the amount of time you spend and the exceptional care you provide while performing these services. This system includes discussing fees and having a signed financial arrangement prior to reserving an appointment in the practice. This no-surprises approach allows patients to ask questions and the administrative team to discuss comfortable options for payment. It will streamline your billing and make it possible to accept payment at the time of treatment.
Another aspect of this system is insurance verification. Administrative team members who check patient’s benefits in advance show great confidence when presenting fees. This leads to same-day scheduling of needed treatment instead of sending them in for a predetermination, which is never a guarantee of payment. Your patient will know their estimated portion prior to arriving for the appointment, and any additional treatment will be simple for you to quote to the patient.
And don’t forget the most important part of your accounts receivable system: monthly bill collection. What is your system for collecting payment on past due bills? The goal is to collect payment at the time of service, but that doesn’t always happen. We recommend your billing system receive as much attention as all other aspects of your practice.
Step 4: Get outside perspective.
Have you ever held a hand mirror close to your face, so close that your nose smudges the glass? Imagine the scenario for a moment. How much of your face will you see if the mirror is that close? Not much. But do you know what you will see spectacularly well? Your pores. You can stare at your pores and analyze each one. If you stare long enough, you’ll even devise a plan for improving every single pore. After all, you’re a goal-setter, it’s what you do.
As the sole or principal dental practice owner, working in and on your practice is much the same as staring in that hand mirror. You are elbow deep in the “pores” of your business, only able to catch glimpses of the big picture every once in a while. Juggling all the details of what you do is what keeps your practice running.
Getting outside perspective on your business, team, goals, systems—all of it—will help you to step back and see the big picture. It’s like asking a friend to hold the hand mirror for you so you can see everything. You can’t set goals, develop systems, and lead when all you can see is one part of the whole. And receiving outside perspective from someone who does nothing but help doctors like you develop dental practices will be revolutionary to you and your team.
Step 5: Know the key performance indicators for your million dollar dental practice.
There are many key performance indicators (KPIs) that a practice will want to evaluate to move closer to the goal of the million dollar dental practice. One such KPI is case acceptance rates.
The performance of your business tells a story of how healthy your patients actually are. If patients are accepting treatment, your numbers will reflect that. If patients aren’t accepting treatment, the numbers—and your patients’ oral health—will reflect that.
Additionally, you won’t know where your practice stands, or whether your goals are attainable, without knowing your KPI. The trends of your case acceptance rates are something to track on a monthly basis. Other KPIs would be a hygiene retention rate of 85% and a periodontal treatment rate of 40%. We also recommend tracking the trends for broken and canceled appointments. This information tells the story of your patients’ and your practice’s health.
Putting it All Together for Your Million Dollar Dental Practice
Relax into the process. The process is not easy, nor is anything in life that brings us joy, happiness, and success. The most important part of your job in this process is knowing where to start, recognizing what you can do, and knowing that your team will want to be part of this journey with you. Are you ready to start your million dollar dental practice?
About the Author, Patty Flanagan:
A practicing clinician, speaker, writer, and advisor at Jameson Coaching, Patty helps guide her team members and doctors to health-centered relationships based on exceptional communication, trust, and integrity. Her thoughtful approach to coaching allows each of her clients to achieve their big-picture goals in an efficient and effective way that speaks to the core of who they are.
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