The old saying that you should do what you love and the rest will come doesn’t always work out, does it?
Even with front and back office staff, a lot still falls to you, as the owner of the practice. Managing the ‘store’, so to speak, handling human resources issues, dealing with customer complaints that have escalated. And, of course, treating people.
You became a dentist to treat people, to help them, and it sometimes feels as though the energy that you felt for the work in the early days is starting to peter out. You’re feeling burnt out, running in all directions.
Perhaps it’s time to sit back and take stock. If you can do this from a beach with an umbrella drink in your hand, or on the back nine of a gorgeous golf course, more’s the better but regardless of how you stop and review, if you’re feeling as I described above, it’s time to stop and take a look at how you’re doing business.
Ultimately, your dental practice is a highly skills based enterprise but dentistry is still a business. You have competition, marketing needs, human resources issues, financial / budgetary considerations, and the like. These can quickly become overwhelming if not handled.
Some questions to ask yourself:
- Do you use practice management tools and software that help you coordinate your staffing and file management?
- How are you scheduling appointments? Is it effective or are you finding that new patients are waiting weeks for a first appointment and emergency patients are forcing scheduled appointments to wait a long time?
- Are you updating your equipment and your premises? Would you like to?
- Have you focused your practice on a certain type of patient or are you a generalist?
- Would you prefer to focus on one type but just haven’t done it? Do you need some help to take some of the non-focused work off your plate?
- Are you finding a lot of turnover in your staffing?
Typically, a dental practice will have several areas where time is being ill-spent, which can be alleviated with the right processes and systems in place, allowing you to free up some of your time to do the work that you would prefer to be doing anyway.
Keeping staff happy isn’t always about how much you pay them: it’s also about how much you value them. Show them their value by offering training / upgrading opportunities. Offer them flexibility in scheduling. Make sure they are busy and doing the work that they are trained to do.
Staffing your practice, keeping up to date with current labor laws, ensuring that there are standards in place for inter-staff engagement, training and certification are all issues that you need to keep control of.
Word of mouth is an incredibly strong tool for marketing your practice but it is not the only one in the toolbox. Internal marketing – the promotion of your business through existing clients – is important: keeping the clients you already have by ensuring that they are satisfied.
External marketing is also important but can be time consuming. Social media, blogging, print advertising, radio… There are a lot of options! What will work for you will depend in large part on the type of business that you wish to attract.
For the lack of an adequate system for managing patient information quickly and securely, many practices lose a lot of time that could be spent more efficiently on servicing the customer. A system that in itself becomes overwhelming because of the way it has to be managed is not a system: it’s controlled chaos, which is bad for business.
You need to do the work that you enjoy and that capitalizes on your skills and education. In other words, do what you do best. You don’t need to be bogged down in marketing plans and management conundrums. Let others do that.
Contact the experts at Dental Management Advisors and we’ll help you get back to doing more of what you love.