In my 20 years of experience in the dental field, I’ve seen it all. I’ve witnessed many small practices growing into successful multi-practices, but even more practices have started with great ideas and enthusiastic doctors only to become prey to the vicious cycle of “getting bogged down by the day-to-day details of running a practice.”
Here you are, an associate thinking about opening your own practice, feeling you have the potential to make it on your own and knowing you can definitely be a better boss and run a better practice than your current employer.
Have you ever stopped to think that your boss was once an associate that shared your mentality too? So what happened? Before you know it, you too will have an associate working for you, having the same self-talk you once had about your boss, the same one they had with their bosses, and the vicious cycle continues… Unless you make a commitment to stop it before it starts!
When you get the keys to your new office, your life totally changes, and preparedness will be the key determinant on whether your practice thrives or fails. I’m going to share 7 tips to help you prepare, and to save you from the overwhelming, never-ending operational circumstances that are the cause of this so called “Vicious Cycle.”
1. Develop yourself.
Read and listen to audiobooks about great business entrepreneurs and follow their strategies for running successful companies. The law of Cause and Effect states that if you do exactly what other successful business people do, you’ll have the same results. You may also consider getting a mentor, someone in your field who you admire and who has been successful in the field. This is considered a Mastermind Alliance. Even if you don’t share their philosophy, there’s something to learn from every encounter. Also, thinking is the highest paying job in your business, so make sure you are THINKING POSITIVE SUCCESSFUL THOUGHTS
2. Develop your team.
When I hear a client and/or friend who is a dentist say that they’re just hiring someone to answer phones at the beginning of their start up, I cringe. Recruiting your office’s representatives is vital because it will affect how your office is perceived. This takes time and preparation. It’s imperative to take the time to select each and every single member of your team. Once you hire your team, inspire them, set a stage for their own development. Ultimately, our purpose in life is to grow. When you start a business, you are creating jobs and adding value to someone else’s life. You are responsible for improving their skills, which is also in your best interests. Create and direct the stage for them to perform and shine.
3. Build a patient tribe.
Be aware of your contribution to your patient’s lives and continue to add value to them. Make every encounter with them a memorable one; love them and they reciprocate. Loyal and happy patients will serve as your scouts, bringing you more and more business. I see many offices suffer when they focus all of their energy and resources on outsourcing their marketing. The best marketing investment you’ll ever make, the least expensive, and the most rewarding, is the connection that you make with the patient that’s in your office, sitting on your chair today. How you make them FEEL is more important than the latest equipment you’ve selected. So be sure to stay present and connect.
4. Create Systems.
The secret to the success of most major companies does not always rely on the product they serve, but the systems they create. Take McDonalds as an example. I bet that you or someone you know can make better burger than McDonalds, but, can you make a system to sell burgers better than McDonalds? The same goes for Starbucks and many other companies. My point is to invest the time early in the beginning of your startup to create checklists, scripts, manuals and procedures, and to consistently provide training. This will serve you tremendously in the future.
5. Analyze/modify strategies.
You will learn that ideas are only the first stage of a great project. Along the way, you may find that things don’t work and, although you have a plan, circumstances change. It’s important to analyze your techniques and see if they’re serving your purpose as intended. Create a periodic checklist of the key strategies you’ve created for the different areas in your business. This could be as simple as a quarterly revision of your marketing efforts.
6. Stay Focused.
With so many people selling us different products and/or services, it’s difficult to remain focused. My advice is to remain calm. If you know you’re making a contribution to your community and to your team, keep it simple and you’ll be fine. We all make the mistake of over-consuming products and services that we never really get through because there’s always something else, and there’s never enough time. Remember, dentistry is a never-ending cycle, so choose wisely. Have fun. You’re a leader, an entrepreneur embarking a new venture. Be kind to yourself and have faith. The law of expectation says that what is expected tends to be realized. So, expect to be successful, expect to reach the level of financial freedom you are seeking, expect to be in the top 10% of your industry. Enjoy every encounter with your patients, learn from them, share experiences and build strong long-lasting relationships. Enjoy getting to know your team, empower them, show them gratitude, invest in them for the universe will have no choice but to fulfill the wishes of the new inspiring successful leader you’re bound to become.