Area Manager, Gary Nelson, suggests looking on the bright side as he reflects on the first quarter of 2023.
It’s one of the top questions I get asked each week. Usually followed closely by “What’s everyone else doing about…”
And whilst I do understand the reasoning and logic behind the questions, I always think of the saying:
Comparison is the Thief of Joy.
It has been another crazy first quarter of 2023, I probably don’t need to tell anyone that.
Fatigue has been well and truly the number one answer to the “What’s happening” question.
In fact, here in order of frequency are the top six conversations I have had in the first quarter of 2023:
- FATIGUE in the number one spot, followed closely by
- EMPLOYMENT ISSUES in number two
- HOURLY RATES coming in at number three
- ABUSIVE PATIENTS following on behind in fourth
- PRICE INCREASES in fifth place
- INFLATIONARY COSTS in sixth place.
In fact, I could probably go the whole way up the top ten with negative issues. It certainly is an upside-down world at present, I think we all understand that.
But if we went back exactly three whole years it was much worse. You were closed and didn’t know when you were going to reopen. Many of you with patients in pain wanting answers and solutions. It was truly awful.
I always remember one conversation with a client from that period, and one quote. “Just because we are closed doesn’t mean we aren’t still a brand and have brand values”. This quote was in relation to how they went about being closed and looking after their patients best during that period.
You can look at the above negative issues of 2023 all day long but the truth is this: in recent times there has never been a better time to be in Independent Dentistry. The demand is high, patient needs are high and the current changing face of general practice losing its attraction amongst young graduates is in full swing.
So, three years ago you found yourself in a situation of doors closed, yet just as I remember the above quote I also vividly remember how utterly superb so many practices were at the communication aspect of your practice.
Yet three years on it seems like communication has fallen by the wayside, firmly taken a back seat as books have been full.
We now find the dental marketplace a whole lot different from just three years ago, with many more dentists now offering Independent /Private dentistry than ever before, yet so many practices are seemingly stuck in a rut.
Where would I start if I were a business stuck in a little bit of a rut?
Week-by-week, slowly breaking habits and cycles.
You could start with re defining your Mission Statement.
I know the term ‘mission statement’ sounds very corporate because it often did to me in business, but it is one of my favourites. It all made sense to me when a business mentor once described it in its simplest terms as: ‘what you want to be when you grow up big and strong’.
It pretty much says it all. What you want to be known as and known for; what you want people to say about your business when you are not in the room and how quickly can you get there. These last few years have placed a layer of thick dust on many aspects of business, and this is one of the areas that needs the cobwebs blown well and truly off to help gain some focus.
Maybe then start the cycle of communication once again as an additional way of helping break the cycle of negative issues.
There are so many ways to communicate with patients these days; current, old and new. Such as:
- Social media
- Email communications
- Practice newsletters
- Internal TV screens
- Website makeover
- External A-board
- External signage makeover.
There are just a few areas that you might want to look at as patients are, sooner rather than later, going to be smarter and more selective in their decision making. And after all, so much will have changed in your business over these last few years.
Your practice will have so many stories to tell, new products, new services, new technology and new staff members, perhaps all with the same caring approach.
Roll on Spring and Summer.