19 Jun 2015  •  Practice Management  •  4min read By  • Eleanor Young

All the Gear, No Idea

How does a pair of boxed Nike trainers represent how some practices try working towards their goals? Guest blogger Eleanor Young (Regional Support Manager at Practice Plan) explains…

On the weekend just gone, I decided on a last-minute shopping trip into Birmingham city centre. This was a mistake for two reasons;

Firstly, the world and his proverbial wife had decided to do the same thing and yes, you guessed it, traffic chaos ensued!

Secondly, I hadn’t made a list, I hadn’t thought about what I was really going for, nor how to approach the pandemonium that was the Bullring. The result of this was a pair of Nike trainers. My first pair of trainers in 15 years and ones that haven’t yet seen the light of day nor are they likely to. Hence, all the gear, absolutely no idea.

You may wonder what a pair of boxed Nike trainers has to do with dentistry or the practices I take care of. Well, I spend a lot of time talking to practices about having processes in place; having a plan that will guide them towards a goal that everyone can follow and, ultimately, deciding upon that goal in the first place. Even though I didn’t follow my own advice last weekend, I thought I’d share my top tips on things to consider to help avoid wasting time, money or your efforts.

Define your goal

This is the most important thing to do in any practice, but often the most difficult. Do you want to attract 50 new patients in six months? Do you want to boost your membership numbers by 20% or increase profits year on year? Without a goal, it is harder to motivate a team and even yourself. A goal ensures a purpose is given to your efforts and should be something that will improve your finances, working environment or customer satisfaction. Be specific and realistic and you can’t go wrong.

Set a process

Having decided on your goal, think carefully as to how you would like to achieve it. It’s imperative to have a plan or process in place that everyone can refer to so that the whole team are singing from the same hymn sheet. Without a clear view of the road ahead, it will be nigh on impossible to achieve that all-important goal. Set your process and consider implementing your plans across the board.


It may be that your team are involved in setting your plans and processes from the very start. This often helps build their trust and belief in a project. Dependent on the nature of the task ahead, specific roles may fall to specific members of staff and so it’s important to have their buy-in. Whether you roll out your approach or determine it together, make sure you communicate your goal and plans effectively.

Measure and review

I often discuss measurement with practices, advising them on how they can measure their outcomes and why it’s important to do so. Without a handle on the direction things are heading, it’s impossible to reign it back in if it goes awry! Set a system whereby you can review your new patient conversions, your new plan joiners, or your increased treatment uptake and be prepared to tweak your plan if necessary.


Last but by no means least, reward those who’ve helped you achieve your goals. We all like recognition – it helps validate us and confirm that we’ve made a positive difference. You don’t need to blow the budget or that increased income on a fancy soiree, but a show of thanks will go a long way next time you set a project in place!

If you’re after more advice on planning for your business’ future, head on over to our Resource Library to read even more great articles by some of the industry’s top consultants!

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