In today’s saturated marketplace, most dentists can be forgiven for thinking they’ve ‘made it’ when they overcome stiff competition and secure funding to purchase a highly sought-after practice.
But it’s surprising how often complacency can creep in when new practice owners secure the keys to their dream business.
Regardless of whether you are thinking of selling or not, maximising the value of your practice and goodwill is the most effective way to increase your patient numbers and get the best return on your investment.
Do you run a well-managed and tight financial ship or is your business not as cost-effective as it could be? Similarly, are you making the most of every income opportunity by offering the treatments that your patients demand? If not, it’s time to do something about it.
To begin with it’s worth reviewing how desirable your practice is to new and potential patients. Does your practice look modern and welcoming with a comfortable waiting room or is it looking outdated, cluttered and in need of refurbishment to create space for more surgeries?
Is there sufficient parking and signage to attract new patients through the door and would they form a positive first impression when reviewing the practice building from the outside? It’s easy to overlook non-clinical factors which could be negatively impacting your bottom line.
Don’t forget to thoroughly review your competitors to see how they are differentiating themselves in the market in terms of the patient experience and the services they offer. Better still, why not perform a ‘mystery shop’ by telephoning rival practices to review their knowledge, professionalism and customer service qualities. You’d be surprised by what you can discover.
There are arguably two main areas to focus on when trying to boost the growth of a stagnating practice – new services and modern technology.
Introducing higher-value private or cosmetic services, such as teeth whitening, implants and Botox can be very profitable when offered alongside regular treatments and ensure that patients can obtain everything they need from one surgery.
“There are arguably two main areas to focus on when trying to boost the growth of a stagnating practice – new services and modern technology. “
Purchasing new technology can also pay dividends, particularly if you’re currently operating outdated IT software which can create a poor impression to patients and make them question if other areas of your practice are being neglected.
Leading practice management systems enable the smoother running of a dental practice. They include the functionality to easily manage patient appointments, monitor the success of marketing campaigns and ensure surgery time is utilised efficiently to ensure gaps in schedules are filled to drive revenue.
In addition, innovative devices such as CEREC systems enable tooth restorations to be created in the practice during a single visit.
While there are many logical reasons to evolve the look and feel of your practice, investing in modern technologies can represent a substantial financial outlay. It’s much more difficult to get cash back out of your business compared to borrowing in the beginning and once you have invested money upfront, it is no longer available for anything else, for example should you wish to hire new staff or temporarily close the practice to carry out any improvement works.
Finance from alternative lenders can play an important role in assisting practice owners to grow their business without the need to dip into vital cash reserves. By spreading the cost through a flexible funding agreement over one to five years, you can preserve working capital without compromising your existing day-to-day banking lines.
As more dental practices plough money into the latest innovations to enhance their financial performance and future value, those which standstill could be in danger of being left behind.