Everyone wants to improve their business… but sometimes we all need a little friendly prod to get us going. Here are some tried and tested business models and approaches that just might get your creative and strategic juices flowing. Take some time to read them through, think about them in the context of your dental practice and involve the team in applying them to your future plans. Each tool is simple, relevant and easy to get going, all you have to do is commit a bit of time and energy to improve your dental practice.
The Strategic Triangle
If you want a simple framework for creating a strategic plan to improve your dental practice… here it is.
The strategic triangle is an easy to use tool that will help you develop a focused plan based on the things that deliver real impact. Start at the top: vision should be the driver for all the subsequent decisions you make. Ask yourself, what will my dental practice look like 12 months from now, if there are no barriers in the way? Describe the picture you want to create in great detail. Once you have an understanding of what the ‘end’ looks like, start to think about and list the measurable, tangible goals that you would need to achieve to make the vision happen.
Once you’ve done that, move onto the strategic plans – think about the ideas that you want to put into action to make sure the goals are delivered.
And finally, drive it down to the actions and tasks – the allocation of responsibilities with clear timescales for when they will be done. Get it right and you’ll have top-down influence driving bottom-up impact.
The Brand Matrix
Here’s something to think about… YOUR LOGO IS NOT YOUR BRAND! Stating the obvious maybe, but you’d be surprised how many people think that it is. Your dental practice brand is a culmination of many elements that all combine to convey an image and a personality to your audiences, be they your staff, your patients or your suppliers.
Too many businesses think that having a cool and funky logo actually makes them cool and funky, despite the fact that the waiting room still looks like a 1950s residential home for the elderly and the person on reception is having lessons on customer service from a rottweiler.
If you want a coherent and consistent brand image, then all parts of your dental practice have to shout the same thing – from the way staff interact with patients, to the look and feel of the reception, the quality of the services you deliver to the logo that sits on your letterheads. Only when you’ve got them all perfectly aligned can you say you’re truly in control of your dental practice brand.
So, think about it. How do you want your dental practice to be perceived by your audiences? Once you’ve pinned it down, set about bringing it to life in every aspect of your dental practice.
Core and Surround
Here’s something else to think about…PEOPLE DON’T BUY WHAT YOU SELL! Now that’s a good one.
What we mean by that is, a potential new patient’s decision to choose your dental practice over one of your competitors won’t be based on the core services that you offer, because the competitors will most likely be offering the very same services. So, what you sell, i.e. your core services merely get you in the race, but they won’t be the determining factor in the patient’s decision. This will be a combination of the elements that surround your core services – how easy is it to park, how friendly the welcome is, whether you’ve got a funky logo(!), your opening times, the uniforms you wear, etc.
We live in an age where people are bombarded with messages every minute of the day, which means that first impressions are more important than ever. You may be the best dentist in town, but if the sign above your door is chipped and faded, your potential patient will not get far enough into your practice experience to find that out. Try this simple exercise…tomorrow, when you arrive at your dental practice, walk in looking through a fresh pair of eyes.
Take in what a new visitor would see and ask yourself what messages are being conveyed… you might be surprised.
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