Happy New Year! Welcome to 2014.
Have any New Year Resolutions?
Pay off debts, Save money, Lose weight, Quit smoking, Eat healthy, Equip that empty operatory, Hire a consultant, Add a second hygienist, Upgrade my software, Increase my radiology production, Improve my patient eligibility reporting, Lower my accounts receivables, Become a laser dentist, Acquire CadCam, Take more vacation, Hire a marketing professional, Bring on an associate, Become a better administrator/leader…
Whether you believe in New Year resolutions or think they are a waste of time, please follow my train of thought. The New Year provides us with a point in time to look ahead and to reflect on the previous twelve months. Did we exceed our goals or fall short? Did we keep our promises and execute in our personal and professional lives?
Everything Dental Blog – Dental Guide For 2014
- Document your goals – Everyone (Drs. Hygienists, clinical staff and administrators) must have a sense of purpose going into 2014.
- Put resources behind goal attainment, operational improvements and business commitments.
- Use time wisely – prioritize/have deadlines. What matters most, matters most!
- Focus on small improvements and your trajectory. Going in the right direction is critical but objectives must be met. Have a time table (due dates). Be nimble and correct on the fly – don’t wait for perfection to begin pursuing your goals!
- Every dentist should have an advisory panel made up of business professionals (accountant, lawyer, financial planner, supplier/dealer representative, investors [if applicable] and mentors. *You must have entrepreneurial people in your advisory panel for it to be beneficial! We tend to surround ourselves with people like ourselves. Some dentists will reach critical mass prematurely because they lack the humility to seek out help – keep your ego at bay!
- Lead your team by example and challenge them to work outside of their comfort zone. Create incentives for operational and revenue enhancing ideas that cost little or nothing to implement.
- Identify courses/training opportunities that would benefit everyone in the office. Select continuing education courses that expand the skills or improve performance of each team member. The Dr. should not be the only one who gets C.E. Consider DRC – http://www.drcdental.com/
- Keep the rules of engagement (any office project or policy) simple. Don’t complicate things. Policies and Rules must govern your decisions and rewards, not your emotions or the mood you’re in.
- Focus on winning, improving and growing activities. Gain momentum with small consistent gains! Don’t waste valuable time on petty things. Put more resources on revenue producing activities. Does the activity generate income or cost you?
- Nothing measured; nothing gained [measure progress and track results]. Chart your progress daily, weekly and monthly in an area where staff members will see it. They must know how you’re trending towards the company goals.
- Stick-to-it-ness counts – be a cheerleader, a mentor and the boss to your team. Let them know that success is not an option; it’s the only thing you’ll accept!
- Make time for yourself and your family. You need to strike a balance between work and life.
- Make sure to fund your retirement account with a minimum of 10% of your net income every year.
- Read – be a student of business (operations) as well as clinical dentistry.
- Speak to your accountant regularly and work on your tax strategy for the current and upcoming year.
- Attend trade shows and industry events with your management and clinical team. Improve team harmony and team work by including them at these events!
On December 1st, I attended the Greater New York Dental Meeting at the Jacob Javits convention center in Manhattan. This year, the show attracted many new vendors and it was truly an international showcase of technology, traditional dental equipment and dental materials.
The GNYDM was busy with traffic and vendors were reporting strong sales, which suggest that 2014 will be a great year. Historically, the GNYDM is a good barometer for how the following year will start out. Doctors were buying technology in record numbers as the race for smaller, faster, better and distinct accelerates. As more dentists participate in PPO’s and offer similar clinical and elective services, speed and distinctive branding have moved to the forefront for many progressive offices.
In my two decades of working with dental practices, I have never seen so many offices engaged in professional marketing and practice management consulting services. You can see the undercurrent of an entire industry gravitating towards, digital dentistry, electronic claims, chartless/paper-less dentistry, multi-specialty and same day dentistry. Many practice owners and entrepreneurs understand the urgency moving forward. The landscape has changed and the single neighborhood provider can find him or herself competing with regional and national chains who are savvy marketers.
The movement towards digital impressioning was fiercely obvious as the two leading marketers exceeded sales goals at the show. It’s apparent that we have hit the tipping point in CadCam and digital imaging. Most dentists are intrigued with the ease of use and benefits of these two leading technologies. They want to benefit from the technology and move towards the more profitable, same day dentistry business model!
Most dental practices are gearing up for the New Year and accept the fact that the business of dentistry has changed. They understand that a good reputation and a great patient experience trump clinical expertise in certain scenarios, especially in a competitive environment. Additionally, the same old challenges still exist; patients have a low dental IQ, high unemployment and under-employment, reduced PPO fees, rising operational costs and the benefit/burden of capital equipment acquisition.
If you are not engaged in marketing, aren’t working with a practice management consultant, aren’t offering digital dentistry and have not expanded your service offering than what are you doing to win your future?
Best wishes to you and your family for a
Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New year!