A practice that can continue functioning indefinitely -- even with a new dentist replacing the current one -- is a "sustainable" business. Whatever a practice owner's plans for the future, it's smart to make the practice sustainable as soon as possible.
Make changes now for maximum benefits. There are strategies any practice can use right now to make it sustainable indefinitely:
- Implement documented step-by-step practice systems so that even new team members can operate them almost immediately, just by following the steps.
- Identify and monitor key practice indicators to spot positive trends early and reinforce them.
- Develop a mix of services that will carry the practice forward for a number of years.
- Evaluate other factors -- location, condition of facilities, technology -- in terms of how they can be improved for the future.
Don't wait until you're close to retirement. It takes time to build true sustainability into a practice, so it is never too early to focus on it -- especially when you realize that the strategies that lead to sustainability also generate immediate financial rewards.