As I work with fellow dental practice owners at all stages in their careers, I am struck by the level of complacency that occurs. Somehow, we forget we are running a 100-yard dash and let up before the finish line! If you are going to be truly successful, you need to reach plateaus in your practice life and then redream and reset for the next goal.
As dentists and clinicians, we learn about new techniques, materials, and services for our patients through study. As business owners, we must stay current and comply with many rules and regulations to stay within legal boundaries. There is no resting on your laurels if you are a dental practice owner. Nobody said being a successful practice owner would be easy, but if you do it right, it will be a fulfilling and rewarding part of life.
The most detrimental vision error is to lose focus on your dream or your vision of what success means to you. For some, success is a monetary goal. For others, it is a lifestyle. Being financially secure for retirement, healthy enough to enjoy travel, and able to pursue your next chapter with choices are common dreams for most of us.
Your vision is similar to setting out a road map to a destination. If you were to travel by car from Los Angeles to New York, you would plan this journey carefully. There would be many factors to consider, such as time, points of interest, cuisine choices, and hotel accommodations. You might also choose people to take with you. Most people plan their next vacation more thoroughly than the journey of their practice life and its success. Avoid the error of not planning how you will reach your definition of success.
A common vision error later in a dentist's career life is not visualizing his or her next chapter. Think about what interests you would like to pursue when you have more time away from the practice. Do you want to bring in an associate to purchase or just to give you time out of the office? Have you created a vision for that scenario? Does your practice have curb appeal to attract the best possible dentist to fit into your philosophy of care? Do you have state-of-the-art equipment so you and the other dentist can provide the services the public expects? Visualize the transition process and prepare with strategic planning and expert assistance.
To avoid vision errors, don't get complacent and fail to grow yourself. Stay in the game and have the intention to complete the race. After all, you want to go out at the top of your game!
Revisit your vision daily, modify it as you reach goals, and then redream and create a new vision.
Dr. Jeanette Kern is an expert in the fields of cosmetic and restorative dentistry. Armed with more than 40 years of experience in the dental industry as a hygienist, associate, and practice owner, her unique perspective helps current dentists bust through their blocks and grow their practice's profitability with passion. Kern created the Profitable Dental Academy, which offers an online mentoring course to guide dentists in making the practice of their dreams.
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