Dos and don'ts for practice management: Making associateships work

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Associateships are a major part of dentistry. Each year thousands of practices add associates for a myriad of reasons. Some dentists think this is an automatic step in creating a successful practice, while others are extremely reluctant to bring an associate into the practice.

Do

Understand that the associate is not you. While many owners have tremendous case presentation skills, the same may not be true for their associates. Many of these people do not know how to present even small- to medium-sized cases and end up either underselling or overselling patients. Have your case presentation systems in place before the associate joins the practice.

Don

Don't assume finding an associate will be easy. Finding the right associate requires spending some time together. The owner and prospective associate need to spend more than an hour or two together to get a sense of how they might work together. Several days with the associate in the office, social events such as dinners, and meeting spouses can all contribute to a better understanding for both parties.

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