By Jen Butler, MEd, DrBicuspid.com contributing writer

May 11, 2018 -- There is a difference between growing a practice and making it profitable. This distinction is important because when you're creating a strategic plan, the stepping stones you use to generate profitability can vary from those used to stimulate growth.

The following 10 tips are absolutely essential to growing a dental business. However, while these tips are not costly, they do require your intentional focus and some quality time.

For the practice owner

Jen Butler, MEd
Jen Butler, MEd.

I tell my clients that these tips are for the dentist/owner. Why? Because growing your practice is your concern and you need to put the time in rather than delegating to others.

10. Community relations

Connecting with your patient base where they live is imperative, regardless of where you live. Attend community events, small-business meetings, school functions, and ribbon cuttings of other businesses.

9. Hire right

Committed staff members who are passionate about what they do make an impression on patients. You can be the best clinical team in town, but if the staff energy is negative because of drama, miscommunication, or tension, patients can feel it and won't return.

8. Cultivate a leadership mentality

Your office has many potential leaders -- if you nurture a leadership mentality. This can only be done when job descriptions, duties, checklists, direction, and clear goals are shared with staff. People can't take a leading role if someone doesn't invite them into the role.

7. Provider time scheduling

If the schedule isn't managed to allow for more visits in a certain amount of time, then you book patients too far out. When this happens, patients may lose interest and cancel, which means that your scheduler is constantly moving patients around to fill holes. Provider time scheduling ensures enough clinical time to complete treatment while maximizing every minute of each operatory.

6. Customer service

Customer service is about how the patient is treated. Do you say, "My pleasure" or "No problem"? Is your office comfortable for your patients? Is your staff energetic? Is everyone genuinely smiling? If customer service is done well, patients will return.

“The best compliment patients can give is a referral.”

5. Patient referrals

The best compliment patients can give is a referral. Unless you ask, however, they don't think about you or your need for new patients. Something as simple as asking in a nonthreatening way if they would refer their family and friends can pay off.

4. Reputation management

Reputation management comes down to what people think about you and share with others in person, online, and through social media or review platforms. How do you influence your reputation? Ask for positive reviews publically and negative reviews privately.

This approach allows you to boost what's working and correct what's not. A script could go something like this: "I would love for you to share publically about your experience today. If there are things we could have done better or you didn't enjoy, please share those directly with me so I can attend to them immediately."

3. Vision, mission, purpose, and mantra

This is your vision, mission, purpose, and mantra. This is what separates you from everyone else. If you live your purpose in your practice, then your patients and your staff will respond.

2. Hygiene reappointment rate

Your hygiene reappointment rate is the leading metric to track if your practice is growing or not. Most offices believe they do well in this area when, in actuality, the average practice has a reappointment rate so low it is losing a patient within three years. The magic number is 95% of all patients must have their next hygiene appointment if a practice wants to experience massive growth while spending little on marketing.

1. Tracking metrics

Simply, you can't change what you don't acknowledge.

Jen Butler, MEd, is the CEO and founder of JB Partners and has been working in the area of stress management and resiliency training for more than 25 years. Learn about her services at www.jenbutlerpartners.com, or contact her at jen@JenButlerPartners.com.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.


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