Running scared in a down economy

By Don Deems, DDS, FAGD

September 8, 2009 -- Editor's note: The Coaches Corner column appears regularly on the advice and opinion page, Second Opinion.

If you're like me (alright, I know you are), you've been hit up more than the usual number of times recently by your supply reps to buy products. The mail solicitations have grown to the point that you're crying about the numbers of trees being cut down. You're getting irritated with those no-shows and cancellations despite doing everything every consultant ever told you to do to make sure they don't happen. You watch your patients move more slowly than ever on completing necessary treatment, and worst of all, you're believing everything you see on the news.

What do smart companies do in down times? They take smart actions. So what actions have you taken recently that will position you at the top when this recessionary cycle ends?

Smart actions DON'T include:

  • Working more hours
  • Not maintaining equipment properly
  • Not developing great relationships with your patients
  • Not using "down time" for team meetings and planning sessions
  • Stopping your learning and your staff's learning
  • Splurging on unnecessary expenditures
  • Thinking that now's the time to market more heavily than ever

Yes, I could add to the list, and so could you.

Smart actions DO include the opposite of what I just mentioned and more, such as:

  • Paying down debt
  • Learning how to be a better leader
  • Developing a cohesive team
  • Carefully evaluating expenditures and making goals for overhead reduction
  • Investing in GOOD technology that will make a difference in your practice

Even top athletes have down seasons, just as top dentists have down years. But most athletes are smarter than we are: They use a coach or someone else to help keep them in top shape. What are you doing to keep your practice performing at a peak level and positioning yourself, your practice, and your team for the end of the recession?

Don Deems, D.D.S., F.A.G.D., known as the Dentist's Coach, is a co-founder of the Dental Coaches Association, an organization of dentists who are professional coaches committed to bringing professional coaching to the dental profession. Learn more about professional coaching by visiting

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

Copyright © 2009


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