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If you can survive the rigors of dental school, then you should be in good shape as a business owner. There are over 189,000 dental practices in the United States. Dental Economics reports that fewer than 1% of them end up failing.
Unfortunately, these rosy statistics can detract from some of the issues associated with running a dental practice. For example, even though the failure rate is low, dentists who don’t manage their practices responsibly are a lot more likely to run into problems that can lead to bankruptcy. They also might end up making mistakes that reduce their profitability and lead to massive headaches down the road.
You need to be mindful of the most common dental practice mistakes and try to avoid them. Some of the most common mistakes are discussed below.
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1. Not Having a Website
You have to invest in having a strong online presence. Nobody goes to the Yellow Pages anymore to find a dentist. They are going to look for your practice on Google. So, a good website is going to be crucial. Some companies specialize in dental website design, so you will want to contact them to get the best possible website to promote your practice.
2. Focusing Entirely on Dental Work at the Expense of the Business
Some professionals love their careers but don’t enjoy the aspects of running a business. Dentists are no exception. You need to recognize that your dental practice is a business and take business processes seriously.
One of the most critical issues that you need to focus on is accounting. Research from US Bank shows that over 80% of all businesses that fail do so because of cash flow issues. Although there are various reasons companies encounter cash flow problems, one of the biggest is that the business owner ignores their bookkeeping.
You also have to make marketing a priority. Dentists might not need to spend as much time marketing as other professionals because they have regular patients. However, you are going to need to do some marketing still when patients move or switch dentists. You will also need to market effectively for patients that need emergency work that would otherwise not visit your practice.
You also have to get the right insurance policy for your dental practice as well. This can be a crucial lifeline during a disaster.
You have to wear many hats when running a dental practice and doing dental work itself is only one of them.
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3. Neglecting to Invest in Employee Training
Your dental practice is only as good as the people behind it. Your employees are the pillars of your dental practice.
You will need to make smart hiring decisions in order to get qualified people on your team. However, your human resources plan cannot end with being good at hiring. You also have to make sure that your employees regularly develop their skills and become the best that they can be.
This means that you have to train your employees regularly. Training programs are going to cost money, but they will save you tons of headaches and possible cost down the road.
Consider a scenario where you just hired a new dental hygienist or dentist. If they are not trained regularly, then they might injure a patient. This can seriously damage your practice his reputation and cause your malpractice premiums to skyrocket. In addition, if your malpractice policy doesn’t cover the entire liability, then you might have to pay a lot of money out of pocket as well.
Wouldn’t it be a lot better just to train your employees well so this scenario doesn’t happen in the first place?
4. Using Poor Pricing Strategies
Pricing is one of the most important aspects of running any business. Dental practices that don’t set great prices stand to lose a lot of revenue. This is partly because of growing competition among dentists, which means patients can look for a new dentist if prices are too high.
If you set your price is too high, you might have trouble retaining customers and will need to invest more time and resources in marketing constantly. On the other hand, setting prices too low can be just as big of a mistake. If you are setting prices too low, then you might have trouble generating enough revenue during times when customers are delinquent on their bills or other expenses increase.
5. Taking on Too Many Patients
It would help if you were careful about taking on too many patients. You will end up wearing yourself down and getting burnt out. You will also be more likely to develop back pain, repetitive motion injuries, and other ailments that dentists face. So, only take on as many patients as you can reasonably handle at your dental practice.
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