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    4 things you need to do before expanding your practice

    Expanding into a multi-location is every bit as challenging as it sounds, so preparation is key.



    The value of advisers

    While it is cliché recommending “not reinventing the wheel,” there’s priceless value in tapping into the knowledge and expertise of others.

    “Dentists are not really entrepreneurs,” Dr. Levin observes. “An entrepreneur is defined as somebody doing something that has never been done before or is doing something that has been done before, but in a different way. And that doesn’t fit most dentists. Most dentists go into practice. I am a dentist. We were wildly successful because of supply and demand. Now we are in a highly competitive environment. We are only starting to see small groups competing with each other, and that’s going to grow.

    “So, the first thing I would do is put together a three- to four-member advisory board,” he continues. “People who have expertise: a management expert, a financial expert and a legal expert are three of the obvious choices. You might want an HR expert or a training expert. Dentists have no familiarity with the concept of advisory boards. I sit on several; they are very, very powerful. And you do have to pay them; no one’s doing this altruistically. These are people who can advance you by light years because of their expertise, but you should be prepared to pay for advisory board meetings, which you probably need four to six times a year.”

    Consultants and personal coaches are other valuable sources of professional advice and guidance.

    Trending article: The future of articial intelligence in dentistry

    “If someone is really motivated to expand a business, reach out to an executive coach,” Dr. Levin says. “I personally handle a certain number of clients every year because I enjoy it. I love executive coaching. These dentists are going to go through a transformation process, but they may not know it. It’s the difference between making mistakes and having a guide to get it right. So, having an executive coach helps people who want to grow, personally or professionally, identify what they want to accomplish, how they’re going to get there and helps them through it.”

    There’s also value in working with a friend or colleague who has taken this journey in the past or is undertaking it at the same time.

    “They need to have a peer-to-peer relationship with somebody who has gone through this before or is going through it with them,” Dr. Cooper says. “So, if I have a problem and I am working on this, and there’s a guy over there who’s working on the same problem that I am, I can talk to him about how we are approaching the problem. I don’t have to figure it out in my head. So, having some level of peer-to-peer advisory relationship we feel is important as well.”

    Beyond an advisory board to help with some of the major business issues, expert advisers can be brought in for specific, specialized needs.

    “Identify areas where the practice has weaknesses and bring in expert advisers for that,” Dr. Levin recommends. “Not for the advisory board, but there might be an expertise that’s needed that does not exist, such as HR manuals, sexual harassment training. These are all things that dentists don’t do that become critically important when you’ve got 30, 40, 70 employees.

    “It’s the transformation from a mom-and-pop, where the owner is there every day, watching the practice, to a well-run business,” Dr. Levin continues. “There are endless courses, business schools, books and articles on that topic.”

    Knowing that you don’t know everything can be one of the best realizations on the journey.

    “Don’t try to go it alone,” Dr. Levin advises. “Because when you do, you make mistakes, waste money, lose time, and everything is easier and better when you have people who have seen it and done it before.”


    Robert Elsenpeter
    Robert Elsenpeter is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to Dental Products Report and Digital Esthetics. He is also the author ...


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