Many dentists have a difficult time finding a balance between providing clinical care and running a business, but evaluating these four areas of your practice may help.
Walk and chew gum at the same? Sure, you can do that. But how are you at providing excellent clinical care and running a highly productive practice?
If juggling veneers and marketing plans isn’t your strong suit, you’re in good company. Dentists have long struggled with striking the right balance between being both excellent clinicians and business owners. It’s a balancing act that often creates high stress and low production, while potentially adding 10 practice years to your plan for financial independence.
Clinician or business owner?
Once you’ve graduated dental school, you’ve become a highly trained clinician confident in your ability to diagnose, treat and manage the oral health of your patients. In order to ensure a high level of excellence throughout your career, you take advantage of the numerous opportunities available for continuing clinical education. From the day you treat your first patient until the time you sell your practice, there will be a wide variety of in-person and online educational support that can have a direct impact on your ability to treat patients and meet state licensure requirements.
Unfortunately, most dentists aren’t so confident when it comes to business. Their dental degree typically provides them only a very rudimentary understanding of how to run and operate a practice, and they don’t have ample opportunity to enhance business education in their weak areas. Although there are numerous business education offerings for dentists, many of them are based on the educator’s opinions and not on best practices that have demonstrated consistent success. And while some of their ideas may be excellent, they often provide limited results.
Given this lack of practice management resources, many dentists are forced to put all of their efforts into becoming the best clinician they can be. And while this focus on providing excellent dental care is both essential and admirable, it won’t help you grow your practice.
Creating the clinical-business owner balance
Your best first step to achieving clinical-business owner balance is to evaluate the following four key areas of performance:
1. Strengths. The fastest way to establish balance is for dentists to maximize their strengths and use them to create a better business.
2. Weaknesses. Whether you employ additional education or outside expertise, solving issues related to your weaknesses guarantees immediate results.
3. Opportunities. These can range from improving practice systems to adding new services to expanding the patient base through a powerful contemporary marketing program. Every practice needs to pursue opportunities regularly in order to continue to grow and offset declines that can happen naturally in any business.
4. Threats. Threats are anticipated issues that may never occur, but should be addressed simply to have a contingency plan that can withstand any sudden issues.
By applying the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats model and gradually addressing each area, you will be able to create a better clinician-business owner balance in order to operate at a higher level.
In this new dental economy, dentists can no longer put all their focus on dentistry. Today’s successful dental practice demands a more balanced approach with the goal of the dentist becoming the best clinician and business owner he or she can be.