Dentistry is a very competitive business in 2020.
How are you going to stand out from your competitors?
The first step is to view your practice as a business that needs a consistent number of patents who purchase a comprehensive range of dental health services on a regular basis.
Relying on attracting new patents to build your practice is expensive, time consuming and honestly exhausting. Work with the current patients you have as the primary focus.
A high level of business effectiveness is achieved when there is a strategic fit or a high degree of alignment between:
These business elements need to be clearly defined, consistently managed and monitored for you to have a competitive advantage.
1) Practice Environment
This is made up of the physical appearance and presentation of your practice both inside and out and what it says to your customers about the type of business you operate.
For example a modern looking building with fresh modern facilities inside and the visible appearance and use of technology could say to your customers that this is an up to date practice focusing on the latest procedures etc.
In contrast to that a suburban practice located in a residential area in a renovated house says much more a family practice perhaps and therefore the type of customer that is attracted to this does not place as much importance on the latest technology.
Very often the physical appearance of the practice both inside and out has become tired and old looking and can reflect a lack of interest and therefore creates an atmosphere of low energy and very often low expectations.
2) Business Strategy
What do you offer?
You must clearly define exactly what you can offer your current and potential customers not just dental services’. This means not only the type of dental services such as preventative care, endo, whitening, implants etc. Also what you actually give to your patients such as improved function, improved health, improved visual appearance that then gives the customer greater confidence.
What is the full range of dental services that you offer?
Break each of these dental services into a target market such as male/female; age range; type of income level etc. Once you have completed this detailed assessment, you are ready to outline a clear plan of changes that you need to progressively implement into your practice so that you are attracting and retaining the type of patients that you have targeted and want to target.
3) Culture of Your Practice
This means – how you do things in your practice, what are the unwritten rules of behaviour for the team and the type of communications etc.
For example a principal can ask that all team members not speak to patients and not have anything to do with education – that is a culture.
A principal can have a collaborative leadership style, delegate responsibility and encourage participation and input from team members – that is a different culture.
If you do not believe that your current culture is positive or productive you must actively and consistently work to change the ‘rules of behaviour’ in your practice.
Changing a negative culture can be one of the most challenging things for any business. It can require significant staff changes if there are negative staff that have been in the practice for many years.
4) Leadership Style
As you are fully aware the leadership approach and style of the principal dentist/s has the most significant impact on your business and team effectiveness.
The most honest thing that any principal dentist can do is look very long and hard in the mirror and assess exactly how they impact both positively and negatively on the team and hence the business.
Changing leadership style is possible if the principal wants it to happen. However this will not occur without very significant honesty, hard work and personal and professional development.
Your competitive advantage is achieved by having a targeted approach rather than a haphazard one.