Optometric Strategies For Success library
Plan Now for the Practice You Want Tomorrow
After all the time, effort and money that you’ve put into your dental education, at last you are ready to start building the practice you waited for - and living the life you anticipated.
To ensure the reality lives up to your dream, you need a solid plan. Your lender will want to know that you have a sound plan for running a profitable business. Perhaps more importantly, you will have a blueprint for building the practice that will bring you both professional and personal satisfaction.
Most new dentists believe that more is better: more patients, more associates and more staff. Too often, dentists follow this definition of success without first deciding if it is their own definition of success. Years later, they find themselves dissatisfied with their practices and its impact on their personal lives. Usually, more of one thing often means less of another—for these practitioners, less time for family, hobbies, teaching or other interests.
You can be successful in any style and size of practice if you first define your practice goals rather than letting your practice take its shape by chance or unexplored assumptions. Start by touring other practices and talking to established dentists. Then, put your choices in writing. This will be the start of your business plan.
The Business Plan
The plan you put together may be a formal document that you present to a lender or just a few pages of bullet points. Whichever format meets your needs, the business planning process ensures that you plan for the resources you need to run a profitable practice: suitable space in a suitable location, the right number of operatories, reliable computers and software, secure financial systems, sound business processes, an effective staff team and plenty of patients.
As you develop your business plan, think of it as the curricula vitae for your practice. It should describe the “credentials” that will make it a success:
- A narrative that offers an overview of your business for at least one year into the future. Describe the legal structure of your business and the dental services and products you plan to provide.
- Projected start-up and operating expenses, including costs for the facility, equipment, technology, dental supplies, laboratory, personnel, accounting and legal advice, and marketing and advertising.
- Production goals, which should more than cover your expenses.
- Area demographics and competitors, which should demonstrate that your production goals are realistic.
- Marketing strategies for achieving your business objectives, including attracting the patients needed to meet your production goals. List specific marketing activities that you will implement.
- Team development plans to ensure quality of care and patient satisfaction.
- Business controls that will help you monitor the growth and success of your practice and protect your finances.
It’s a lot of information to gather, but you’ll find people who are willing to help. Other professionals in your area, including other dentists, physicians, accountants and insurance agents will have experience that you can draw from. Lenders and equipment vendors are also a resource. The Internet also offers an abundance of advice. Be sure to verify what you read by talking to successful practitioners.
By taking the time to chart your course before you take off, you can be assured of making the right decisions as you grow your practice. Unexpected problems and tempting opportunities are sure to arise at any practice. With your vision for the practice clearly defined and on paper, you’ll be much more apt to choose the answers and options that will make your practice professionally and personally rewarding throughout your life.
Statements of opinion not necessarily endorsed by ADA Member Advantage, ADA Business Enterprises, Inc., or the American Dental Association, or any of its subsidiaries, counsels, commissions, or agencies.
|Linda Valencia is a consultant for MOSAIC Management Group, a dental practice management company that provides customized, hands-on training, consulting and coaching services. Ms. Valencia has over 13 years of experience exclusively in dental management consulting. She has presented numerous seminars and in-office workshops nationwide and is a member of the Academy of Dental Management Consultants. She can be reached at 800-966-7242 or online at www.mosaicmanagement.com.|
All practice financing is subject to credit approval. Business Refinance Program is for business term debt only. Revolving credit and existing Wells Fargo Practice Finance debt are not eligible for consolidation.
The articles and materials on the Wells Fargo Practice Finance Web site are provided for general information only and do not constitute, nor are they intended as, a substitute for consultation with accounting, tax, legal or other professional advisors. Wells Fargo makes no representation regarding the articles available in the Strategies for Success Library or the completeness or accuracy of the information contained therein. The articles and the information contained therein may be incomplete, may contain errors or may have become out of date. Wells Fargo makes no commitment, and disclaims any duty, to update any of the articles or materials in the Strategies for Success Library. The views expressed in the articles are those of the authors alone. They may or may not reflect the views or opinions of Wells Fargo.
Subscribe By Email
Sign up to be notified when new articles are posted to the Strategies for Success library.
Call 1-877-207-5395 and speak to a practice financing specialist or your Business Development Manager.
Already a Client?
Call Client Services at 1-800-628-7816 between 7 am and 4 pm Pacific Time or send us an email.