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4 Burning Questions Every New Dental Practice Owner Should Ask

By: Wendy O'Donovan Phillips

Congratulations! You have decided to start your own dental practice. It's an exciting and overwhelming time, and many questions maybe swirling around in your mind. Here are the top 4 burning questions that we get from new dental practice owners, and how to get them expertly answered:

  1. How to I create a practice that I will love for years to come? You're likely going into practice for yourself so you can wake up wanting to go to work, do dentistry alongside a happy and fulfilled team, and leave each day feeling as though you have made an impact on the world. Beyond that, you're probably interested in making money and becoming financially free. Seek out a reputable dental coach right from the start. A coach, not a consultant. While a consultant tells you what to do, a coach helps you tap your true vision for your practice and life, and helps you to make that vision a reality. The latter is far more powerful because it is born out of you. An excellent coach can help you gain clarity on how to build the practice of your dreams right from the get go. Our favorite dental coaches are with Fortune Management.
  2. Who's in my corner for financing? Notice the question is not, 'Where can I get the best interest rate on my practice loan?' which is what your competitors are asking themselves. You are looking for a long-term relationship with a trusted lender with whom you will work for decades, and that is a smart business decision. As you interview lenders, ask for case studies of new practices with which they have worked for many years. Ask what the loan was in the first year and how that practice grew to pay back the loan. Ask what other ways the lender supported the practice over time. You will be surprised to see the difference in lenders when you look at your practice loan through this lens. Perhaps it goes without saying since we are guest blogging here, but our startup practices have seen the best long-term success with Wells Fargo Practice Finance.
  3. Who can I trust to help me decide whether to lease or own my location? Resist the temptation to go it alone in making this decision, as it will impact your bottom line for the lifetime of the practice. If you are in a financial position to do so and in a growing market, it is likely that purchasing a location is in your best interest. That way the practice assets will more likely include real estate appreciation in addition to operational assets in years to come. If it makes more sense to lease, a simple meeting with the landlord and the right broker can yield hundreds or even thousands in savings. By doing this, one dentist saved $15 per square-foot in a 3,000-square-foot practice. That's over $3,700 per month! Too, the right broker and your financier can help connect you with the right contractor and architect to build out your space, as well as the right equipment provider. Our top pick for dental real estate experts is Carr Healthcare Realty.
  4. How will I get new patients in the door right away? Have a dental marketing agency conduct a demographic analysis and online marketing assessment for the location that you have in mind. Although there are over 50 different marketing tactics that you could deploy to attract new patients right away, you want to get crystal clear up front about which will work best for your practice. (And the marketing formula is different for each practice, even those in the same communities.) Make sure that your marketing provider has deep experience in working with startup practices and understands the need to capture the attention of patients looking for a dental provider now. We recommend that you ask for a referral to a reputable dental marketing firm, and, of course, you are always welcome to check us out.

By asking the right questions and aligning yourself with the right experts from the start, you set yourself and the practice up for success for the future. Now, focus on what matters most: the supreme clinical care that you were born to deliver!

About the Author

Wendy O'Donovan Phillips is CEO of Big Buzz (www.bigbuzzinc.com), the nation's third-largest dental marketing agency and only full-service firm, offering more than 50 different marketing tactics, all backed by research. She is the author of "KABOOM! The Method Used by Top Dentists for Explosive Marketing Results," which is on the Amazon Top 100 List for Dental Office Practice books. She has been honored by the American Marketing Association for excellence in her field, and she has been hired by the American Dental Association as an expert consultant in marketing. Her firm celebrated 10 years in business in 2017. Read more insights like these at www.bigbuzzinc.com/blog.

View all articles by Wendy O'Donovan Phillips


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The articles and materials on the Wells Fargo Practice Finance website 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.

Wells Fargo Practice Finance is the only practice and commercial real estate lender recommended for members of the American Dental Association.

ADA® is a registered trademark of the American Dental Association. ADA Member Advantage is a service mark of the American Dental Association. ADA Member Advantage is a program brought to you by ADA Business Enterprises, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Dental Association.

All financing is subject to credit approval.

Wells Fargo Practice Finance is the only practice and commercial real estate lender recommended for members of the American Dental Association.

All financing is subject to credit approval.

Wells Fargo Practice Finance is the only practice and commercial real estate lender recommended for members of the American Dental Association.

All financing is subject to credit approval.

Wells Fargo Practice Finance is the only practice and commercial real estate lender recommended for members of the American Dental Association.

All financing is subject to credit approval.

Wells Fargo Practice Finance is the only practice and commercial real estate lender recommended for members of the American Dental Association.

All financing is subject to credit approval.

Wells Fargo Practice Finance is the only practice and commercial real estate lender recommended for members of the American Dental Association.

All financing is subject to credit approval.

Wells Fargo Practice Finance is the only practice and commercial real estate lender recommended for members of the American Dental Association.

All financing is subject to credit approval.

Wells Fargo Practice Finance is the only practice and commercial real estate lender recommended for members of the American Dental Association.

All financing is subject to credit approval.

Wells Fargo Practice Finance is the only practice and commercial real estate lender recommended for members of the American Dental Association.

All financing is subject to credit approval.

Wells Fargo Practice Finance is the only practice and commercial real estate lender recommended for members of the American Dental Association.

ADA® is a registered trademark of the American Dental Association. ADA Member Advantage is a service mark of the American Dental Association. ADA Member Advantage is a program brought to you by ADA Business Enterprises, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Dental Association.

All financing is subject to credit approval.

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