There is more to running a prosperous dental practice than providing patients with excellent care. If you want to have strong patient retention rates, you need to invest in other factors such as the creation of a welcoming, friendly, safe and sterile environment. You also need to consider the financial side of your business while exploring ways to grow and expand.
Here are five ways to help your practice thrive
Get expert advice
As a dentist, your area of critical expertise is oral healthcare. When it comes to financial and business decisions involved in effectively running a practice, it’s recommended to consult with specialized professionals, says Bart Bagrowicz, Director & Group Lead, Healthcare & Professional Banking, Western Canada at Scotiabank. “By connecting with a Healthcare Specialist and accountant, you can better ensure that you’re armed with the knowledge, data and intelligence you need to make informed financial decisions.”
Bagrowicz also suggests getting professional support to help you develop a sound business plan. “We encourage everyone to either create a business plan of their own or design one in consultation with a business planner.”
Build a strong team
Not only is it important to surround yourself with a team of professional advisors, but you also need to hire knowledgeable staff to help run your operation. “Having the support of an experienced office manager is paramount because they can maintain a well-organized patient schedule,” says Dory Reich, Senior Manager, Healthcare & Professional Specialist. They can also efficiently manage last-minute cancellations and requests for emergency service, close out gaps in your schedule, make sure you’re not overbooked and prevent long wait times for your patients.
Reich also stresses the importance of finding the suitable dental assistants and hygienists. You’ll want to ensure they are a fit with the overall culture of your clinic and have the kind of warm personality that can help build trusting relationships with your patients and staff.
Look for ways to be unique
If your practice is in a region where there are several other dental clinics, you may find you need to come up with creative ways to stand out from the rest. A survey of local clinics might enable you to determine whether there may be certain oral care services that your competitors aren’t providing. The global teeth whitening market, for example, is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 5% from 2022 to 20301, yet it is a service that not all clinics provide. By offering the service, you may find you can tap into a new clientele and find ways to better retain your existing patients, ultimately sustaining and growing your revenue.
Also, remember that first impressions are meaningful. An inviting office environment can provide patients with a positive experience and increase the likelihood of their return. Bagrowicz says some dentists have succeeded by even going one step further to create a tranquil spa-like atmosphere. Not only can such décor make visiting your clinic more enjoyable, but it may help calm the nerves of those who are typically anxious about dental treatment.
Use digital marketing to build your patient base
One thing the COVID pandemic highlighted for all types of businesses was the need for a strong digital presence. The internet has become the place people are most likely to turn to find all types of services – including dentistry. Having an engaging, user-friendly website is essential to help build and grow your business. It can provide potential patients with information about your services and directions to your clinic. Plus, it can make it possible for patients to book appointments easily and efficiently directly through your site.
When developing content for your website, incorporate the keywords that those looking for dental services online are most likely to input into search engines. The clearer the language, the better. For example, a web page with the title “dental office, Toronto” is more likely to be found by someone searching for a local dentist than one with a generic title like “oral care.” You should also consider creating a social media profile and potentially launching a targeted advertising campaign aimed at social media users in your region, for example.
Monitor your finances
Along with establishing an initial business plan, it’s essential to continuously track and monitor your cash flow and expenses and outstanding debts, to ensure your business continues to stay on track. Sherveen Kamran, Senior Manager, Healthcare & Professional Specialist, says she conducts an annual review with all her clients. “It provides an opportunity to go over their finances and recommend any adjustments that may be advantageous based on the current market,” says Kamran.
“As Healthcare Specialists, we provide expertise in practice financing and business banking advice and solutions and work in partnership with all of the client’s professional advisors to make sure that every aspect of the financial planning is taken care of,” says Kamran. “We are the dedicated one point of contact for all their personal and practice needs.”
For more information and customized advice and solutions to help manage your dental practice, contact us today.