I know far too many dentists who are literally consumed by their career. They work 40 or even 50 hour weeks on a regular basis. And when they are not working, they are often too exhausted to enjoy time with their family and friends—in fact, many dentists are too exhausted to do anything but sleep.
The tragedy here is that this lifestyle is unnecessary. Many dentists believe that if they want to get ahead and make the type of money they need to support their lifestyle, working themselves this hard is the only option. This simply is not the case. As we have all heard many times (but often failed to apply), it is better to work smart then to work hard. That principle can be directly applied to any business, including dentistry. Rather than working yourself to death, the secret to building a highly successful practice lies in creating efficient systems and a well trained staff. Once you have developed these systems and trained your staff to run them properly, the business will virtually take care of itself! Of course, creating these systems takes time and work, but today I am going to share the basics and help you get started.
1) As you create systems, remember that every process must be documented and repeatable. In other words, you need to create instruction manuals! The point of systemizing your practice is to enable it to run without you being personally involved in every step. To achieve this goal, you need to first develop the process and then record it for training persons. At that point, it’s simply a matter of teaching your team.
2) Develop systems that involve you as little as possible. The only way to be truly free is to create a practice that requires little personal oversight. Now, there is no getting around the fact that you’ll personally treat patients (until your practice grows to the point where you don’t need to), but there are plenty of other processes that you don’t need to be involved in. For instance, record-keeping, scheduling, bookkeeping, and billing are all processes that your team can be trained to handle. When you no longer have to spend time attending to these tasks, you will be amazed at how much time you have to treat patients and focus on growing your business.
3) Develop a trust-worthy team and equip them to execute your systems. As you create systems, it is essential that you have a trustworthy team to execute them! This starts by making sure you hire for character and work ethic above all else, and it continues with a careful training process. Your team is the key to accomplishing your goals both for your practice and for your life—so invest the time and effort to build your employees into a productive and happy team.
As a dentist, you don’t have to work yourself into the ground in order to make a living. By creating efficient systems and training a skilled team to execute these systems, you can achieve the goals you have set—both for your personal life and for your practice!