The New Year is here, and this is a great opportunity to evaluate your practice and look for possible areas of improvement over the next 12 months. Below are eight principles which can be applied to every practice to improve operational efficiency and profitability. As you read them, ask yourself how well you and your firm is doing in each area. If the honest answer is “not so well”, commit to improvement in 2013.
1) Stay in touch with patients. How often are you communicating with your patients? Are you finding many opportunities each year—or does your correspondence tend to be limited to scheduling reminders and billing statements? Remember, more communication leads to stronger “top of mind” awareness for your patients. Social media is a great tool in this area.
2) Emphasize consistency. Great practices don’t rely on flashes of brilliance. They are built around a consistent patient experience. Commit to consistency.
3) Invest into your staff. Your staff generally interacts with your patients more than you do. Investing into their training and their growth as professionals is not only the “right thing to do”—it also ensures a higher level of patient service.
4) Set the right example. Don’t just “talk the talk” when it comes to patient service. Set an example of professional, courteous behavior for your staff to follow.
5) Delegate more. How much time do you spend each week doing work that could be delegated to others on your team? If you are like most dentists, the answer is a significant amount of time. And usually, the reason dentists keep doing the work themselves rather than delegating is because they don’t want to invest the time into training their staff. But this is one of the best investments you can make as it frees you up to spend your time more effectively.
6) Spent time each month strategizing. It’s critical that you take the time to look at your practice from a “big picture” perspective. Take time each month, either with your team, a mentor, a mastermind group, or even family, to look at your practice from a strategic standpoint. You may be surprised at how many opportunities you discover.
7) Be proactive. Too many dentists, and business owners in general, have a tendency to be overly passive. They wait and “see what happens” rather than taking deliberate and purposeful action. Whatever your goals and objectives are for 2013, commit to proactively pursuing them, rather than sitting back and hoping for good luck.
8 ) Always set deadlines. This is one of the most powerful pieces of advice I can give you, and it’s very easy to implement. Whether it is your own personal to-do list, a task list for your staff, or a project with an outside contractor—always set a deadline. This prevents procrastination and ensures that when you set out to do something, it actually gets done.
I hope that 2013 is the best year yet for you and for your practice. If you’d like to learn more, get in touch with me today!