Statistics gathered by the American Dental Association show that out of four American dentists, three are operating their own dental practices. That means, if you are thinking of starting your own practice, you will be faced with a lot of competition. So, how can you ensure that your startup dental practice will succeed? This article will show you how.
1. Write a Detailed Business Plan
Being a dentist, you know the importance of planning the treatments that you will provide your patients. You should give the same care in planning the business side of your dental practice and reinvent your company.
If you don’t have any inkling on how to create a business plan, you can use the templates that the ADA Resource Center offers. The dental association in your local area may also have some templates that you can use. Perhaps you can also approach some lending institutions in your area that specializes in dental practice. They may have some dental business plan templates as well.
To ensure the success of your dental practice, it is important that your business plan includes the following:
- Your mission and objectives
- Short-term and long-term plans and goals
- Financial plan: where you will get your initial funding, your cash flow forecasting, how and when you will get your ROI, your projected income and expenses charts, and so forth
- Marketing strategy: how you will promote your dental practice
2. Stay on Budget
If you are thinking of constructing a dental office, you may be facing an initial building cost of about $400,000 or more. On average, this cost will include the construction cost of the structure, landlord fees, dental equipment, dental software and hardware, office supplies, and at least $75,000 working capital.
You can go to a lender to raise the whole amount or at least a major portion of your initial funding. When your loan amount is approved, it is very important for you to stay on budget and stick to your financial plan, specifically your projected expenses and cash flow. Try not to go over 10 percent of your budget or it may send some danger signals to your lender.
3. Develop a Marketing Strategy
There are many proven ways to get patients for your dental practice. Here are some of them.
A. Hire Dental Marketing Experts To Design Your Website
The majority of consumers today go online to search for the products and services they need simply because it is much more convenient. That means, your dental practice should have a website, and it must be designed by a dental marketing expert. This professional knows the critical elements that will attract dental patients to your website.
B. Include a Scheduling Tool in your Website
A majority of patients avoid setting an appointment with their healthcare providers. You can skirt this problem by adding a scheduling tool on your website.
C. Use Google AdWords to Target Local Customers
If implement dental SEO, your website will attract more traffic. By using Google AdWords such as “find a dentist near me” or just “near me” will allow your potential customers to geo-target your dental office. If you will also hire a third-party tracking service you can track the incoming calls and use click-to-call-ads to increase the number of your patients.
4. Understand Your Legal and Compliance Obligations
Being a dentist, you have a number of legal and compliance requirements that you need to satisfy. You have to be well-versed with these requirements to avoid common legal problems in the future. Just like any healthcare practitioner, dentists are assuming legal risks every time they provide their services to their patients.
You need to be aware of Federal Regulations such as HIPAA or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. They impose breach notification duties, security, and privacy for all healthcare workers. You have to know the HIPAA rules that apply to your particular dental practice.
One of the best ways that you can be aware of legal and compliance obligations is by hiring the services of an experienced dental attorney. He can help you identify the legal risks and minimize your exposure. Hiring his services will ensure the legality of all your dental activities.
5. List Your Dental Practice in Online Directories
Consumers usually go online to search for the products and services that they need. In your industry, they will usually type their search terms in Google, Yahoo, and other internet search engines. They will also search for dental directory listings.
You can get your dental practice listed in Yahoo Localworks. It allows consumers to scan their local dental listings on several social media platforms, websites, and maps. If you use this service, your dental office will show up on these listings and maps. But be sure that your information is always updated so that your potential patients can easily find you.
Starting a dental practice entails a lot of work. Once it is off and running, you have a lot of responsibilities to take care of. You may find it difficult at the start, but if you will follow the 5 tips discussed above, you will be able to establish your dental practice and steer it successfully to greater heights in the future.
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