Seven driving forces of practice growth

April 1, 2011
Balanced and proportional growth should not be taken for granted in your practice. Like a body, organizations can expand in many directions simultaneously.

Michael Schuster, DDS

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Balanced and proportional growth should not be taken for granted in your practice. Like a body, organizations can expand in many directions simultaneously. Structures, systems, positions, and policies must evolve along with the number of people and volume of production. Frequently, practices grow without proper systems and procedures or the training to link them together. Therefore, in examining the anatomy of a practice, the human body provides a good image of how a practice should grow but usually doesn't.

The human body and an organization differ in one important aspect. The growth of the body is not only biologic, it is unconscious. Dental practices often grow unconsciously as well. They expand naturally (up to a point) without anyone really thinking about the seven core elements that drive or resist growth, and how these seven elements interact and influence each other.

Your ability to understand the unconscious process of human biologic development and replicate it within your practice holds the key to nonstop growth in profits, fulfillment, and worthwhile services.

The seven core elements constitute the driving or resisting forces of your practice. These elements are like the essential organs of the body: brain, heart, lungs, stomach, liver, kidneys, and pancreas. The seven core elements of your practice are:

Purpose – Your reason for your practice to exist. It is how you want to live and practice! Your purpose is the heart of your practice! Everything has to go through the heart!

People – The attitude, skills, capabilities, engagement, and energy of all team members are essential for growth. People with purpose are motivated and have energy and passion.

Organization – How the pieces fit and how services are delivered. Without organization, energy is lost.

Market – The people, what they need and want, and how they hear about you. There must be a market for the services offered.

Sales – The new patient process is a vital key to growth and stability of your practice. People have to buy to instigate growth.

Time – The key to production, enjoyment, and fulfillment is how your time is utilized. When you manage your time, you manage your life. When you waste your time, you waste your life.

Money – Where the revenues are coming from, and the costs associated with the revenues. Master your money. Create a cash flow system to control the flow of your money. You either control money or it controls you.

The role of these seven driving forces of practice growth can be understood from three perspectives.

• First, each element is important and critical in its own right. The heart, like the market, must be strong and healthy. The brain, like people, should be alert, energetic, and alive.

• Second, each element must also be developed in proper proportion to the others. As the lungs must be sufficiently developed to provide all the oxygen needed by the brain and heart, people must have the knowledge and skills to provide the services to a growing market. Just like the liver must purify the blood pumped by the heart, the sources of money and costs associated with production must be understood and managed.

• Third, in addition to the critical importance and the need for balanced development, there is also a need for harmonious interaction and coordination between each element. When the heart beats faster, the lungs must process more oxygen and the liver must filter more blood. When the market expands, people in every role in the practice must be able to respond with more energy and skill. Money must circulate and be more effectively controlled. Technology accelerates activity. If the synergy is lost between the body's organs for even a short period of time, the body collapses into a coma. The same is true for dental practices. Practices exist, but do not grow in net profit.

The harmonious coordination is not only essential for life; it is the key to vitality – both for the body and dental practice. Practices that establish high levels of synergy and balance with the seven driving forces are able to continuously provide worthwhile services to the patients, fulfillment for you and your team, and increased net profit!

A practicing dentist, Dr. Michael Schuster founded the Schuster Center in 1978. Guiding thousands of graduates to achieve wealth and freedom, the Schuster Center is the first business school created exclusively for dentists. Dr. Schuster is a cadre and former director at the Pankey Institute, adjunct faculty at the Dawson Center, OBI, and LSU Cosmetic Continuum. Dr. Schuster can be reached at (800) 288-9393,, or [email protected].

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