By: Keith W. Gruebele
Even the most organized and motivated dentists can make simple missteps to complicate opening a new practice, with all the different factors it can sometimes be easy to make an oversight.
Opening your own dental office is no simple task. Coordinating with different parties and managing the moving parts can often make for a headache. Avoid making these possible oversights and ensure your practice gets off on the right foot to start paving your way to success.
1. Not Planning Properly
Whether you’re an established professional or new graduate, opening your own practice is a big undertaking. Lawyers, landlords and vendors are just a few of the many parties you’ll work with along the way, so take your time and know what steps to take. A detailed business plan can go a long way in mapping out those steps, identifying goals and staying on track to achieve them.
2. Hiring the Wrong People
Hiring can be an incredibly tough part of starting a practice. Employees are the front line to patients and are key for both short- and long-term success. Between recruiting, onboarding and training, if a new hire doesn’t work out, it can cost a practice valuable time and money.
3. Waiting too Long to Secure Financing
Opening your own office is expensive; so dentists may have to work closely with a lender to acquire the financing they’ll need. Oftentimes, real estate opportunities happen quickly, and if you don’t act fast, you risk losing it. Keep in mind that various lenders offer different terms, work in different timeframes and serve different audiences, so if you do need to work with a lender examine your options and choose one who is the right fit for your needs.
4. Underestimating Marketing
If you plan to stand out from the competition, build awareness of your practice, and acquire new patients, marketing can be a solution. From digital advertising (like targeted Google and Facebook ads) to local PR (like alerting your local news outlets about your new office) and from email marketing to hosting an open house, these allow opportunities for brand awareness. It can be a good idea to set aside funds and time to help market your practice.
5. Picking the Wrong Location
If an office space is the right price, but the wrong location, you could be setting yourself for a challenge. Consider researching the local demographics, looking into population, growth rates, how many dentists are in the area, and the average household income to find an optimal location for your unique practice.
6. Not Prioritizing Billing
From the day you open your doors, actually getting paid is a key factor to ongoing success. Be sure that your employees understand the proper billing and collections procedures so cash always flows through your practice. Consider offering alternative payment options, allowing patients an easier way to pay on time and in full.
When it’s all said and done, every practice startup is different and their circumstances should be treated differently. Take into account all the factors that come along with the startup process and avoid any oversights to steer yourself towards success.
Keith W. Gruebele is Senior Vice President at Bankers Healthcare Group (BHG), where he oversees all loan originations. If you’d like more information about partnering with BHG, the premier provider of hassle-free financial solutions to healthcare professionals, to finance your new medical equipment with fixed rates and flexible terms, have one of our experts reach out to you directly. Not ready to take the next step? Visit our cash flow calculator to better understand whether your monthly cash flow is sufficient to meet your expansion and career goals.