Some quick ideas/tools to improve Revenue and Income in your dental practice
Tip 1) Surround yourself with positive people: Most patients cannot judge the quality of your dental work. They can judge how they are treated, how your clinic looks and feels. Ensure every member of your staff leaves a positive impression on your patients. Businesses are made up of people, hire the best.
Tip 2) Use Excel Trend Lines: Excel has a simple to use feature to help gain a quick in sight into trends. Depending on the work being done your Gross Profit percentage will vary month to month. Sometimes quite widely, this can make it difficult to understand whether profitability is improving or decreasing. Use the trend line tool to get a clearer picture. As you can see in the example the dotted trend line is sloping down. Time to analyze why and take action to reverse the trend.
This feature can be used for any metric you are tracking, another excellent example is to analyze trailing 12 months sales, especially if your practice has seasonal variations.
Your accountant or CFO can show you how you can do this for yourself, or just follow the help feature in Excel.
Tip 3) If you do nothing else before you expand or start your business make sure you plan your cash flow. More businesses fail due to poor cash flow than fail due to lack of profitability. Cash flow planning is nothing to be scared of, a simple excel spread sheet can handle the task. I have developed a template that you or your accountant can use. Just drop me an e-mail via Free Financial Review and I will send it to you. I promise no follow up spam. Just a proven template for your use.
Tip 4) Make the most of digital marketing. Today most people use a search engine to find a dentist, whether they are new to the area or just looking for a dentist to fix a problem. Your objective is to be on the first page of Google when they search for “a dentist near me”. Other search terms they might use are: dentists, dental clinic, dental practice.
Ways to achieve a first page ranking are:
1) Have a website – its not possible to get ranked on Google without a website. You probably already have one but if not, creating one is not difficult nor expensive. The website you are viewing now uses WordPress business, I built it myself with no previous experience.
2) Post short articles of interest to potential customers using the key words mentioned above. Topics could be “How to floss correctly” “The importance of regular check ups” Update your posts regularly. Google checks for new content and a website that has not been active will drop down the ranking
3) Consider producing a video for YouTube related to dentistry. Google loves YouTube
As a dental clinic you can only serve customers in your area so claim your business on Google by going to Business.Google.Com/Add and follow the prompts. Probably Google will confirm your identity via mail so this process takes a few days to complete, so get started today!
It took me six weeks to get this website from nothing to a first page ranking on Google. It is often the first entry, for search terms such as “a CFO for dentists”, “I need a CFO for my dental clinic” I am competing with businesses around the globe for search engine rankings, you need to aim to be number one in, say, the Singapore Market. Wishing you every success.
Tip 5) Work on your business not in your business. I have met dentists who operate multiple clinics where they are the lead dentist in each clinic. Not only is this a poor use of a valuable asset, it means the owner does not have time to develop strategies to improve revenue and profits. They are working in their business not on it, or in other words, they are leaving money on the table.
Setting aside time to focus on improving your business, will lead to better earnings and greatly increased business valuation when you decide to sell.
Find at least half a day a month, preferably more, to sit down with a friend, mentor or trusted advisor to work on your business. It will not take long to see the rewards for the time spent.
Tip 6) Take stock each day: At the end of each day take a few minutes to review what procedures were completed in your clinic that day. Were their opportunities missed for generating additional revenues? Did patients book later appointments for treatment that might have been done today? Was everything billed out? All business owners, not just dentists, will benefit from a 30 to 60 minute look back on their day to identify what could have been done better.
Tip 7) Learn from and partner with others: Find another dental clinic outside your own patient catchment area with an owner who is willing to talk about his clinic and ideas. This should be a mutual support arrangement. Consider expanding this into a a dentists network where you meet regularly to talk about relevant issues and trends. It is amazing the ideas that develop when experts get together. Executive support networks are common in business so why not dentistry? You may even be able to form a buying cooperative using the groups purchasing power to reduce costs.
Tip 8) Treat every staffing decision as an investment decision Too many companies, not only dental clinics, hire replacements for employees who leave without giving much thought to the decision. Whenever an employee leaves consider, is there the potential to cover this role using existing staff? Can I redefine the position to make it valuable to the clinic? You are making a considerable investment when you hire an employee – make sure you optimize the ROI on the money you are spending.
Tip 9) Find an underserved market. Is there an underserved or niche market in your area? For example emergency dental treatment following a sporting injury maybe an underserved market in your catchment area. Can you develop an expertise in treating such injuries? If you can, prompt it widely on the your website, Facebook and other social media. This is tapping into the “unaware” market. On Saturday morning your potential patient was unware he/she needed dental services, by lunch time they know they need dental treatment and quickly. Almost certainly social media will be used to find where they can go. Fast and good services always command a premium fee so this can be lucrative. In addition there is the potential to convert your emergency patient into a regular patient.
Note market your services for your niche expertise. You are more likely to get to the first page on Google by prompting your skills as an expert in sporting dental injuries than as a provider of emergency services.
Tip 10) Think about were you want to go and work your way back. When developing your strategy it is normal to think in linear terms. I am here and I want to get to there. You can also try think about your strategy from the intended future back to your current position. Some call this reverse engineering or future back thinking. This can be effective in designing a road map which will improve execution of your long term plans. Execution is key – some studies have found the 67% of strategies fail.