Whether you like it, or not, your dental practice is a business.
And like with any business, it’s accompanied by many if not all the aspects inherent in managing an organization: human resources, bills, logistics, budgets, marketing, and so on.
And with management on the mind, if I had to pick a function that’s most often ignored – or given too little attention by the average dentist, I’d have to choose: The planning and organization required to achieve the goals of the practice and/or practice growth.
A big reason for this is that a dental practice is not like your typical business in one important way: the business owner (the dentist) is in most cases ALSO the primary producer.
That means that the person who should be the CEO and executive in charge of the business is required to be chairside producing dentistry (the goods or services of the business) for the majority of the time the business is open. Which of course leaves little to no time to wear your “CEO hat.”
To continue being productive while also maintaining management responsibilities and oversight requires extraordinary time management.
An absolute requirement to even conceive of doing this is having a trained and competent office manager that manages the day to day operations while you are producing dentistry (which we discuss in this article). Now, even if you have this (which you MUST), the doctor still has specific irreplaceable “un-delegateable” duties as the business owner.
With that in mind, here are a few recommendations as to how you should be handling these vital business duties:
Set aside time every week – and set it in stone on the schedule.
It can be tough to bite the bullet and set aside “unproductive” time on the schedule, but it must be done.
It’s all about working smarter not harder.
The truth is, spending all your time in the chair doesn’t necessarily mean you’re being productive, especially if you’re not taking the time to have business meetings throughout the week.
It might be an hour here or there. Or more. We have some clients, especially ones with multiple providers or locations that might spend half a day each week on business duties and planning – and their time is rewarded with consistent growth!
And just to prove the point, many of our clients come to MGE for training a full week each month, and their monthly production and collections increase by as much as 50-100% over a short period.
By working smarter, they’re producing more in less time. If they ignored their CEO job and planning in order to “get more chairtime in,” they would never have grown as much or as quickly.
Of course, you don’t have to spend hours and hours and hours on this. And the time you do spend should be well planned and productive (from a business perspective). As a start, I would block at least 2 hours a week to handle the business side of the practice.
You may think, “I feel like I’m already spending more time than that on business logistics. I’m at the office late every night!”
Well, that’s probably because you’re doing a little bit here and a little bit there, getting behind and then catching up again…and it’s not being handled very efficiently.
So, here’s what you’re going to do during those two hours:
- Review your numbers. You shouldn’t be looking at your numbers just once a month. You should be looking at your numbers once a week to see how you’re doing and to do any needed planning to make your production, collections and new patient goals for that week and month. Our deputy COO, Sabri Blumberg, talks more about why in this article.
- Review the results of your marketing.
- Pay bills and take notice if bills are higher than usual.
- Review any office policies that need to be created or updated.
- Do any other necessary logistics that may crop off at different times, such as banking, addressing HR matters, maintaining supply order budget, semi-annual or annual renewals and contracts, coordinate future CE, consulting with your attorney or accountant, etc.
- Bring your Office Manager in to do any needed planning.
Take a few minutes to check on things before you get started every day
Every morning, you should be holding a quick morning huddle with your staff to plan the day (which I’ll cover next), but before this meeting you should take 10-15 minutes or so to check your email and glance at the numbers.
Oftentimes when a new client comes to MGE, before they’ve implemented our systems for tracking numbers in their office, they will have no idea how much they’ve produced or collected for the month.
This would be completely unheard of in any other business.
If you don’t know what your revenues are throughout the month, how can you possibly accomplish the necessary planning to make your goals and ensure you’re profitable?
Most practice management software can easily show you the production for the day, week and month as a dollar figure, as well as the amount of future production lined up on the schedule. You can also glance at your practice’s bank account to check your revenues.
Morning and Weekly Meetings
On top of the above, you should be holding certain meetings on a regular basis, and this is how you turn your planning into actuality.
You could set goals, plan, and analyze numbers till you’re blue in the face, but nothing is going to happen until you make your staff aware of it and coordinate with them to make it happen.
You do this with a few essential meetings. And I know, “meetings” can get a bad reputation if they’re excessive, long and pointless. We’ll show you how to do a few quick, efficient meetings that get to the point and result in ACTION.
As a bare minimum, you should be having at least the two following meetings:
- A quick morning huddle every morning to review the schedule and coordinate production. This should take 15-20 minutes, and ensures everybody is on the same page about the patients coming in that day, what they need, any holes that need to be filled, outstanding treatment that needs to be followed up on, and any other details to be coordinated. This isn’t just a “here’s what we’re doing today” meeting or discussion of clinical details; this is a specifically structured meeting to coordinate production, the schedule and treatment presentation opportunities to maximize production and case acceptance for the day. Our COO, Jeff Blumberg, outlines the structure of this meeting in this article.
- A weekly staff meeting, which allows you to address any issues that may have cropped up, make the staff aware of policy, planning and goals. This allows the whole team to be aware of what’s happening in the office and what everybody is working on, so there can be better communication and coordination. This meeting should only be 25-30 minutes, but may be longer in certain scenarios, such as end-of-the-year planning, implementing new systems, educating staff on procedures, watching training videos (see ddssuccess.com), etc.
Once you’ve held those meetings, your Office Manager can follow up with the staff throughout the day and week to ensure they are accomplishing the items discussed and targets are being met.
Those two meetings are the bare minimum, but Dr. Greg Winteregg discusses more in this article.
If you do all of these things, I think you’ll find you’ll produce much more in less time, and you might find the business side of dentistry to be a lot less stressful. It will also give you more prediction in your office, so you’re not wondering how you’re doing all the time or if this month will be a “good” or “bad” month.
The more trained you become as the CEO of your dental practice, the more effective you’ll be with this. Knowing things like which numbers to analyze, what to do when they’re low, how to structure your meetings and delegate to the staff – that’s what we teach here at MGE. And that’s why MGE clients grow at such an incredible rate compared to the rest of the industry (an average of 232% growth over 5 years*).
Contact us today at (800) 640-1140 or click here to find out how we can help you start growing your practice and increasing profitability now.
I hope this article helps you!
*Results may vary from client to client, especially depending on the client’s degree of dedication to positive change. As such, no particular result can be promised or guaranteed to any client. The averages described on this page under statistical increases are based on a statistical study of a number of clients who participated in the MGE Power Program. They are not, however, a guarantee of results of any kind. MGE: Management Experts, Inc., hereby expressly disclaims any and all warranties expressed and implied, including without limitation all implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose.
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