In the year 2020, there were 201,117 practicing dentists in the United States. While some of these are employees in clinics or dental care facilities, many work in their own practice. If you already have the experience and clinical skills you need to treat your patients, you may be thinking about stepping out on your own starting a new dental practice.
If so, you face the challenge of learning how to run a business, something for which dental school didn’t prepare you. It seems like a daunting task, but your dental practice can be successful!
Keep reading to find out what steps you need to take!
Table of Contents
Do Your Homework
Although dental practices rarely fail, it is essential to plan before beginning any new business venture.
Once you make up your mind to become your own boss, you should begin your research. One of the best starting points is asking current practice owners about their experience, the challenges they overcame, and what they would have done differently.
Purchasing a Practice Vs. Starting a New One
One of the first choices to consider is whether you would like to start your business from scratch or purchase an existing practice.
Purchasing a practice requires less work and time to get the business up and running. However, it will likely be more expensive and harder to implement change.
On the other hand, starting your practice from scratch allows you to make all the critical decisions from the get-go. Yet, it can take some time to bring in enough patients to start making a profit. Thus, you have to be ready to spend a lot of money before you have cash flow.
If you decide on starting your practice from scratch, you’ll need to determine how much financing you need. It is best to look for dental-specific lenders as they are familiar with the start-up costs for dental businesses. As a result, they can help you make the best choices when securing a loan.
A low-interest rate is essential to keep your payments manageable, but your loan term is just as important.
You’ll want to choose the longest term possible, as this keeps your payments down and gives you enough time to start making a profit. Later, if you start making more revenue than expected, you can pay more on your loan (similar to a mortgage).
After securing a loan, it’s up to you to decide how you will allocate your funds. For example, you should consider if you want to lease or purchase a space for your business. Renting the dentist office can cut down initial costs, but it will likely cost you more money in the long run.
Moreover, you should think about the services that your practice will offer to patients. Consider the equipment that you would need for each procedure and calculate the cost.
These are choices that you will need to make after considering your current financial situation.
Draft a Business Plan
Once you make these important decisions, it’s time to make a business plan. You can get a template from the American Dental Association resource center.
It should include your main objectives and the steps that you can take to achieve them. These should always have a measurable component so you can stay focused and gauge your progress.
For example, your goals may include getting a certain number of new patients and hygiene appointments each month. It takes discipline, but having aims will give you a sense of direction and help you readjust when necessary.
Remember to write down potential roadblocks and solutions to these issues. By anticipating problems in advance, you’ll be better prepared to face the realities of starting a new dental practice.
Build Your Team
Once you have a business plan, it’s time to build a reliable team. You should select individuals who will contribute to the growth of the business and who share your vision for the practice.
Besides dental staff, you will also need to hire other services. You should be sure that everyone who gets involved with your business is familiar with dental start-ups, including your:
- Accountant or CPA
- HR staff
By hiring advisors with experience in your field, you will avoid a lot of frustration and have a bank of knowledge to help your business succeed.
Moreover, you will need to find a dental Supply Clinic that looks out for your best interests instead of trying to sell you more equipment than you can afford. Having a good relationship is essential, as they will supply your practice with updated equipment for years to come.
Insurance is crucial to any medical practice, and its importance cannot be overemphasized. It’s best to get the most reliable insurance possible to avoid any problems and work with a specialized lawyer in your field.
Here is a list of insurance you will need:
- Life insurance
- Workman’s compensation
- Business loan protection
- Business overhead expense
- Professional liability and entity malpractice
In addition, you should get insurance for your dental equipment, which is costly to replace.
Create a Marketing Plan
Simply opening a new dentist office in town isn’t enough to draw in customers- you need a marketing plan.
Instead of simply focusing on attracting patients, your ultimate goal should be building a brand that will emerge as a leading practice. This marketing strategy will help you gain loyal clients and make it much easier for you in the future.
You may wish to start with these steps:
- Design a professional logo and website
- Use social media marketing
- Utilize search engine optimization (SEO)
- Consider traditional marketing methods (newspaper ads, billboards)
It’s often more cost-effective to hire professionals to develop and implement your marketing plan. You’ll get more business and free up a large portion of your time.
Starting Your New Dental Practice
Setting up your dental practice will require a lot of hard work and research. Nevertheless, advanced planning and specific goals can help you overcome the challenges and succeed in your new dental practice business.
If you found this post helpful for your dental practice, be sure to take a look at more of our business-related content!