Running a business isn’t as simple as providing the people in your community with a product or service you believe in. In fact, there are a lot of duties and responsibilities that have very little to do with the product or service you provide but are essential to keeping your business afloat.
From simple tasks like data entry and scheduling to more complex duties like managing regulatory requirements and developing patient relationships, there are a lot of areas where dentists might find themselves out of their wheelhouses. With the right dental management strategies in place, you can make sure every detail is well taken care of and set your dental team up for success.
What is dental practice management?
Managing a dental practice goes far beyond setting appointments and invoicing insurance companies. Those are incredibly important parts of running a smooth operation, but managing a dental practice well includes building a team you believe in and setting and meeting goals.
Dental practice management requires a solid knowledge of the dental industry, the principles and regulations associated with running a strategic dental care company, but also the ability to connect and communicate with the team to make sure the company stays on track.
Why is dental practice management so important?
Providing quality dental care is a top priority for any practicing dentist, but if you want to be in business for the long haul, proper practice management should be one of your priorities as well.
With increased options available to us, we expect more out of every experience. In order to deliver more, dental practices must plan and implement strategies that promote patient satisfaction and drive growth. So, what does that mean for the dental practice manager who wants to make the most of their position?
Dental Management Strategies
If you’re ready to get serious about managing your practice in a way that propels it forward and nurtures an environment that keeps your team and patients happy to be there, you’ll want to develop dental management strategies that deliver results. Here are some dental strategies that should be considered indispensable.
Invest in your team
In the world of dental management strategies, there may be none more important than an investment in your dental team. Attracting and retaining a qualified staff sets you apart from the competition like little else can. Competency and compassion go a long way in the medical field.
Once you’ve assembled a dental dream team, it’s important to invest in their continued growth. Investing in continuing education for your support staff ensures they stay on top of everything from new regulations to industry trends. It also ensures you remain as profitable as possible.
Earn their respect
A great dental team won’t put up with inept management. If you’ve assembled an experienced and ambitious team, they’ll expect you to know your stuff. Developing the leadership skills that make your team feel valued as professionals and comfortable with the direction the practice is heading goes a long way toward earning their respect. Managing a dental office goes much more smoothly when you know your team has your back.
Delegate well defined duties
Respect goes both ways, so let your team know you respect them as well. A great way to do that is to empower them to do what they do best without interference or micromanagement by delegating tasks.
Create checklists and a policy manual that lay out exactly what is expected of your team in any situation. It shows that you respect them enough to let them know what you expect out of them and that you trust them enough to handle their workloads on their own.
Manage your team
As much as it can be helpful to allow your team members enough slack to do their jobs, if you want them to operate as a cohesive unit, you’ll have to properly manage them.
Dental office management is a bit of an art and a bit of a science. Make sure you keep up to date on protocols and procedures but don’t forget to stay focused on the things that make us human.
When we connect with our teams on the things that really matter in life, we show that we care about them as individuals and that everything we do is for the betterment of everyone in the practice’s orbit.
Encourage an atmosphere of open communication
Practices run into problems when balls get dropped due to a lack of communication. Openly communicating with your team is one of the easiest ways to make sure everyone’s needs are met and to avoid problems and misunderstandings that could arise down the road.
A great way of encouraging communication is by holding regular meetings. Whether they are morning huddles, weekly staff meetings, or the occasional team getaway, taking the time to talk with and listen to your team in an environment where they feel valued and heard goes a long way toward promoting healthy interpersonal communication within your team.
Dental management strategies that drive growth
Most of the dental practice strategies we’ve covered so far have a lot to do with team building and developing trust within the organization. These strategies develop the skills required to operate efficiently and keep your team happy and your working relationships healthy. But that’s not all there is to developing dental management strategies that create successful practices. Next, we’ll want to examine some dental growth strategies.
Develop a business plan
The first thing you need to drive growth is a plan of where you want to go and how you’re going to get there. This is an incredibly important step, so make sure your team has the business experience and industry knowledge to execute a realistic plan that satisfies all the requirements of running a successful practice. Create annual S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound) goals and objectives to be able to identify short and long term plans that are practical to accomplish for your team. All dental management strategies that drive growth flow from this foundation.
Develop marketing strategies to attract new patients
Every business needs clients to operate, and attracting new clients is the way to grow your business. Whether you are sending direct mailers to prospective clients or encouraging happy clients to express their satisfaction through internet reviews, you should put together a plan that brings new patients in the door. Develop a dental practice marketing strategy that reflects your company mission, vision, and culture, and you’ll have no trouble attracting new patients.
Nurture relationships with existing patients
One of the simplest strategies for dental marketing is by keeping in touch with the patients you already have. Once you’ve done quality work for someone, they are usually happy to keep doing business with you. Remind them of the ways you’ve improved their quality of life by reaching out once in a while. Incentivizing them to come back for their future needs helps as well.
Train your team in sales
At the end of the day, many patients need to understand what a procedure means for their quality of life, rather than the technical details driving said procedure. Training your team to speak to the things that are important in their patients’ lives helps create rapport and as a result, it promotes more business and is one of the dental strategies that keeps patients happy.
Get help when you need it
We don’t always have the necessary skill sets in house to take us where we want to go. To bridge that gap, many dentists seek out help from dental practice management companies or dental practice management consultants. They can be invaluable assets when developing the dental management strategies you want in place for your business.
A management company may take a percentage of your business in order to manage it for you and can be a great option for practice owners who prefer to remain hands-off on the business end of running a dental practice. They bring a lot of benefits but may also limit your control over some aspects of your practice.
On the other hand, consultants can give you the tools you need to develop and meet your goals in house. If you have a strong team and systems in place, there’s no reason you can’t develop the skills to run a successful practice yourself.
Put your dental management strategies to work
We may all dream of winning the lottery one day, but in reality, most success stories are the results of hard work and planning. In order to build a successful business in any industry, it’s important to set goals and develop strategies that get you there.
Whether you arrive at a great set of dental management strategies on your own or with the help of a dental practice management consulting company, you and your team will feel a whole lot more confident about the job you’re doing, as well as the future outlook of the business.