There’s an old adage in business that says, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” To some extent, this rings true, as without growth, others may seize opportunities that rightfully belong to you. So, logically, you should always be in pursuit of growth, right? At least that’s what you’ve come to believe. You think about bringing on an associate to your practice, adding more new patients to the schedule, and hiring additional team members, and you’ll be on your way to bigger and better things, correct?
However, you might face a rude awakening if you’re overlooking (or perhaps even ignoring) some of the most crucial obstacles that may lie in your path. Asking yourself the right questions before fully committing to an investment in expanding your practice can help you better prepare, or at the very least, set realistic expectations. As a successful business owner of a dental marketing company, I’d like to share some helpful tips from both perspectives.
DO YOU HAVE THE RIGHT PATIENTS?
Your growth focus is undoubtedly on gaining new dental patients, but make sure to think in terms of quality, not just quantity. Filling your schedule with your ideal patients makes your days more rewarding, both in terms of satisfaction and profits. Ideal patients are also more likely to refer in more ideal patients through word of mouth.
Before you start trying to increase your flow of new patients, consider whether a good percentage of the people you are currently treating fit your description of who your ideal patients would be.
During this exercise, you might find that you have an abundance of PITA patients, the ones that trigger an audible sigh when you see their name on the schedule. Those, you can release. Go ahead, let that negative energy go by helping them find a new dentist. It’s a cathartic exercise that every practice should undertake at least once a year.
DO YOU HAVE THE RIGHT LOCATION?
Growth depends on achieving the right balance of supply and demand. As a dentist, you need to be in a geographic area that is teeming with the kind of patients you are looking for, both in terms of demographics and psychographics. If you’ve never had a market analysis completed for your current area, it’s worth your time to do so.
You may discover that you’ve already maxed out in terms of market potential, and it may be time to search for a new place to plant your roots for growth.
Even if your current location is rich with potential, your physical office space is also a consideration. Do you have enough operatories? Is there adequate parking? Do you have “extra” space for future expansion? Outgrowing your space might be a good problem to have, but it’s better to plan for growth than to react to it.
DO YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TEAM?
There is a concept, originally introduced by author Jim Collins, of having the right people “on the bus,” and in the right seats. This is especially crucial if your practice is about to enter a growth stage. The positions and job titles you have must align with your goals, and the individuals filling those roles must be equipped to handle the responsibilities.
You may also find that you have someone who is a good fit for your office and has commendable qualities, but they may be struggling because they have been assigned tasks that they are not well suited for or lack an interest in doing. If you evaluate your organizational chart and ensure everyone is rowing in the same direction, you’ll reach your goals much faster and have a smoother ride.
DO YOU HAVE THE RIGHT MARKETING TEAM?
To acquire more patients, you’ll obviously need an effective dental marketing strategy. This doesn’t simply mean pouring more money into the tactics you’ve been using thus far. Take a close look at your marketing ROI and assess if you’re investing your marketing dollars efficiently. Also, consider the quality of your leads and whether they align with your ideal patient profile.
Most importantly, scrutinize your branding to ensure you’re presenting yourself authentically.
In my dental marketing agency’s DNA dental marketing process, the direction of a dental practice and its growth plans are one of the three pillars of the strategies we develop.
(In case you’re wondering, the other two pillars are the specific marketing needs required to reach their goals, and the attributes of the dentist and practice.)
This should emphasize how crucial I believe it is to have your marketing strategy aligned with your growth strategy. If you have the right patients, location, and team lined up, make sure not to underestimate the importance of having the right marketing partner who understands what it will take for you to reach, and hopefully surpass, your goals.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Xaña Winans is Golden Proportions Marketing’s owner, president, and chief innovation officer. She brings decades of real-world experience to dental marketing, ensuring that the marketing solutions she and her team develop are both creative and easy for dental offices to execute. Golden Proportions Marketing provides turnkey full-service marketing solutions for private practices, group practices, and small to midsize DSOs.
FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: Vitalii Vodolazskyi/Shutterstock.com.