Going into business these days is a pretty huge risk.
Thanks to COVID-19, businesses across the country are either scaling back their operations or closing up shop entirely. However, there may be a huge demand for more health care practices to open up, especially dental offices.
Making sure a community’s teeth are cleaned and free of cavities are part of the overall health care picture, and dental practices will be in great demand after the pandemic has passed. Over 25 percent of Americans have untreated tooth decay and other ailments, which should serve as a sign that dentists are greatly needed in America.
So, if you are looking at starting a dental practice, here are the steps you need to take for your practice to be a successful one.
Create A Sound Business Plan
Before you dive head-first into the world of dentistry to fulfill your dream of becoming a dentist, you must first have a sound business plan so that you will be able to stay in business.
Having a business plan is the cornerstone of every successful business. That’s even more important for a dentist’s office. Whether you want to perform cosmetic dentistry or specialize in kid dentistry, you need a plan in place to keep your practice sustainable. First, you need to understand what your budget is going to be. It can cost nearly $250,000 to launch a dental practice, which is no amount to sneeze at.
For those who have the funds, that’s awesome, but for those dentist hopefuls who don’t have access to that kind of cash, you will have to seek out funding sources to make your dental dreams come true. Come up with an estimate as to what you can spend on getting your office up and running, and reach out to financial institutions to see if you can qualify for a business loan. Once that’s secured, you will be off and running.
Make A Financial Plan
OK, so you’ve outlined your business plan. Now you need the funds to make it happen.
As mentioned earlier, it can take up to $250,000 to launch a dental practice, so you will need to create a financial plan to put your finances in order so that you can sustain your dental practice. Know what your overhead will be, and be aware of your payroll, which will be your largest expense by far.
Also, include the internet, phone lines, cable, and other things that you may have to factor in your financial plan. Having a plan for your finances will prevent you from cost overruns, and you don’t want to cost overruns.
Location, Location, Location
The old saying in business is that location means everything, and the same saying applies to dentist offices.
Make sure that you look at the market carefully to pick the right spot for your dental practice. Research and understand the market, and check out where the need is greatest. Maybe one side of town is well served by dental practices while another could badly use one. Planting your dental practice in a needy part of town will allow you to establish a new customer base within that area.
Make sure that your office is accessible to the public. You don’t want to set a dental office in a place that is hard to find. Focus on the main streets in your market, and check out what the rental rates are along that street. If it’s affordable and has a lot of traffic, it may be too good to pass up.
Before you start working on teeth, you will need to have a little thing called insurance.
Finding the right insurance for your practice can be stressful as you will need to do some insurance shopping to find the right insurance that you need for your dental practice. One type of insurance that you definitely will need for your practice is liability insurance, but there are other types of insurance that you will need before you have your grand opening.
That’s why it’s best to talk to an insurance agent to see which kinds of insurance you will need, how much it will cost, and factor in that cost into your business plan.
Buy Equipment For Your New Office
You have the funds and you’ve secured the perfect location. Now it’s time to purchase the equipment needed for your practice.
First, you need furniture to furnish your office. You don’t want to make your patient stand up while waiting on their turn. Buy some comfortable chairs that will last a while, and invest in some kid’s chairs for the little. Also, it would be great to buy some games so that the kids won’t get bored and restless while at the dentist’s office.
Next, you’ll need to set up your communications system. You will need a phone and other telecom solutions to make your dentist’s office go. Your local phone company should be able to do the job for you. You will also need to focus on business technology such as computers, printers, and software that will allow you to keep track of your patients.
Once the inside of your new practice is equipped it’s time to pay attention to the building itself. Call an HVAC company to come out and perform heating system maintenance on your heating system to ensure that there are no problems with your heating system. Also, call a roofer to inspect the roof to make sure that it’s sound. If there are any issues with the building, get them fixed ASAP before you open the doors to patients.
Grab A Mentor
OK, so your dental practice is almost close to opening, but you still may need some more advice on how to operate your dental practice.
Here is where you should find a dentist that already has a practice open and see if they can be your mentor. Talking to someone who has been in the situation you’re in can pay off in more ways than one. They can tell you about their own experience opening their first dental practice and what it will take to get one up-and-running.
That experience can prove to be invaluable as you seek to open up your dental practice. Of course, you have the skills needed to be a great dentist, but having a mentor who will help guide you on this path is something way more valuable than anything money can buy. An experienced dentist can help you navigate through the process and issues that may arise when you start your practice.
Set A Goal And Stick To That Goal
You’re getting close to opening day and the excitement is almost too much to bear.
Your dental dreams are about to become a reality, but you need to establish some goals for yourself and your practice if you want to achieve greatness. You can establish goals for the short-term or look at the long game and establish long-term goals. The length of the goal doesn’t matter. What matters is that your goals are achievable and realistic. Never set goals that are too lofty or unattainable.
Goals will help you stay focused and keep your eye on the price. It will force you to adjust yourself to achieve them. Set professional goals that you can achieve, like bringing in six new patients a week or setting a collections goal for your practice. Whatever the goal that you set yourself and your practice, a goal and sticking to that goal are what will help keep your practice on a path to a great future.
Staff Your Office
I know you’re ready to open the doors to your office, but you need a staff that will help you achieve success.
You have to think about your staffing levels before you can even make a move to open up your office. Think about how many employees you need? How much will the salaries be? What type of benefits will you offer your staff? All of this matters when planning out your staff. Also, you will need to hire the right people for your practice. Make sure that you screen applicants properly so that you will be able to pick the right people for the job.
Get Your Legal Affiars In Order
You are bursting with excitement to open your new dental practice, and we promise, it’s almost that time, but you have to take care of some legal affairs before moving on to the next step.
Yes, there are legal aspects you have to handle to open up a dental practice. Plus, you have to get your credentials, which, depending on the location, could take months for you to achieve. Then you have to get licensed in your state. Each state requires the dentist to have a license to practice within that state, no questions asked. And you will also have to register with the DEA and make sure that you comply with all local codes and regulations surrounding your dental practice.
Then comes the fun part, taxes.
You will need to have a legal structure in place for your business regarding state and local taxes. It may be wise to retain a healthcare attorney just in case you may miss something while getting your legal affairs together.
Set Up A Marketing Plan
Now that all of that legal stuff has been taken care of, it’s time to attract patients to your new office. Set up a professional voice mail that will communicate your office, the hours of operation, and all of that great stuff. Second, set up an orthodontic marketing campaign to announce the grand opening of your new dental office. Put up billboards, advertise on bus signs, in the newspaper, anywhere you can get you to name out there, advertise there.
As part of your budgeting process, you should make sure that you have enough money budgeted for advertising purposes. How can new patients come to your office they don’t know where you’re located?
Make Your Online Presance Felt
Now that your name is all over town, it’s time to make your online presence felt.
Connect with a web design company to create a sweet website that’s fast, clean, and will be highly functional for your patients. A great website can be a great tool for bringing in new patients to your practice. Also, be active on social media. You don’t have to be a social media guru, but sites like Facebook and Instagram can both act as free advertising in showcasing your great work.
One more advertising advantage that you should work with is word of mouth. When a patient receives great service, word of mouth advertising can be a gold mine and will also bring in new patients that will entrust you in taking good care of their teeth.
The lesson here is that advertising is everything, take advantage of it.
So, now that everything is settled, it’s time to open your brand new practice!
Yes, it can take some time to settle in, but the excitement of serving your community is an invaluable trait. Dental care is a major part of health care, and dentists are just as important and as much in demand as nurses, doctors, and surgeons. Being a dentist is not just another job, it is a calling to serve and improve the overall health of your community.
As with any new business, there are things that you will do before opening the doors. Have a vision and work that vision into a business plan. Get your finances in order and have a financing plan. Pick out a great location for your practice (preferably an underserved area) and make sure all of your legal affairs are in order.
Hire a great staff that will see your dental practice to success. Get the word about your new dental practice out there by advertising any and everywhere that you can advertise.
Then, hold your grand opening and start serving your community. It may not be easy at first, but with hard work and dedication, the reward will be immense.