Owning your own practice might be a dream come true for dental students but balancing the responsibilities of being a dentist and a successful business owner is no easy task. A business owner has to oversee many functions including customer service, accounting, marketing, payroll, sales and many more. As a dentist with your own practice, you need to juggle root canal treatments and social media marketing strategies with ease.
Dentist Versus Business Owner
Oral care professionals strive to keep on top of the latest treatments and technology in dentistry. Many dentists attend seminars, online classes and read extensively to stay up to date. Quite a few professionals will continue studying throughout their career but it is even more of a necessity for doctors. From the moment you step into medical school to the moment you retire, you will never stop learning as a dental professional.
Unfortunately, the opportunities for learning are somewhat limited on the business side of dentistry. How many dentists do you know have a business degree along with their medical credentials? Trial and error, learning on the job and winging it are a few techniques that most dentist/practice owners rely on! Dental professionals do not get the same grounding in business matters as they do in clinical work. That can become a huge problem down the road.
How to Manage a Dental Practice
Rest assured that you’re not alone in feeling overwhelmed. There are plenty of educational resources of available online and you can even take a few business classes in certain areas. Apart from attending classes and reading up on various subjects, there are other opportunities you can explore. Here are a few resources that can help you navigate the turbulent waters of business ownership.
Technology Can Work Wonders
As a dental care professional, you’re already familiar with EDR/EHR systems and related software. There are similar resources available for different business functions such as accounting, taxation and even marketing. If your practice is small or you’re just starting out, cloud services are a good option. Many service providers will have a free demo that you can try out before making a purchase commitment. You should also look into investing in practice management software that can integrate with your existing EDR application or service.
Do What You Can, Delegate What You Can’t
Effective leadership is about delegating responsibilities where necessary. For instance, harnessing social media can pay rich dividends in terms of retaining existing clients and attracting new patients. But what if you don’t have the time to spend on all the different social media platforms?
Some practice owners exhaust themselves trying to do it all while others give up. There’s a third alternative. Do you have an office manager who is tech savvy? Or a front desk employee with a bit of spare time during the afternoons? These are people who can readily do the tasks even if you supervise from a distance.
Hire the Experts
Sometimes you have no option but to hire experts for a particular task. If trying to understand accounts or bookkeeping is too much for you, you can hire those services from a provider. The same goes for other business functions like creating effective marketing strategies or tech support for all the computers you use in the office. You can hire developers to create and launch a website for your practice (one-time project) or use an external provider for IT support (ongoing project).
In today’s economy, few dentists can afford to ignore the business side of practice ownership. Tough as it might seem, you should strike a balance between industry and business owner.