Shifting to the Ownership Mindset

Remember in dental school, all those classes you took on how to run the practice you’d one day own? No? Of course not. And that’s okay! Your dental school did a great job making you into an amazing dentist. Now it’s time to prepare to be a practice owner, and that will take a real mindset shift from associate or employee to that of a leader. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare for that next stage of your career.

Play to Your Strengths

You’re the primary revenue driver for the business, so it pays—literally—to remember that. The more time you spend on administrative tasks and minor procedures, the less time you’re spending performing top-dollar procedures.

Speaking of top dollar: Want to drive more revenue with those big-money procedures? You can! Not only should you keep up on your CE, you should use it as a time to expand your skills to those procedures you’re interested in and that can bring in the big bucks. And if you run your practice well, a huge chunk of that goes right into your pocket.

Delegate What You Can

As an associate or employee, you’re used to being delegated to. But as an owner, you have to be on the other end of that. It’s a shift that many dentists have a hard time with—which is understandable! It’s not like your dental school taught you anything about business or leadership. But it’s a shift you’ll need to make.

Your external team

Your business will need expertise in accounting, dental law, banking, equipment procurement, among other things. These are the obvious places to delegate, and you’ll probably have an easy time not trying to “do it all” in these areas. You’ll need to be involved, of course, but if you hire the right people, these areas of your business will be in good hands.

If you use Dental Buyer Advocates, you’ll be introduced to great attorneys, bankers, accountants, and more. Building your team after your purchase will be a breeze.

Your internal team

In looking at the things that need to be done for your business, the closer you get to the actual dentistry, the tougher it can be for dentists to let it fall to someone else. Look for little things that others in the practice can help you with:

  • Running daily standup meetings
  • Minor marketing tasks (like posting and responding on social media)
  • Gratitude gestures like thank-you notes, etc.

Also, be sure to find your EFH (expanded-function hygienist) and use them wisely. If you don’t have one, tap one or more of the hygienists you already have to get certified.

All of this will free up more of your time to do the big-dollar procedures that really drive the revenue in your practice.

Think about the Future

It’s tempting as an owner to put your head down, go into survival mode, and just get through every day. This is a recipe for long-term stress and frustration. Today is important, but don’t forget about tomorrow. There are lots of things to consider in the long-term, but for now let’s focus on two:

  • Save your money, especially in the good times.
    • Hire a good accountant and a good financial planner (not the same thing!) who can help you save the right amount of money, especially when things are going well. You’ll be glad you did, because things might not always be great—COVID, anyone? In the not-so-great times, those same people will help you weather the storm, allocating resources where they’re needed the most.
  • Spend the right amount of money on marketing.
    • You should spend anywhere from 1% to 4% of your monthly collections on marketing efforts. The exact number will depend on how aggressive you want to be in finding new patients. If you have enough patients coming into the practice right now, great! But that may not be the case tomorrow. Or next month. Keep your patient pipeline filled with the right marketing and advertising strategy.

There are tons of great resources out there for business owners, and you should use them. Hopefully this post give you some food for thought and gets your started in cultivating that ownership mindset.