Medical professionals each follow a slightly different career track, but many aspire to operate their own practice. If you have a dream of owning your own dental practice, then you should start your planning right away. No amount of dental schooling or technical experience will replace focused business planning.
However, you don’t get into dental school because of your display of business acumen. Despite your well-established ambition, your skills are heavily weighted toward the technical side of the industry, not the business side. If you need somewhere to begin, check out these top tips for starting your own dental practice.
Build a Business Plan
The first step in developing any business venture is building a business plan. Whether you feel prepared for it or not, the truth is that a medical practice is a business at its core. You must have an airtight analysis for every business and accounting task.
Start With the Mission
Though your dental practice will most likely work as a for-profit business and not a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, you can still have an overarching mission statement. This unifying vision for the company will guide your daily practice and how you build in the future. By writing down your broadest hopes for the business, you can delineate your expectations for the practice’s growth and team interactions.
When you write your mission statement, you should consider what drives your dental aspirations. What ideals do you ascribe to? Who do you aim to help with your services? What is the primary goal of your practice in the long term? Ask yourself these questions and draft a few phrases that are meaningful to you. Once you pare down the semantics, you can concoct a concise and eloquent mission statement for your dental practice.
Construct a Budget
Dental practices operate with the same influx of payments and invoices as all businesses, just with different procedures and line items. As an aspiring practice owner, you should build a budget—yes, build. Constructing a budget can feel quite tedious, and it resembles the process of an actual building project.
First, you must set a structure for your spreadsheet—what categories do you need to create, and what will go in them? Then, you must build on that foundational framework with market research that addresses equipment costs, local wage averages, and more. With every line item filled, you can then total the costs and present your totals to lenders and investors.
Address Logistical Needs
After planning your business ideas and jotting them down, you should move on to logistics. Your logistical needs will be many, but they are the most important to address before opening your practice doors.
Recruit Top-Notch Staff
As a dentist with years of training and experience, you know the extent of your abilities and the quality of your work. However, dental practices don’t rely solely on you as the dentist. There is a whole array of people that you need to keep your doors open.
Billing and Accounting
First, you need someone to manage your finances. When you have a constant stream of patients paying invoices, insurance companies to coordinate with, and staff salaries to pay, you need a qualified person to handle it all. Whether you decide to split your finance department into several roles or roll it all into one, you must have an experienced, organized professional at your side.
Front Desk Schedulers
Every patient that walks through the door needs a friendly, smiling face. The way you welcome newcomers will set the tone for the entire patient experience. Your front desk schedulers are critical to the success of your customer experience, which directly relates to online reviews and returning customers. You should look for a personable, calendar-loving individual who can manage multiple schedules, take dozens of phone calls, and handle several streams of communication simultaneously.
Cleaning and Sanitizing
Your medical facility needs to be clean and tidy. Without the support of cleaning and sanitizing staff, you won’t meet safety standards for many dental procedures. Whether you have dedicated cleaning staff or blend these tasks into other roles, you can’t overlook the priority of health and safety.
Human resources staff are a vital part of your operation. If you don’t provide a safe, nonjudgmental, confidential space to report workplace problems or handle personal issues, then your practice dynamics will suffer. If you don’t have the capacity to hire an on-site human resources person, you should look for outsourced HR management.
Since you work with people’s bodies, there is always the chance that something can go wrong. While you can’t help a patient’s choice to let their teeth rot, you can manage expectations and handle medical problems if they arise. But accusations of malpractice may land on your desk, nonetheless. A lawyer on staff or retainer will give you the immediate support you need if a claim occurs.
Update Professional Documents
When you obtain your license to practice dentistry from the state, you have very clear parameters for what you can and can’t do. If you want a license to practice orthodontics or oral surgery, you need a license for that specialization. That way, the state acts as a gatekeeper for the population, shielding them from ill-intentioned doctors. You must be crystal clear when describing the scope of your practice to the state and updating your professional licensure for the practice.
Another logistical need you must address is your insurance situation. As a private individual, you should have medical malpractice insurance for dentists that covers your personal interests. Then, depending on the tax structure of your organization and where liability rests, you may need further insurance on the practice itself. This way, you have a doubly verified failsafe should legal nastiness come your way.
Remember these tips for starting your own dental practice as you prepare your business plan. While each step will happen in its own time, you should operate with this general scope in mind. If you need help figuring out the insurance aspect of your new business, reach out to us at Baxter & Associates today. Our experts can help you find affordable, well-rounded policies for your new dental practice.