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This is a guest post from Dr Phillip Palmer, chairman of Prime Practice, Australia’s leading dental management and coaching consultancy.

Doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results has been said to be a sign of madness – yet, that’s what most of us do.

Year after year, most of us go to work, doing nothing different from previous years whilst hoping that this year will be different.This year will be our lucky break. There’ll definitely be new patients this year. Perhaps finally we can even get that extra Dental Assistant we need this year!

But let’s be realistic – Hope is NOT a strategy. BOQ Specialist released the Dental Practice Research Report last year and the results were startling!

More than 3 out of every 4 dental practices stated that they aren’t running efficiently.

In challenging times where most dentists out there fall back on the same old excuses; “the market is tough for others as well”, “…those damn corporates!”, or “too many dentists everywhere”, it’s really time to accept that these “excuses” are not going to dissipate. No matter where we want to cast the blame, the truth of the matter is that despite those factors being in place throughout the market, there are some practices that are in fact thriving.

So how then can you make sure that your practice emerges as one of the thriving practices without getting caught up in the negativity that abounds?

Start with analysis

The good news is that salvation is actually within your very own reach and grasp, and it all starts with a proper analysis of where you and your practice are really at. You need to analyse where your practice is at compared to others in similar situations. Assess where the gaps are and where the opportunities could be. Also, are there any areas of the practice that you may have overlooked?

For example, there are so many dental practices who spend small fortunes in marketing dollars on trying to acquire new patients – only to get just a handful walking through the doors in the span of a few months.

Instead, perhaps you might actually already have up to half a million dollars or more that are just not coming back for their recalls. Maybe something needs to change in your systems of dealing with this part of your practice to prevent it from recurring year after year.

Unfortunately, the training and education provided at university only empowers dentists with the skills to work inside the mouth – they do not help you with anything to do with running a dental practice. And if your knee-jerk response to that is that you don’t like getting into the business side of things, I’m sorry to wake you up to reality – it’s more crucial than ever before to be paying attention to your business acumen.

In order for a practice to successfully thrive, you need to have more than just clinical skills: there’s staff to hire, train and manage, there’s marketing to be done, patient service levels need to be managed, and you need to have a sound knowledge on your financials, production, expenses and savings.

With it still fresh off in to the new year, there is no better time than to start having a real good look at where you and your practice is at, map out what it is that needs to be done and get your team aligned to achieve it collectively.

Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Prime Practice have a quick self-checklist to see where your practice’s hidden potential may lie.

Our advice on how dental practices can attract, engage and retain patients will also help set your practice up for success this year.

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