So you’ve reached a point in your dentistry career where you feel ready to start your own dental practice. But, like any major decision in life, starting a business requires careful planning and consideration. Are you mentally prepared to take the next big step? Do you have the finances to get your practice up and running?
If your heart is set in stone, and you want to start a dental practice in 2022, you have come to the right place. This article will tackle the step-by-step process of starting your dental practice so you can fully prepare yourself for what lies ahead.
Step 1: Prepare a business plan
The first thing you need to do to bring your dental practice to life is to create a business plan. It’s worth asking yourself the following questions to get a solid understanding of how your approach will be:
- What is your vision for your dental practice? Some dentists prefer to be GPs, covering a broad range of dental services, while others prefer to be specialists focusing solely on two or more procedures. You can find answers by looking at the needs of your community and highlighting which services will allow you to be the most productive.
- How do you plan on marketing your dental practice? Marketing plays a crucial role in the early stages of a business as it’s what will connect your practice to your patients. Do you plan on building a social media presence organically? Or do you plan on leveraging paid ads for instant exposure?
- What’s the competition like in your area? It’s a good idea to scan the competitors in your community to see what services they offer and how your dental practice will stack up. What are their strengths and weaknesses? Can you offer dental procedures that are currently unavailable in your area? By understanding the capabilities of other dental practices, you can position your business in a way that stands out.
- What’s your financial plan for your business? You’ll need three major components to prepare a financial plan: balance sheet, cash flow projection, and income statement. The balance sheet outlines all the assets, liabilities, and equity a business owner holds. Meanwhile, the cash flow projection predicts the amount of money flowing in and out of the dental practice. Lastly, the income statement outlines the practice’s expenses, revenue, and profits.
You must develop short-term goals while outlining long-term targets when creating a business plan. That way, you can slowly build your practice until you reach a point where you have a steady stream of incoming patients to support its growth.
2. Complete a dental practice startup checklist
There are a lot of boxes to tick before your dental practice sees its first patient. From securing dental licenses and permits to obtaining working capital and insurance, you must be aware of these to ensure you comply with everything your state and city require. Fortunately, the American Dental Association has a handy checklist that dental practices should look into to conform to all the requirements.
You’ll also want to develop your own checklist that covers the following details:
- Find out about feasible loan options for your dental practice. Research the documents required and prepare them in advance.
- Select a credit card processor.
- Determine the business structure of your dental practice. Look for the assistance of attorneys to help you choose the right structure.
- Secure an Employer Identification Number from the IRS.
- Choose your preferred payment methods and the type of insurance your practice accepts.
3. Find the right location for your dental practice
After completing the checklist for your practice, the next step is choosing the appropriate location. There are a couple of factors you need to consider during this process, and these are:
- Accessibility – An accessible location is a huge advantage for dental practice owners as it makes it easier for patients to discover your office. Is the location near the main road with plenty of foot traffic? Or is it hidden in the backstreets and difficult for patients to locate? Consider the accessibility of the space when finding the right location for your dental practice.
- Demographics – Obtaining demographic data from potential office spots is crucial to your practice’s success. You want to choose a location with residents and families that fit your ideal patient profile. Median age, average household income, and average household size are numbers that you want to look into to determine the suitability of the location for your practice.
- Real estate data – Once you’ve taken accessibility and demographics into account, the next thing you want to factor in is the real estate data. The ideal dental practice location should have low competition, adequate parking space, and is in a prominent area with visible signages. Take note of the area’s businesses and determine if their customers/clients align with your ideal patient base.
- Market size – Naturally, your chosen location should have a healthy market that needs your services. You must determine the market size to measure the potential growth of your dental practice. You can request the assistance of a marketing expert to get a clear picture of the market size at your chosen location.
4. Plan your staff hiring
While the hiring process is easy, knowing who to hire will pose the biggest challenge for first-time practice owners. When hiring staff members for your practice, it’s worth following these best practices to increase your chances of a successful hire.
- Outline the roles and responsibilities of the positions you’re open to hiring. Provide as many details as possible so that applicants understand the full scope of their work.
- Prepare onboarding procedures to help newly hired staff acclimate to the business flow. Adequate training is essential for employee productivity, culture development, and skill improvement.
- Hire based on your confidence in the person’s ability to perform daily. Outline the attributes you look for in each position to determine the applicant’s fit.
- Verify references and conduct more than one interview for each applicant. Like-minded applicants who share the same passion, goals, and vision as you will make for an excellent hire.
5. Patient recruitment
Your business plan is in place, ticked off all items on the checklist, found a suitable location, and hired competent staff. What’s the next step in starting your dental practice? Getting patients to walk in the front door.
You can start by asking for referrals if you have an existing patient base. Referrals are a great way to get new patients into your practice since your previous patients can attest to the quality of your treatment. You can also use online directories like Google Business Profile and Yelp to put your new practice on the map.
A combination of paid and organic ads is your best bet to gain visibility online. Couple that with a sound social media marketing strategy, and you’ll increase your chances of getting discovered by your patients.
Starting a dental practice is a big move for dentists looking to go the entrepreneurship route. While going through the initial phase is a massive challenge, the potential rewards of a successful practice are sky-high. Make sure to research and prepare yourself financially, mentally, and professionally to take that next leap in your dentistry career.
Managing the financial health of your company is crucial to its success. If you need any help with expert bookkeeping services, our team is ready to assist you. Fill out the form below, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.