The Five Levels of Dental Practice Success

One of the goals of every entrepreneur is to attain sustainability with their business. But achieving dental practice success doesn’t happen overnight, and practice owners know this all too well. It takes years of hard work, effort, and determination to get your practice to where you want it to be.

The dental industry is a competitive landscape, and reaching your practice’s full potential is a monumental task. But as the saying goes, the smallest of steps lead to the biggest of journeys. Leveling up your business is a matter of figuring out the entrepreneurial path and taking the steps necessary to ensure consistent growth.

Let’s break down the five levels of dental practice success so you can gauge where your business is at and know what you can do to improve it.

Level One: The startup phase

Most dentists begin their journey by either acquiring an existing practice or starting one from scratch. This stage is known as the startup phase. The dentist is full of passion, enthusiasm, and drive. They’re willing to do whatever it takes to get their practice up and running.

Usually, the owner will evaluate the equipment, the staff, and the technology used to determine the necessary changes. After making adjustments, the practice is now ready to operate under new leadership. The practice owner takes complete control of the business and oversees the day-to-day tasks.

One of the main characteristics of the startup phase is the learning process. The owner gains familiarity with how the practice operates and the overall flow of work. This stage is also an experimental phase where the dentist figures out the correct systems to ensure the best chance of success.

Level one of the dental practice success comes with minimal production. But after 1-2 months of continuous operation, the schedule will start to fill up, and the practice will experience an influx of old and new patients. As the business develops, things start to become complex. Stress levels are elevating, and the daily tasks feel more complicating than before.

Before, the dentist is putting the hours to guide the practice through the initial transition. Now, they’re busy spending more time with the patients. Production is increasing but at the cost of efficiency. How the practice owner handles the stress is what will determine the progress of the practice.

Level Two: The growth phase

Level two of the dental practice success happens naturally when the practice is operating at a more strenuous level. At this stage, the dentist will need to hire new staff and delegate the tasks. The best way to approach the growth phase is to plan ahead and not let the stress get to the entire team.

As the practice adds new team members, the day-to-day operations will start to feel manageable. Staff training is an integral part of the growth phase as you want the staff to fill their roles competitively. Once everyone is performing to their capacities, the production will increase, and productivity levels will improve.

The goal here is to get everyone working on the same page. To achieve this, each team member should be well-informed on the systems the practice uses. Some of the most important aspects to cover in staff training are:

  • Finance
  • Scheduling
  • Customer service
  • Hygiene
  • Practice management software
  • Insurance

The growth phase is also a time where mistakes are likely to happen. Practice owners will face plenty of complicated situations during this stage, and there will be instances where they’ll make the wrong choices. Growing pains are part of the journey, and practice owners who overcome them are the ones that take their business to the next level.

But the problem is that not every practice gets to the third level of dental practice success. What happens is the business plateaus after experiencing growth. The top dental practice owners understand the importance of progress and how to sustain that. From there, they move on to the third level of dental practice success to truly reach their full potential.

Level Three: The consistency phase

The third level of dental practice success focuses on consistency above all else. The growth from the previous stage has created unique opportunities that practice owners should maximize. At this level, the whole staff is well-trained, and the practice is operating like a well-oiled machine.

From there, the practice owner gets to focus on what they excel in most. They spend the majority of their day providing patient care and building patient relationships. With fewer distractions throughout the day, the dentist can concentrate on clinical quality. It’s much easier to stay consistent when you’re passionate about what you’re doing, and this stage allows dentists to do just that.

Of course, it’s still the practice owner’s responsibility to lead the team. Providing mentoring and motivation to the team is crucial to maintaining consistency. Also, any strategic decision should go through the dentist first to ensure everyone is on the same page.

The consistency phase is where the earning potential of a dental practice opens up. A fully systematic business minimizes the risks of errors and maximizes the opportunities presented. The team’s morale is at an all-time high, and each staff understands their job description very well.

Level Four: The established phase

The fourth level of dental practice success is where most dentists will see the peak of their business. During this point, the dental practice has an established patient base and has reached the maximum revenue potential. The numbers speak for themselves as the total annual income goes up each year.

But the business world is an ever-changing path. You’ve got trends to follow, competitors to keep up with, and unforeseen problems that need to be solved. It may not always be rainbows and butterflies, but the established businesses are the ones that can adapt and overcome. Only a few dental practices reach this level of success, and it takes decades to achieve that in a highly competitive landscape.

The truth is that many startups don’t last for five years. But thankfully, dental practices are built differently. When you reach a certain level of success, it’s not about how long it will last but how long your business will. Those who achieve the established phase can enjoy a level of success where they can either comfortably use the profits or reinvest it into their business.

Level Five: The end phase

Like they always say, all good things must come to an end. The last level of dental practice success is turning over your business to new leadership. After decades of hard work and dedication, you’ve reached a turning point in your career. You’re looking to either retire or explore other avenues in life.

The end phase is where the practice owner no longer sees the business as a significant part of their future. They’ve decided that transitioning their dental practice is the logical choice moving forward. For this reason, they put up their business for sale, and the buyer will continue with the dental practice.

The good news is that you’ve built a business that carries significant value to which you can either flip-up for retirement or use it to fund your next venture. Of course, you want to hand over the keys to a rightful successor that will take care of your patient base. You want the next owner to fulfill your legacy and nurture the business you’ve established.

Once you find the right buyer, the last step of the end phase is to complete the transition and sell the dental practice. Formulating an exit strategy is key to ensuring a smooth transition from the old owner to the new. After that, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor and look back at the accomplishments you’ve made as a dental practice owner.

Where to go from here

Dental practice success starts from the top. A good owner knows how to lead their team and cultivate a work culture where everyone can perform to the best of their abilities. From there, it’s about fine-tuning the daily processes and making calculated decisions. When the team is on the same page, you minimize the risk of errors. That alone can make a big difference to the overall success of a dental practice.

Whether it be big or small, make sure to celebrate your successes. Don’t lose sight of your goals, and keep working to ensure the growth and sustainability of your dental practice. Evaluate your business and find out the level of success you’re on. Make the necessary adjustments, and watch your dental practice reach its full potential.

Do you know exactly how successful you are now and where you are trying to grow the practice to reach? If not, part of the problem may be not having good bookkeeping in place for your practice. If that’s the case, let us know, we can help:




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