Managing Review Sites: What All Dentists Need to Know

Whether you love it or hate it, the reality is that patient reviews are a significant factor in potential new patients’ decision on which dentist to choose. Consequently, it is vital for you to monitor and manage your online reviews, and to encourage satisfied patients to write reviews. Here is what you need to know.

Major Review Sites

To manage your patient reviews, you first need to know where they are. Your practice is likely listed on some of these sites already, while others require you to take active steps to create a listing. Search each site to see if your dental practice is there, and then update any inaccurate information such as your business name, address, or phone number. For sites where you are not yet listed, create a listing as soon as possible. Major review sites include:

Yelp: Yelp covers all types of businesses and service professionals, and it is currently considered a market leader in review sites. Make sure you have an accurate, up to date listing, as many of your patients and prospects will naturally gravitate there.

Angie’s List: Angie’s List charges a small monthly fee to see your reviews. This charge is generally worth it, though, as the site has positioned itself as an excellent place to find trustworthy professionals in many different service categories.

Google: Google’s My Business pages are an interesting hybrid. Reviews from other sites are regularly aggregated there, and users can also write reviews directly on your page. It is absolutely vital to claim your page and ensure that your business information is accurate. Since so many people start with a Google search, reviews on your Google My Business page can make or break your quest to attract new patients.

Of course, there are numerous other review sites as well. Run a quick Google search to find those that seem relevant to your practice and your geographic location. Besides correcting inaccurate information, consider uploading photos to each listing to provide more insight into your practice.

Getting Reviews

The best way to get reviews is simply to ask for them. Consider offering your existing patients a small incentive, such as a free toothbrush or a few dollars off the next cleaning, in exchange for a review. Be sure to provide specific instructions on which review site(s) you prefer and how to go about leaving a review.

Managing Bad Reviews

No matter how hard you try, you cannot satisfy everyone. Sooner or later, you will receive a negative review. The best way to manage it is to face it head on with diplomacy, concern, and tact. Publicly respond to the review. Ask for clarification if needed, but be careful not to come across as confrontational. Apologize for the situation and offer a resolution.

You do not need to engage with someone hostile or offer rewards that far outweigh the severity of the patient’s experience, but a genuine apology and attempt to resolve will go a long way toward influencing the opinions of others who read the review, if not the person who left it. No matter how tempting it may be, never attempt to remove a negative review except in the most extreme cases.

Ready to Get Started?

If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at (800) 983-4126 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.

Overtime Pay: What Dental Practice Owners Must Know

In May 2016, the Department of Labor raised the minimum salary for employees to be exempt from overtime pay from $23,660 per year ($455 per week) to $47,476 per year ($913 per week). There are other new rules for determining whether an employee is truly exempt as well. The deadline for compliance was December 1, 2016, but it was blocked by an injunction.

The final fate of the changed regulation remains unknown. If it does eventually go through, though, many dental practice owners are still unclear on what they need to do. Here is what you must know about overtime pay, both as it exists now and how it may change under the new law.

The Legalities of Overtime Pay

The relevant statute is the Fair Labor Standards Act, the same act that governs the federal minimum wage, child labor, and other employee rights. The relevant portion of the law determines which employees are not entitled to overtime pay. It was last updated in 2004.

“Exempt” employees are those who are paid a salary above the threshold and meet specific tests. Even if you pay a salary, if it does not meet the minimum of $23,660 (now) or $47,476 (if the new rule takes effect), you must still pay overtime if that employee works more than 40 hours per week (8 hours per day in California).

Assessing Your Staff

With the new rule on the horizon, now is an excellent time to audit your records and ensure that you are in compliance now, and are ready to move into compliance with the new law if needed. First, determine exactly which employees fit the rules for exemption. Besides the salary threshold, employees’ jobs must meet a rigorous set of criteria. Be sure you understand the specific tests that must be met.

In a dental office, the most likely exempt employees are office managers and team leaders. Hygienists, receptionists, and other front-line staff members are rarely, if ever, considered exempt. Business owners, executives, and dentists typically do not fall under overtime rules at all.

Establishing Compliance

Once you know which employees are considered non-exempt, you must make sure that you are properly compensating them. These are your options:

 

  • For an employee you considered exempt who is actually non-exempt: Either increase her salary and change her duties to meet the exemption criteria or accept that she is non-exempt
  • Establish a system for tracking non-exempt employees’ time
  • Pay non-exempt employees overtime whenever they work more than 40 hours in a workweek (or eight per day in California)
  • Consider removing duties or hiring additional staff to limit overtime expenses

Managing Overtime

It is important to note that a non-exempt employee can NEVER waive her right to overtime or work off the clock. The best way to manage overtime is to create a written notice in the employee handbook that overtime must be authorized, and delineating the penalty for unauthorized overtime. If a non-exempt employee works unauthorized overtime, you must still pay correctly for the overtime hours worked, but you may also impose the designated penalty.

Ready to Get Started?

If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at (800) 983-4126 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.

5 Creative Ways to Boost Your Dental Practice Valuation

If you are interested in selling your dental practice, it is only natural to want to get the highest possible price for it. For the most part, a dental practice valuation is fairly straightforward. It is based on formulas, and modified by certain intangibles such as brand equity and intellectual property. Still, there is always an X factor, which is the personal feeling that the practice evokes in a potential buyer. Here are 5 creative ways to boost your dental practice valuation.

Website

If you do not have a website for your dental practice, adding one will boost your valuation quickly, as long as it is of high quality. Fill the website with content and educational materials that add real value for patients. Put your new patient forms online so that patients can complete them ahead of time. This will improve your valuation by demonstrating a genuine commitment to the patient experience, as well as an acknowledgement of the digital world we live in.

Social Media

In addition to a high-quality website, a strong social media presence is vital. Start connecting with other dentists on LinkedIn, and with your patients on Facebook and Twitter. Start updating your social media pages several times per week with interesting, interactive material. This shows potential buyers that your marketing is up to date and that you are making a real effort to connect with current and potential patients. You can even track your conversion rate to see how many new patients you attract on social media.

Reviews

You also need to learn what people are saying about your practice. Patients tend to leave reviews only when they are extremely happy or very angry about the service you provided, and you need to know which is true for your patients. In addition, a quick, heartfelt yet professional response to a negative review can turn around a bad situation and build trust with others who are reading the review.

Start asking your patients to leave reviews on your website, social media pages, and third-party sites such as Yelp. Read and respond to your reviews at least once a week.

Office Décor

Once your online presence is up and running well, take a look around the office. You may have heard of “staging” a house for potential buyers, using simple decorating tips to make it look more appealing. Staging is just as important for your dental practice. Replace furniture that looks worn and dated. Update the lighting if it is dim or harsh. Remove personal items and family artifacts.

Look at pictures of modern dental offices online for inspiration, or schedule a free consultation with an interior decorator who specializes in office spaces. You don’t need to spend a fortune. Even a few small tweaks can make an enormous difference in attractiveness to buyers.

Business Plan

In an ideal world, you would already have a business plan that is updated regularly and guides the growth of your practice. If yours is outdated or, worse, you don’t have one at all, it is time to get to work. Your business plan should contain a plan for growing the business, such as ideas on how to encourage referrals from existing patients and how to work with employers and insurers to bring in new patients. The more active growth potential you can demonstrate, the higher your potential valuation may be.

Ready to Get Started?

If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at (800) 983-4126 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.

4 Easy Ways to Reduce Dental Patient Anxiety

Dental patient anxiety is, unfortunately, quite common. It can range from a mild nervousness to an outright terror that can be classified as a phobia. Some patients actually go out of their way to avoid even needed dental work due to their anxiety. Fortunately, there are some easy ways for dentists to help reduce dental patient anxiety.

Specific Fears

To help your patients combat their dental anxiety, you first need to understand what they are really afraid of. Dental anxiety typically breaks down into 5 specific fears, though many patients have multiple fears.

Pain: While it is true that modern dentistry is virtually painless, many patients have undergone a previous painful experience that makes them afraid of it happening again.

Numbness: Few if any patients actually like having their mouths numbed, but those with a genuine fear of numbness worry that they will not be able to breath or swallow. Patients who have had trouble breathing or experienced choking in the past, even if it was unrelated to dental work, are more likely to have this fear.

“The Dentist”: Patients who have had negative experiences with uncaring dentists tend to categorize dentists in the same way as “the DMV” or “the IRS,” as a cold and unfeeling behemoth or even an active sadist.

Needles: Those who fear needles may be fine with the rest of the procedure, but terrified of the numbing injections.

Sensory Fears: From the sound of the drill to the sights, sounds, smells, and tactile sensations of the average dental office, sensory triggers can be tough for patients to cope with.

Soothing Office Space

Helping your patients cope with their dental anxiety starts when they enter the office. Take a critical look at your reception and waiting areas. Is there a place for patients to speak privately with the receptionist? Is the lighting scheme calming? Does the furniture feel warm and welcoming or cold and sterile? Creating a soothing space can help patients relax from the outset.

Sensory Aids

Many patients can block out their anxieties with sensory aids and distractions. You might play soothing music in the treatment rooms and/or offer chairside movies. Warm blankets provide a physical barrier as well as temperature control. Heated face cloths help patients clean up after a procedure, helping them to decompress and relax before heading home.

Communication

Communication is absolutely essential. Every staff member that patients interact with should know the signs of dental anxiety and how to communicate with nervous patients. The receptionist might offer information on amenities. The hygienist might offer to get the patient a blanket or show her how to operate the remote control. The dentist should take a few minutes to sit with a nervous patient and find out what the fear is, and discuss how to help. For example, a patient might feel more comfortable if the chair is not all the way back, or if she can give a hand signal as a cue she needs a break.

Sedation Dentistry

Sedation dentistry can be a wonderful solution for nervous patients. From mild nitrous oxide to deep IV sedation, there are options for patients with every level of fear. Note that sedation dentistry should only be performed for the patient’s comfort and not to make the dentist’s job easier. Always be sure to offer rather than demand, and never try to talk someone into a sedation option that makes him uncomfortable.

Those with severe dental phobias may need additional help from a mental health professional before they are ready to see the dentist. For the majority of nervous patients, though, a few simple changes to your routine and a dedication to communication can help ease their anxiety.

Ready to Get Started?

If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at (800) 983-4126 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.

Three most common problems surrounding dental payroll

Handling payroll is one of the most arduous tasks a dentist/owner has to deal with on a regular basis. Doing it yourself eats up valuable time that would be better spent treating patients. I recently spoke to Jamie Scherban, Senior Business Consultant at Paychex to discusses the most common problems dentists face regarding payroll.

When I started out back in 1983, there was no punching in or punching out. My office worked on the honor system. This worked well until I got into trouble with a disgruntled employee.

I then moved to sign in sheet to a punch clock – both of which also got me into trouble. Obviously administration was not part of what I was taught in dental school. And it showed as I made mistake after mistake until I finally outsourced this part of my practice to someone who knew what they were doing.

A dentist with 6-10 employees can spend anywhere between two to four hours a week focusing on payroll. “Our job is to give that doctor the ability to earn as much as they can based on the hours they work,” according to Scherban. “They should be focusing on their practice rather than focus on this stuff.”

When Scherban comes into a practice, any practice, he generally finds them making the same three mistakes that cost them time and money.

1-Incorrect setup

Did you set up the business correctly with the state and IRS? Even with existing businesses a lot of the time taxes are filed incorrectly because they were set up incorrectly. This results in late filings, penalties and notices from the tax man.

2-Filing taxes on time

Dentists are generally very good at being dentists. However when it comes to general administration duties like payroll tax filing – things can get overlooked. So taxes are not filed on time.

3-Managing employees

How do you manage benefits and time off? How do you track who punched in? Did they punch out?
This takes time away from the core business of being a dentist. So finding a solution that takes these issues off the table reduces the stress and makes the workplace run more smoothly and with less conflict.

In the end it is your responsibility to ensure that everything is properly tracked. If you choose to do it yourself, you are going to spend less time with billable patients which will cost you money. So it just makes sense to outsource this type of admin to a company such as Paychex, so that you can strike one of the least interesting tasks off your to-do list.

Why Every Dentist Needs to Be on Google My Business

Google My Business is among the most important tools you have to convince prospects to choose your dental practice rather than a competitor’s. Yet many dentists know little or nothing about what Google My Business is, why it matters, or how to set it up. Here is what you should know.

What is Google My Business?

Google My Business can be viewed as the core of your local SEO (search engine optimization) campaign. Until 2014, Google had quite a few options for business owners including Google Plus pages and Google Places pages. Today, Google My Business unifies all of these diverse pages into a single, streamlined, free tool that puts your business information, photos, and most importantly, reviews all in the same place.

Your Google My Business listing will show up in Google’s Local Maps. If your Google My Business page is fully optimized, you may even show up in the Local Maps 3 Pack search results. As the name suggests, this is a premium listing of the top 3 local dentists as determined by Google’s algorithms.

Setting Up Google My Business

Google My Business should always be used in conjunction with Google Analytics and Google Search Console. These three tools are designed to integrate to give you a complete picture of your overall online performance.

There are three different levels to setting up a Google My Business page. Start at the beginning and work your way through the steps as you have the time.

Beginner: The very first step is to claim and verify your Google My Business page. This lets Google check that you have a legitimate dental practice at the listed address. When verification is complete, you will gain access to the Google My Business dashboard and tools.

Next, you will need to optimize your business NAP (name, address, and phone number). Make sure that your practice name, phone number, and address are correct, and are identical to all other listings you have online.

Intermediate: Photos and videos help prospects learn what to expect. Try to provide a good mix of success stories, behind the scenes peeks, and “getting to know you” clips of yourself and your staff. Encourage satisfied patients to send in photos and videos as well, as prospects always like to hear from their peers.

Reviews are a huge part of any Google My Business page. Ask your existing patients directly to write a review, and consider offering a small incentive like a few dollars off their next cleaning. If you get any negative reviews, do not delete them, but do respond to them. Prospects like to know that if they have an issue, your practice will help them resolve it.

Expert: Use Google Posts to link up your blog. You should already be blogging regularly, as this will keep your website fresh, informative, and up to date. Use the free tools to link your blog to your Google My Business page. Include top-quality photos with each post, along with a call to action that leads readers to your full website.

Monitor your Questions and Answers section. There is no tool to alert you that a question was posted, so you will need to remain proactive. Anyone can answer questions, so it is important to make sure that user-posted answers are accurate. This is also an opportunity to engage directly with your patients and prospects, building credibility and loyalty.

Ascent Dental Solutions is a full-service agency dedicated to helping dentists build their practices and map out their careers. It is the brainchild of Dr. Kevin Coughlin, who earned his doctorate at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and currently serves as a faculty member there. While Dr. Coughlin continues to practice dentistry as the principal owner of the 14-location Baystate Dental PC, he has a strong passion for helping fellow dentists maximize their success. If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at (800) 983-4126 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.

Using online testimonials to promote your dental practice

Many dentists do not realize the tremendous power of online testimonials in bringing in new patients. Yet according to poll data, a whopping 92% of prospective patients claim to read them, and 67% admit to being influenced by them. Here is what you should know about using online testimonials to promote your dental practice.

Benefits of Online Testimonials

Google Visibility: The Google algorithm is built to showcase the most authoritative and relevant websites in Google search. Online testimonials, particularly on multiple sites, assure Google that yours is a legitimate practice with high social proof.

Promotion: Research shows that patients tend to stay longer on websites they trust, especially if there are videos to watch. They are also more likely to actually visit the practice whose website caught their attention. Ask your satisfied patients to record a video testimonial, and you have the seeds of a tremendous promotional campaign.

Trust: Patient testimonials are a powerful way to build trust with both your current patients and your prospects. In fact, your current patients may be more likely to recommend you to their friends and family members when they see that their positive impressions of you are shared by others.

Reputation and Brand Awareness: Every time someone sees your practice reflected in a positive light, it makes an impression. The more testimonials you have, the more power you have to build your reputation and, ultimately your brand. This translates into more patients, more repeat visits, and more positive word of mouth throughout your community.

Insight: You can glean a great deal of information from what your patients say, and don’t say, in their testimonials. Use this opportunity to learn, and you will improve your overall patient experience.

Types of Online Testimonials

Savvy dentists will incorporate all three basic types of testimonials into their online marketing.

Written with a Single Photo: This is still the most common type of testimonial. An eye-catching photo of the patient is used, along with a few sentences about his or her experience.

Before and After Photos: Many patients are reluctant to share their “before” photos with the world, but if you have a few who are willing, these testimonials can be extremely powerful. A written account of the patient’s process accompanies two or more photos documenting the journey.

Videos: A video testimonial should be no longer than one minute, and it must be tightly edited. People enjoy watching their peers talk about their experiences, so don’t be shy in asking for volunteers. Choose patients who are articulate, present well on camera, and are not prone to rambling.

Building a Great Testimonial

Although a testimonial must be presented in the patient’s own words, many patients do not know how to go about describing their experiences. Asking open-ended questions helps the patient frame his journey and build an authentic, but well-presented, narrative. Here are a few possible questions:

  • What, if anything, nearly prevented you from choosing this practice?
  • What made you decide to choose us?
  • What was your favorite part of your experience at our office?
  • What are the top three benefits that our office provides?
  • Briefly describe your journey with our practice from your first appointment through your most recent visit.
  • Would you recommend us to your friends and family and, if so, why?
  • Is there anything you wish someone had told you about our practice before you started treatment here?

These questions will not only help your patients articulate their experiences, but they also provide insights into what your patients value most. In turn, you can focus your marketing efforts on the things that are most important to the highest number of patients, drawing in prospects who value those same features.

Ascent Dental Solutions is a full-service agency dedicated to helping dentists build their practices and map out their careers. It is the brainchild of Dr. Kevin Coughlin, who earned his doctorate at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and currently serves as a faculty member there. While Dr. Coughlin continues to practice dentistry as the principal owner of the 14-location Baystate Dental PC, he has a strong passion for helping fellow dentists maximize their success. If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at (800) 983-4126 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.

Dental Practice Transition Checklist: Making a Smooth Transition

If you are buying an existing dental practice, odds are high that the business side of the transaction is uppermost in your mind. After all, you must work your way through a seemingly endless set of documentation, from the purchase agreement to equipment leases, to ensure that you get a fair deal. Still, though, it is vital to remember that you are a dentist, and that an existing practice comes with an existing patient load and office staff who must be carefully tended to throughout the transition period. Here is a checklist to help you balance both sides of the transition.

Chart Audit

Review 10 percent of the active patient charts, or at least 100 charts. Most definitions of “active patient” state that the person has been seen for care in the past 12 to 18 months, but some dentists define it differently. Determine if your definition of “active” matches that of the selling dentist, or whether you will need to sort through all the charts to reclassify them.

Business Policies

Review any documentation that the practice has regarding patient flow and office management, such as the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Learn the existing policies for everything from missed appointments to staff vacation scheduling. It is fine to change the current policies over time, but for everyone’s sake, try to maintain continuity by not implementing too many changes at once.

Treatment Planning

Review a few charts to compare your own clinical judgment to that of the selling dentist. Note any cases where you seem to wildly disagree. Also consider criteria for case acceptance, clinical proficiency of yourself and the existing staff, areas of treatment interest, and where both you and the selling dentist fall on the spectrum of conservative to experimental treatment. Start making plans for addressing areas where your methodologies are significantly different from those of your predecessor.

Billing and Collections

Review the existing financial arrangements for all aspects of billing and collections. What payment options are accepted? What is the fee schedule, and how does it compare to reimbursement rates and local competitors’ rates? What does the accounts receivable monthly average aging look like? Which insurances are accepted, and what do you need to do to transfer accepted insurance contracts into your name?

Scheduling

Review the existing scheduling process. Are there gaps in the schedule? Is there enough free time to treat emergencies? How far out are basic hygiene appointments scheduled? What about exams? How many complex procedures are on the schedule, and in what time frame?

New Patient Flow

How many new patients are coming in each month? What are the referral sources? What types of marketing are currently implemented, and what is their return on investment? Look for areas that are working well, as well as ways to improve the flow of new patients.

Facility

Thoroughly examine both the inside and the outside of the property with an eye toward possible improvements. Anything from improved street visibility to better grounds maintenance could boost your bottom line. Also take a critical look at the practice through the eyes of a patient: is the waiting area clean and aesthetically pleasing? Are there private spaces to discuss treatment and payment options? Is the design modern, or intentionally a throwback, as opposed to dated and tired? Are there sufficient amenities? What type of charting system is used?

Treatment Rooms

Walk through the treatment rooms to assess the existing setup. Is the lighting sufficient? Are the chairs comfortable and in good condition? Do you have the equipment you want and need, and is it properly sized and placed for the way you like to work? Are there newer pieces of technology you would like to add? Are there adequate supplies, and a streamlined process for procuring new ones? Also, be sure to examine the sterilization equipment, and ask for an inspection certificate from the most recent inspection of the mechanical room.

Lease

Carefully review the existing lease with your attorney. Make sure you understand the remaining term and renewal options. Find out if the current lease is transferrable or if you will need to sign a new one, and check that the terms are competitive with similar leases in the local area.

Staff

Get all the details regarding staff contracts, including compensation rates and benefits. Evaluate the working relationship between the staff and the selling dentist, and get to know each staff member well enough to determine whether they are the right match for you. Work with the selling dentist to inform the staff of the transition, and find out which members of staff do not plan to stay on with you. Make a list of new staff members you will need to hire.

Transitioning an existing dental practice to new ownership can be complex. The more open both you and the selling dentist are with each other, the patients, and the staff, the smoother the transition will be. Take your time and be sure to explore all the details, and you will be in the best possible position to take the business through a smooth transition.

Ascent Dental Solutions is a full-service agency dedicated to helping dentists build their practices and map out their careers. It is the brainchild of Dr. Kevin Coughlin, who earned his doctorate at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and currently serves as a faculty member there. While Dr. Coughlin continues to practice dentistry as the principal owner of the 14-location Baystate Dental PC, he has a strong passion for helping fellow dentists maximize their success. If you are interested in learning how to take your dental practice to the next level, please contact Ascent Dental Solutions today at (800) 983-4126 to learn how Dr. Coughlin can help.

Can you really love the business of dentistry?

As a working dentist who has opened up 14 practices during my career, I am someone who enjoys the challenges of being an entrepreneur.

It hasn’t always been easy. I’ve made costly mistakes (and I still do!). Over the years I’ve learned to roll with the punches while creating systems and best practices that I can successfully replicate over and over again.

But being an entrepreneur takes work. For many dentists, it’s the business of dentistry that really takes a toll. They aren’t prepared to run a practice and they stumble from one crisis to another.

If you can’t find joy in the business aspect of your practice you may eventually burn out.

Unfortunately it’s not getting any easier.

When I started you could make mistakes and learn from them. Today the marketplace has changed. If you don’t get things right the first time, you competition isn’t just the dentist down the street, it’s also the Managed Service Organizations (MSOs) and Dental Service Organizations (DSOs) that are often standing behind them.

I’m proof positive that you can compete and win in this kind of marketplace. I’m also the first to admit that it isn’t for everyone.

Some dentists are happy to have the day to day business and practice management decisions made by someone else. It certainly gives them more time for golf.

If that sounds like something you are interested in then it’s in your best interest to maximize the value of your practice before you talk to an MSO or DSO. If you are going to essentially be working for someone else then you really want to make sure that the blood, sweat and tears you’ve put into your business is reflected in your buy-out.

Before you make any decisions you should speak to someone like myself, who can give you solid guidance on what your best options are going forward. You might discover that with a little coaching you can learn to love the business of dentistry as much as I do.

Or you may decide a better tee time is what you really want from your career.

Ascent Dental Solutions is a full-service agency dedicated to helping dentists build their practices and map out their careers. It is the brainchild of Dr. Kevin Coughlin, who earned his doctorate at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and his Masters in Health Care Admin. at Western New England University. He currently serves as a faculty member at Tufts. While Dr. Coughlin continues to practice dentistry as the principal owner of the 14-location Baystate Dental PC, he has a strong passion for helping fellow dentists maximize their success. If you are interested in talking to Dr. Coughlin the best way is to just give him a call on his cell phone at 413-519-9421

Dental associations need more business education programs

As a dentist it’s very unlikely clinical skills are your biggest challenge. Dental schools are very good at teaching the mechanics of our profession.

What they are not so good at is preparing us for running a business.

For most of us it’s a trial by fire. The average dental graduate comes out of school with a mountain of debt.

According to the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), the average debt per graduating senior is $287,331 (according to a 2017 survey).

That’s a big hole to dig yourself out of.

And starting a practice of your own isn’t cheap either. According to Bank of America, the average cost to set up a dental practice is just over $400,000.

That’s just the start up costs. Let’s say you’ve managed to secure financing and open your doors. Being a dentist today is not the same as it once was. Where we once were able to grow our business over decades, today there is increased competition from Managed Service Organizations and Dental Service Organizations that can leverage their size and buying power to negotiate better deals than a single dentist can hope to get in their wildest dreams.

At this point you might be thinking that there is really no hope. But that’s not the case. These organizations got where they are in the marketplace because they identified the lack of business experience most dentists bring to the table.

As a working “wet-finger” dentist myself, I believe it is the responsibility of  local, state and national dental associations to help their members learn more about what they are facing and give them the tools to compete against these MSOs and DSOs so they can continue to thrive and grow.

In addition to one-on-one coaching and consulting for dentists, I regularly offer free webinars to dental associations to bring attention to this issue. If you are in a leadership position at your association send me a note and let’s talk about a free session for your members.

If you are a member, make an introduction. Connect me with your programming or education person and I’ll do my best to set something up so you and others in your dental community can learn more about MSO’s, DSOs and corporate dentistry.