Close

Archive for category: Management

Huge Profit & You: Learn Dentistry’s Most Profitable Treatments and How to Do More of Them

Huge Profit & You: Learn Dentistry’s Most Profitable Treatments and How to Do More of Them

“Roger, I want to make more money.”

I hear that all the time from practice owners at my seminars. Then they usually follow up with something like: “Don’t get me wrong, I love taking care of my patients, but I went to dental school for four years, I own a practice, and I’m bustin’ my hump every day, yet I’m making less than my neighbor who sells hot dogs outside the Home Depot.”

OK, that last part might be a slight exaggeration.

But there are a lot of dentists out there who are unhappy with their income.

Many of them then proceed to ask me what to do. I look them square in the eye and tell them that the answer is staring them right in the face all day, every day…

The most profitable services in your practice are the ones you already offer.

While adding certain services, such as whitening or implants, can definitely increase production, the FASTEST way to do more profitable dentistry is to hyper-focus on fully maximizing the value of the treatment that shows up in your chair every day.

If you haven’t already taken steps to gain another 10–15% profit margin on the procedures you’re good at and perform frequently, what are you waiting for?

Every practice has specific services that are more profitable than others. For example, in general dentistry, it is typically crown and bridge. While it can be debated which procedures are the most lucrative in dentistry, there are other factors that impact practice production and profitability, including:

  1. The Schedule. Too many schedules choke off production because they’re inefficient, inaccurate or just plain outdated. They’re based on old habits rather than sound business principles. Just because the team is comfortable with the pace of the current schedule doesn’t mean it’s the most effective schedule for your practice. Time and again we have shown clients how to manage multiple chairs (and often multiple assistants) smoothly, which easily increases production, lowers overhead and decreases stress. Many dentists and teams hold onto the status quo, believing changing the schedule will lead to rushing and higher stress, which isn’t true.
  2. Speed. In an era when insurance reimbursements are declining, time really is money. The faster the procedure, the more profitable it is. We have clients who range from 30 minutes per crown prep to others who take two hours. While these may be the extremes, simply shaving 10 minutes from most appointments is a significant time savings.
  3. The Cost of Services. Lowering overhead increases profit, which is directly proportional to take-home income. One of the best examples for cost savings is laboratory services. Some offices work with labs that are far more expensive than necessary to provide excellent care. If crown and bridge is one of the most productive services in dentistry, then working with an excellent dental lab at a reasonable cost can make a significant difference. As the number of crowns, bridges and veneers increase, the savings (and profit) can add up quickly. There are excellent national dental laboratories, such as National Dentex, that provide every possible service at a reasonable cost.

Conclusion

If your practice isn’t as profitable as you you’d like, the solution for fixing that is easier than you think. The question isn’t “what procedure is the most profitable?” but rather “how much more profitable can I make the procedures I perform?” The answer is always – a lot!


Additional Resource

Read a free excerpt from Dr. Roger P. Levin’s popular book, 100 Ways to Increase Your Practice Profitability. Go here and click on the “Read an Excerpt” button.

 

Back to Practice Success Archive »
Are You a Micromanager? Take Our Quiz

Are You a Micromanager? Take Our Quiz

Many dentists are micro-managers. It’s true. Perhaps you could blame it in part on dental school. As clinicians, we are taught to make sure everything is right or the treatment could potentially fail. That “it all depends on me” attitude often carries over to running a practice and leading a team.

Another culprit is the lack of systems. Without documented systems, there’s an element of uncertainty that permeates the practice culture. As business owners, we feel it’s our duty to check, double-check, and hover over employees to make sure things are getting done the right way.

At the end of the day, the cause really doesn’t matter as much as recognizing the behavior and finding a way to change it… because, ultimately, micro-managing is costing you big time––probably tens of thousands of dollars in lost production every year. On top of that, it wastes a great deal of doctor time, discourages employee growth and undermines the staff’s confidence to act independently.

So here’s the question––are you a micro-manager? Take our quiz to find out.

  1. Do you go up to the front desk area to give instructions, check up on tasks or monitor employee activity at least once an hour? Yes or No
  2. Does the team run all minor decisions by you before acting? Yes or No
  3. Do you get frustrated when team members don’t do things “your way?” Yes or No
  4. Do you believe that you are the best one in the practice to handle any administrative task? Yes or No
  5. Do you perform non-clinical tasks that could be delegated to team members? Yes or No
  6. Do team members have authority to solve patient problems and issues (versus checking with doctor)? Yes or No
  7. Have you ever corrected a staff member for performing an administrative task differently than you would have, even though the result was the same? Yes or No

Rate Yourself

Based on your total number of “yes” answers…

1 – Recovering Micromanager

2–3 – Passive-Aggressive Micromanager

4–5 – Heavy Micromanager

6–7 – Extreme Micromanager

They say great leaders are born, not made. Fortunately, they’re WRONG! You can easily learn how to eliminate the stress you feel trying to keep track of every single detail in your practice. More importantly, proper delegation gives your team the chance to shine in their jobs. And it will have a huge positive impact on your bottom line and free you up to do more dentistry in less time. A perfect combination.


Additional Resource

Download Dr. Levin’s free whitepaper, “Level IV Leadership,” by clicking here.

Back to Practice Success Archive »
3 Scheduling Mysteries Solved

3 Scheduling Mysteries Solved

There are three mysteries in scheduling that you must clear up immediately, because they can cost practices millions of dollars over the course of a career. The three scheduling mysteries are:

Mystery 1 – No-Shows and Last-Minute Cancellations

These are literally killing you by eviscerating your daily production goals and totals. You want your no-shows and last-minute cancellations—and make no mistake, a last-minute cancellation is as damaging as a no-show—under 1%.

Why do patients so often leave you with an opening that’s impossible to fill? You haven’t taught them to value their appointment.  Here’s a three-step process, based on phone scripts, that will solve this problem. When a patient no-shows, or cancels at the last minute:

  1. Have your scheduling coordinator create demand for the appointment by making the patient wait for a few weeks.
  2. If that doesn’t work, then threaten to charge the patient for the missed appointment (rather than actually charging, waive the fee as a favor, for which the patient will thank you every time).
  3. Put habitual no-show patients on a short list “to fill last-minute openings”… but don’t actually call them. They are money losers as regular patients. By default, whenever they do have a problem, they’ll be your future emergencies and add to production at that point.

Mystery 2 – Dealing With The Late Patient

Even the best patients will be late from time to time. There’s no way around it. Usually, if you don’t see them when they show up, you’ll lose money on the case. It’s far better to squeeze in the offenders as best you can and to stress with patients going forward that they run on time.

For habitually late patients, try this: schedule them 20 minutes earlier than the actual opening. When they show up late, as usual, they’ll actually be on time.

Mystery 3 – Losing 10 Minutes Per Hour

Levin Group has now analyzed thousands of scheduling systems with scientific time studies and found that the vast majority of offices can easily improve performance by 10 minutes per hour. You can achieve this by analyzing the amount of time needed per procedure, delegating responsibilities so the doctor can spend more time chairside, and breaking old, inefficient habits.

The results will be nothing short of incredible. It’s like gaining two extra months of potential doctor production time per year… which, over the course of 24 years, adds 48 months. This is the equivalent of generating an additional two years’ worth of production without working one more minute!


Additional Resource

Download a free excerpt from Dr. Levin’s popular book, Power Cell Scheduling. Go here and click on the “Read an Excerpt” button.

Back to Practice Success Archive »
Frost Warning

Frost Warning

The other morning, I discovered frost on my windshield when I went out to drive to the office. I thought the wipers would scrape it off, but no such luck. Maybe, if I turned the defroster on full blast and kept the wipers going, I could…

Fortunately, I stopped myself. Rather than risking a minute or two of not seeing clearly where I was going, I decided to get back out of the car and use the scraper. Soon, I had not only proper visibility but also this insight:

We often have trouble seeing what’s ahead in our careers and our lives. We may know what destination we want to reach but lack the information about how to get there. Rather than rushing off anyway, blindly hoping for the best, we should get out the scraper… removing anything locking our view… learning everything we can about what it will take to reach our goal… drawing up a map… hiring an expert guide to get us there.

If you’re serious about making your practice a great success, take warning—by spending a little time preparing for the journey, you’ll actually get there sooner.

Additional Resource

To keep up with Dr. Levin and Levin Group, follow us on Facebook.

Back to Practice Success Archive »
The Power of Checklists

The Power of Checklists

Several years ago, a book by surgeon Atul Gawande shocked—and changed—the medical world. He said that a surgeon who performs thousands of operations without using a checklist will eventually kill someone.

Why? Because, even though all surgeons know they must scrub their hands before operating, they will someday forget this simple, vital step… and a lethal infection can result. By promoting the use of a checklist, Gawande helped to dramatically reduce the number of deaths caused by operating-room infections.

His work resonates with me because I’ve long promoted checklists for a similar reason… though for a very different purpose. Levin Group helps dental practices reach their full business potential by introducing highly efficient, step-by-step management systems. These systems work incredibly well, but over time team members will begin to skip or alter steps. It’s only human… but it causes inefficiencies and stress.

Checklists prevent this “drift” and enable staff to keep all systems running smoothly, day after day. They may not save lives like Gawande’s checklist, but they do improve the lives of dentists… which is what Levin Group is all about.

Additional Resource

Take advantage of another kind of checklist… Levin Group’s Practice Production Matrix, which measures your production potential by evaluating your systems in the 9 Areas of Expertise. Download your free Matrix here.

Back to Practice Success Archive »
Thinking About Owning Multiple Practices?

Thinking About Owning Multiple Practices?

In our work with hundreds of dentists and specialists, Levin Group has noted a trend. Many of them are now upgrading the efficiency, productivity and profitability of their practice in preparation for launching a small group practice… consisting of five or more offices.

There are many doctors earning excellent incomes from small groups, and many others who are losing money. Obviously, there are pros and cons to this growth strategy. If you’re thinking about expanding your dental business, you need to understand what you’ll be getting into.

Doing well with one or two offices does not translate directly into operating five, six or 10 locations. Managing a business of this scale poses a whole new set of leadership, managerial, financial, marketing, legal, regulatory, human resources and other challenges. To succeed, you need to develop highly efficient systems and best models in your current situation, ready to roll out in a small group practice.

If your vision is to own multiple practices someday, prepare yourself well for meeting the challenges. And don’t try to go it alone. Line up outside experts to help guide the process and avoid pitfalls or significant mistakes.

Additional Resources

Free Whitepaper – For more advice about implementing this growth strategy, download Dr. Levin’s free whitepaper, “Building a Sustainable Multi-Doctor Practice.” Click here.

ADA Seminar – Attend the ADA’s BIG Idea: Small Group Practicea special day-long conference on Oct. 19, preceding the annual meeting in Denver. Dr. Levin will be one of the speakers at this event. For details, click here.

Back to Practice Success Archive »
Three Things You Can Learn From Olympic Athletes

Three Things You Can Learn From Olympic Athletes

What do dentistry and Olympic competition have in common? There are many analogies to the business world in all sports, where winning depends on training, practice, competitiveness, discipline and a long list of other factors. But three qualities displayed by Olympic champions are especially relevant to dentists who want to improve their practices:

  1. Self-discipline – Athletes understand that self-discipline is critical. Just as they have to find a way to be “on” for every competition, dentists must also be at the top of their game every day. In addition to providing excellent clinical care, doctors must lead their team well, inspiring members of their staff by displaying a positive attitude, setting the example, and recognizing people for a job well done.
  2. Continual learning – The world’s best athletes learn something new every day, about themselves, the competition, their sport… all the factors that can make the difference between winning and losing. Similarly, all dentists understand the value of continuing education for clinical care… and the very best also know they need to keep learning how to be better managers and leaders.
  3. Consistency – Knowing that falling behind by the smallest amount can turn gold into silver, athletes work hard to perform at a consistently high level all the time. Dentists need to do the same thing. The difference is that athletes only have to perform occasionally when competing and dentists have to perform four or more days every week. Consistency in values, character, messaging… the doctor’s personal brand… to the team is critical. Each doctor should determine what it is they want to project to patients and staff and make sure it comes across all day, every day.

Additional Resource

Flat production… staff issues… ineffective marketing… For stories about how dentists like you overcame these and other challenges by working with Levin Group consultants, click here.

Back to Practice Success Archive »
Three Things About Financial Management

Three Things About Financial Management

Financial management is a critical aspect of running your dental practice.

The first thing to focus on is cash flow. Too many dentists simply go to the office, treat patients, pay the bills and see what’s left. Instead, you should give serious thought to cash flow factors, such as when patients pay, how they pay and whether they pay at all.

Design a system to have patients make their payments as early as possible relative to the time of treatment. Then use a Levin Group consulting innovation known as a one day rule to collect 99% of all money due to the practice. The one day rule states that patients will be called the day they are overdue. This is followed by a nine-week follow-up process. Together, these two methodologies enable Levin Group clients to collect 99% of all the money they’ve earned.

Another critical component of managing practice finances is budgeting. Very few dental practices have a budget, and many of those that do pay little attention to it. This is how practices get into financial trouble and doctors end up with lower income.

Most doctors have no idea where their revenues stand for the year and whether they’re on budget. With today’s profit margins being squeezed, we see many new management consulting clients whose income is flat or declining.  The solution is to establish a budget, track each line item continually, and make adjustments as needed throughout the year to hit your financial targets.

Additional Resource

Interested in improving your financial management skills? Read a free excerpt from Dr. Levin’s essential book, Practice Finance, by clicking here.

Back to Practice Success Archive »
New Game. New Rules.

New Game. New Rules.

Many dentists are attempting to play soccer on a football field. It doesn’t work.

Dentistry is no longer what it was. The game has changed. There are new rules. And if you try to run your practice the old way, you’ll lose. Your production will slow down or decline, and your income will suffer.

The key to winning the new game is to understand what’s changed… the number of dentists is increasing… corporate dentistry is growing… dental insurance companies are lowering reimbursements… student loan debt is higher than ever… and there are six other game changers that are reshaping our profession.

This might sound like bad news, but it’s actually a huge opportunity. Just ask any of Levin Group’s clients, who are growing every day. With our guidance, they’re responding to the new rules with results-oriented systems, targets, scripting and checklists. This means really training their team, not just giving them a tip or pearl here or there. It means real management by objectives, rather than merely observing, making occasional comments or ignoring what’s going on in the office.

Playing soccer on a football field won’t work. Running dental practices as we did in the past will not work either.

Additional Resource

Hear what Levin Group clients say about our consulting programs. Discover how much better your practice can be once you learn the new rules from the leading dental practice management and marketing consulting firm. Watch video testimonials here.

Back to Practice Success Archive »
Three Things that May Threaten Your Future

Three Things that May Threaten Your Future

There are new forces coming to bear on dentistry, and they’ll have a profound effect on the future for all of us who have dedicated our lives to this profession.

First, according to the Levin Group Data Center, the number of new patients entering dental practices is down significantly. This means that, to avoid decline, practices need to start working with excellent new systems for retaining patients and maximizing revenue opportunities.

Second, I believe that over that next five to eight years profit margins in many dental practices will decline by 5–10%. While this is just beginning to show up, many dentists believe they can simply cut costs to make up the difference. I don’t believe this will work.

Third, circumstances will force many dentists to retire 10 years later than in the past. The average retirement age of a dentist, according to the Levin Group Data Center, currently stands at 70.1. This trend is caused by competitive factors such as the growth of corporate dentistry, the addition of new delivery models and an increase in the number of dentists due to the opening of new dental schools. All of which adds up to one thing—increased competition. Unfortunately, most practices today are not competition-ready. If a dentist wants to work for more years, that’s fine. But many will not have a choice.

Additional Resource

Learn about the game changers that have reshaped the dental economy—and how you can assure a brighter future for your practice. Download Dr. Levin’s free whitepaper “The 8 Permanent Game Changers” by clicking here.

Back to Practice Success Archive »
Go and get grab your copy now!