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Archive for category: New Patients

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.

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Consistent Behavior Gets Consistent Results

Consistent Behavior Gets Consistent Results

Inconsistency is the watchword for me in 2016 when it comes to practice management.

Last year, Levin Group analysts crisscrossed the country to perform hundreds of business analyses of general and specialty dental practices. As they look for what’s inhibiting growth, they have often discovered inconsistency in daily operations.

Specifically, most struggling offices lack documented management systems and scripts to guide team members in how to use such systems. As a result, their owners experience plateaued growth, declines in production and profit, and losses to the competition.

In many cases, doctors who were doing well until the past couple of years now feel confused and frustrated… and typically don’t understand that inconsistent performance of administrative and marketing tasks, due to a lack of proper systems and scripting, is the root cause of their troubles.

Creating smart new systems, writing step-by-step documentation, translating the documentation into scripts that are then used to train staff—this is the process Levin Group consultants rely on for turning practices around.

It works so well because it not only establishes the correct protocols for reaching the practice’s performance goals but also ensures that those steps are carried out consistently, patient after patient, day after day.


Additional Resource

To find out how you can benefit from an expert analysis of your practice as a business, click here for your free download of Dr. Levin’s whitepaper, How to Increase the Income from Your Practice.

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Today is Team Appreciation Day

Today is Team Appreciation Day

How do you get your practice team and others around you motivated? The answer is simple. Start appreciating them… and let them know it!

Most dentists would say they appreciate their teams. If you feel that way, answer these questions

  • Do you express your appreciation to every team member every day?
  • Do you notice the little things and try to see things from each individual’s point of view?
  • Do you find many ways to compliment team members… about what a good job they’re doing, how fast they’re learning, that they’re making a difference?

These are the techniques great leaders use to motivate their team. They know that when you show your appreciation, team members feel better about themselves and will be self-motivated to perform better.

Additional Resource

For more team-building advice, view Dr. Levin’s video, “Building the Best Possible Team.

Honest Mistake

Honest Mistake

One of the biggest mistakes dentists make as practice leaders is not being honest with their team members. I’m not suggesting that they say things that aren’t true. The problem is that they don’t say things that are true.

We’ve all been there. A member of your staff falls short of your expectations and, to avoid confrontation or discomfort, you say nothing. Hoping the problem will go away (which rarely happens), you tolerate her poor performance, negative attitude, or personal issue that’s disrupting office efficiency. As she spirals downward, your displeasure grows.

Eventually, you feel you have no choice but to terminate her. In short, your compassion has the opposite effect of what you intended. The team member in question—who may have had excellent potential—must move on, leaving behind a stressed and demoralized staff and a well-meaning team leader (you) who is learning to hate this part of practice ownership.

Rather than saying nothing about questionable staff behavior, speak up. Discuss the issue calmly and constructively in private with the team member. Help team members improve. Catch and help correct bad habits early and everyone will benefit… honest!

Additional Resource

For more about other honest mistakes practice owners make, read a free excerpt from Dr. Levin’s book, The 31 Biggest Mistakes Dentists Make, go here and click on the “Read an Excerpt” button.

Don’t Tolerate Poor Performance

Don’t Tolerate Poor Performance

Serving as CEO, team leader and doctor poses many challenges.

One of the biggest is being honest. I’m not saying that dentists are dishonest. Most dentists are honest to a fault in terms of what they say. But there are two types of honesty.

Beyond what you say, there’s the question of what you don’t say. If you’re not speaking up about certain subjects, that’s a form of dishonesty, too. Many of us (and I am definitely including myself here) don’t always say what we should.

As the team leader at your office, do you always tell team members what you’re thinking? Do you point out that you’re not happy with their performance?

We often avoid confrontation, hoping the problem will go away—which almost never happens. Too many team members who could have improved have ended up spiraling downward over time. Had the dentist communicated early on that there was displeasure in the way something was handled, things might have turned out better.

Compassion for the members of your team may lead you to suppress critical comments about their performance or attitude, but that may leave you no choice but to eventually terminate a team member. How compassionate is that?

Far better for everyone if you speak up as soon as you see a problem—and speak honestly. Your silence could have a very negative effect.

The next time you wonder if you should say something about a team member’s performance, make no mistake… you should say it.

 

Additional Resource

For more on this subject, check out Dr. Levin’s popular whitepaper “Level IV Leadership.

 

 

Worth Repeating

Worth Repeating

Everything seems to be getting more complicated these days. I’m reminded of some of the advice I gave dentists in my book, 43 New Rules for Increasing Practice Production. Here’s an excerpt:

Rule #32 – Simplicity is Key

One of the key principles taught by Chris Zook, author and leading business strategist, is that businesses get in trouble because they gradually become more complicated and bureaucratic. Zook talks extensively about the importance of simplicity and repeatability. I have observed thousands of dental practices that ran well when they were smaller but became chaotic and stressful as they grew.

One of the major reasons for this is that they did not have the right step-by-step systems in place. As I have often said, systems must be up-to-date and documented. In addition, systems must be simple, so they can easily be used correctly. Dentistry keeps getting more and more complicated, with new materials, procedures and technologies emerging continuously—all the more reason to implement systems that simplify practice management.

As you work to grow your practice in 2016, keep your systems in mind. Are they helping or hurting you? If they’re impeding rather than supporting growth, it’s time to replace them.

 

Additional Resource

Read a free excerpt from the 43 Rules for Increasing Practice Production by going here and clicking on the “Read an Excerpt” button.

Go and get grab your copy now!