Dentists are smart cookies! They are scientists, and some have a proclivity for the creative arts. My clients often show an interest in website design, marketing strategies, and how Google makes ranking selections for search engine results. Even with all their education, creativity, and passion for learning, most dentists aren’t super savvy on setting up a business and marketing plan. They go through 12+ years of college and never learn the basic starter recipe for making bread, dough – a profitable practice.
Instead of starting with step one, these dentists skip around – they find a location first or hire a company to set them up in business – before ever writing out a simple business plan. You can’t write a comprehensive business plan in one day. However, you can learn a lot about your business by spending eight intimate hours in your own head, answering some important questions. Even if your practice is open for business, time spent planning is never wasted. You’ll learn so much about your own thoughts.
Taking just one eight-hour day to focus on the US Small Business Administration’s template business plan will help you flesh out the basic foundations for your practice, the building blocks that will become the ideas and values upon which your company grows, for decades to come.
Eight hours. One day. This short time, in the whole scheme of your professional future, will help you define everything.
Vision, Mission Statements, & Promises
One of the first steps in writing a business plan will be developing vision and mission statements. I challenge dentists to also write promises to patients and staff, during this phase of planning. I encourage you to think long and hard about the words that truly define who you are in your innermost self. The practice you build should reflect your unique passions, preferences, and ideas. Most of the mission statements I read are boilerplate. Yet, when I’ve asked hundreds of dentists what sets them apart from other clinicians, they tell me how personalized their care is and how unique their team members are.
I ask you, if practice A and practice B have the exact same mission, are their practices unique? Do patients truly see one as better than the other? Or does it not matter whether a patient chooses dentist A or B?
Set your practice apart from the start.
Consider this: If in 10 years, you’re doing quite well and the opportunity arises to open three offices, you’ll need to create policies and procedures to replicate what’s working in your original practice. (I just wrote such P&P manuals for a dentist last year.) All of your future employees will read the mission, vision, and promises you composed in that eight-hour business planning day. They won’t necessarily have the opportunity to work beside you and experience your values, ethics, and philosophy of care firsthand. From the practice manager to the janitor, they will read your mission and vision – and that will guide their idea of how to be a good employee for you.
So take time. Use words that mean something to you.
See the future.
Think about the traits you want your ideal hygienist, assistant, and office manager to have. Create your mission, vision, and promises based on what you want your practice to be. Don’t worry about what you don’t know. You do not need to see samples. Write from your heart and soul!
Here’s what you need to compose:
- Mission Statement – A few sentences that state what your practice aims to accomplish; the purpose of your business.
- Vision Statement – A few sentences that state the philosophy of your practice. This should speak to values; the “vision” you have for what you want people to believe about your practice. (Ties into your brand.)
- Patient Promise – A sentence about your philosophy of care and service.
- Employee Promise – A sentence about your dedication to staff, their education and professional growth.
Your Dental Practice’s Brand
At this point, you should be developing your brand, as well. As you think about your mission and vision, you’ll start to create in your mind an image of what you want people to think of when they hear your practice name or see your logo. This thought will include emotions (happy, safe, welcome, natural, beautiful, confident), physical feelings (an ambiance you create, cleanliness, comfort), and ideas (friendship, professionalism, neighborly, highly educated, technically advanced).
Next Week’s Blog
Next Thursday, I’ll write about the dental practice marketing plan. A comprehensive marketing plan can take quite some time to create. It will include numbers and projections, and a lot of other data. We will focus on the target market avatar, competitors, and budget planning.
Need help with dental marketing?
Our primary business at Identiwrite Creative is copywriting for SEO, but we also build and manage websites and offer dental marketing consulting. If you need assistance with your vision or mission statements, or marketing your practice, call or text me, Shauna Duty, at 94-395-5115, or email [email protected].