Congratulations! You’ve decided to open a dental practice. Here comes your first patient…
If only it were that easy, right? Just as you didn’t expect to be handed your degree at freshmen orientation, you can’t expect customers to line up at your door without putting forth significant effort.
A business plan is essential for a successful dental practice, though many dentists do not take time to create one. Your business plan will be the GPS for your future. It states exactly where you are now and where your destination is. Turn by turn, your business plan details exactly how to achieve the goals you have set, and it estimates how soon you’ll get there. When you don’t have a detailed plan to adhere to, you’re going to get lost.
Generally, there is no right way to develop a business plan, however, resources like SBA.gov, offer tools to help construct an effective business plan. Think of a business plan as a way to organize and prioritize your business procedures and objectives. Here are just a few things to consider when preparing to compose a successful business plan.
Define Who You Are
First, build a clear vision of what you want your practice to represent. Composing a mission statement that defines your focus as a professional, will set the tone for the remainder of the plan. Outline the types of services and products you will offer to your patients. Since dentistry is service driven, specifically define your services and how you will implement them in your practice.
While you should look at what you can offer patients, also recognize your weaknesses. Doing so, will reveal opportunities for growth. Performing a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis is an excellent way to recognize where you can set goals and objectives for your practice and your own professional development.
Part of knowing who you are is knowing with whom you conduct business. Research the demographics of people within 12-20 miles of your proposed office location. Also, do an Internet search to determine the services that other dentists offer in the area. Catering to children when the population is primarily senior citizens may prove detrimental. Will you fill a genuine need for the people of the community (and nearby communities)? More than one dentist can succeed in a particular area. However, you need to make sure your practice isn’t a carbon copy of a well-established colleague who offices just down the street. What will you offer to draw in new patients?
Know Your Bottom Line
To ensure that all of your financial ducks are in a row, you will need to make some important decisions regarding overhead and profit margins. Location, staff, equipment, and professional licensing are just a few expenditures you’ll need to consider. Factor in historical financial data to make projections. The prospective financial portion of your business plan is a key element, especially if you plan to involve lenders.
As the saying goes, “You need to spend money, to make money” – so don’t forget marketing. Opening a dental practice requires much more than hanging your shingle outside. Successful marketing is essential. A patient needs to be able to find you in the sea of other dentists. Download our free Dental Practice Marketing Checklist to establish an effective marketing plan that will help get you noticed. If you need help, call Identiwrite Creative for a complimentary consultation. We can help you put together a marketing plan aimed for success.
How to Grow
Your business plan not only tells the story of where you are today, but where you will be tomorrow. Set your sights on the future and explain how you are going to get there. Do you plan to expand in-house services, or open additional locations? Timeline the steps needed to get to the next phase. Objectives that are clear and detailed will keep your practice headed in the right direction. Staying focused and goal oriented can eliminate numerous pitfalls down the road.
Because a business plan is a strategy, you can outline a plan for your business at any time. Whether you currently have your own dental practice, or will soon start out on your own, a business plan is imperative. Identiwrite Creative specializes in Internet and content marketing for dentists and would love to partner with you to see your business plan succeed. From copywriting to establishing a strong web presence, Identiwrite Creative can help take you from concept to reality.