Inside Dentistry
January 2017
Volume 13, Issue 1

Key Investments to Jumpstart Your 2017

Start the New Year Strong

Jay Geier

I’ve worked with tens of thousands of doctors over the past 20 years as a practice management coach, and when it comes to avoiding important financial decisions, I’ve heard just about every excuse. However, “I can’t afford it” usually finds its way to the top of that list.

It’s unfortunate, though, because with every “I can’t afford it” comes a missed opportunity to grow the practice. After all, you need to be consistently investing in your practice if you want it to be successful.

If you are one of those doctors who “can’t afford it” more often than you can, the new year is a perfect time to reset your investment mentality. First things first: remove “I can’t afford it” from your vocabulary. A “can’t afford it” mindset is dangerously shortsighted, and can prevent you from making decisions that will ultimately benefit the practice.

Now, let’s replace that excuse with an understanding of the things you can afford—wise business investments. As a private practice owner, it is your job to protect the margin of your business. In order to do that, you need to understand the best ways to leverage the money you spend on it, so that it works for you and not against you.

The primary difference between an expense and an investment is in its return. With an expense there is no return. These are things like chairs, depreciating assets, and high priced and unused equipment. You spend the money and enjoy what you get from it.

An investment creates a favorable return—even if it’s over an extended period of time. Un­like an expense, an investment involves more than just money. In fact, the strongest piece of the investment process is the energy you put behind the money to get the result you need.

In addition to money and energy, the best investments require your time and intention to really be successful long-term.

Here are two key and unexpected areas of your practice you can’t afford not to invest in:

1. New patients

New patients are the lifeblood of your practice and are critical to its long-term success, but unfortunately many doctors don’t appreciate their value the way they should.

Each new patient has a lifetime value of $2,000 (and that’s a really conservative estimate). It doesn’t take a math whiz to know that even a mere five new patients more a month provides the practice with an additional $10,000. Multiply that by one year and you have $120,000. In 5 years, you have $600,000 more than you would have without the new patients. So what do your new patient numbers look like? Are they trending up—making you money—or are they, along with your bottom line, stagnant?

Now is the time to reset your attention on getting more new patients, so you need to know where you currently stand. If you don’t track your new patients (how many, where they came from, etc.), you need to start doing so now.

2. Your team

Your team is your largest available resource and greatest asset in your practice. It is also crucial to your success. The question is, are you leveraging this valuable commodity and making sure you get a great return? You can’t expect excellent results from a team that has never been properly trained. Provide them with the tools to produce excellent results, then raise expectations, set exciting goals, establish accountability, and encourage them to strive for their best. Keep in mind that this is not a one-and-done deal. Quarterly trainings, monthly goals, contests, and appreciation activities are the most effective way to keep your team engaged and at its best throughout the year.

So what are the returns for investing in your team? Some are easily tracked, such as new increased patient and production numbers, while others are not, such as higher levels of engagement, skill sets, and loyalty. When your team is engaged in the success of your practice, they will go above and beyond for you and your patients. This results in tremendous long-term benefits.

Isn’t that why you started your practice? To benefit from investing in the right things that will successfully grow it? When you think about it, these investments are actually decisions you can’t afford not to make.

See where these investments can pay off. Take the 5 star challenge at www.5​star​challenge.com.

About the Author

Jay Geier is a popular speaker, consultant, and the president and founder of the Scheduling Institute. Learn more by visiting www.schedulinginstitute.com.

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