This is one of a series of dental practice management articles from Sterling Practice Management. In this article, we discuss why a dentist should hire a dental practice management consultant.
Why should you as a dental practice owner, hire a dental practice management consultant? After all, when you started your practice, you quite rightly felt that because you were well trained in dentistry, all you needed to do was deliver excellent quality dental work and people would come flocking in for service, right? Many of our clients felt that way as dental practice owners when they started their practice. Unfortunately, many of those same dental practice owners soon learned that they also needed to be an astute businessman and a good manager. Having a practice that renders personalized service to an increasing patient base does require organizational and management skills.
Because business and management training is not part of a dentist’s education, you need the help of an expert in these matters. Sure, you can go to business school to learn business management basics and even get a business degree. But that does not guarantee you will gain the exact skills you need to build and run your ideal practice. And most practice owners don’t have the time to invest in a lengthy business education anyway.
Dental Practice Management Expertise
You need someone who already has the expertise, who can come in and use it to guide you over the humps preventing you from achieving that smooth-running practice. In short, you need a dental practice management consultant. You can look at a dental practice management consultant as a kind of coach. Every great sportsman or woman has his or her coach. The coach recommends the best course of training and preparation to ensure the sportsman is always on winning form. It is the coach who is just as responsible for his athlete’s performance as his athlete.
A dental practice management consultant will “coach” you in the correct handling of the business side of the practice. He will be there to help you and keep you moving on your plan for your practice. A practice management consultant has expertise in business, finance, and leadership, amongst other skills. He or she can help you to move your practice in the right direction.
Here are just some of the vital aspects of running a successful practice that a dental practice management consultant can help you with:
Often times, you as the practice manager are so caught up in the day-to-day running of your practice that you can’t take an overall view of the practice and where it is going. You might not be able to see or detect undercurrents going on amongst your employees until something blows up in your face. An outside dental practice management consultant can be that fresh and unbiased viewpoint to pull you out of the daily ups and downs. The management consultant can also help you to spot things you may be missing as well as keep you pointed toward your overall practice goals.
Hiring and Retaining the Right Staff
There is no denying the fact that having a staff team who are motivated and invested in the practice makes for expansion and prosperity. Staff members (including the owner) are the foundation of any practice. But how can you tell who are the right staff applicants to hire for your practice? How do you phrase your “staff wanted” ads so that you will attract the right people for your practice?
What is the best way to manage your staff and build them into a team that will forward your goals for the practice? How should you train your staff to give them the knowledge to do their job without constantly having to ask the practice owner for direction? An experienced dental practice management consultant can help you solve these points. Additionally, he may also help you organize the practice for maximum efficiency and implement incentive programs to increase staff motivation.
Effectively Handling Financial Matters
How do you work out what is a fair but profitable price to charge for your services? What is the best way to keep track of how much each patient has paid and how much they still owe? How do you deal with insurance companies for those patients who have insurance? Is there a good way to collect delinquent payments? How can you tell if the practice is making more than it costs to run? Is it possible to achieve your financial targets? These are business matters pertaining to the practice. A dental practice management consultant can help you to plan out and execute finance and collections systems in your practice.
Guiding the Practice Toward Overall Success and Expansion
You have to be able to tell at any given point how your practice is doing. Are you getting closer to your goals, or further away? Are you working longer hours at the practice? Or are you now able to spend more time with family and lead a more balanced, ideal lifestyle? Knowing how your practice is doing enables you to take action to change a negative trend before it is too late, or reinforce a positive trend. Doing this regularly will help you attain your practice goals. A dental practice management consultant can help you set up systems to track the progress of your practice.
At Sterling Practice Management, we teach our clients the value and use of statistics which enables them to observe and track their practice’s metrics. This along with knowledge of how to use the data obtained gives practice owners the ability to improve conditions in the practice.
Deciding on the Practice You Want
There is one key question you should ask yourself: “Is the practice I am running right now, the practice I want to be running right up until I retire or move on?” If the answer is even a possible “no,” then you need a dental practice management consultant to help you make the needed changes to put your practice on the road to becoming the practice you want it to be.
At Sterling Practice Management, we have been successfully consulting dental practice owners for over 36 years. And we have many clients who have achieved that smooth-running practice and who today lead a balanced lifestyle while remaining very profitable.
Sterling has the training line up and consulting skills to empower practice owners and their staff to build an efficient profitable practice. We have done it numerous times and we know how to do it. Our professionals can do the same for you. Find out for yourself how we do it. Come to our next workshop or take our free online practice analysis and consultation. You can also attend our next free dental practice management webinar.