As a dentist, you’re focused on your patients’ smiles. But what about your own?
If you want to be truly successful in the dental industry, you need to take care of your business as well as your patients’ teeth. While some dentists prefer to keep their practices running on autopilot, taking the time to create a dental business plan can help you achieve long-term success with minimal work.
You might not have been expecting it, but a business plan is just as crucial for dentists like you as it is for carpenters and other tradespeople. So don’t worry: We’ll walk you through creating one of these documents below.
What is a dental business plan?
Business plans serve several purposes for those starting a new dental practice. They’re often the first line of communication between your practice and potential investors. It is a document that outlines how you will run your practice and achieve success. The dental treatment plan template includes details about your target market, a marketing strategy, operational and financial goals, and projections.
But perhaps most importantly, the process of writing a business plan helps you think through critical questions related to your practice. What are you going to sell? Who is going to buy it? How will they buy it? What are your costs, and how much will you have to charge to make a profit?
So whether you have an existing dental practice or are considering starting one, having a business plan can help ensure that you’re maximizing your chances of success.
Below is an example of a dental treatment plan template outline:
Dental Practice Summary:
This section will describe the practice and its primary services in detail. It should include the practice name, address, location, number of dentists, number of staff members, and an overview of services offered.
The marketing plan should include your target audience, how you will reach that audience, and what products/services you will offer.
This section should describe who the management team is, their roles and responsibilities, their experience and expertise, and what they bring to the table.
Here, you should include your current financial status (including assets), how much money you need to raise (if any), what that money will be used for and how it will be repaid.
Why should I create a dental business plan?
Business plans are important for all businesses, but especially for dentists. Dentistry can be a challenging profession with many other factors to consider beyond patient care. Creating a business plan allows you to streamline your thoughts and ideas into a single document that can be used as a reference throughout the life of the practice.
Having a well-defined business plan will help you stay on track with goals, help you make decisions, answer questions from staff members, and more.
Creating a Dental Business Plan
The American Dental Association (ADA) offers some resources for dentists to craft a business plan. The biggest thing to consider is that the business of dentistry has changed in recent years.
“Dentists today tend to think of themselves as technicians, not business people,” says Dr. Wayne Brueggen, a dentist and marketing consultant. “But you have to be both.”
According to the ADA’s Health Policy Institute, the number of practicing dentists has grown substantially over the past decade or so, which means more competition for patients. That’s why it’s essential to create a dental business plan that sets you apart from other local practices.
Below are five essential items to consider when developing a dental business plan.
Analyze your current practice
Take a deep dive into how your office currently operates and what could be improved — or is already working well for you.
- Identify Your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats
This is the SWOT analysis part of your business plan. A SWOT analysis is an honest look at what you’re good at (strengths), what you’re weak at (weaknesses), how you might take advantage of opportunities, and how outside forces (threats) might affect your practice. This isn’t just about your competition; it’s about everything that might help or hurt your business over time.
Evaluate Your Current Market
Dental practices are still largely run as small businesses, which means you’ll have to do some homework before you open your doors. Who else is doing what you want to do? What do they charge for their services? What are their strengths and weaknesses, and how can you take advantage of those?
Locate local competitors and then visit their offices. Talk to people who live in the area. See if there’s a need for what you want to offer. And don’t forget to look at the bigger picture: What’s happening with dentistry in general? Is the demand for dental care growing, or is it falling off? How do people pay for dental work — insurance, savings accounts, or credit cards?
Determine your goals for the future
What do you hope to gain from this dental business plan? Are you looking for more patients? Do you need a bigger staff? Is it time to expand your space? Use these goals as your foundation as you move forward with planning.
Study Your Target Market
Who is your target customer? Are they older or younger people? Single or married people with families? How will they benefit from your services? Answering these questions can help you determine who your target audience is. Understanding who your target customers are will help determine where and how you market yourself and what services and hours you offer to best serve them.
For example, if you’re promoting excellent oral health for all ages, everyone would be considered a potential customer. However, that’s a broad category hard to market because different demographics have different concerns and needs. So instead of advertising to “everyone,” narrow down the type of people or families you want as customers. For example: “We focus on providing quality care for families with young children.” Or “We are dedicated to helping seniors maintain their smiles.” Finding ways to narrow your focus will make marketing easier and more.
Build a Social Media Presence
Your dental business plan should include some online marketing, too. Setting up social media accounts for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and any others that appeal to your target market can help reach potential customers at little cost to you.
In order to start a dental practice, you need to understand the business side of dentistry. Running a successful dental office depends on many factors, including compliance with regulations, securing a loan, and planning for some big expenses. Naturally, you will want to ensure that you have simplified your starting costs as much as possible by working with a leasing company and purchasing the right equipment. It can be just as important to work with an experienced dentist who understands the specifics of preparing your practice for success.
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