For years, you’ve pictured yourself rocking your own dental practice and handing out smiles like they were (sugar-free) candy. Whether you’re in dental hygienist school or you’ve already graduated, you’re well on your way to that fantasy.
Before you get ahead of yourself, though, there are a lot of steps between here and there. Starting a dental practice is a long, difficult process that requires careful planning. As you continue on your journey, keep these top tips in mind.
1. Start With a Solid Business Plan
Freeze right now. Before you take any other steps toward opening your practice, ask yourself: do you have a strong business plan?
Writing a business plan need to be the first stage of your process. It forces you to work out the trajectory of your business. What will your speciality be and how will your practice grow?
Fortunately, this is the era of the internet. There are plenty of business plan guides to give you step-by-step guidance.
2. Get a Dentist on Board
The first dentist in your practice will play a powerful role in deciding if you sink or swim. They’ll be the person patients come to see, so you need to choose your dentist carefully.
You’re more likely to get investors for your practice as well if you already have a dentist on board, so this should happen early in the process.
3. Choose Investors with a Purpose
You can’t start a dental practice with your passion and dental credentials alone. You need money. When it comes to finding investors, that business plan you now have will be a vital part of your appeal.
As the offers start coming in, though, don’t jump onto the first dollar sign you see.
An investor isn’t just a source of money. They can also help you get the connections you need to make your practice successful, and serve as a mentor on your journey.
Choose investors who have experience with healthcare practices as opposed to retail, technology, or other businesses.
4. Take All the Factors Into Account in Choosing a Location
Location is crucial for any brick-and-mortar business, but different types of businesses need to look for different features.
Sure, you want a location that gets plenty of traffic and visibility. As a healthcare provider, you also want a location that speaks to your professionalism.
For example, a space within a medical complex makes you look more trustworthy than a location in a strip mall next to the local dollar store.
5. Milk the Web for All It’s Worth
You might hope that when the first few patients come in, they’ll love your practice so much that they’ll recommend you to everyone they know and your practice will blossom. That might happen, but don’t put all your eggs in that basket.
The average adult spends almost six hours per day online. Take advantage of that time with a strong online presence and a great digital marketing campaign.
With digital marketing, you can create an image of yourself as not only a knowledgeable dental professional but a compassionate one.
You can also target specific user groups depending on your speciality. A pediatric dental practice could target parents, while a cosmetic practice can target people with high incomes, for example.
Starting a Dental Practice: Step by Step
Make no mistake: starting a dental practice is an accomplishment that won’t happen overnight. It’s very possible, though, if you take your time, plan your strategy, and follow the tips above.
Until then, if you need to complete your dental education or update your knowledge, contact our dental college for help.