A dental practice without systems is costing you more than you know!
Business systems are by far the most overlooked aspect of running a successful business, especially dental practices.
We open a business and get busy doing the day to day which is ok in the beginning while your dental office is developing and growing and you are finding your feet.
But there comes a time when all that information about what you do and how you do it needs to be documented.
The problem is when we hit that point we are so busy doing, doing, doing that we feel we can’t get around to making our systems. And here’s the catch – the reason you are busy doing, doing, doing is because you don’t have systems!
A lack of systems is costing you!
It’s costing you..
- Team members
- And your freedom
A Systemised Dental Office
If I told you there was a way to become more efficient, more productive, increase team engagement and retention, have happy satisfied patients and have more freedom – would you want to know what it is?
And would you be willing to do what is needed to make it happen?
Of course you would… The problem is when it comes to systemising your dental practice is it is a big task and it doesn’t get done and all the while it costing you, its causing you stress and affecting not only your business but your life.
I know making systems seems daunting but the brutal and honest fact is you can’t be successful without them. Yes you might be doing ok, but let me ask you without systems, how much money are you leaving on the table, how much of your time, energy and money is disappearing down the drain?
Making Dental Systems
Where do you start, how do you do it, there have to be 100’s of systems that need documenting in a dental practice. And to be honest it takes hard work, dedication, commitment and action plus a big dose of willingness to get it done knowing that the rewards and the payoff are so worth it.
Let’s start by looking at What Are Business Systems?
Business systems are documented procedures and processes that allow your business to run without you.
This is often referred to as an operations manual and it’s purpose is to capture the shared “know how” of the business.
The poster child for business systems is McDonalds. This is a complex, worldwide, multi-billion dollar business that is essentially run by pimply teenagers who can’t even be trusted to make their beds.
How do they do this?
They manage to run this hugely successful and profitable business because they have amazing business systems. Their operations manual covers everything from hiring to product delivery to customer interaction.
Making Dental Burgers!
Could you imagine trying to make a burger without the recipe? Ok you might end up with something that resembles a burger, but only if you already have an idea and understanding of what a burger is and some experience of making one before.
But if you then said to your team of 5 people for example I want you to make a burger and you put the ingredients in front of them you are going to end up with everyone doing it their own way and in their own time. You will most likely end up with 5 different burgers which is not what you wanted as your end result, or perhaps no burgers at all as your team didn’t know what one is or how to make it.
Now this may sound funny but this is exactly what we do to our team when we say I want you to answer the phone and make appointments or do any other task in our dental office when we a) don’t have systems, b) don’t train our people in our systems and c) don’t hold people accountable to the systems.
Why Systems Are So Important
Are you starting to see why systems are so important? Without them no one knows what to do, what is expected and are just doing their own thing. Result – total chaos which you as the dentist are trying to manage and control.
“Without systems you do not own a business, your business owns you”
Why Business Systems Are Often Overlooked
There are two major reasons why business systems are overlooked by many dental practice owners.
The first reason systems are ignored is because business systems are seen as behind the scenes functions, they are not something that bring in patients or make you a better dentist.
Unlike the latest marketing strategies, case acceptance techniques or other highly visible aspects of your business, good business systems are considered by some as boring.
While building systems may indeed be boring, the incredible power they give you is anything but.
The second major reason that business systems are neglected is because of a perceived lack of urgency. When a dental practice is small or just starting out, there are seemingly much more important things to do like sales, marketing and seeing patients, doing dentistry is your number one focus.
With all of these important things vying for the increasingly scarce time of the you the business owner, business systems seem like something that can be put off until later. However just like that patient ignoring a hole in their tooth over time, it rarely ends well.
Why You Want Systems In Your Business
On a day to day basis systems allow you to have a dental practice that is well managed, your team know exactly what to do, how to do it, and when to do it.
Your systems save you time and money, they create consistency which creates a great experience for your patients and your team. You don’t have to keep reinventing the wheel and being the one trying to control it all.
Ultimately systems create freedom – freedom to focus on your work and how you can grow and improve your dental practice.
On a big picture scale – systems become the business, without systems your dental practice is 100% reliant on you!
It’s a sad situation when a dental practice owner goes to sell their practice and finds out after putting in many years of hard work, that their practice is worthless.
It’s not so much that the dental business itself is worthless, it’s that the dentists ARE the business and without them there is no real business to sell.
Without systems they can’t sell their dental office for any kind of reasonable sum beyond the value of their equipment and stock and maybe a small, nominal amount for “good will”.
Benefits of a Dental Practice Built on Systems
It builds a valuable asset. It’s nice if your dental practice gives you a great cashflow to fund your lifestyle. But wouldn’t it be fabulous if one day when you decided it was time, you could sell your practice and have the biggest pay day of your life?
You can only do this if you build the value of the business and that can only happen if it has systems that allow it to continue running without you.
Leverage and scalability. Systems give your business the ability to expand. You can replicate your business through employing other dentists to do what you do the way you do it or you can look at opening practices in other geographic areas yourself or by franchising or licensing the rights to your dental business system. Many fortunes have been made this way.
Consistency. Consistency is one of the keys to delivering an excellent customer experience. You may not like the food at McDonalds but one thing you can say about them is that wherever you go they deliver a very consistent experience.
People need consistency – your team and your patients and admit it so do you. Consistency creates happy patients who come back time after time and tell their friends about you. Consistency creates job satisfaction and security for your team and clear expectations – this leads to increased team engagement and reduced staff turnover.
Lower labour costs. When you and your staff don’t have to waste time and effort reinventing the wheel each time, this improves your efficiency and reduces your labour costs.
Your Dental Business And You
Let me ask you a question. If you went overseas for six months leaving your business behind, when you came back would it be in better or worse shape than you left it? Would you even have a business left?
If you answered negatively to either of these questions, then it’s likely you don’t have a business – rather you ARE the business.
Many dental offices, especially when they are solo dentists or where all the partners work in the business, make the mistake of not thinking about systems.
After all the practice is small and the dentist performs many of the tasks and oversees (aka micromanages) all roles.
Unfortunately this thought processes dooms many dental practices to failure or staying small and dentists remaining a prisoner in their business.
Dentist often find themselves in a catch 22 situation. They have no time to work on the business because they are too busy working in the business. And they can’t get away from the business because they haven’t developed documented systems and processes.
So they’re stuck in a business that has become a self made prison.
Don’t get me wrong, they may be financially successful. Their business may be thriving with a loyal base of patients but the problem is they are stuck – shackled to their dental chair and controlled by the appointment book.
For so many dentists if they were to leave or get sick for an extended period of time, their practice would cease to exist.
The problem is that all the “know how” of the business is stuck in a silo between their ears.
The only way out is to make time to create and document these business systems.
Thankfully this daunting process is not that difficult when we break it into chunks.
So I encourage you to start systemising your dental practice today. Start with 5 tasks, write them down and get that information out of your head and into your operating manual.