You’ve finally got your dental practice up and running. You’ve got a brand new office, a list of patients, and all the equipment you need. But what about when the time comes and you’re ready to grow your practice?
Review your software. If you are ready to expand your dental practice, you must first be sure the system you have in place will accommodate the growth. If you don’t already have software in place, you will need to review different systems to determine what will suit your needs. The office can become a nightmare if you don’t have the proper software to track appointments, insurance claims, patient records, and payments. The right software should allow you to file insurance claims electronically to save you time and paperwork. Some software also provides prescription writing tools to save time on prescriptions that are written on a regular basis. A good piece of software will allow you to track your business, spot rising demands for treatments, and help you grow into a profitable practice all at the same time.
One such software is DentiMax. (See References.) DentiMax is inexpensive in comparison to other software and offers a money back guarantee. It also provides interactive training CDs to help guide you through the process or online training, and in some cases will send a local representative to train your staff if the CD isn’t enough. In addition, you will receive 30 days worth of technical support to help get you started.
Expand your services. One way to grow your practice is by offering new services. Cosmetic dentistry is in high demand, so if your practice doesn’t already offer teeth whitening services, it probably should. Invisalign, which are clear invisible braces, are another big seller that you might look into offering. (See References.)
Research what services are in demand and see whether it’s profitable for your dental practice to offer them. Subscribing to Proofs Magazine would be one way to go about this. (See Resources.) Proofs Magazine keeps dentists up to date on current trends, with a free subscription.
You can also sign up with a market research company where you will be able to view market reports on the dental industry. This will help you determine which services are popular and which ones aren’t. One such company is iData Research. (See Resources.) If you are unsure of what services you should expand, you can discuss it with a dental consultant, who can help you determine what services to offer in your area and how much to charge for them.
Attract new patients. Internal marketing and word-of-mouth advertising are the best two ways to attract new patients. They are also the cheapest methods of advertising. Word-of-mouth is spread mostly by people who come to you for teeth whitening services and are pleased with your work. So if you aren’t already offering this service, check into it. Patients who are pleased with their dentist always recommend them to their friends and family because it seems like people are always looking for a good dentist. Even if they already have a regular dentist, they might not be satisfied with their work or their prices.
Plan a marketing campaign. Advertising must be consistent and memorable so unless you are planning to stick with it, you might as well not waste your money. However if you do plan to be consistent, then TV and newspaper ads can be profitable. A large number of dentists have had success using the referral service, 1-800-DENTIST. (See Resources.) A successful marketing campaign is vital to any dental practice to continue attracting new customers and hold on to current customers. If you don’t already have a catchy phrase or brilliant logo for your practice, now would be the time to create one. For more advice on marketing, visit Dentistry.com and read their suggestions for external marketing. (See Resources.)
Network with other dental practitioners. For example, if your patient needed work done by a dental surgeon, you could refer him to a dental surgeon you know. In return, the dental surgeon will send patients to you for treatments that don’t require a surgeon. You can also network with other dental offices to catch some of their overflow work. When you have too many patients to handle, you can refer them to the dental office you have networked with. You see, it’s a business of give and take. When you have the opportunity to give patients, other practitioners will appreciate it and will allow you to take patients that they don’t need.