How To Open Your First Dental Practice
Opening your first dental practice is an incredibly fulfilling venture, especially if you are passionate about what you do. Although it is a wonderful opportunity to advance your career and expand your income, this does not mean that it comes without its challenges. As with any business, it requires careful planning and management in order to successfully mitigate and overcome the risks that are always associated with starting something from scratch.
This article is a comprehensive guide on everything you should know before opening your first dental practice, from marketing and financing to legalities and recruitment. With this resource, you will be equipped with the resources you need to begin your journey, achieve your ambitions and open the doors to your own practice.
- Create A Business Plan
- Finding A Location
- Financing Your Dental Practice
- The Legal Components
- Developing A Marketing Strategy
- Hiring Your Team
1. Create a business plan
Fundamental to any enterprise is a detailed business plan. It goes without saying that you want your dental practice to thrive, and an actionable business plan is critical to achieving this. First and foremost, you should write down and describe the goals, missions and values that will underlie your business.
This will provide a valuable reference point that you can refer to when creating the rest of your business plan, as well as a reminder of the inspirations and motivations behind your vision. In your business plan, you should also include specifics such as where your funding will come from, how you will allocate your budget, your projected revenue, your customer base, the services and products you will provide as well as your employment policy.
2. Finding a location
The importance of establishing a dental practice in the right place is often underestimated. Whilst you’re creating your business plan, take your time to research and investigate a variety of office locations. This should give you a good understanding of the average costs within a typical area, and it is always recommended that you visit any potential sites in person so that you can get a feel for the locality. Considering the potential impact of this decision, it is important that you find a location, which serves your business’ needs whilst also being financially viable.
For example, your dental practice should be centrally located and visible, so that you can be assured that the maximum amount of traffic falls your way. Accessibility is another key consideration, and a location that can be easily accessed by foot as well as with a vehicle is ideal. If necessary, it is advised that you wait for the right place to become available, rather than opening your dental practice in a more remote location.
3. Financing your dental practice
Understanding your finances is pivotal, so that you know what your overhead will be. There are several financing options, which are available to start your own dental practice, including private investment, crowdfunding and personal funding. One of the most common ways to fund a dental practice is by securing a business bank loan, and if this is your desired route then it is imperative that you know what you should look for. For example, the interest rates, length of the loan, restrictions, terms and conditions and late payment fees will decide whether a specific bank or loan type is the right choice for you.
When it comes to ongoing expenses, your payroll will probably be your most significant spending, followed by the lease for your premises and the specialist machinery and equipment that you and your staff will require. There is also the question of making arrangements to accept payments in different ways from clients, such as by credit or by cash, as well as the hardware and software that are required to process them.
4. The legal components
Every business has to ensure that their legal affairs are in order, and this is even more crucial for a dental practice due to the nature of the services that are provided. Within your dental practice, you will be offering diagnoses, health advice and conducting various medical procedures such as fillings and tooth extractions. You will also be handling and storing sensitive patient information, bringing an additional layer of complexity to your business’ legal affairs.
One of the first things you should attend to is dental surgery insurance, as it will be a source of considerable peace of mind and protection as your business expands. For a truly comprehensive insurance coverage, you may want to consider life insurance, professional liability malpractice insurance, business loan protection insurance, and protection for your dental equipment and workman’s compensation. Consulting with a lawyer is recommended, not only with regards to insurance but also when it comes to adhering to official health and medical standards and abiding by legislation on patient confidentiality and data privacy.
5. Developing a marketing strategy
With an effective marketing strategy, you can maximise your business’ chances for success. By investing in relevant marketing from the outset, you can ensure that you build a powerful brand image, which will help you to stand out from the crowd and attract clients. Marketing tactics such as an appealing logo, professional website, social media channels, lead management and even newspaper advertisements are all brilliant ways to optimise the exposure and reach of your budding dental practice.
Ultimately, you want to cultivate a brand, which demonstrates your professionalism and expertise, whilst also communicating to your clients your commitment to their well-being and satisfaction. With a recognisable brand, you can establish a loyal customer base via repeat clients and recommendations. It will also help you to scale your venture in the future if you want to, for example if you want to relocate or open another branch for your dental practice, so that your clients know immediately where they should go.
6. Hiring your team
When establishing and running your dental practice, there is no doubt that your most valuable resource are the people who will be working with you. They will represent your business to potential as well as existing clients, ensuring that the levels of service and care that are provided are always of an exceptional standard. Once you have made an employment policy, you have to decide which roles you need to be fulfilled, the details of their employment contracts, salaries and bonuses, as well as the expected working hours and days.
A strong team of dental associates, medical assistants and receptionists will ensure that you uphold and achieve the goals, mission and values that are enshrined in your business plan. You may also want to consider recruiting a lawyer and an accountant, and setting up a human resources department, which will support you and your employees throughout this new journey.