2016 is here and full of opportunities for improving your dental practice! Start the year off right by reviewing your practice management and making sure this is the best year yet for your practice. This article will give you some practice management tips that are easy to implement.
Tip #1: Review Your Budget
You’ve heard it here before: knowledge is power. Small business owners know that this is especially true for their management strategies. Find out what you spent last year, where your budget worked and where it didn’t. What were the biggest drains on your budget in 2015, and where did your estimated costs fail to match up with reality? Armed with this knowledge, you can adjust your 2016 plans and goals according to the information that’s already available to you in your own dental office records. Don’t just plow into 2016 with 2015’s budget plan—evolve!
Tip #2: Trim Your Expenses
Once you’ve examined your dental practice budget, think about where your overhead could be decreased. Do you order supplies that go unused? Are there suppliers with better pricing or service that you could try? When was the last time you called your internet service provider or phone provider to see if they have any better deals available? What about insurance policies and rent or mortgage rates? You should analyze your operational costs regularly—reducing overhead is crucial for all businesses, but is especially important for the health of small businesses, including dental practices!
Tip #3: Improve Staff Training
Your staff is the first contact with patients and the key to getting new patients on the books. Don’t assume everyone is on the same page, even if no one is asking questions or complaining. Make sure all staff members understand policies, procedures, and the culture of your practice. Does everyone greet patients by name? Do they ask the patient if they are satisfied at the end of treatment? Review phone and email etiquette with staff to ensure they are representing your practice in the best way possible. Make sure all staff members know how to use automated systems for tasks like sending SMS appointment reminders and birthday greetings to patients. And if it’s been awhile, consider updating employee manuals to convey new policies, your mission statement, and goals more effectively.
Tip #4: Boost Your Marketing
Early in the New Year is a perfect time to review your dental practice marketing strategy. Does your website need a tweak to look better on mobile devices? Is all of your information online current? Have you checked to see what patients are saying about you on Yelp and Twitter? Try offering patients an incentive, like 50% off tooth whitening, if they mention your practice on Twitter and Facebook or write a review on Yelp. Using analytics to determine the weak spots in your digital marketing and planning to try new approaches can go a long way to increasing your reach and finding new patients for your practice.
Tip #5: Evaluate Your Staff Structure
Talk to each of your staff members. Are some doing the job of three people, while others don’t seem to have enough to do? Is everyone getting the guidance and support they need to do a great job for your patients? Feeling appreciated and empowered at work leads to better employee performance. So take a little time to evaluate staff and make changes if necessary. It may be time to consider eliminating or creating staff positions or simply reallocating tasks.
Use these tips to review past and present management practices and staff performances, set goals, and make positive changes. Make 2016 the best year yet for your dental practice!