We believe that most practice owners are interested in making a success of the practice by providing the best service possible to patients and having a profitable business in order to continue servicing those patients well.
It is interesting to note that making several small changes in certain areas has a massive effect on the success of the practice.
From a business perspective, it is the focus on the financial statements, specifically the profit and loss statement where you can identify the areas that need improvement. It is also about understanding the ‘how’ behind the figures, like where does the income come from, analysis is key. Let’s look at the areas where making those small changes could have a major impact.
Needs and wants
For example, if you are looking to increase the number of patients, you can do two things. Firstly, increase the number of prospect patients through your marketing and secondly, increase your success rate at bringing them into your practice. With regards to increasing turnover, it is about ethically ensuring your patients receive all of the treatment that they both need and want. Finally, when it comes to increasing profitability, it is about increasing the difference between your income and costs.
Now this may seem obvious but in our experience not enough small and medium-sized businesses focus on their financial accounts. Sure, they have an accountant but how many business owners just sign the end of year figures and file them? Also there is one thing that surprises many people, perhaps which includes dental practice owners, is that by simply achieving a 10% increase in each of the areas mentioned above (with maybe reducing costs by only 5%) your gross profit would increase by 77.4%.
So by breaking it down and really focusing on making small improvements in each area, the impact on gross profit is very big.
We have to remember of course, a dental practice is not a supermarket, so everyone involved in the practice has to be aware of the ethical approach to the business side while prioritising great service to its patients. However, there could be treatments that patients would love to benefit from but simply don’t know about them.
Additionally, what cost-saving measures are there that have not been implemented?
How to make an impact
• Analysis is the key
• Look at marketing strategies
• Focus on your finance
• Concentrate on making small improvements in all areas
• Give exceptional service to your patients
• Ask team members for ideas.
Working with a business coach or consultant would help practice owners identify what changes to make. Ideas to generate them are not as elusive as you might think. You will already have a good feel for what works now and what has worked well in the past, so simply recording and analysing those is a good start.
You could continue by asking each team member to come up with their ideas in a team meeting for instance. You may be surprised how many quality ideas can be generated and developed around the table. Also, by asking them, they will feel more engaged with the success of the practice and more motivated because ‘wow, they’re asking me for my ideas!’
Even if you only implement a handful of new ideas it will have a bigger impact when you add them all together and then see for yourself the effect on the gross profit line while maintaining and improving service for patients.
Small changes = big impact!
NMS Associates is a team of business coaches and consultants operating with small- and medium-sized enterprises across the UK.
• David Steel, business coach and consultant (Northern region)
Mobile: 07855 967 869
Telephone: 01670 503 804
• Eamonn O’Connor, business coach and consultant (Midlands and central region)
Mobile: 07595 602 900
Telephone: 0845 305 8200
• Martin Adams, business coach and consultant (London, southern region)
Mobile: 07957 137020
Telephone: 01442 383653