How often do you take stock of your practice during the year? Have you scheduled an hour once a month or a day every quarter into your busy schedule to look at what you have accomplished, where you have fallen short, and where you’d like to go next?
While the New Year typically brings a moment of personal and professional reflection on the year that’s passed and the one to come, the daily demands of running a business can leave little time to take, or even to remember to take, such moments during the course of the year. The fact is, to stay competitive and successful, these moments are vital. They are what help you understand your practice’s place among the competition and in your community.
While the tendency is to focus on the hard numbers—from profits and losses and new patient starts, to even the number of likes your practice’s Facebook page gained in the last month, it’s important to look at the factors (both positive and negative) that are shaping these numbers. The orthodontic industry has seen a lot of change in the last decade. The economic slowdown had a significant impact on business growth. But, as Leon Klempner, DDS, points out in his article on the challenges affecting today’s practices and how to survive and thrive despite them, the economy can no longer be the fallback explanation or excuse for a practice’s success or failure. Everything from the Internet and the increasing number of general dentists offering orthodontic services to the massive graduate school debt carried by new orthodontists is having an impact on the traditional business model.
To really understand how your practice is doing, you need to dig deeper to know what is at play with these numbers. Ask yourself and your staff the following questions: What are we doing to get the numbers we are getting? How successful have our marketing efforts been in bringing new patients through the door? What impression does a patient leave with? How are staff relations affecting patient relations? What impact did that new CBCT really have on the clinical outcomes we’re providing patients?
Taking an in-depth look at your practice needs to happen more often than not during the course of a year. It’s the only way to ensure that you don’t become stagnant, or, at worst, fail. So, make it one of your practice’s New Year’s resolutions for 2015 to take a moment to reflect every now and then. OP