What You Need To Know Before Starting Your Very Own Dental Practice
The dental industry is growing. As the demand for dental care increases and the range of treatments and services diversifies, it is an excellent time to think about expanding. In this guide, we’ll outline key steps to take before opening a new dental practice.
What you need to know before starting a dental practice
Launching a dental business requires careful planning. Dentists face unique challenges and it’s essential to be aware of obligations and legal requirements before you invest time and money in a new venture. Here are some key things to know:
- Gauging the level of demand and researching the local market
Aspiring business owners across all industries should conduct thorough research to gauge the level of demand and find out more about the local market. Analyze data and define your targeted clients. Once you know what kind of patients you are looking to attract, get to know them through surveys, interviews, focus groups and analyzing consumer trends. Identify competitors in the area and make sure that there is a demand for the services you plan to offer as well as explore opportunities to differentiate your practice from others.
- Understanding compliance and legal requirements
Running a dental practice is very different from managing other types of businesses. If you operate within the dental sector, you need to be aware of data protection rules and regulations, patient confidentiality and compliance guidelines. It’s helpful to enlist expert help to ensure that your practice is fully compliant. There are substantial penalties for non-compliance.
- Attracting clients
One of the most important points to cover in your business plan is how to attract clients. You can work with a DSO, outsource or manage non-clinical operations such as marketing. Weigh up the pros and cons of all the options open to you, figure out a budget for your marketing campaigns and ensure your strategy is tailored to the target market. Most people now start a search for a new dentist online, and more than 43% will choose the practice with the best user reviews (source). To capitalize on this trend, it’s beneficial to invest in local SEO (search engine optimization) and encourage existing patients to share feedback. Over 85% of smartphone users either visit or contact a business within 24 hours of performing a local search (source).
If you don’t have expertise in marketing and you don’t want to hire employees with marketing experience, it’s wise to consider outsourcing. Working with a marketing agency that specializes in the dental sector can help you to create and convert leads, raise brand awareness, increase online traffic and improve your ROI.
- Choosing the right software and equipment
Dental practices use a wide range of software, equipment and technology today. If you are preparing to launch a new dental practice, it’s critical to analyze and evaluate machinery, equipment and software, compare the pros and cons of different options and research costs. Ensure that your investments align with your key objectives. Buying cutting-edge equipment will increase your expenses initially, but it can help you to boost efficiency, offer a more diverse range of services, optimize customer experience and gain a competitive advantage.
- Building a team
Building a strong, highly-skilled, motivated team is essential for success in the dental sector. Take your time to establish recruitment objectives and find the right people for the jobs you have available. Qualifications, experience and skills are critical in dentistry, but it’s also beneficial to consider personality, work ethic, character traits and the ability to work within a team when interviewing candidates. The ideal candidate should fit in with the ethos and culture of the company.
- Understanding what customers want
The competition for customers is fierce. It’s important for new business owners to understand what clients want from their local dental practice. Use market research to gather information, get to know prospective clients at open days and community events and utilize feedback to make improvements or changes. Encourage customers to leave reviews and share ideas and suggestions and try to understand what motivates them to choose a specific dental office. The most common reasons patients choose a dental practice include (source):
- Positive reviews and personal recommendations: surveys suggest that almost 90% of patients use reviews to choose a dentist (source)
- Dentist expertise and experience
- Overall service quality
- Customer service and support
- Positive relationships with patients
- Innovativeness of the practice
- Convenience (i.e. online scheduling)
Opening a new dental practice requires careful planning, extensive research and a lot of hard work, but it can be incredibly rewarding. Before you start drawing up a business plan, make sure you’re aware of what is involved in launching a dental business. Research the market, define your ideal client, invest in suitable software and equipment and start building a strong team. Ensure that you understand the legalities and the importance of compliance, and create a targeted marketing strategy. Focus on establishing a good reputation and encourage clients to leave reviews and recommend the practice to others to generate more leads and make your practice an attractive proposition for investors, partners and patients.
And of course, implement UptimeHealth’s software…did you think we would leave that out?