By: Sabri Blumbergh—
a) Pick the right location
Ultimately, you want the maximum number of high-quality new patients for the minimum marketing budget required.
Following these tips can help – although in many cases you won’t be able to get lucky with every single one of them, so there can be some flexibility if necessary:
- Don’t open up in an oversaturated area (i.e. 10 dentists on the same block).
- Visibility is important. Putting it in an office building where there is no foot traffic, passersby can’t see it, etc., makes life more difficult. Ideally, you’d be in a location where it’s clearly visible from a busy road, there is foot traffic, and next door or across the street from a notable landmark that everyone in your neighborhood is aware of (such as a large grocery store, popular restaurant, Home Depot, Starbucks, etc.). Strip mall locations are usually easier than office buildings.
- Ensure you can have prominent signage. Some locations or municipalities have such restriction on signage that even if you’re in a visible location, people still won’t know you’re there because you can’t clearly display your branding and the fact that you’re a dentist. Small lettering on a window or a tiny black-and-white rectangle on a sign with 20 other businesses isn’t good enough.
- Research the demographics. Do your homework here. Look at things like income level, family size, homeowners vs renters, etc.
b) Do your homework ahead of time
Anytime you’re opening a startup, there are a number of things you need to consider before getting your business loan and opening the doors, otherwise your budgets and timelines will be way off.
There’s building costs, equipment, furniture, marketing, personnel, supplies, time-lags as you get onto insurance networks, etc.
These things never go as quickly or easily as we expect, so allow for that and do as much preparation as you can.
c) Get trained to be a great business owner
When you start or acquire a dental office, you are officially a business owner. Yes, you’re a doctor and your engaged in healthcare, but it’s still a business. And I guarantee you that 90% of the stress you’ll experience is related to the business side of things and not the clinical side.
This is the most important thing I’ll cover in this article. You need to know how to organize and manage your practice. This includes personnel, finances, marketing, legal issues, statistical analysis and management, case acceptance, and more. It requires some training, for you and your team. I always hear the same thing from our clients, “I WISH we had just done this training before we opened our first office. Then we never would have had all those problems in the first place!”
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