Tips for Growing Your Dental Practice During a Tough Economy

The last decade has seen industries across the board from retail to hospitality to healthcare all facing tough economic times. Many families have been forced to reduce spending, and unfortunately dental services often become one of those cuts.

When it comes down to it, even in a difficult economy there is still revenue circulating and there will still be people needing to visit the dentist. Though there may not be the same opportunity that exists in a healthy economy, a simple change in marketing may make all the difference.

Find a mentor

This is particularly relevant if you are a younger dentist, but age really isn’t a factor here. What you want to find is someone that has been through financial slumps in their own private practice who can offer you advice on how to best deal with it. Finding a mentor may include becoming part of a club or hiring a business coach.

Any way in which you can gain advice from others who may have practical recommendations for your dental practice or have more general mindset tips from a wider business perspective – all of it can help.

Get into the minds of your patients

When patients start to come through the door at a slower rate, many practices go into panic mode. As the owner of a private practice you need to understand that there is still ample opportunity for you to find new business.

Take a step back and try and get into the minds of your patients. Who are they? Do they have insurance? What demographic are they in? What motivations drive their purchasing decisions (including healthcare) during a recession? What might make them want to invest in going to the dentist?

For example, if you are going to be working in an area where the majority of patients have insurance, you’re going to want to focus on becoming a preferred provider.

Participate in your community

When times get tough people can get into the habit of worrying and as soon as this happens they’ll forget about some of the peripheral aspects of their life – which may include those things your business provides. One way to counteract this while continuing to build valuable relationships is to participate in local community events. Make an effort to help others, make friendships and network with other local businesses. Look for your local Rotary Club as a place to start.

Step up your customer service

When a market is competitive it’s the little things that make the difference. Spending time focusing on how you can improve your customer service may be the reason a prospective customer chooses to go with your practice as opposed to someone else’s in the area.

Though it may be more difficult to sell your practice during a tough economy, if you want to continue to generate revenue through a valuable dental practice, it’s going to be necessary that you put in extra effort. With that said it is not impossible to grow your practice during these times, it just requires focus.

How have you managed to stay profitable during the recession? Is there any advice you would add? Let us know in the comments!


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