3 Tips to Keep In Mind To Maintain Longevity Throughout A Dental Career

Starting in the field of dentistry it can be a new and exciting challenge.

Sometimes, however, as time goes by, obstacles may arise that sway our capacities and our motivation. As human beings we crave novelty, and doing the same job day in day out for many years can become challenging.

To make sure you maintain a long and profitable practice you will want to keep a few things in mind. These are equally relevant for young dentists who may be passing through the honeymoon phase of their new career and older ones who are looking to reignite their interest.

Here are 3 tips to consider in order to maintain longevity throughout a dental career:

  1. Keep yourself in good physical health.

One problem with healthcare professionals is that they often don’t practice what they preach. For example, I’ve known a large number of dentists and doctors who smoke cigarettes – despite knowing better than anyone the health risks. But this doesn’t mean they are immune to the laws of nature.

The health of a dentist is incredibly important when it comes to career longevity. Being stuck in the same static positions all day for years can do a lot of damage to your neck and back – typically resulting in a poor posture.

It’s important that dentists take up some form of physical exercise, whether it is simply running or swimming, or a practice that improves flexibility and stability such as Yoga or Pilates can help make a difference in their health.

You may also want to consider periodically visiting a chiropractor if you’re experiencing any kind of pain.

  1. Stay interested in the practice of dentistry

Generally, the more you know about a topic; the more it interests you. Unfortunately, as dentists who have worked in the industry for many years will attest, at a certain point everything starts to get a little repetitive. There are only so many filings, root canals and check ups you can do before you start to lose the spark you once had.

Keep on top of industry news, such as updates in technology and legislation, so you’re coming across some of the more fluid and interesting aspects of dentistry.

  1. Find new challenges

When something becomes too easy for us, it is inevitable that we will eventually find it boring. Try to find new ways to challenge yourself whether that is in the procedures or the practice itself.

You can always experiment with marketing and other areas of running your business. If you’re doing well financially but are relatively bored, you may want to hire new staff or try utilizing social media to increase your presence in the community.  This may also help to maximize the value of your practice by bringing in new patients.

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Dental Practice Transitions Selling a Dental Practice
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Transition Dos and Don’ts

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in business, a dental practice transition can be highly stressful and complex if you don’t manage it through a broker. To help demystify the process and ease you into a seamless transition, we’ve selected our top tips to let you know the dos and don’t of a successful practice transition.

Do Separate the Emotional and Financial Aspects of Your Decision

Sure, you may have put a lot of yourself into your practice and you may have mixed emotions over your decision to sell, but you don’t let your emotions dominate your decision-making.

Don’t Forget the Tax Implications

The lump sum that an interested party has offered you may look very attractive at face value, but have you considered tax costs? While you can’t negotiate how much tax you pay, you can structure your sale price more attractively to compensate.

Do Look for Assistance

Dental practice brokers help dental practices make the transition. So why do it alone?

It’s also important to mention that each sale has its own complexities and special needs that you need to consider. Perhaps an outright sale and hand-over is not ideal for your particular circumstance.

Do Have a Plan and Embrace Team Work

Follow a strategic approach, have a checklist and document each step of the process. Seek advice from a broker, your attorney and your accountant so you know you have all of your bases covered. Having the right collaborative team will ease much of the stress involved with a practice transition.

Do Brief Your Team and Ease Your Staff into The Transition

Your staff may be mature, responsible and capable but you can’t assume they will all just slip into their new roles as if nothing has happened. Use your finely honed chair-side manner to prepare your staff for the change, and get their support.

Do Vet Your Transition Expert

Selling your practice is a big deal. Look into the credentials and experience of the transition broker you want to hire. If you don’t know where to start, ask your colleagues for referrals. Compile a list and interview people, just as you would if you were filling a position in your practice.

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Dental Practice Transitions Selling a Dental Practice
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5 Unique Dental Marketing Ideas

Do you ever feel like you are going around in circles with your marketing efforts?

Well you shouldn’t. Marketing for the sake of marketing is simply a waste of time and resources. Having a specific plan in mind and setting tangible goals is important to the running of a sustainable business.

If you’re struggling to gain traction, what you may need are some fresh ideas to experiment with.

Here are 5 unique ideas for your dental practice:

  1. Print and hand out business cards with personalized notes. Handwriting and personalized notes are a great way to go the extra mile and build an authentic relationship with your patients. After someone has come in for a clean, simply hand them a card with a handwritten note on the back that say something personal and friendly. For example: “Thanks for the visit Sarah! Hope Billy’s football game goes well.”
  2. Send an email newsletter with weekly dental tips. An email newsletter is a great way to stay in the minds of your patients. The more value you can offer them, the more likely they are to come to you. Show them your knowledge and keep in touch by sending weekly tips.
  3. Create a referral rewards program. Offering incentives for your patients to refer their friends and family can be very effective. Simple gift cards such as iTunes, Starbucks or even local movie tickets are a great way to do so. You can even take it a step further by creating a mutually beneficial relationship with a local business, such as a health food restaurant. You may want to suggest offering a free entrée for everyone you can refer to them.
  4. Record a mini-documentary. This is a great way to introduce prospective clients to your staff and practice. If they watch the video before coming in, it will feel like they’ve gotten to know you and what you’re about. You can share this on your website, via your email newsletter, and through your social media channels. Make sure to keep in mind relevant keywords when uploading it to YouTube.
  5. Text your patients after treatments. This might not be necessary for basic check-ups but should be done for any larger procedures, it shows an extra level of care that will spread fast via word of mouth.

If you are looking to sell your practice, remember that having an effective marketing strategy in place is a great asset to your business model and could work to your advantage during the valuation process.

Have you had any success with dental marketing? Any tips you think we’ve left out? Let us know in the comments!

NAPB | National Association of Practice BrokersDENTAL PRACTICE BROKERS

Dental Practice Transitions Selling a Dental Practice
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What Dentists Should Look for in a Financial Advisor

As an owner of a dental practice your financial needs are unique. It’s a good idea for any professional in any business to have a financial advisor help them maximize their earnings to keep the money they have earned safe. There are a few things that separate your financial needs from other professionals, so it’s important to work with a financial advisor that knows how dental practice operates, how to value a dental practice, and how to address your unique set of circumstances.

Here are some of the most important things to look for when searching for a financial advisor:

  1. Make sure your financial advisor has worked with other dentists. The more, the better. You want an advisor who has already experienced the financial patterns of a dental practice and knows what dentists need, from the time they begin practicing until they get ready to make a dental practice transition. There are many areas that a general financial advisor has no understanding of when it comes to dental expenses and income.
  2. Find out how your financial advisor gets paid. Do they earn their income through commissions on selling products for a larger company or do they earn based on fees paid by you? The commission earners will be biased toward a specific product and may not give you a full picture of what you can do with your money.
  3. What type of education and licenses does your financial advisor hold? Many companies provide “weekend workshops” allowing almost anyone with any background to become “certified” as a financial advisor. There are only two designations you want to look for – Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Certified Financial Advisor (CFA).
  4. Look for a fiduciary planner. Someone that is licensed as a fiduciary has made a legal commitment to putting their client’s needs above their own. This is not something that just any financial advisor will necessarily have.
  5. Talk to other dentists that you know and respect. Who do they recommend? This may be your best source for locating the ideal financial planner for your dental practice and for your transition of that practice.

Picking the best financial advisor for your specific financial needs is one of the most important steps to peace and security for your future. If you’re considering selling your dental practice it’s a good idea to use the best financial advisor available to you. Likewise, if you’re just starting your dental practice and want to make sure your financial needs are met for the duration of your dental career, use this checklist to determine if the planner you are considering is the best for your situation.

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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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Dental Practice Transitions Selling a Dental Practice
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Unique Business Tips for your Dental Practice

Dentistry can be a tough business.

Many young dentists are entering the industry with tech and marketing experience. In the emerging market, simply having more experience than the next practice won’t necessarily cut it. Business acuity is now vital if you are going to compete with a Generation Y driven demographic. It is also important if you are looking to create a valuable asset and at some point sell your practice.

Here are some unique business tips to keep in mind for your Dental Practice.

Build an inviting waiting room. The waiting room is where most of the stress happens for clients. Remember that creating a relaxing customer experience is important to the patient, and is going to help ensure repeat business. Consider the colors, lighting, and seating arrangements of your waiting room. Make sure the room is well-lit but not too bright, the colors are inviting but subtle and the seats are comfortable and accessible. Also, make sure there is adequate reading material and that sound coming from the dentist office is minimal – you may want to consider playing some music.

Teach your patients with visual aids. Patients want to take care of their teeth and most of them want to know how things work. Don’t hesitate to use visual aids such as models or charts which can be much more memorable than dry explanations.

Identify your patient base. Knowing your segment of the market helps you in two ways. Firstly, it allows you to best target your customers when it comes to marketing and strategy. Secondly, it helps you in a competitive market by allowing you to take on a manageable and profitable niche.

Send cards to clients. Dentistry is a business based on customer services. Most people feel anxious going to a dental office and therefore the dentists who can develop the best relationship with clients and their families (particularly children), are more likely to get repeat business. Strengthen this relationship and build new ones by sending out postcards to clients during holiday times or after check-ups – the more personalized the better.

Hire employees based on chemistry. If you are hiring dental assistants, receptionists or anyone else for that matter, understand that a lot of skills can be trained, what you probably can’t teach however, is chemistry. It is the relationships between your staff and clients that will keep them coming back.

Leverage deal based websites like GroupOn. A lot of practices start by offering free check-ups for first time customers, but if you are already established and don’t have the time to offer free services, you can try and leverage GroupOn or other coupon related sites to promote your service in other ways. Many mobile users now look for deals in their area and if you are nearby they’ll at least be aware of your brand even if they don’t purchase the coupon.

Remember that dentistry isn’t just an art, it’s a business. Make sure you are constantly looking to improve your business skills and knowledge so when you are ready to sell your practice, you have a well-oiled machine that is worth the investment.

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5 Ways to Start Your Day for Success

Preparing to sell a dental practice can be a stressful process, however, there are several things that you can do to start your day that will alleviate a little bit of the stress you may be feeling. These five habits are shared by many successful people and are guaranteed to get your day off to a great start.

Here are five ways to start your day off productively:

  1. Take time to meditate or have quiet time – Even taking 5-10 minutes when you first wake up in the morning to just be still will bring tremendous benefits to both your stress levels and your productivity at work. Don’t check your phone, don’t scroll through social media – just wake up, sit up and if possible move to a different room and soak up the quiet and stillness of the early morning. Set a timer for 5-10 minutes and begin.
  2. Find a form of exercise that you enjoy – It can’t be said enough. Our bodies were not made to be still. By starting your day off with some movement, even something just as simple as a short walk, you have set your day up to be better. Exercise gets your endorphins (feel good hormones) moving through your body and will put you in a better mood the rest of the day.
  3. Write down your thoughts – Take another 10-minute chunk of your morning to write down all that is on your mind. This can be a list of things to do that day, a time to reflect on a personal challenge you’re facing or just free thought writing to clear the cobwebs before you start your day.
  4. Read something – Read a motivational or personal development book. Using another 10-minute block of time, read something that will keep you motivated and encouraged throughout the day.
  5. Eat a good breakfast – It’s true what they say. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eat a healthy breakfast with a good balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat to give you plenty of energy and mental clarity.

If you can do all five of these every morning, you will see amazing results including a reduction in your stress levels. However, even taking just one of the suggestions and doing it daily will have a positive impact on your day. These tips are especially valuable if you’re going through a dental practice transition.

NAPB | National Association of Practice BrokersDENTAL PRACTICE BROKERS

Dental Practice Transitions Selling a Dental Practice
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3 New Breakthroughs in Dental Science to Know About

Dental Science is a constantly evolving. Every year there are dozens of changes and breakthroughs that dentists need to be aware of, though it’s not always easy to find time to keep up with the trends.

Here are 3 recent stories that you should know about:

New toothpaste could replace lost minerals while you sleep

The BioMInF toothpaste is now available online and is set to be in stores by the end of the year. The ingredient involved slowly releases calcium, phosphate and fluoride ions over an 8 to 12 hours period, which allows fluorapatite to form.

This is particularly beneficial in the prevention of tooth decay and the strengthening and protection of tooth structure and could significantly change the nature of commercial toothpastes in the future.

Sports drinks could be a huge cause of tooth erosion in children

A survey has found that a large proportion of children aged 12 to 14 have been found to consume sports drinks socially.

Many claimed to have been attracted to them for price, taste and availability. There is a mistake among many members of the public who associate sports drinks with health as they are targeted at athletes, though their content is not dissimilar to other unhealthy soft drinks and sodas.

“Dental health professionals should be aware of the popularity of sports drinks with children when giving health education or advice or designing health promotion initiatives,” said Maria Morgan, senior lecturer in dental public health at Cardiff University.

Poor oral health may be linked to cognitive decline

Fortunately in recent years we’ve begun to understand the impact of gut microbiomes on brain function and cognitive health.

However, what we don’t yet know is the relationship between oral hygiene and cognition.

New findings from Duke University suggest that there may be a link between regular dental visits, oral hygiene and the slowing of cognitive decline. A look at longitudinal data in studies published between 1993 and 2013 found that in some studies there was a link between oral health measures, including number of teeth, number of cavities, and presence of periodontal disease, and an increased risk of cognitive decline or dementia.

It’s important to note that the evidence is not yet definitive enough to conclude causation in either direction.

Whether you are looking to stay in the industry for years to come, or if you’re interested in selling your practice, it can be beneficial to stay on top of the latest trends.

Keeping up to date can allow you to provide your client relevant tips and advice.

A dental office that has a reputation as modern and knowledgeable will be a more prosperous and valuable practice than one that rests on its laurels.

NAPB | National Association of Practice BrokersDENTAL PRACTICE BROKERS

Dental Practice Transitions Selling a Dental Practice
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Dental Referrals to Build Business

As you consider an upcoming dental practice transition, one important area of your business to be aware of is the number of clients that you have. Your client base can have a direct impact on the value of your practice. There are many ways to boost your client base. One of the easiest and most effective ways is to utilize referrals with your existing patients. Referral-based marketing is a highly effective way to bring in new clients. It’s similar to word-of-mouth marketing, in that you’re relying on your existing satisfied clients to share and bring new business into the practice. The subtle difference with referral based marketing are the incentives that you may provide to clients to send new customers your way.

There are many simple steps you can take to increase referrals through your patients. Here are just a few examples:

Announce that you want referrals: Utilize an email marketing campaign to announce to your patients that you’re always available for and appreciate their referrals. Something as simple as “A referral from my patients is the biggest compliment I can receive” can be printed on appointment cards, invoices, and other mailings. This is a gentle, subtle reminder for your patients to remember you when they’re talking to friends or colleagues that may be looking for a new dentist.

Rewards for referrals: Give your patients something small for sending referrals your way. A $10 gift card to a local coffee shop or bookstore is always appreciated. This won’t break the bank, but you’re still recognizing and rewarding your clients for telling others about you. These little touches will be remembered and will be returned to you in the way of new clients.

Reward even more: Consider doing a big drawing once a month or once a quarter for all patients that refer clients your way. This bigger drawing would be for something with more significant value – say a $50 gift certificate to a local restaurant or a tech device.

Make sure your referral rewards are prominently displayed: Share your referral rewards on your social media accounts, your website, in the practice via a nice sign and in any mailings that you send out. Also, be sure it’s on appointment cards and business cards.

If you’re considering selling a dental practice, make sure you’re utilizing referrals in your marketing strategy to help improve your practice’s overall value.

NAPB | National Association of Practice BrokersDENTAL PRACTICE BROKERS

Dental Practice Transitions Selling a Dental Practice
Dental Practice Valuation Dental Practices For Sale


4 Ways to Increase the Value of Your Dental Practice

When looking to sell your dental practice, as with any business, you want to maximize the value of the sale.

Unfortunately, many dentists are often skilled in dentistry but don’t have much time for the ins and outs of running a small business. So when the time is right to sell the practice, they’re not prepared to get the most out of what they have to offer.

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to increase the value of your dental practice that requires reasonably little time or financial investment, and they can up the value of the sale by thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.

    1. Improve your online presence

Having a strong online presence is essential in today’s business climate. Not doing so immediately gives off the impression that your practice is old and will need to be updated.

Flip this image on its head by having a professional looking website, active social media profiles and even a detailed digital marketing strategy to show. You should also have a number of online reviews as these testimonials are not just for other customers, but they can showcase the efficacy of your practice to buyers.

    1. Hire an interior designer and a photographer

First impressions count and you don’t want your office to look worn down and old.

Hiring an interior designer and having a photographer take some professional photos can mean that the first contact your potential buyers have with your practice – which is often online – leaves a great image in their mind.

    1. Build the best possible team

When someone buys a dental practice it is common that they will keep the current staff. You want to make sure your staff is experienced, professional, provide excellent customer service and run a tight ship.

If someone is buying your practice, they’re effectively buying into a lifestyle and you want to let them know that the lifestyle that your practice can offer them is profitable, enjoyable, and stress-free.

    1. Create a detailed business plan

You’ll want to show the prospective seller that your practice can generate income for them for years and years to come. Hiring a financial adviser to help you create a tight-knit, long-term business strategy will prove the value of your business.

Make sure you cover all of these bases when looking to sell your dental practice. Establish an online presence, hire a professional designer and photographer, build a competent team and have a detailed long-term business plan in place.

When the practice is running like a well-oiled machine, you’ll find more interested buyers as they’ll know they’re purchasing something of value.

NAPB | National Association of Practice BrokersDENTAL PRACTICE BROKERS

Dental Practice Transitions Selling a Dental Practice
Dental Practice Valuation Dental Practices For Sale