Creating a Dental Practice Brand

It’s no secret: the world we live in is highly competitive, and the people in it are extremely visually aware. It’s therefore critical to develop a strong and consistent brand for your dental practice. But just how do you do that? And what constitutes a strong dental practice brand in the first place?

To begin, your brand is the sum of all the experiences a patient has when interacting with your dental practice. From the way you answer the phone, to your location, to the décor, and the level of dental care received (plus many more factors), all contribute to your brand.

What is Your Differentiating Factor?

Potential patients may be faced with many different options when choosing a dental practitioner. What makes your dental practice extra special, and why should that patient select you?

Do some market research. How are competitor practices branding themselves? Do you see any patterns in terms of graphics, colors, or slogans? What can you introduce to your brand that will set you apart?

Dig deeper into your target audience. Consider the factors that motivate their behavior, including their likes and dislikes. Build the brand that will appeal to your audience.

Where Can You Add Value?

Have you ever heard of perceived value? Perceived value is achieved when a brand has a strong presence or brand awareness. Because of this heightened awareness, people are willing to pay more for a product or service. This is why people are more willing to buy a brand name product over a similar, less expensive store brand even if the products look the same and are composed of similar ingredients.

Consider where you can add value to your patient experiences, and how you can customize the experience for each individual.

Don’t Forget Your Internal Branding

While patients engage with and experience your dental practice brand, so too do your staff. The team that patients engage with also needs to adhere with your brand vision, and become brand ambassadors when dealing with your patients.

Take The Answers and Get Visual

Now that you have thought about your dental practice and how you want it to operate, you can start to consider how you can enhance that visually, through the development of a logo. Which colors will support your brand vision? Will you introduce a graphic or a font-based logo?

If your plan is to build an enduring brand, it is worthwhile investing in a high quality logo; particularly if you want it to last for the next 20 or 30 years. Once you decide on the logo, be sure to have a style guide compiled, so you can lay down the rules for engaging with your brand graphically/visually.

Effective Brand Placement

For your brand to be truly effective, it should be highly visible where your desired target audience is likely to see it. Consider different channels: print media, digital, social, and broadcast, but also remember that in order for your marketing and advertising to be effective, it needs to be consistent and you need to retain a presence across those channels.

NAPB specializes in bringing dental practice buyers and sellers together. If you need assistance to create more perceived value or with a branding strategy to see you through a transition.

NAPB | National Association of Practice BrokersDENTAL PRACTICE BROKERS

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


A Child’s First Visit to The Dentist: Making Them Comfortable

Some dentists find children easier to treat than adults, but for those who do not, there are some techniques that can be applied to ensure that every child’s visit is successful. Of course, a healthy relationship with a dentist can influence a child’s perception of oral care, and his or her likelihood to return to the dentist for regular check-ups. We’ve chatted with a few dental specialists to learn their tricks of the trade and share them with you…

Mind Your Language

When dealing with kids it is important to use language that is positive and age-appropriate.  Examples of terminology that have negative connotations and should be avoided include “drill” and “shot.”

It is also important to speak respectfully and to explain each procedure thoroughly. When you speak truthfully to children, they learn to trust you as a practitioner. Also, when you explain everything fully, it is less likely that the child will be surprised or anxious.

Ask for the child’s cooperation and help during the appointment. Explain what you would like the child to do as you work, and explain that this is an important role so you can help him or her effectively.

Give The Child Your Full Attention

Children like one-on-one attention, and they like to feel important. By being fully present and focused during the procedure, you build a foundation for respect. It doesn’t hurt to have a joke or two up your sleeve to break the ice and help the child feel at ease.

Limit The Appointment Time

Remember that most children do not enjoy sitting still in a chair for long periods of time. Be mindful of the clock, especially when children have not been sedated.

Use Sedation

Everyone has a different threshold for pain tolerance and it can be difficult to anticipate which procedures will be found painful or uncomfortable. Anesthetics can reduce pain and may influence the child’s visit in a positive light.

Keep It Positive

Let the child know that everything is going well, or as planned, while you work. Give the child some praise for following instructions and being cooperative. Give detailed feedback, and explain how sitting still can ensure you work faster, or how keeping their mouth open allows you to get right to the back of the mouth.

Know What to Say to The Parents

Successful dental treatment for children is a collaborative effort that requires the child, dental practitioner, and parents to work together as a team. Develop a comfortable rapport with the parents, whereby you can explain your treatment philosophies and listen to the concerns of the parents.

Draw the parents’ attention to the negatively loaded words you have avoided during your appointment, and ask them to do the same. After the first appointment, you can step in and mentally prepare the child for the next visit, telling him or her how helpful he or she was, and how much you’re looking forward to next time.

NAPB | National Association of Practice BrokersDENTAL PRACTICE BROKERS

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


Avoid These 5 Major Mistakes When Buying a Dental Practice

Purchasing a dental practice requires careful thought and consideration. Once you’ve acquired the funds to make the purchase, there are some critical questions to ask yourself before you sign on the dotted line.

  • Is the practice the right one for you?
  • How are you going to manage the practice after purchase?
  • Which operational aspects should you be more invested in?
  • What financial figures and patient numbers should you work toward?
  • What are the most efficient systems you can implement to market and manage your practice?
  • What will you do to improve your practice’s profitability?

Answering these questions thoroughly can help you avoid some of the most common mistakes that other practice owners have made when purchasing a dental practice.

  1. Don’t Ignore Earnings Normalization

When you are in negotiations to buy a dental practice, you will be provided with the current owner’s records to give you an idea of the financial health of the practice. Don’t take the financials at face value. Review all operational expenses with your CPA.

  1. Misinterpreting The Seller’s Utilization

Remember that all dentists work differently, and there may be a major difference between the seller’s ability or areas of expertise when compared to the purchaser.

All staff hours should be considered for how efficiently they are filled, and the role of the doctor should be to spend the minimal amount of time with each patient required for each treatment or procedure. This helps the practice move efficiently, which means your patients don’t spend as much time in the waiting room.

  1. Forgetting to Generate Revenue

It may sound obvious, but there are many dentists who do not have a plan to increase their revenue. There are many creative options for increasing revenue, and they should be a focal point of your strategy from day one. Online advertising, direct marketing, and patient retention marketing need to be adopted as early as possible.

  1. Not Performing Due Diligence on Patient Files

Your average patient file should range between $400 to $525 per annum, but of course, you will have patients with larger and smaller fees. In the event that your patients do not fit into this range, their files should be reviewed. If their fees are lower, consider working on your own sales skills.

  1. Not Optimizing Your Working Capital

Buying for the right price leaves you with more free capital to get your new practice off the ground. You may have access to a lump sum right now, but if you buy for that price, how much running capital does that leave? Work on your deal closing ability, or partner with an experienced broker that can help you optimize your working capital.

NAPB | National Association of Practice BrokersDENTAL PRACTICE BROKERS

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


Create an Effective Online Presence in 3 Easy Steps

Everyone needs a dentist, and most people want the best, most affordable dental care available. But how do patients choose who to go to, or which practitioner is the best in their area? They’re influenced by the people around them: the reviews they read, the referrals they get, and the advertising they see. Fortunately, there are a number of avenues that dentists can use to heighten their brand awareness and develop their professional profiles. Let’s take a look at the most effective options for reaching today’s tech-savvy patients.

#1 Utilize Online Resources for Advertising

Search engines love specialized, unique content, and patients love knowledgeable professionals. When combined, these elements create the perfect environment for online blogging and article writing. These days, patients may want second, third, and fourth opinions. They want to find out more about their diagnoses before committing to a line of treatment. Today’s patients can browse through hundreds of websites for dental professionals from the palms of their hands.

Write for your own website and publish your articles on LinkedIn Pulse. Share your articles on your social media channels. Consider circulating your most reader-centric articles to a local magazine or newspaper.

#2 Encourage Patient Reviews

Much like movies and books, a good or bad review can make or break the actor or author, and the same can be said for dental professionals. Creating an online profile in local directories (like Google Places), encouraging your patients to leave reviews, and then promoting the positive reviews, is an easy way to quickly grow a reputation. Encourage patients to review your services and get your name out there.

It takes the average consumer at least three interactions with a brand before they’ll commit to taking action.

A presence in online directories gives patients more opportunities and online “places” to find you, plus your website will get the SEO benefit of being linked to larger sites with more traffic. Often, the directories will do their own online advertising, so you get to piggy-back at a fraction of the cost.

#3 Seek Referrals Through Professional Networking

LinkedIn is one of the most trafficked career and professional services networking website on the internet. Create a profile, upgrade your account, and get access to a growing list of medical professionals within a 25-mile radius of your practice. Compile a list of medical doctors, hospitalists, and oral surgeons who you can contact. Call them and let them know about the services you offer, and that you are more than happy to be added to their list of referral specialists. If they have a patient in need of your services, they can refer them to your practice.

Using LinkedIn to find local dentists who specialize in different procedures and treatments is a good way to start a small network of dental professionals who can refer patients to you for treatment, and vice versa.

NAPB | National Association of Practice BrokersDENTAL PRACTICE BROKERS

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


Effective Networking for Dentists

Networking is an important part of building your business, whether you are just starting out or are looking at selling your dental practice.

Here are some simple steps on how and where to effectively network for your dental practice:

  1. Apply to local chapters of professional organizations. If you’re able to join the organization in a leadership role this is even better. It will help to establish you as an authority in your field and as a respected leader in the community.
  2. Join your local community networking groups, such as the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Kiwanis, and other service and community-based groups.
  3. Don’t discount business networking groups, such as Business Networking International (BNI). These groups are designed to provide referrals for their members as a requirement for participation. Additionally, many of these groups only allow one person per industry so you would be the only dental provider in your group with a full team of people working to provide you with referrals on a weekly basis.
  4. Always have your business cards on hand to share with new people you meet, even if you’re just going out to a dinner with friends. You never know who you may meet.
  5. Approach every new contact with a positive attitude. People quickly learn if you’re only interested in promoting yourself and will likely not engage if they feel you are only there to do self-promotion.
  6. Get involved in community events. If there are opportunities to set up booths or tables at community health fairs or festivals, take advantage of these opportunities. It will get your name out in the community and establish a sense of goodwill.
  7. Don’t discount social media networking. Sites like LinkedIn are great resources for professionals to network and could lead you to a prospective buyer if you’re going to be selling your dental practice in the near future. If you’re just starting out, it can help you network with other dental professionals around the country and learn from their experiences and possibly receive referrals from them. It can also provide you with opportunities to participate in exclusive events for your profession.

With these tips, you can effectively network and build your professional contact list as well as your customer referral base.

NAPB | National Association of Practice BrokersDENTAL PRACTICE BROKERS

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


How to Stop Conflict within a Dental Practice

In a perfect dental practice, there would never be any conflict. This means there would be no arguments, no bickering, and jobs would get done without tension and without friction.

Unfortunately, it’s not possible for your team to see eye to eye all the time.

It’s important, however, for you as a practice manager, to ensure that any arguments that do come up don’t get out of hand.

Remember that the number one thing to consider is that conflict doesn’t get in the way of your patient care, because if the quality of your practice starts to slip, your profits will go along with it.

Whether you are looking to sell, or to hold on to your business for a while, a dental team with less conflict will mean a more enjoyable work environment and a more profitable business.

Here are three ways to stop and prevent conflict in your dental practice

  1. Ensure that everyone has a voice.

To keep conflict to a minimum, make sure there is a platform for everyone to express his or her opinion. It’s almost always going to be the case that the louder members of your staff are more vocal than the quieter ones, but you can prevent any tensions from brewing by offering a platform for more introverted individuals to be heard.

This may be best addressed in a weekly meeting, or just by personally asking them what they think of specific things within the practice.

  1. Focus attention on common goals.

If your staff has a common goal that they are working towards, they’re far less likely to argue. In fact, in a best-case scenario, you can get them to band together and form bonds as a team.

Try setting objectives and timelines for your team to adhere to, with creative incentives that motivate them to work together.

  1. Be a leader.

Leading means a few things. First, you need to be prepared to step up and deal with the conflict head on when it arises. This means being objective and willing to put the good of the business in front of any personal connections you may have with staff.

It also means taking definitive actions without hesitation and being willing to deal with any backlash from employees.

Finally, being a leader means knowing when to cut your losses, so if someone is not good for the longevity of the practice as a whole, you’ll have to cut them.

Office conflict may seem normal, but it can have a devastating impact on the quality of your business operations and the value of your practice. Try implementing these tips today and see the positive impact that they can have on the nature of your practice.

NAPB | National Association of Practice BrokersDENTAL PRACTICE BROKERS

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


The Value of Maintaining a Blog for Your Dental Practice

While social media is a must-have marketing tool for your dental practice, having a blog on your website is almost as important as having a Facebook page. Whether you’re just starting to grow your practice or you’re preparing to sell a dental practice, don’t overlook the important role that a blog can play in your business success.

A blog is an effective way to build relationships with patients and prospective patients, as well as share valuable information and establish yourself as an authority in your field.

Here are a few tips to make blogging for your dental practice successful:

  1. Post consistently. You should post a minimum of once a week on your blog. Not only does this help to build relationships with your readers, but it also helps your website search engine rankings. Search engines are always looking for fresh new content and consistently rank websites higher if they provide original content on a regular basis.
  1. Post original content as often as possible. Blog posts don’t have to be elaborate or too time-consuming. You will, however, get the best return for your time invested if you are providing original content.
  1. Share valuable information written for your target audience. Be sure to share the clinical aspects of dentistry as well as new and innovative news, however, do it in a conversational tone that’s easy for the reader to understand. Remember, your audience is composed of patients and prospective patients. Speak in terms that they will understand.

Great content is considered anything that informs and actively engages the reader. That engagement can be in the form of comments or shares on social media. If you’re at a loss for the subject matter of your posts here are a few examples of great post titles for dental practice blogs:

  • Why does my cold give me a toothache?
  • Are there alternatives to a root canal?
  • What to look for in a good mouthwash
  • Dentistry of the future: Silver diamine flouride
  • How many times a day do you really need to brush your teeth?

Adding a blog to your website can offer a great return on your investment and provide you with a way to bring new patients and interested buyers into your practice.

NAPB | National Association of Practice BrokersDENTAL PRACTICE BROKERS

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


Dental practice valuation NAPB 4 Tips to Ensure Your Dental Practice Runs Smoothly credit Naomi Pncher Flickr

4 Tips to Ensure Your Dental Practice Runs Smoothly

When your dental practice is running smoothly, your job will tend to be a lot more enjoyable.

You’ll be able to provide your patients the best possible service, you’ll approach the work with more energy, and you will be able to stay a lot more focused.

Unfortunately, when the management side of things isn’t going so well, the opposite tends to occur. The quality of your work tends to slip, you’re not going to be as profitable and it’s a lot more likely that you will experience stress.

A practice that is effective is profitable both in the short term and in the long term if you are looking to sell.

What follows are four simple ways you can make sure that the operations of your business are running smoothly and successfully.

  1. Hire a professional to manage your cash flow and billing

While we understand that if you own a practice you may want complete control over your finances, it is usually a lot more effective if you hire an accountant. This not only means managing your cash flow and automating your billing solutions but knowing when it’s possible and worthwhile to offer financial help to clients.

  1. Take your inventory seriously

Inventory management is an essential, yet often overlooked skill for dentists.

Make sure that you have systems in place so that you always have the appropriate products on hand and that you are not spending unnecessary cash on inventory that never gets used.

  1. Automate your marketing

Marketing is vital for every dental practice and can ensure you are bringing in consistent leads. However, without experience – and trial and error – it’s difficult to know where to best focus your attention.

Once you’ve determined a strategy that you know is effective, either by experimenting yourself or bringing in outside help, you should look to automate the process as much as possible, freeing up your time for other work related endeavours.

  1. Maintain organization in your exam rooms

This can be something that you dental assistants help you with, but initially, this requires training on your part.

Consider using mobile units to keep tools for any given procedure within reach.

Running your dental practice smoothly will keep your headaches to a minimum and your profits coming in.

What tips have helped you run a smooth and successful dental practice?

NAPB | National Association of Practice BrokersDENTAL PRACTICE BROKERS

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


Why You Should Sell Your Dental Practice?

As you probably already know… timing is crucial when selling your practice. But, how do you know when it’s the right time? Let’s take a look at the reasons why selling your practice is a good idea to make sure you’re totally on board.

You No Longer Want to Practice Dentistry

After years of commitment to the profession, some dentists find their interests are distracted by other avenues. If dentistry is no longer your passion and you do not have the desire to help people anymore, your efforts may be better directed to other pursuits. When you realize your heart is no longer in your work, it may be time to sell your practice.

You Are Ready to Retire

When you reach retirement age and no longer have the steam to take you through long days, it may be time to part with your practice. This should only happen when you have achieved real financial freedom and have a comfortable pension that can take care of your financial needs.

You Are Emotionally Comfortable Leaving the Practice

Selling your practice will certainly affect your daily life. You will no longer be able to chat with six different people every day. You will not have the management and financial pressures that go along with it. The bottom line is that a major change in your routine requires careful planning in order to make your transition as stress-free as possible.

Ask yourself: what will you do once you sell your practice? How will you motivate yourself everyday? What will you do with your free time?

You Have a Physical or Mental Impairment

In the event that you become physically or mentally impaired, selling your practice is a responsible choice that could benefit you and your patients. Some dentists decide it’s the right time when some kind of impairment affects their ability to perform their work to their existing standards.

You Want to Leave the Profession

You may not like your industry and its players. You may feel jaded by dealing with the same kinds of issues over a long period of time. Some dentists become demotivated with their profession, in which case, the responsible choice is to sell their practice and pursue other interests.

NAPB | National Association of Practice BrokersDENTAL PRACTICE BROKERS

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


Social Media for Your Dental Practice

With Facebook alone having more than 1 billion active users, social media as a tool to build your dental practice cannot be ignored. As we discussed back in May: 5 Tips to Make Your Facebook Dental Practice Page Stand Out.

Social media has become an essential part of marketing for any small business, not only for promoting and sharing your business but also for providing the much revered social proof that businesses all strive to get.

Embarking on a social media plan can be an intimidating process. If you’re not already on social media pick one or two platforms to focus on. Facebook and Twitter are good ones to start with.

Here are some simple steps for managing social media for your dental practice:

  1. It’s okay to pick just one social media platform to focus your efforts on. Every business should have a Facebook page, so start with Facebook. If you’re up to managing two platforms the next most logical would be Twitter.
  2. Post consistently. It can be twice a week or it can be daily. Just make sure you set a schedule and you stick to it!
  3. Use images whenever possible. Facebook lets more of your followers see your posts when you use images, as opposed to text only. The best images to use are photos that you take of your practice, staff, patients, or new equipment.
  4. Share useful information. Post information that adds value to the reader. You can share interesting dental industry news, blog posts, educational information, videos, and fun facts or trivia. You can also post pictures of your patients (with their permission, of course.) Pictures of them in the dental chair with a smile on their face or showing off their new, improved smile are all great for social media.
  5. Always respond to messages or posts on your page in a timely manner. It’s a good idea to have someone monitoring your social media page and checking in a few times a day to be sure there are no outstanding messages waiting for you.

Using social media as a tool for building your dental practice will help you establish important relationships with clients and potential clients, as well as establish your practice as a valuable part of your community.

Here are some more tips to improve your social media platforms: 6 Simple Social Media Tips for Your Dental Practice.

NAPB | National Association of Practice BrokersDENTAL PRACTICE BROKERS

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