The current economic recession is arguably more traumatic than anything we’ve seen since the Great Recession. For dentists, it may be even worse.
During the previous recession, dentists’ incomes took a 7 percent hit, on average, according to figures released by the ADA. This year, many dental practices had essentially zero revenue for some two to three months. While some of that loss may have been offset by government loan programs, it seems unlikely that 2020’s figures will approach those of 2019.
During uncertain times like these, the only guide we have is history. The flu pandemic of 1918-1919 experienced three “waves” of infection, the second of which inflicted the greatest number of casualties by far.
What distinguishes the progression of that pandemic from what we’re going through now is that, in 1918, the United States initially brought the number of new infections to a very low level. That’s not something we’ve managed to accomplish this time.
However, just as in the early 20th century, we’re seeing what happens when people decide that the worst is over and relax their precautions. And this time, we’re already starting at a high level of daily infections.
This isn’t intended to be alarmist. But it is a call to take action now to safeguard your practice.
When A Wave Breaks, Don’t Be Under It
There are three distinct but overlapping areas where dentist-owners can focus their efforts to protect against future losses: the practice itself, the people, and the patients.
The vast majority of dentists spend most of their time working in the practice rather than on the practice. That’s understandable; there’s money to be made and bills to be paid. But that’s not the optimal approach to achieving your success goals.
Dentists who spend more time optimizing their practice’s processes and procedures position themselves to achieve levels of success far beyond what most dentists achieve. You’ve only got so many resources to bring to bear. It’s common sense to make those resources perform at the highest possible level.
There’s an overlap between your practice’s processes and procedures and your people. The highest-functioning practices have at least one A-player on the team. A-players help your other team members become better and function at their highest level. That’s the “formula” for a happy and productive dental practice, not to mention patients.
Finally, ask yourself: what kinds of patients are in my chairs? If you’re getting mostly routine cleanings, exams, and minor restorations, you’re missing out. Dentists who attract more fee for service cases – and yes, you have those people in your market – work less while earning more. It takes very few “better” patients to equal the revenue from a much larger number of routine cases.
If you are, or are going to be, restricted in the number of patients you can have in the practice at one time, you need to maximize the value of each to your practice.
Dentists who focus now on optimizing their practice, their people, and their patients are the ones who will rise above the next “wave”... because they’ll have more cash on hand to ride it out.
SmartBox employs the best minds in dentistry to help you grow your practice. Our Practice Growth System™ is proven to help dentists in every market area across the country achieve predictable year-over-year growth.