- 2 Minute Read -

Here’s a phrase you probably never thought would be applied to dentistry: “herding cats.”

Dental service organizations (DSOs) and large group practices (LGPs) seldom have difficulty standardizing the administrative and financial aspects of their various practices. However, they can face considerable challenges in trying to ensure consistency of branding, messaging, and new patient attraction efforts. 

Typically, the practices that comprise the DSO or LGP have different histories, cultures, websites, value messages, approaches to practice growth, and areas of emphasis in services. That’s not to say that any practice’s approach is inherently wrong; it’s merely that without coordination and consistency between members of the organization, practices’ revenue and growth will suffer. 

In fact, they may well wind up competing with each other.

Getting everyone in the boat to row in the same direction can be a long-term, and maddening, proposition. But it’s something that must happen if the organization is going to maximize its growth, bolster its earnings before depreciation, interest, taxes, and amortization (EBITDA), and position itself for eventual sale at a premium price. 

With dentistry facing increasing consolidation, much like physicians’ practices, savvy investors and dentists alike will take action now to achieve that end.

Start With The End In Mind: Growth

When it comes to dental practice growth, the “industry standard” is to throw money at marketing to attract new patients. That’s a long-term, and expensive, approach. The results are often disappointing; price-based marketing attracts low-value patients, the insurance-driven, and a high percentage of one and dones. 

High-volume, low value dental practices can grow, but it’s certainly not the best way. High volume means increased stress on staff – including the doctors – and can lead to early burnout. Dentists who see a large number of patients on a daily basis also have an increased risk of musculoskeletal injuries that can be career-limiting. 

Beyond the human cost, the ongoing marketing outlay can be a significant drag on profitability. 

While not a hard and fast rule, dental practices thrive when they maximize value per patient. Raising the average case value is a much better and more sustainable approach to growth than an unending stream of low-value patients.

Since different practices will emphasize different services, attracting the patients each practice wants is an essential aspect of reaching maximum growth potential. That’s what SmartBox helps our dentists achieve every day – getting more and better patients while remaining free to focus on doing dentistry. 

With practices’ new patient funnels filled with better prospects, the organization can turn to maximizing profitability. SmartBox has the solution for that as well.

The Team-Driven Approach To DSO Growth

DSOs and LGPs need a single, proven, and effective approach to practice growth applied across all their practices. However, introducing a model that is disruptive of each practice’s historic approach has the potential to be counterproductive.

The best way to ensure that is to have the practices’ teams do what they do now, but better. That’s the premise of SmartBox’s revolutionary Success Academy – an online, on-demand, video-driven curriculum that focuses on improvements in the 5 A’s

Answer more new patient calls, Appoint more qualified patients, ensure that those new patients Attend their appointments, and get more new patients to Accept case solutions. That results in staggering improvement in the practice’s Average case value and is the single best way to drive growth and profitability. 

Success Academy allows dentists to have all team members clear on – and invested in – the vision and goals for the practice. And since the curriculum and its implementation are data-driven, defining goals and tracking progress is straightforward and objective.

Forward-looking DSOs and LGPs will take action now to get their “cats” all moving in the same direction. SmartBox can help.


Written by Smartbox

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.