Expanding your dental practice may be the next logical step in your business plan. Perhaps you're struggling to schedule new patients or maybe you're hoping to bring in more associates or partners in order to share the burden of patient care along with increased profits. Before expanding your dental practice, however, make sure that you take the time to think through these key considerations.
Often, thinking about expanding your practice means thinking about a move to a new location--which can offer its own set of problems. Why do you want to expand your practice? Are you struggling to fit in patient appointments, with so little time in your schedule that dental emergencies can bring your schedule crashing to the ground? Are patients practically sitting on top of one another in your waiting area? You might also find that your existing spaces are leaving you feeling cramped or that you don't have the space you need to add the latest technology to your dental practice. Think through your reasons for wanting to expand and make sure that you make the move at a good time for your practice, rather than rushing it because when you think about expansion, all you can imagine is increased profits.
If you do expand your practice, what will you be able to accomplish that you can't take care of in your existing office? This might include elements like additional space for more patients, which will, at least in theory, fix the problem of an overcrowded office. It's important, however, to consider whether or not what an expansion offers your practice is more than you could acquire in other ways. For example, you might discover that you can easily see more patients by simply expanding your office hours. Allowing an associate to take over some of your time slots will make it possible for you to work the same number of hours, but increase the number of patients you can see.
When the time comes to expand your office, it's not going to be free--and it's important to consider what the cost will be both in terms of immediate expenses and in terms of long-term expenses over the lifetime of your expansion. Make sure that you calculate:
It's important to carefully calculate that cost of expansion not only so that you'll know what you're getting into financially, but so that you can increase the odds that your expansion will support those necessary expenses.
Timing is important when you make that important dental practice expansion. Carefully evaluate whether it's the right time for your practice to expand before you decide to make a move. This may include things like:
You can be struggling daily to keep up with your patient load and still not be ready to expand for one key reason: you won't have the staff in place to take care of your needs. You need associates, hygienists, and other employees who will fit in with your practice: people who share your vision, have the same positive attitude you do, and will treat your patients with the care you want whenever they interact with them. It's important to be sure that you have the right staff to expand along with you, since those staff members will be a key part of interactions with your patients.
If you're currently in your first building, it's been an excellent opportunity to learn more about what you really want out of your practice. Do you have the right number of operatories? What about seating for the patients in your waiting area? Your office design can improve patients' comfort levels and make it easier for you to take care of business every day--and when you expand your practice, you want to expand into a location that will improve, rather than detract from, those important elements. Make sure that you have room for items like the latest pieces of dental technology, patients to sit comfortably in your waiting room, and other key elements. Create an inviting atmosphere that is ideally arranged to make your job easier, not harder. Thinking through office design before you make the move will allow you to choose a better location.
Expanding your dental practice is a big step, and it's important to have a clear plan of action in place before you do so. By carefully considering the actual needs of your practice along with your current status and how the move can impact your patients, you can grow your practice more effectively, allowing you to see more patients and take better care of the ones already in your care.
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