Are you one of the many practice owners with a New Year’s goal of increasing the number of patients you see this year? If so, good for you! But remember, it requires an investment to grow your business. In addition to an effective marketing campaign, you will need to budget for the additional team, products, services, and equipment you may need in order to accommodate new patients and lay a successful foundation for practice growth.
There are four key areas to consider when planning to increase the size of your practice:
Before bringing in additional patients, be sure you have a growth plan for your staff to ensure you can continue to provide excellent service. Consider including part-time or temporary staff positions to maximize your cash flow and build flexibility into your payroll until your patient base stabilizes.
Scan your office space to ensure it can absorb more patients. Is your waiting room large enough to accommodate more people without crowding? Will the office design allow for ease of traffic flow with additional staff and patients? Do you need an extra operatory? Consult with a professional practice designer to learn how to improve your practice space for an increased number of patients.
Your computer software should be able to absorb an increase in patients, but not necessarily your dental equipment. Take an inventory of your equipment and determine how many units you need to upgrade or add in order to service your existing patient base. Then determine how many new patients you plan to add this year – say, an additional 15%. Multiply your current inventory by 15% and this will help you plan what equipment purchases you will need to include in your practice growth budget.
Don’t forget that more patients means you will be making a greater demand on your dental laboratory. Make sure your laboratory can continue to provide the turnaround time you expect, and add an additional lab to your support team if necessary.
Once you have outlined the steps you need to take to position your practice for growth, create a budget and talk to your lender about financing. A good financing package will fund your practice growth at a level that enables you to focus on growing and servicing your patient base without worrying about how to make ends meet. As your New Year’s goal comes to fruition, you will soon find that your larger patient base not only generates extra cash flow, but provides a significant level of personal satisfaction as well.