Building your dental practice starts with setting goals for your practice that take your personal goals into account.
When I started building my practice, I knew I wanted to travel and spend time with my family. I envisioned working part time, taking a month off, going on a European vacation with my family, and then giving back to the dental community by helping others set and achieve their practice goals.
In order to accomplish all of that, I knew I needed to build a practice that could run without me. Without a practice that could run without me, there’s no way I could take a month off.
With that in mind, I set practice goals that included having multiple dentists as well as systems and processes to allow me to delegate activities to others without worrying that the quality or consistency of service would suffer.
When I first told my husband of my vision, he thought I had lost my mind! After accumulating a bunch of debt for dental school and building a home for our family, our finances were tight, so the idea of taking a month off and going to Europe was crazy.
After assuring him that I was committed to doing it wisely, without going into more debt, he trusted that I hadn’t completely lost my mind and trusted me to move forward with my plan.
I spent the next several months working hard to get the right pieces of my practice in place. By July 2016, my vision had come true, as I spent the entire month with my family, going to concerts, bringing my son to soccer camp, and more.
Although it seemed to happen fast, it took careful planning, focus, and a lot of hard work to overcome the obstacles I faced, the biggest of which was needing to build a big practice without a big budget.
I overcame that by focusing on the most cost-effective ways to learn, stay accountable, and grow my practice. That meant investing in a business coach to keep me on track and accountable, reading hundreds of business books, and utilizing social-media marketing, all while making sure every patient left my practice with a WOW experience.
After starting to achieve my practice goals, I established the Delivering WOW podcast and blog, wrote the Delivering WOW book, and continued building the Delivering WOW Facebook Dental Community, Facebook Mastery Course, Delivering WOW U learning and networking community, and more.
I now help thousands of dentists build their practices while continuing to run my practice the way I imagined that day with my husband. In doing so, I’ve recognized the following three roadblocks that each of us faces in achieving our practice goals.
1. “I don’t know where I’m going.”
You wouldn’t go on vacation without knowing your destination, would you? Of course not. Nobody would just go to an airport and get on the first available flight without regard to where it’s going.
So why do so many dentists do that with their practice? They just show up at work and do the work that comes to them. After eight, nine, ten, or more hours of feeling like they’re just putting out fires all day, they lock the doors, go home, and get ready to do the same thing the next day. They end up spending months or even years living the same stressful day, putting out fires until they burn out.
To get past this roadblock, spend some time deciding what you want to build with your practice. Don’t worry about what you currently have for now. Just envision the future. Do you want to work part time? Do you want multiple locations? Do you want to build a practice, sell it, and start over? What do you want to be known for?
2. “I don’t know how to get there.”
Dental school does a great job of teaching us how to care for teeth, but a lousy job of teaching us how to build a practice we love. Because of that, sometimes the problem isn’t knowing where you want to go, but knowing how to get there. Many dentists get stuck at this roadblock.
The easiest way to get past this roadblock is to get help and direction. With so much information at our fingertips, we need others to help us. When I started building my practice, I learned from listening to my coach, reading books, attending conferences, and joining mastermind communities to help me. I would never have built my practice without that help and support.
3. “I don’t have enough time.”
One of the most challenging mental roadblocks in building your practice is finding the time. Between caring for patients, running a business, recruiting and training a team, doing payroll, managing supplies, and taking care of your family, many dentists feel like they barely have time to sleep, never mind build a dream practice, set goals, and plan for the future.
To overcome this roadblock, you need to invest a small amount of time in setting a vision and developing a plan to make that vision a reality. That process will have the effect of freeing up time because it will make you more focused and efficient. For example, you’ll discover best practices, implement systems and processes to free up time, and delegate or outsource, to name a few.
What about you?
What is your roadblock? What do you want to do? What’s keeping you from your goal?
We all face roadblocks in building our practices. With me, finances were the biggest obstacle. Once I established my vision, got help, and made the time to do it, focusing on the most efficient ways to deploy my resources helped me get over those roadblocks until finances were no longer my issue.
Your obstacles might be different, but you will face roadblocks. Your family might not understand why you’re working so hard. They might tell you to quit, or just live a little, not appreciating that you’re only working so hard for a short time so you can achieve something greater. Your friends might think you’re crazy for investing in yourself or continuing your education after getting your degree. They might not understand you’re working hard for a short period to achieve a bigger purpose for your life. They might not understand why you’re investing in yourself, hiring a coach, or continuing your education after college and dental school. Your finances might be tight. Your time might be stretched.
No matter what your obstacles are, you can overcome them by understanding what you want to build and getting help to know how to achieve your goals.
If you want help from me and other dentists who are growing their practices in Delivering WOW U, sign up for your 14-day trial membership. You can also connect with me and over 2,500 other dentists in the Delivering WOW Facebook Dental Hangout on Facebook.