Running a dental practice isn’t easy. From making sure your financial house is in order and your bills are paid, to managing a team that can execute your business plan, owning a dental practice can often feel overwhelming. That’s why many dentists opt to hire a dental practice consultant to help them improve the day-to-day operations of their practice and the long term success of the business.
While it’s almost always a smart move to hire a dental consultant it’s important to first understand what exactly a consultant can do for you and how you can get the most out of them.
At the most basic level, they help create management systems to improve a dental practice’s efficiency and profitability. These systems can take a variety of different forms, but their objective is the same – to make your life easier.
While you might be hesitant to hire such a person, an outside consultant can analyze your practice with a fresh set of eyes and use their industry experience to identify challenges or issues facing your practice and implement solutions to resolve them.
This includes providing unique management solutions tailored specifically for your circumstances such as improving office flow, patient care, and treatment acceptance. A consultant can also help define employee roles, improve communication between team members, develop systems for staff management and hiring, and streamline your paper charting and record keeping systems.
A practice management consultant may also recommend adopting new software programs, improving the aesthetics of your practice, measures to protect your office from embezzlement and ensuring you are complying with local and national regulations.
Whatever the solution, the aim of the consultant’s work is to help you improve the efficiency and profitability of your practice.
One of the best benefits of a hiring an external person is the ability to offer unbiased and objective suggestions. They also won’t be preoccupied with other tasks involved in the day-to-day operations of your practice and will be able to draw on experience from different sectors and practices.
This will allow them to provide you with industry best practices and practical management solutions that have worked at other practices, including your competition.
Once you’ve decided to hire a consultant, one of the first steps you should take is to make sure they are aware of your vision, so they can provide you with a set of actionable goals to help you achieve that vision. It’s also critical that your consultant is part of your team and understands who you are, why you practice and what your core values are.
On the flip side, it’s also important that you are ready to make changes to your practice and yourself.
Far too often I meet dentists who have hired a practice management consultant, but aren’t willing to make any changes, rending the professional advice they paid for useless. It’s important to remember that the consultant is not going to magically fix things. It takes a high-functioning team, hard work and a willingness to make difficult changes that will improve your practice for the better.
On that note, in order to be successful, a consultant must work with your team to create each management system. If your team is not part of developing these systems, they will not own them. If they do not own them, your team will quickly return to old habits and you will not be able to make the necessary changes you hoped to achieve. When you and your staff create each system, the entire team will be committed to implementing them thereby making sure the changes are successful.
In addition to helping you implement new management systems, they should also help you create a positive workplace culture in which all of you employees feel valued and are accountable to each other. This will help ensure the changes you make will remain in place long after your consultant moves on to other projects.
To understand whether you are ready to work with a dental practice consultant or not you should ask yourself whether the practice you are running today is the practice you want to be running for the rest of your career?
If you can imagine even one change, hiring a dental practice consultant is probably right for you.
To learn more about what a dental practice consultant does you should download my book DentalEase – the essential guide to building the stress-free and profitable dental practice of your dreams. The first chapter is free to download and will give you even more insight into how to create a successful dental practice.