If you’re a dentist, your primary career goal is most likely to have your own practice. Well, if this dream is soon to become reality, there are a few things you need to know about starting a successful business. If this is your first time opening a dental practice, here’s a complete guide on how to set up your office and start fixing teeth:
Create a business plan
Creating a business plan is the first step toward starting any business, dental practice included. Your business plan needs to contain plenty of detail that will help you start the business, keep it running and make it profitable. It usually includes strategies, operating procedures, budgeting, expenses, earnings, financial information and marketing. A good business plan is here to provide you with your business loan, but also keep you on track with your plans for the future. If you don’t know how to make a good business plan, there are online tools that can help.
It’s safe to assume that you don’t have enough capital to start a new office from scratch. After creating your business plan, it’s crucial to find a bank or a lender and apply for a loan. In case you get denied financing, you can consider partnering up even if you originally planned to have an independent business. It’s important to know that, on average, starting dental practice costs just a little under $500,000 in initial costs, so depending on your financial situation, wait to lease your space until you have all the financing ready.
Find a location
Finding a perfect location for your dental practice is the key to success and it requires extensive research. Before you start looking at the available spaces, do some market research and see how many dental practices are in the area. If you don’t yet have a city or town in mind, consider your lifestyle and your future plans, and then start looking for rental office space. Search the competition in the area and study the population to see whether you’ll have enough work to stay afloat.
Even if you’re planning to be the only dentist in your practice, you still need a receptionist, dental assistant and an office manager or billing specialist. It’s also important to have contractors on call in case you need them. In many places, like Australia, people struggle with a stable water supply, so it’s a good idea to have an experienced plumber in Sydney handle plumbing issues like leakages, blocks and everything in between. A dental office can’t function without water, so this is a must.
Get your equipment
Maybe the biggest expense for your practice will be investing in dental equipment. Together with dental equipment, you will also need furniture, electronics, management software, as well as dental and office supplies. Find a reliable company for equipment as early in the process as you can, so you can get everything you need in time and at affordable prices. Any large purchases require extensive research and consultation with manufacturers and colleagues. If you want to save money at the beginning of your practice, it might be a good idea to consider leasing.
Invest in marketing
Today, you shouldn’t start your business without a website—this is where most people come looking for information. You can also try marketing your business on social media and Facebook business pages, but your website will be your biggest marketing tool. It’s also a smart idea to start working with an SEO firm that can create content that will attract new patients and boost your brand recognition. Start with marketing before you open your practice so you can hit the ground running.
Being an owner of a dental practice is a demanding career but very rewarding. If you start your business on the right foot, you can watch it bloom in the future.